Healthy Environments Start at the Front Door

If you want to know where 90% of all dust and dirt in an early childhood facility comes from, just look down and you’ll find two prime suspects – at your shoes. Read on to learn how an effective matting system can keep dirt outside where it belongs

Programs that serve infants and toddlers are always concerned about the cleanliness of classroom floors, but creating healthy environments for children starts at the front door of your center.  We know from studies performed by The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) that as much as 90% of the dirt and dust entering a building is carried on people’s shoes.

Start with exterior maintenance by keeping the outdoor areas and sidewalks clean and free from toxic chemicals. Then use a matting system with the first mat outside the front door entrance, a second mat in the breezeway (if you have one) and the final mat inside the front door.

A recent study by the ISSA reported that in just 24 hours, 1,000 people could track 24 pounds of dirt into a facility.  In childcare facilities, parents and staff enter and exit throughout the day, so you can see how quickly tracked-in dirt and debris can add up.  Unfortunately, many childcare directors do not understand the proper placement of mats or what type of matting system to use.

According to flooring specialists, matting should be viewed as a system with each mat -- through its placement, type and length -- doing its part to prevent contaminants from entering the building.  Five feet of matting should be placed outdoors and can trap as much as 50% of soil and contaminants.  Five feet of interior matting should be used directly inside the facility to gather dust and debris not brushed off outdoors.

Both exterior and interior mats need to be cleaned and maintained in order to be effective.  We know that in current difficult economic times, it would be easy to cut expenses and overlook this important benefit to your center. An effective matting system can reduce the amount of cleaning needed in your building, ease the duties of cleaning staff, improve your indoor air quality and help preserve your interior floors.