SAFE-STRIde prevents slippery floors in restaurants


Causes of Slippery Floors in the Food Service Industry

Falls in kitchen and service areas are the food service industry's number one safety problem according to the National Safety Council. These accidents cost employers over $200 million a year in workers compensation. Quarry tile is the tile of choice in most kitchens because it is extremely durable. But, it has one drawback, it is very porous, it absorbs grease.

There are two causes for chronic slippery floors in the food service industry. Polymerization and the inability to prevent or remove  it. Polymerization is defined as: The process of chaining together many simple molecules to form more complex molecules with different physical properties which combine and harden. The changing of a compound into a polymeric form by this process.   Simply stated: A polymerized floor is one in which the residue of grease, dirt and inferior cleaning compounds has not been completely removed. As a result the various molecules combine, harden and become electrically attracted  to the floor surface and literally become  part of the floor.

A polymerized quarry tile floor can be detected  four ways. 1. It appears shiny. 2. When wet is slippery. 3. If grease or dirt appears in grout lines. 4. By measuring the coefficient of friction (C.O.F.) With a portable slip meter.

Two contributing factors which cause the polymerization. 1. The Cleaning Agent. 2. The Maintenance Procedure. The cleaning agent must accomplish three jobs. It must reduce the surface tension. It must emulsify, and it must provide for ease of rinsing, preferably with cold water.


Surface tension is caused by opposite charges of positive and negative electricity which is created between the molecules of the grease and dirt on the floor. Negative and positive charges bond together and become part of the floor (polymerized). It is the job of the surfactants in the cleaning agent to neutralize and free the  bonded residue. Surfactants  can be anionic, nonionic or amphoteric.   Identifying the proper combination of surfactants to prevent polymerization is crucial to surface tension and is held as a proprietary trade secret by Safe Stride.
Prevent slippery floors in the restaurant food service industry with Safe Stride International, Inc.


Water is considered to be the universal solvent. However, the hardness of water varies from one area to another. Consequently, the cleaning agent must contain water softeners or emulsifying agents. The problem with these agents is due to the fact that they are very slippery and require a tremendous abundance of "hot water" to assure complete removal.   If not completely removed, they cause polymerization. Most suppliers of de greasers use sodium hydroxide as the water softener simply because it is inexpensive. However, the preferred emulsifier is potassium hydroxide because it can be rinsed with a minimum of "cold water", But of course, it is also more expensive.   RINSING Hot water is expensive and most de greasers and detergents on the market do not rinse well. Appliance  manufacturers  know this and build washing appliances with long and frequent rinse cycles which require hot water. Tests have proven that some de greasers require as much as one gallon of hot water to completely rinse a one square foot area. What is saved on inferior cleaning chemicals is completely lost on hot water if polymerization is to be avoided.


In commercial kitchens daily maintenance is a must. The next most important requirement is to throw away the mop and replace it with a deck brush.   Mops are alright for maintaining non greasy areas but not the kitchen.   Mopping the kitchen does not adequately release the polymerization.  Use a proper cleaning agent in the recommended dilution ratio. Tile manufactures strive for a finished product which measures 0.50 C.O.F. in a dry condition. Many ceramic tiles are finished with a hard gloss surface and when wet fall below the threshold for safety. These tiles should be kept free of spills or treated with a slip resistant product to increase the C.O.F. Cleaning should be accomplished with a good cleaning agent. The use of a mop is acceptable providing it is clean and free of grease.

Prevent slippery floors in the restaurant food service industry with Safe Stride International, Inc.