Keeping Floors Clean, Safe Means Taking It to The Entrance Mat

Commercial facilities managers are in charge of keeping their facility in tip-top shape and a big part of maintenance is prevention. For carpet maintenance, it’s about finding an adequate entry mat: 12 to 15 feet for an office building or up to 20 or 25 feet for a grocery store or hospital to ensure soil is trapped and floors are kept safe.

Along with the size, it is important to:

  • Evaluate the level of foot traffic entering your facility. Different mats are designed for different traffic loads.
  • Select mats that are facility specific. Matting for an industrial facility might not necessarily be appropriate for an office building.
  • Consider climate conditions. Different mats may need to be installed in order to deal with varying climate conditions.
  • Be aware that entry matting works best when used as a system. Scraper mats should be placed directly outside the building with wiper/scraper mats placed in the entry area. Extra wiper mats inside the building may trap any remaining soils on shoe bottoms.

Finally, facility managers need to monitor the wear patterns on entrance mats. Excessive wear in one area may indicate the mats are not large enough. In general, the article states that, when considering entryway mats, more is usually better.


70%–90% of dirt that enters a facility is tracked in on people’s shoes — that’s a quarter pound per day per 1,000 people!

Without entrance matting and all the tracked-in dirt, 1,500 people can remove 42% of the finish off a floor. This is why the tracked-in soil is the number one cause of building maintenance costs.

Reducing the dirt is critical to the bottom line.

Commercial floor mats reduce tracked-in dirt by 80% — that’s a savings of $500–$900 in maintenance costs for every pound of dirt stopped. Plus, a slip/fall cost per claim is well over $20,000, which is second only to auto accident claims.

A strategically placed and professionally maintained floor care program can also help reduce these slip/fall costs.


Choosing the right floor mat requires an understanding of:

  • Location (shop floor, main entrance, etc.)
  • Surface (carpet or flat), and
  • Application (will it track oil, dirt, water, rocks, etc.)

The right type of floor mat in the right location can make a huge difference in protecting your floors, and most important – your people.

To the right is an illustration of ITU Absorb Tech’s Floor Mat System.

A well thought out plan can be very effective in preventing slips, trips, and falls.  On the contrary, simply loading your floors with walk mats is not an effective strategy.


The two main types of industrial floor mats are floor mats you can purchase, and rental floor mats that include a delivery and laundering service.

When you purchase mats, you clean and replace them yourself – vacuuming and carpet cleaning must be done regularly, or you need to replace them if the stain/fluid cannot be removed.  Mats that are purchased are typically not the industrial grade floor mats you would receive when renting.

In contrast, rental floor mats are a commercial grade mat that includes a regular cleaning service.  When mats reach their end of life, they are automatically replaced.  More on purchase vs. rental is discussed in the next section.

Scrape Mats

Location: Scraper mats are mainly for outdoor use, but can also be used indoors.
Base: Commercial Grade Nitrile Rubber 
Application: Designed to trap large particulates and moisture such as mud, pebbles, ice, metal chips, and other large debris at the base of the mat.

Brush Mats

Location: Building entrance
Application: Course fibers are woven into the mat to help remove and hold medium-sized dirt, water, salt and other debris.

Wipe / Walk Mats

Location: Lobby, office area, showroom
Application: Constructed of specially woven yarns to remove and trap fine dust, grit, and dirt to prevent soil from spreading in your facility.

Logo Mats

Location: Office lobby or showroom
Application: Protect your floors while enhancing your corporate image. Like walk mats, logo mats are constructed of specially woven yarns to remove and trap fine dust, grit, and dirt to prevent soil from spreading in your facility.

Oil Absorbent Mats

Location: Shop / Production Floor Walkways (any oily environment in your facility)
Application: Primarily constructed of a cotton pile, these industrial floor mats are more absorbent than other mats.  They are designed to capture and hold oils and solvents in a manufacturing environment. Examples include SlipBusters® and SAFEmats® inserts.

Anti-Fatigue Mats

Application:  Anti-fatigue mats can be used where workers stand for an extended period of time as a way to reduce back pain and fatigue.
Location: Where workers stand for extended periods.

Anti-Fatigue & Absorbent Mats

Application:  Anti-fatigue mats can be used where workers stand for an extended period of time as a way to reduce back pain and fatigue.
Location: Where workers stand for extended periods.  SAFEmats™ includes an absorbent insert for use where oils or solvents may leak onto the floor.


4 Common Floor Mat Mistakes

What Happens to a Purchased Floor Mat Over Time

  1. Buying your own industrial floor mat because of perceived cost savings.  Rental wipe mat fibers, coupled with professional laundering, stand up and last much longer than typical direct purchase mats. This prevents soil from spreading throughout your building.
  2. Poor placement of floor mats. Simply covering your entire floor surface in floor mats is not the most effective strategy for protecting your people and your floors.  In fact, too many floor mats can lead to a trip hazard.  A needs analysis will help determine the right floor mat for the right application at your facility.
  3. Skimping on floor mat coverage to save cost.   Tracked-in soil is the number one cause of building maintenance costs. The cost of floor replacement or a potential fall far outweighs the cost of an extra floor mat.
  4. Using the wrong floor mat for the application. One of the most commonly misused commercial floor mats is the walk mat, also know as a charcoal mat or wipe mat. While a walk mat works well in an office or lobby application, it does not provide the best protection on a shop floor or in an oily environment. Some floor mat vendors will recommend a walk mat in a shop floor environment because they do not offer a floor mat designed for industrial application.


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