Your Guide To Melamine Pads
Melamine foam has been in the market for a couple of years now, and is slowly becoming a staple within the cleaning industry. Its history goes back further than that. Melamine has been used since the 90s as insulation for ducts and pipework, and even longer for soundproofing studios, auditoriums and other venues for its enhanced acoustic attributes. In fact, its sound and thermal insulation properties have made it the primary insulation material in bullet trains. The melamine foam is also a flame retardant, making it a suitable material when the structure being developed needs to meet fire safety standards. When exposed to fire, it doesn’t burst into flames. The melamine foam surface instantly carbonises, which isolates oxygen and slows down the rate of reaction. Once the flame is doused out, the foam stops burning immediately. It wasn’t until the early 21st century that developers discovered its effectiveness as an abrasive cleaner. Now, with just a little water, the melamine pads can remove the ingrained soiling and dig out the grime that is on multiple surfaces. From crayon marks, grease on painted walls, marker pen doodles made by the kids on the walls and floors, paints that have adhered to the plastics on your tables, to the adhesive residue from hubcaps- it gets rid of them all.
Are you looking for an effective floor cleaning tool? One that will take away the frustration of hunching over for hours scrubbing those stubborn dirt spots? Tired of using brushes that result in an uneven clean- and not to mention the rapid weakening of the bristles which renders them ineffective? The layers of grime that build up on the surface over time are not only unsightly, they also put the structural integrity of the floor at risk. This is especially since they become abrasive underfoot, and the higher the levels of human traffic the faster the floor gets worn down. Some grime like grease spots traps more dirt particles, increasing the rate of soiling. Regular care is vital. You also don’t want to live or work surrounded by a messy floor, that drags down the ambience of the interior space. Ensuring that the floor is in optimal condition is vital whether you’re the homeowner or are running a business enterprise, in order to provide a conducive environment for your staff and impress your customers. Since the floors get soiled on a daily basis, you want equipment that you can rely on to meet the cleaning demands of your establishment, and you can get that with quality melamine pads.
How Melamine Foam Works
Firstly, to avoid a mix-up, note that "foam" is a broad term. It describes those mounds of bubbles that are formed as you prepare your bubble bath, the lather generated by-products like shaving cream and detergents, or even sweat and saliva from animals, firefighting foam, the froth that comes with ocean waves, plus audio and thermal insulation materials. Some foams are formed by bubbles being trapped in liquid, others are solid porous materials that can be semi-rigid or spongy- like the seat cushions on your favourite sofa. Melamine foam falls in the category of solid porous materials.
The melamine pads have an open-cell foam structure, that is microporous and its polymeric structure is hard. Outwardly, it resembles the conventional sponge- but that's where the similarities end. Getting down to observe the structure at a microscopic level, that's where its true power lies. During the production process, as the melamine resin cures into foam, its structure becomes almost as hard as glass. As such, during the cleaning, it works like very fine sandpaper, abrading the surface being cleaned. However, if it is this hard, then how can it be like a sponge? Well, this goes back to the open-cell nature. Let's deviate for a moment to expound on that.
Start by visualising a closed-cell foam. Here, it’s like small balls that have been bunched up together, and they all retain their air pockets. This makes it rigid. With the open-cell foam, these balls have been burst open, while still retaining sections of their casings. These strands are locked on the edges of the air pockets, where they overlap. The end result is numerous strands that have formed a 3D network, and the material feels soft because of the interconnecting structure. With each of the strains being tiny and slender, you are able to bend the melamine pad.
Back to the operations of the foam. This microstructure has numerous cavities. As the grime is scrubbed off the surface, the particles are pulled into these open spaces and locked in by the skeletal strands. This means that with just a few passes of the melamine pads, the dirt is removed and trapped within the structure, preventing it from being redeposited onto the surface.
Proper Floor Care
Floors are tough. They are designed to take on a barrage of daily abuse as people walk on them, drag items, to the knocks and falls- they are some of the strongest structures in the building. However, they aren’t invincible. Let's look at the porous flooring for instance- like concrete. Concrete is popular since it doesn’t get ruined by spills or peel up over time. Its durability also enables heavy machinery to be used on it- like in warehouse floors. However, using common detergents on it will reduce the durability of the structure. Chemicals that are not pH-neutral will etch the floor, and cause it to lose its lustre. Marble floors are also as hard as a rock. However, that smooth surface is easily scratched by grit, which ruins its appeal. This is commonly witnessed on the highly trafficked sections of the floors. Then there are the stains. Marble floors are easily discoloured by spills from oils, ink, food, and can get etched and dull as a result of acidic liquids- be they lemon and orange juices, carbonated beverages, cranberry drinks, apple juice, wine, or those acidic cleaners that are used on other sections of the house. Solutions that have high alkaline levels also damage the marble floors, and take away its shine. Even the water from the mains supply, which comes with chlorine, magnesium and potassium salt, plus other minerals, when used too frequently clean the floor, can affect certain types of marble, resulting in pitting and spalling. Attempting to remove the ingrained dirt by scraping, and stubborn stains by applying bleaching agents, can ruin your floor.
When it comes to brick floors, acids, strong soaps and harsh chemicals will erode and damage the surface In fact, they can irreversibly change the colour of the bricks. Wax-based cleaners and oil-based detergents are a threat to ceramic floors, and harsh cleaning aids such as steel wool pads or any scouring pads that contain metal tarnish the surface and ruin the finish. Ammonia and bleach-based agents destroy the grout in between the tiles, which causes them to break down in the long-term and come apart. The tiny pores in the tiles also cause them to absorb the colour form the cleaning solutions, gradually changing its look. Others like terracotta tiles become more porous over the years, which allows watermarks and stains to set in. VCT (vinyl composite tile) floors are a common installation in commercial establishments, from restrooms and kitchens, to exam rooms in campuses, and hallways. The high levels of foot traffic in these areas cause it to lose its shine. Using aggressive cleaners will weaken the adhesive bond of the tiles, and negatively affect the structural integrity of the installation. With these various types of porous floors, you want a cleaning solution that gets rid of the grime, while assuring you of the safety of the underlying structure. You get that with the melamine pads.
Benefits Of Turning To Melamine Pads For Your Cleaning
1. Uniform cleaning
The melamine pads provide uniform scrubbing action. In just a few passes, the pads break the connection between the dirt and the surface being cleaned. The abrasive action and sharp fibres reach into the pores of the material, digging out the gunk that is adhered to it. The porous structure of the pad also enables them to absorb and retain moisture plus the dirt within the material, enabling you to achieve a quality clean without spreading around the dirt particles. When compared to using brushes, the melamine pads come out as the clear favourite. With the brushes, they don’t absorb the grime, and less surface area is in contact with the floor being worked on. On the other hand, the melamine pads maintain constant contact with the floor, additionally absorbing the soiling in order to deliver consistent cleaning results.
2. High durability and resilience
These pads are built to last. Manufactured from high-strength melamine foam, and also bound with adhesives, this enables them to be used for multiple cleaning sessions, delivering consistent performance all through. For instance, with the floor pads, you can use them for up to 1000m² of surface when working with single disc machines. When employed with scrubber dryers, they can clock up to 10000m². As the melamine pads dry, they will revert to their original shape. With the extended usage you get out of every unit purchased, your overall floor cleaning and care costs are slashed down. The improved strength and durability also enables them to be used when cleaning in dry conditions.
The melamine pads are versatile, and can be used for the deep cleaning and restoration of multiple surfaces, ranging from VCT and marble, to stone, concrete and ceramic. They are available in a variety of sizes, such as the 17" x 25mm melamine combo floor pad, the 17" x 15mm heavy duty alternative, all through to the 115 X 250 mm combo melamine hand pads. The pad you opt for depends on the pad holder that you’re working with, and the cleaning demands of your particular flooring.
The application is also straightforward. From the setup to the actual scrubbing, you don’t have to be a certified professional to incorporate the melamine pads into your cleaning arsenal. Since you don’t have to keep cleaning the pads in between uses, this further saves on your time, allowing you to clear through your chores at home, and cleaning contractors get to tackle multiple projects in a day and boost their bottom line.
4. Restore the shine to your floor
It’s not just about getting rid of the dirt and grime that is embedded to the floor. With the melamine pads, you get to remove the scratches and replace that dull appearance with a glossy surface that accentuates the interior of the building. Scuff marks, black heel marks- they are all got rid of. The gloss level that is finally obtained depends on your particular taste. The more passes you make during the polishing process, the brighter the gloss.
5. Cuts down your cleaning time
Whether you're handling your cleaning chores are home, or you’re a cleaning contractor working on a commercial project for your client, you don’t want to spend ages scrubbing out sections of the floor. Time is key. At home you have plenty of things on your plate; for cleaning contractors, you have assured your clients of fast results, and you don’t want to disappoint. The efficiency of using the melamine pads for the cleaning enables you to speed up your operations. For starters, the abrasive nature of the product itself enables it to easily scrub the grime from the surface. Secondly, since water is usually the only solvent that is required, less time is spent preparing cleaning solutions. The setup is also a breeze, as the pads are quickly fixed to the pad holders of the respective machines. Speaking of which, using single disc machines and scrubber dryers for the cleaning is also beneficial when working on large expanses of floors, and you get to cover more area in a fraction of the time that would have been spent with traditional approaches like brushes for the scrubbing.
6. Gentle on the surface
You want to get rid of the dirt and grime without damaging your floor. After all, it undoubtedly cost you a hefty sum to install. Wearing down the surface, reducing its structural integrity, creating additional scratches and marks that take away its beauty- these can be frustrating. You don’t have to worry about that with the melamine pads. They are tough on dirt, but pose no risk to the surface being worked on. Unlike the other hard abrasives, the melamine pads retain their softness during the cleaning.
7. Safe to use
The melamine pads pose no risks to the user. The cleaning action is purely mechanical, and no chemicals are needed for the process. This avoids the risks that come with harsh chemicals, including toxic fumes and skin irritation. Speaking of which, even the melamine hand pads can be safely handled without any threat to your skin. Note that formaldehyde is not an ingredient of the melamine pads. There is one ingredient that has it in its chemical name (formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer), but this is different from the hazardous formaldehyde. It's like how carbon (IV) oxide contains the oxygen reference, but is a different compound altogether.
You want to use products and system that deliver a quality clean without harming Mother Nature in the process. After all, the onus is upon each one of us to protect the environment, for our survival and that of future generations. In the immediate vicinity, you also don’t want to have runoff that is affecting the biodiversity around you. When working with the melamine pads, these issues are resolved. For starters, the pads use mechanical action for the cleaning, rather than relying on harsh chemicals that would have increased your carbon footprint. In addition, water- the preferred lubricant as you carry out the scrubbing, is safe for the environment. This approach has seen the melamine pads become a popular tool from homes and office spaces, to food preparation joints and health care centres where safety is of key emphasis.
9. Easy to work with
Using the melamine pads is a breeze. Unlike before when one had to use the tedious brushes, the pads require less effort to accomplish the task. Brushes need more passes over the floor, especially because the brush tips that are in contact with the surface are far less compared to the evenly distributed strands of the melamine pads. The pads also provide increased contact area, further enhancing the efficacy of the operations. Note that there are both round and rectangular pads. The round pads are more popular, used for most cleaning operations. They work using the circular rpm speed motion, coupled with the machine’s own weight, and also the appropriate cleaning solution to achieve the scrubbing results desired. The rectangular pads are particularly designed to be used on machines that provide oscillating holder action. These are mainly used when stripping floors. With the rectangular pads you can also get to corners or work under the edges of shelves. The melamine hand pads are also rectangular- but these, as is implied by the name, are used when scrubbing surfaces by hand.
Incorporating the melamine pads into your cleaning program enables you to save budget-wise in various ways. First, they have been affordably priced. This means you to cut down on costs right off the bat. In addition, they come in different pack sizes, allowing you to suitably meet the cleaning demands of your establishment. Then there is the durability of the pads themselves. Each unit gets to take you for the long haul, reducing the number of replacements that are needed. Moreover you get to accomplish the cleaning tasks with just water as the solvent. Thus you get to save on the hefty costs that would have come with purchasing multiple cleaning chemicals for the various types of surfaces in your establishment. Using the floor pads also costs way less than using brushes. The bristles of the brushes tend to lay over, thus becoming ineffective. As the brushes wear down, their ability to deliver a thorough scrub reduces. Contrastingly, the melamine pads handle multiple cleaning jobs and are only replaced after working on thousands of square feet of surface, while retaining their shape and performance. For the cleaning contractors, there are the additional savings that are made with the reduced labour costs. What’s more, since you get to increase the speed and quality of your services without a parallel growth in costs incurred, your profit margins widen, taking your business to greater heights.
Using The Melamine Pads
The melamine pads can be used on the various sections of the establishment, on surfaces ranging from bricks and ceramic, to concrete, marble and stone. From removing the traces of ink that have been spilled onto the floor, black heel marks at the workplace as people walk about, the soap and scum on bathroom walls and floors, grime that's on the plumbing and ingrained soiling on office rooms, all through to those greasy spots that ruin the appeal of the surface.
With the melamine hand pads- the magic eraser sponges- the cleaning can be extended to household appliances such as refrigerators, the oven and even kitchen furniture, cleaning the stove, top to bottom, inside and out- including those old and baked on messes, getting rid of carbon or baked-on stains on pots, deep fryers and pans, removing those dark spots on the soles of shoes, decorative items , getting rid of dirt on furniture and wallpaper, removing lime from the tile and grout of the shower, and even cleaning up the car interior- along the handles, window ledges, the armrests and dashboard, as well as the built-up grime on the car steering wheel. When unsure whether the pads are suitable for a particular surface, simply test it out on an inconspicuous area before proceeding with the rest of the cleaning.
The application procedures followed depend on the pad in question, the soiling, and the equipment that you’re working with. These range from the floor pads that are usually used with single disc machines and scrubber dryers, to the magic eraser sponges where one works by hand. Below are things to take note of with the various techniques:
• Using the melamine pads with single disc machines
As the name describes them, these units use a single rotating disc to scrub the floor. Different melamine pads, rotation speeds and the motor power that is provided, results in different floor care solutions, from deep scrubbing and de-waxing the surfaces, to polishing and buffing the floor. The machines themselves are compact and easy to move around, reducing the workload for the operator. For the procedure, follow these steps:
i. Start by clearing out any free-standing objects that are on the surface of the floor. Also vacuum up the loose debris, and remove substances like gum that are stuck to the surface. Dust mopping the floor will remove the dry soiling, leaving the deep cleaning task to the melamine pads.
ii. Prepare the cleaning solution to be used. Note that the scrubbing action provided by the melamine pads allows you to just rely on water for the cleaning. However, you can still incorporate additional formulations into the process, as long as you ascertain that they are compatible with the floor structure.
iii. Liberally apply the water or cleaning solution onto the floor.
iv. Scrub the floor with the single disc machine. Here, use slow overlapping passes. Change the melamine pads and rinse if they become full. The heavily soiled areas will need particular attention.
v. Use a wet vacuum or mop to pick up the solution on the floor.
vi. Rinse the floor with clean water, soaking it up with a clean mop or using a wet vacuum for the process. Wring the mop dry and pass over those sections that have been streaked by the wet vacuum.
vii. Let the floor dry before allowing traffic back onto it.
In case you want to go further and polish the surface:
i. Switch to the appropriate pad and burnish the already cleaned floor.
ii. Vacuum up any dust that is generated- you can also use a dustpan and broom depending on the size of the job.
• Working with scrubber dryers
Here the setup performs two tasks simultaneously: scrubbing with the rotary cleaning components, of which the melamine pads are part of, then drying with vacuum suction. That way, with a single pass, the dirty floor is left clean and dry, enabling people to walk on it immediately. This is particularly suitable in high traffic establishments, like commercial premises- and is a favourite for professional cleaning companies. There are different units, based on consumer needs. For instance, they come in different sizes, with the larger machines having larger reservoir tanks and working on wider paths at a go, while the smaller units are more manoeuvrable due to the smaller turning circle. There are also those machines that are powered by battery to allow more flexibility since there is less restriction from the trailing cables- but need to keep being recharged, and those that are connected to the mains power, and thus are not limited on their productivity time.
When there is heavy soiling and staining on the floor, you can first soak the area in water or cleaning agent, and allow a couple of minutes of dwell time. Then follow through with the scrubber dryer for the cleaning. Don’t rush the process. Going with a steady pace will enable you to adjust the flow rate of the water (and any cleaning solutions used), which will lead to little or no residue being left behind, hence achieving higher quality results. Note that for the entire setup to function optimally, the machine needs to be regularly serviced. Getting the right melamine pads for the task at hand- that are compatible with the floor in question, and also fit the pad holder of the machine, will enable you to work effectively. As you go about the task, ensure that the deck has been correctly adjusted. This is to control the traction and make the work easier. While the melamine pads don’t need to be cleaned after each session, it's recommended that you remove them from the scrubber dryer at least once a week and wash them down. This will keep them performing optimally. Also ensure that you keep the squeegee blades clean. Regularly clip them off and clean the tap.
• Working with the Combo Melamine Hand Pads
These are convenient cleaning tools for those sections in the building where you'll be working by hand. Follow these steps:
i. Saturate the pad with water, and squeeze out the excess without wringing it. Note that, unlike conventional cloth and sponges, twisting the melamine pads will damage them.
ii. Wipe the contaminated area. Here, you don’t need to use the entire surface of the pad. You can work with one of its corners, which will contribute to extending the service life of the product itself. However, this largely depends on the area you’re working on.
iii. Follow up with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue that has been scraped off the surface.
iv. Rinse the melamine pad after use. Washing it under a stream of running water will suffice.
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Melamine Pads
• There are those sections that have too much grime- like smoke chimneys in the kitchen that haven't been washed for years. For these situations, first wash the heavy soiling off with detergent, then follow through with the melamine pads for deep cleaning.
• Do not twist the melamine pads. You can be tempted to do this when working with the hand pads- but resist the urge. After saturating the material with water, remove the excess liquid by squeezing the pad in between the hands. Any twisting can result in breaking down of the structure of the pores.
• Avoid leaving the pad under the machine after the cleaning has been completed. Detach it before storage.
• Whichever the pad configuration- be it round or rectangular, it is vital that you ensure it fits the machine. Using undersized or oversized pads will affect the performance during the cleaning.
• Remember to place “Caution-Wet Floor” signs at the end of the areas being worked on when carrying out the cleaning. After all, you don’t want persons slipping and falling on the wet floors- this is especially in areas with human traffic.