The current pandemic has studio owners everywhere rethinking business as usual. One dirty little secret that's been exposed? Before COVID-19, many of us weren't giving our floors nearly enough attention. As Derryl Yeager, founder and artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre in Draper, UT, says, "A lot of times, the floor wouldn't be deep-cleaned more than once a month—and dance floors can get pretty gross!"
This new era is a perfect opportunity to start taking better care of your studio flooring—which, in turn, will help ensure a healthy, supportive surface for your dancers and teachers. We turned to two studio owners and Harlequin Floors, the global leader in advanced technology dance flooring, for advice on keeping your dance studio floors in top shape this season.
The Right Stuff
Contrary to popular belief, cleaning your floors more often will not shorten their life. Quite the opposite, in fact: Harlequin Floors advises that removing dust, dirt, spills and sweat quickly will keep flooring slip-resistant and long-lasting. It's all about which products you use—and, maybe more importantly, don't use. Floor waxes, finishes, or sealers should never come near your studio flooring. Any oil-treated brooms and mops are also a hard no.
Harlequin Floors has long offered the gold standard for cleaning in their Daily Cleaner: a biodegradable, low-toxin solution especially formulated for vinyl flooring. To meet the concerns of the COVID-19 era, they've formulated a new product: the Daily Cleaner + Disinfectant. It works just like the classic Daily Cleaner, with the additional feature of EPA-approved effectiveness against the coronavirus.
Bea Rashid, director of the Dance Center Evanston in Illinois, suggests reaching out to the manufacturer of your floors for guidance on which products to choose. "Because flooring is such a huge investment, I want to be sure that whatever I use will extend the life of the floors, while also getting them really clean," she says. In addition to floor type-specific cleaning tips, Harlequin Floors Account Executives are ready to answer any additional questions their customers may have when it comes to enhanced health and safety protocol in the studio.
Consistency Is Key
That "really clean" daily routine means starting by sweeping or vacuuming to pick up loose dirt and dust. Then your solution of choice comes into play. Rashid wet-mops with Harlequin's Daily Cleaner + Disinfectant, leaving the antibacterial solution wet on the floor for 10 minutes afterwards. In high-square-footage studios like Yeager's where a single mop may not cut it, Harlequin's high-speed Floor Scrubber can help you get the job done more quickly and efficiently.
Next, any stubborn scuff marks can be removed from the floor using Harlequin's Heavy Duty Cleaner, which is also ideal for high-traffic areas. Finally, use a wet-dry vacuum to remove all liquid from flooring, and let dry overnight.
Many studios, including Dance Center Evanston, are now scheduling 15 minutes in between classes to lightly disinfect studio spaces. Because the Daily Cleaner + Disinfectant is also suitable for hard, non-porous surfaces (barres, walls, tables, chairs, etc.), the phosphate-free, broad-spectrum germicidal benefits can be put to use multiple times a day.
The More You Know
You already know that transparency about disinfecting procedures is crucial to help parents feel good about sending their dancers back into the studio this fall. As Yeager says, "We've been very upfront about the extra precautions we've been taking to be as safe as possible, including proven anti-COVID-19 measures like the Daily Cleaner + Disinfectant."
How can studio owners make sure their floor-cleaning procedures form part of a cohesive, effective antiviral approach? "I've done a lot of reading and attended some online workshops on what to do to combat COVID-19—and I've reached out to Harlequin several times," says Rashid. "They're doing the research at the same time, so I feel comfortable following their lead."