Auto Scrubbers 101

By Admin 11 Aug ,2023

Auto-scrubbers are some of the most useful and productive products in the cleaning industry. These machines are built for serious cleaning, yet they require important knowledge about the best uses and applications. 

The Advantage

Low-moisture automatic scrubbers, when compared to traditional floor-mopping methods, can provide the most efficient and effective way to clean floors in any commercial setting. Simply put, a fully automatic floor scrubber is designed to do a multitude of tasks simultaneously. With just a single pass, an auto-scrubber can apply the cleaning solution to the floor, scrub it, strip it (when called for), vacuum it, and then squeegee it dry.

It is the agitation, along with the cleaning chemicals used, that loosens and removes soils. The end result is that floors cleaned by scrubbers are much cleaner than those cleaned using traditional methods. Auto-scrubbers produce low-moisture and provide constant contact with the floor, making pick-up and drying time better than ever before. These machines also reduce down-time, allowing heavily trafficked areas to only briefly close down for cleaning. And because the equipment is designed to carry out so many floor care procedures so quickly, the use of automatic scrubbers can be very cost-effective. In many situations, the machines pay for themselves in a matter of months because worker productivity is enhanced so significantly.


Keep in mind that an automatic scrubber cannot just be turned on and used like a vacuum cleaner. These are often heavy machines, each weighing approximately 350 pounds, with some models weighing even more. Plus they can have substantial mass. Maneuvering, turning, and operating an automatic scrubber can be difficult without the proper training. However, once the user learns the proper operation, using an auto-scrubber correctly becomes second nature. Training is required not only to operate the machine effectively but, even more importantly, to operate it safely. Lastly, users must know how to care for these machines. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and maintenance of the machine is critical. Proper maintenance can result in years of dependable service with little downtime or costly repair bills.

Choosing an Automatic Scrubber

Often, one of the first questions asked by a commercial cleaner is: what type and size of scrubber should I select? The answer depends on how the facility is used, the amount of foot traffic, the floor type, etc. However, there is one good rule of thumb: if the total floor area to be cleaned exceeds 1,500 square feet, it is best to select a walk-behind automatic scrubber. As the name implies, the worker walks behind the machine, gently pushes it or, if the machine is self-propelled, guides it over the floor. For very large floor areas, managers may want to consider a ride-on floor machine, where the cleaning worker can either stand or sit on the machine. Stand-on floor scrubbers provide the operator with a better vantage point, significantly reduce the amount of steps taken, and allow for easy-on and off the machine.  Ride-on floor scrubbers have the highest working capacities and minimize worker fatigue since the user can operate from the comfort of the seat.

Walk-behind floor machines were first introduced more than 50 years ago. At that time, manufacturers were primarily concerned with the equipment’s operation, performance and long-term floor maintenance. However, over the years concern grew about worker safety while operating these machines. Today, a number of safety features have been incorporated that make the equipment safer to use. Some of these include:

  • Locking mechanisms for use on inclines or ramps. An important feature due to the weight of these machines, this prevents the machine from rolling backward on an incline or ramp and potentially endangering the worker.
  • Friction brake systems that ensure quick stops when necessary
  • Variable speed settings so that a lower speed can be selected when operating in more challenging settings
  • Control Panels that are readily accessible and easy to read
  • Emergency stop buttons

Automatic scrubbers have a distinct advantage over traditional floor cleaning methods in numerous applications. The performance of a floor scrubber is unmatched and will ultimately result in cleaner areas and less labor costs. It is important to keep in mind that, in order to maximize this performance, proper knowledge and operation is critical. Once a user has been properly informed and trained, everyone will benefit from a clean and safe building.