Here are 8 anti-fatigue mat care and cleaning tips to maximize the life expectancy of your mats, support the safety of your people, and reduce the need to purchase new mats years before necessary.
1. Rotate older mats to lower traffic areas.
Anti-fatigue mats are like tires on a vehicle; they’re an investment. The better you take care of your investments, the better they perform and longer they last. Like rotating the front tires on your vehicle to the back every few thousand miles to reduce wear, you can rotate your mats to extend their functional lifespan.
As an example, if you’ve just purchased a new standard-shaped mat, consider rotating a heavily used but still functional mat to a space that has less workers or foot traffic and putting the new mat in its place. Another example, if you have an operator who works predominantly on one end of a square or rectangular mat, you can rotate the mat around so they’re now standing on the less used end.
The process works for custom-shaped mats as well. If a portion of your mat has reached the end of its functional life but a large portion is still operational, you can trim the older mat pieces off, re-border the edges and rotate the mat to a location where it fits properly.
The operators in this facility primarily work on the left side of the custom 100-1 Series mat above. At the end of each week, they rotate the mat 180 degrees to keep the overall use balanced – extending the mats life expectancy.
2. Clean with Standard Procedures
It's important to check with your dealer if you're not sure whether your mats can be cleaned, as PVC and PVC/nitrile mats can break down from consistent scrubbing. 100% nitrile mats, like the AcroMat 100-1 Series, are impervious to liquids and chemicals; they will not degrade when met with any cleaning products – including degreaser, bleach, ammonia, or acid-based cleaners.
Cleaning your mats regularly limits harmful buildup, which can extend the overall life of your mats by up to a year.
100% nitrile is molded, meaning the colors will not fade if kept clean. Pure nitrile can be cleaned without fear of the material breaking down.
3. Remove Particle Build-up Under Your Mats
Dust, dirt, chemicals, metal shavings, food products and even nuts, bolts and washers can build up over time and significantly reduce the life expectancy of your anti-fatigue mats. They can also cause slip and trip hazards.
In addition to cleaning your mats, regularly clean under and around your mats to make sure they stay free from build-up.
4. Quickly Address Rips and Tears
There's a secret most anti-fatigue mat suppliers don't want you to know. Mats can often be repaired; you don't always have to buy new.
Minor damage to AcroMat anti-fatigue mats can be repaired in minutes with the AcroMat Repair Kit. If you have a major need, simply mail back your mat and we'll fix free of charge; you only pay for the material used.
The AcroMat 100-1, 100-ESD, and 100-Cleanroom Series mats can be repaired, restored, and even extended (above) if layouts change. In one manufacturing facility, a layout changed shortly after they bought a custom mat. They sent it back to AcroMat, and we custom added the above addition in just a couple days' time.
Watch an anti-fatigue mat be fully restored in 30 seconds (timelapse).
5. Conduct Regularly Mat Inspections
Regular inspections for visible damage, trip hazards, lost ergonomic support, and other issues help keep your workers safe and healthy, and make sure you're always making proactive decisions. Our Mat Inspection Checklist is freely available to help document hazards during assessments.
10 anti-fatigue mats hazards identified during an actual safety assessment.
6. Avoid Resting Heavy Equipment on Your Mats
Heavy equipment, table legs and chairs can create irreparable divots and holes in your mats. Make sure to roll heavy carts and chairs off of your mats after each shift. Another option is to design custom cutouts into your mats to avoid heavy equipment all together:
Custom 100-Cleanroom Series mat, Medtronic.
7. Completely Dry Your Mats After Cleaning
Wet mats can slip and slide – reducing worker safety – and can be more easily damaged over time. Before making a purchase, explore whether your anti-fatigue mat provider offers grommets that allow you to hang your mats for drying.
Grommets are rings used to protect holes in thin materials like anti-fatigue mats, fabrics, sheet metal, and carbon fiber. They’re often used to make sure hooks, wires, rope, or cords can be put through without tearing through the hole.
You can also lay mats over cleaning carts, clean recycling dumpsters or other immobile equipment to dry after hosing or pressure washing.
8. Color Code to Avoid Cross Contamination
Use different color mats for the various locations within your organization to avoid cross contamination with hazardous products like raw meat, potentially toxic chemicals or metal shavings that may find their way onto workers’ shoes, boots, and equipment – especially if there are mats of the same size and shape in hot or warm zones that might be cleaned and rotated with mats from cold zones.
Color coding your mats can help prevent confusion and cross contamination.
Maximize Your Investment
Anti-fatigue mats help prevent injuries, improve employee performance and retention, and reduce absenteeism and staff turnover. They also show your workforce that you value their safety, health and well-being just as much in the workplace as outside of it.
By taking care of your anti-fatigue mats, you're taking care of your people. You're also protecting your budget.