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The Importance of Walk-Off Mats in the Workplace

walk off mat post graphicThese mats weren’t just made for walking; they’re there for a variety of reasons including improving the cleanliness and safety within a building.

Walk-off mats are constructed to capture wet and dry soil before stepping onto carpeting and flooring. They absorb the moisture from rain and snow that could, if tracked indoors, create dangerous conditions for employees or customers to slip and fall. A fall or accident in the workplace will end up costing your business far more than the price of a walk-off mat.

Where you place your mats and the size of each mat is important as well. The sooner someone can step onto a mat and remove the soil from their shoes, the less chance there is for the debris, moisture and dirt from their shoes to be transferred to your flooring. Not only could wet shoes lead to a safety hazard but when dirt and debris are repeatedly ground into the floor, they can leave unsightly marks and cause damage to the integrity of the floor and its top coating as well. In addition to being a safety precaution, the use of walk-off mats can lessen the amount of times you need your carpets and flooring deep cleaned or even replaced.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) shares that 80% of the soil brought into a building can be trapped within the first 12 to 15 feet after stepping onto a carpeted surface (walk-off mat). For the highest efficacy of walk-off mats, they should allow room for at least six footsteps. That is about 18-20 feet of walking space, and should be placed at all entryways and major transition areas. The minimum suggested length of an effective walk-off mat is 10 feet long.

When purchasing, walk-off mats, look for these features:

  • Indoor mats should have a rubber backing to create a non-skid surface that firmly holds the mat to the floor, aka prevents it from moving and sliding around.
  • An outdoor mat should be thicker to withstand harsher environments and larger debris such as mud and snow.

While walk-off mats prevent debris and dirt from getting transferred to the flooring and thus decrease the amount of deep cleaning needed to said carpet or floor, walk-off mats themselves need to be cleaned daily. Once a walk-off mat is soiled (literally) and not cleaned or replaced, it will then transfer the soil to the soles of shoes and easily spread throughout the building, defeating the purpose of a walk-off mat.

When discussing services with your commercial cleaning service, make sure to ask and ensure they will regularly clean your walk-off mats. You should also ask for their professional opinion regarding at what point your mats have become so soiled they must be replaced. Walk-off mats are a simple investment to protect your floors and other’s safety.