How to Clean Marley Floors
A marley dance floor, which is vinyl, roll-out flooring, is an effective material for home studios, schools and most dance settings. Offering both durability and versatility, a marley floor can last up to 15 years with the proper maintenance. If you want to maximize your flooring for safety, performance and longevity, you need to establish a marley dance floor maintenance program.
To clean your floors, daily tasks should include sweeping and dry mopping while washing should occur on a weekly basis. Additionally, address any stains or marks as soon as you find them. All deep cleaning and sanitizing should take place a few times per year to maintain a safe and healthy dance studio. Always use cleaning materials that are safe for dance floors — household cleaners may not be your best choice.
Following these dance floor cleaning tips will help you make the most of your specialized dance flooring system.
What to Avoid While Cleaning Marley Floors
Unlike regular floors, marley dance floors contain special properties that make them ideal for dancing. Using proper cleaning materials is essential for preserving your dance floor’s distinctive qualities. One of the most common ways dance studio owners damage their marley floors is by using unsuitable cleaning materials. Choosing the right products for cleaning your dance floors will help preserve them rather than cause any issues.
Here are some cleaning substances to avoid:
Regular Household Cleaners
It’s best to only use designated dance floor cleaners on your marley dance floors instead of using regular household cleaners. Most household floor cleaners include ingredients that aren’t suitable for a marley floor. For instance, any household cleaner including oil can leave residue on your dance floor, which may pose a safety risk.
Steer clear of using bleach on your marley floors. This product might damage the appearance of your floor by stripping away its color. More importantly, it can release the floor’s plasticizer, which is a vital component. The plasticizer is an additive that makes the surface softer and more flexible — it prevents brittleness and cracking to keep your floors safe for dancing.
Alcohol, Ammonia and Acetone
Known as the “three A’s,” alcohol, ammonia and acetone are not safe marley floor cleaners. Each can damage the floor’s plasticizer the same way bleach does. Be sure to check your cleaning materials’ ingredients for any of these three, as they’re common in popular cleaning solutions.
Some cleaning guides suggest diluted vinegar as a floor cleaner. However, you shouldn’t use it on marley dance floors. Using vinegar on your marley floors will cause the floor to dissolve underneath, damaging its appearance and causing a safety risk. It may not be obvious at first, but you’ll notice the effects over time.
Waxes and Sealers
It’s crucial to avoid waxes and sealers when cleaning, as they can degrade your dance floors, affecting the floor’s balance between smoothness and grip. If you’ve cleaned with these products, dancers may miss their marks while on the floor.
Steps for How to Clean Marley Dance Floors
Now that you know what materials to avoid, you can get started with your cleaning regimen. It’s crucial to use proper techniques, including the order in which you perform certain tasks and the solutions you use. Using the right methods will ensure you preserve your marley floors rather than damage them.
Follow these steps for how to clean the floors in your dance studio:
1. Sweep and Dry Mop Daily
The first and easiest step is to sweep and dry mop your floor each day. Doing so will protect your floor’s quality, prevent damage, preserve its appearance and save you time and money.
Always sweep before you mop. This trick removes all crumbs, dirt and residue, which primes the surface for dry mopping. Only use non-oil-treated brooms with soft materials. A rough material like straw might scratch your floor’s surface. Designate a specific broom for your dance floor, so you’re not dragging in debris from other surfaces.
Then, dry mop to remove any dust your broom may have missed. A dry mop is ideal for picking up loose dirt and debris and getting into hard-to-reach corners. Always use a clean, white microfiber pad with a nonabrasive material. If you reuse pads, be sure to wash them with only water between uses.
When dry mopping, keep the mop head on the floor between strokes. Go back and forth over the floor, overlapping a bit for each stroke. Every so often, lift the mop head and shake it out over the disposal bin. After you’ve gone over the entire dance floor, you’ll have a pile of debris you can sweep up with your broom and dust pan.
Should You Wet Mop?
A wet mop is most useful for cleaning stains or embedded debris, but it doesn’t need to be part of your daily maintenance routine. Too much wet mopping could damage your floor’s finish. If wet mopping is necessary, be sure to use proper cleaning materials, sweeping and dry mopping beforehand.
2. Wash Your Floors Weekly
Washing your floors is another fundamental cleaning task. It should take place once per week instead of every day, as over washing might cause damage. Washing is necessary to eliminate any oil, body lotion, perspiration or other residues. Always use dance-floor-friendly products, such as the detergent degreaser ProClean, to protect your floors and ensure safety.
ProClean is easy to use — follow these steps to wash your floors with this product:
- Sweep and dry mop the floor.
- Mix 2-4 ounces of the solution to 1 gallon of water.
- Apply the solution, scrubbing with a nonabrasive brush.
- Remove the solution with a mop or squeegee.
- Rinse with water.
3. Remove Stains
As careful as you try to be, the occasional stain on your dance floor is inevitable. Common stain types include food or drink residue, scuff marks, leaked shoe dye or tap residue. You can take some precautions to limit stains, such as requiring high-quality dance shoes and only using your marley floor for dance purposes.
When stains occur, a few home remedies can help you remove dancers’ shoe marks — tennis balls and pencil erasers are great for targeting stains, for example. If cleaning products are necessary, be sure to select safe options. Use a special stain remover like SimplyGone to remove food stains or residue, and try a solvent like Wipeout Plus to get out tough scuff marks.
4. Deep Clean Twice Yearly
Be sure to deep clean your marley dance floors at least twice per year. This cleaning involves renting a small cleaning machine and using a concentrated detergent degreaser like ProClean Ultra. Use a green or aqua pad rather than a black pad, which could scratch your floor. Remember to rinse with water after using ProClean Ultra.
When Is the Best Time to Deep Clean Your Dance Floor?
It’s best to deep clean your dance floor once every six months or so, depending on how much you use it. If you use your dance floor every day, you may want to deep clean a bit more often. Both your daily and weekly cleaning routines should keep the floor from getting too dirty between deep cleans.
Specifically, a winter deep clean is a good idea because:
- The dryer air will help your floor dry off quicker.
- A clean floor will improve your indoor air quality, which is essential during cold and flu season.
- Students are likely to drag in dirt and debris during the winter.
5. Disinfect Your Floor
After sweeping, dry mopping and deep cleaning on a regular basis, your floor will appear clean — but its surface could still be home to invisible viruses, bacteria and young mold spores, which is why disinfecting is essential. Disinfecting kills germs and early-stage mold, keeping dancers safe and healthy in the studio.
You should disinfect your floors at least three times per year, during the fall, winter and spring. It’s especially important to disinfect at least once before or during the colder months when colds and flus tend to spread the most. Be cautious about the disinfectant you use, as many contain bleach or alcohol. ProClean D No-Rinse is a safe choice for dance floors. It meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19.
ProClean D No-Rinse is quick and easy to use because it does not require rinsing. If desired, you could apply it between every single dance session without taking up a lot of time. Always dilute the solution with water, let it sit for 10 minutes and either let it air dry or use a towel or dry mop.
5 Ways to Proactively Keep Your Marley Floors Clean
Here are a few proactive measures for keeping your marley floors as clean as possible:
1. Create a “Shoes Off” Policy
It’s best to prohibit outdoor shoes on your dance floor, if possible, as they’re bound to track in dirt, mud and germs. Another issue is that non-dance shoes, especially tennis shoes, are more likely to leave behind scuff marks. As a result, implement a “shoes off” policy in your dance studio or home. Doing so will help you preserve your floors and simplify your cleaning routine.
2. Only Allow Clean, High-Quality Dance Shoes
Only dance shoes should touch your dance floor — and those dance shoes should always be clean and high-quality. If you use your floor for tap dancing, you might want to ban aluminum compound shoes, which can leak black residue. Students should wear pure aluminum or steel tap shoes instead. Otherwise, you could coat aluminum compound shoes with Tap Shield for a layer of protection.
3. Keep out Food and Drinks
Consider implementing a “no food or drinks policy” in your dance studio. Keeping food and drinks out will help you preserve your floor while also protecting dancers’ safety, as unnoticed snack remnants could pose a safety risk.
4. Only Use the Floor for Dancing
One of the best ways to preserve a marley floor is to make sure only dancing takes place on it. Whether your dance floor is in your home or a studio, you may want to block it off when it’s not in use. If you have a home studio, you may want to lock the door or put up a baby gate to keep kids, pets and others off the dance floor. If you host students, ask them to play or do other activities elsewhere.
5. Ask Sick Dancers to Stay Home
Students should only come to the dance studio if they feel well. While other rules and procedures will help keep your floors pristine and beautiful, this last tip is all about keeping dancers safe. Ask dancers who feel ill to stay home. Doing so will help you keep your floors as germ-free as possible so dancers stay healthy. Regular disinfecting will also help.
Contact Stagestep to Learn More
Maintaining a clean marley floor can be simple enough, as long as you follow a regular routine and implement proactive measures. Each day, you should take a few moments to sweep and dry mop your floor. Always sweep first, then use the dry mop to pick up what you’ve missed. Use safe methods to remove any visible stains or marks.
Additionally, wash your floors once per week to clear away built-up residue. On a less frequent basis, you’ll need to deep clean and disinfect your floors to ensure your studio is a healthy environment. Make your cleaning regimen simpler by implementing a few basic dance studio rules. You’ll have better luck maintaining clean floors if you use them for dancing only. It’s also a good idea to limit the kinds of shoes that touch the floor — no outdoor shoes and only high-quality dance shoes.
All of these measures and precautions should help you maintain a pristine marley dance floor. Keep in mind that you can adjust this maintenance plan to meet your own needs, which might vary based on studio size or use. If you have further questions about how to clean your marley dance floors, we’re happy to assist you.
With more than 50 years of experience with dance floor systems and maintenance products, Stagestep provides comprehensive expertise, instructions, information, specifications and advice. Contact us today for more assistance.