Have you ever experienced and wondered why the floor you have been cleaning is not as clean at the end of your cleaning as the area of the floor where you began the cleaning process? The answer is Cleaner Power Fade Out. This discussion will cover the term “Power Fade Out”; this term is more commonly known in the commercial market but it happens to all cleaning products whether it is a commercial grade or residential cleaning product. It occurs mostly with a mop & bucket method of cleaning floors or pail and sponge method of cleaning. We will cover what is Power Fade Out of Cleaners and a tip on how to reduce Power Fade Out from happening when you clean floors.

If the reader is interested in tile floor cleaning for a residence, please click on the following link and it will take you to another article covering residential floor tile cleaning (Tile Floor Cleaning – Floor Finish Coated Tile Procedures, Product and Tools ). Or if you’re interested in cleaning commercial floors, please see the following article (Cleaning Tile Floors – Floor Finish Coated Tile Procedures, Product and Tools). 

Clean Floors – What is Power Fade Out


This is a phenomenon that occurs when a cleaning product becomes contaminated when the cleaning solution becomes saturated with soil to the point where the cleaning agents in the cleaning product begin to lose its power to clean. It is common to all water based cleaning products.

As stated above, when you clean floors power fade out occurs most often when using a bucket and mop method for cleaning floors. It begins to happen because every time the mop is placed back in the bucket to reload the mop hard with new cleaning solution, soil that was picked up from the floor with the mop is then released back in the fresh cleaning solution that is in the bucket. Reloading the mop with new cleaning solution is continuous and part of the bucket and mop cleaning process. At some point in time, the soil that has been released back in the bucket with the cleaning solution, the cleaning agents in the solution are actually cleaning the soil that was deposited into the bucket from reloading the mop with fresh cleaning solution. Eventually all the cleaning power of the cleaner is consumed and can no longer clean.

Power fade out actually cause’s soil to be re-deposited back on to the floor which is costly from a cleaning product and labor standpoint because the floors will need to re-cleaned more often, stripped of floor finish earlier than planned or increase the deep cleaning cycle of the floor.

Clean Floors –  How to reduce or prevent Cleaner Power Fade Out


The following are a couple of tips and hints to help reduce and prevent power fade out from occurring. 

  1. If using a single bucket method of cleaning floors, change the cleaning solution often. This will depend on the amount of soil that is on the floor but as an example, Healthcare facilities are aware of power fade out and change their cleaning solution in their mop buckets every 3 patient rooms. Healthcare facilities need to use disinfectant cleaners to kill and control the bacteria and germs on the floor. If Power fade Out occurs in this environment, much larger problems such as dramatic bacteria and germ growth can occur. Therefore the need to change their cleaning solution often.
  2. Another method to clean floors that will assist in preventing or reducing power fade out of cleaners from occurring is employing the double bucket method of cleaning.  This method uses two buckets to mop floors. The first bucket is filled with the cleaning solution and the second bucket is filled with clean rinse water. This method will reduce product waste and reduce power fadeout along with achieving improved results. The process is outlined below.
    • The mop is placed in the first bucket to load the mop with cleaner solution.
    • The mop is then placed on the floor and then used to clean the floor.
    • When the mop is becoming dry and loaded with soil, the mop is then placed in the second bucket with clear rinse water and the soil from the mop is released in the rinse bucket and then wrung out.
    • The mop is then placed in the first bucket to reload the mop with cleaning solution.
    • And the process is repeated.

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