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My Floor Scrubber Isn’t Working Very Well - Do I Need a New One?

Floor cleaning tech showing person how to rotate a brush on Tenannt floor scrubber

Your floor scrubber may not clean or dry the floors like it used to, but does that mean you need a new machine? Unless you are having consistent high repair costs and down time, the answer is probably not. If a floor scrubber is operable then it is quite easy and inexpensive to get it working like new again. Let’s look at the reasons your floor cleaning machine may not be doing such a great job.

1. Water Flow

You need plenty of water going down to the brushes to clean the floor. The water and detergent put the dirt into solution so the squeegee can suck it up. There is an easy way to test this. Turn on your brushes and water. Back up. You should have a good amount of water on the floor that spans the length of the scrub deck. If not, you most likely have a partially clogged solution filter. Check your manual to learn how to clean it. If only part of the cleaning path has water, either you have a clogged solution distribution bar or it has become unlevel. The water generally just flows out of a series of drip holes or through the center of the brushes. Check for clogs.

2. Brush Wear

If your scrub brushes are worn down more than 75% of their original length they need to be replaced. They become too stiff to flex and do their job at that point. Most of the time, floor scrubbing brushes just need to be rotated. Brushes take a “set” just like a push broom does. If you rotate the brushes from one side to the other (or front to back on a cylindrical machine) they will work as good as new, maybe even better than new!

3. Vacuum and Suction

If the vacuum motor on your floor scrubber sounds normal it is probably fine. If it has a high pitch whining or grinding sound then it is probably worn out. The way a floor scrubber vacuum system works in not rocket science – it is basically a big wet vacuum. If you have poor suction from your floor scrubber it can only be 3 things:

  • The airway between the tank and the vac motor itself may be blocked. Usually there is some kind of float cage in the dirty water tank just like your wet vacuum has. It may be dirty or the float ball may be stuck in the overflow position.
  • The lid to your recovery tank is not getting a tight seal. If you can easily lift the lid when the vac motor is on you have an air leak. Air leaks cause your vacuum or suction to be weak. Check to see if the seal is dried out, torn, or missing. Make sure your recovery tank lid is not cracked or worn.
  • If your float cage is clean and your tank lid has a good seal there is only one thing left it could be. Your scrubber has a hose that goes from the recovery tank to the squeegee. There is also usually some type of fitting that attaches it to the tank. Either your hose or your fitting are clogged, sometimes both. Generally, the best way to clean this hose is to back flush it with a garden hose. Flush it thoroughly to make sure any dried on debris is washed away. Also check for pin hole leaks in the hose as long as you have it off.

4. Squeegee Blades

Simple logic will tell you that if your squeegee isn’t drying the floor you will also be leaving behind dirt and even detergent. The detergent residue will actually make your floor dirtier by literally pulling the dirt off of the bottom of people’s shoes or your equipment’s wheels. The residue will cause dust in your facility to stick to the floor. Here are a couple of things to look for when you examine your squeegee:

  • If your squeegee is wavy or curled up it is most likely ruined. Petroleum products and other oils will cause this. Change out your squeegee with an oil resistant blade like Linatex or Urethane.
  • Looking at the leading edge of your rear squeegee. If it does not have a sharp clean edge you need to rotate the squeegee to a side that has a sharp, clean edge. Generally you can get up to 4 sides from a squeegee blades. It can be flipped end for end as well as top to bottom.
  • Check the angle of your squeegee blade when it is under load. This is a simple process. Move to reasonably level floor. Lower the brushes and squeegee on your floor scrubber. Turn on the water flow. Scrub forward about 10 feet. Apply the parking brake. Do not raise the squeegee when you stop. Get off of the machine and look at the deflection of the squeegee. It should have a consistent 45 degree angle across the entire squeegee tool. If the squeegee is not even and at a 45 degree angle, it needs to be adjusted. Consult your manual on how to adjust it since floor scrubber manufacturers each have a different adjustment method. Usually you can adjust the angle of the squeegee as well as the height off the floor. Note: Some squeegee tools have guide wheels that hold the tool up at the right distance from the floor. If these wheels are worn down too far, the squeegee is impossible to adjust. They will need to be replaced.

5. Detergent and Water Temperature

Your floor scrubber cannot be effective without the right detergent in the tank. It also needs to be mixed with the correct dilution. There are thousands of different chemicals on the market. Some cleaners will leave residue on the floor. Some can harm your floor scrubber, your employees, as well as the environment. It is really important to consult a professional to get the proper floor cleaning detergent and instructions how to use it. In most cases consulting with an expert to get the correct cleaner and dilution will actually save you money in the long run. Factory Cleaning Equipment, Inc. offers a lifetime warranty on all solution components and vac motors to people who use our detergents.

The simple tips above should help your automatic floor scrubber perform like it did when it first arrived. If you are still struggling, give us a call at 800-793-3790. Our floor scrubbing experts are here to help you figure it out. We are also able to provide all of the parts you need for any brand of floor scrubber.

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