Will Winter 2015 be milder than usual? Or will the Midwest receive another visitation from the Alberta Clipper or even the dreaded Polar Vortex?

While nobody can say for certain, there is one truth we can all take to the bank. Winter tends to bring increased maintenance responsibilities with its constant ebb and flow of snowmelt and soils. And with those responsibilities come increased costs. However, with a bit of foresight and proper planning, you can batten down for winter and control costs in the process.

When it comes to winterizing your facilities, here are six ways Miller’s Textile Services suggests you achieve your goals.

1. Use snow and ice melters.

After all, tracking snow and ice into your facilities is an accident waiting to happen. Using the correct snow and ice melting compounds can reduce both unsightly hazards and costly restorative procedures.

Manufactured or blended snow and ice melters are easy to use and using the correct type will help minimize oily residues on carpets and other interior surfaces. In addition, when using the correct type of ice melter they’re fast-acting and melt down to 0º F unlike salt and some of the other blends. In addition to being safe and economical to use, snow melters prolong the life of your carpets and hard flooring areas.

In addition, using the proper type of ice melters will help prolong the life of your driveways and walkways as well as ensure your lawns are not damaged by the salt and other harsh chemicals that may be in many ice melters and salts.

2. Institute a matting program.

The right matting program for your facility accomplishes two important goals at once. Proper walk-off matting is the key to minimizing the likelihood of customers or personnel slipping and falling during winter’s icy grip. While providing a professional appearance for your entranceways, mats could even reduce your exposure to liability issues.

Just as important, your matting program can reduce up to 80% of the soils and litter that enter your facilities through daily traffic. That reduction can, in turn, pay off in both less time and labor spent removing dirt and grime and less wear and tear on carpets and flooring surfaces, resulting in greater efficiency in protecting your investment. Using both interior and exterior walk-off mats increases efficiency, since each foot comes in contact with the mat for three to five strides.

People judge quickly. A proper matting program can help you keep a spotless reputation while keeping winter residues to a minimum.

3. Employ proper cleaning products.

Facing winter and its spring reprises, it’s important to have the proper current cleaning products on hand. The right product can reduce the time and effort it takes to rid your facility of seasonal soils.

Neutral cleaners can help reduce or eliminate the powdery residues often left behind by cheaper cleaning products. In addition, carrying neutral disinfectant mop solutions minimizes the effort of keeping floors clean. Both mop solutions and carpet cleaners are highly dilutable and cost effective while improving overall sanitation.

4. Use sanitizing agents.

Winter is cold and flu season. How you address this problem in your facilities will speak volumes about your brand. Don’t forget, your brand includes your entire company, including its employees. Sanitation procedures keep both customers and employees happy and healthy.

Anti-bacterial soaps and both paper and CRT towels are staples in sanitation. In addition, antibacterial sanitizers can be placed outside doors and close to entranceways for greater peace-of-mind. Ready-to-use (RTU) antimicrobial sprays for countertops, desks and other surfaces are available as well, and provide 1-2 day protection.

5. Use the right equipment.

Having up-to-date equipment can be instrumental in minimizing the labor costs associated with cleaning your facilities. Whether for carpeting or hard surfaces, a complete program of mops including both dust mops and wet mops, carpet vacuums, carpet extractors and automatic scrubbers is essential.

Equipment that is specifically designed for a particular type of floor or carpet will deliver more efficient cleaning, reduce costs, improve appearance and prolong the service life of your facilities investment.

6. Provide the right training.

Even if you have the proper cleaning equipment, if your personnel lack the proper training, you are less likely to achieve the results you are looking for. Make your cleaning staff more productive and efficient by installing proper procedures and training. Also, conduct complete walk-throughs and approach all your cleaning requirements in a consultative fashion as well as explain how to use specific products and equipment to achieve optimum results.

In addition, creating individual procedure sheets that spell out what products are to be used, what equipment is used and how often cleanings are to take place is the best course of action to creating an overall winter-ready program.