Facts About Floor Sweeping Compounds


The main two colors, red and green, for floor sweeping compounds were
originally established to quickly be able to distinguish the type of floor sweep, oil or wax, which was to be put down on certain type floors. Red could be identified as an oil base and green could be identified as a wax base. Or visa-versa.


This is one of the most important ingredients that will determine the effectiveness of the collection of dust and dirt as well as the color of the floor sweeping compound. Some manufacturers use very clear, light and thin oil, i.e. mineral spirits, mineral seal oil or glycerin. This will cause the color of the floor sweep to be very light in color. These oils do an adequate job. Superior Sweeps is one of the only manufacturers that use recycled motor oil. This particular type oil is heavy and tacky which helps do a better job of collecting dust and dirt. This oil can be dark and thus making the color of the floor sweep darker in appearance. The claim that the lighter color of the sweep helps prove that the floor is being cleaned because the sweep is turning darker. This train of thought may hold some truth, but the fact is you can see the floor is being cleaned as you sweep up the product no matter what color of the product. The weight of the oil is what determines the effectiveness of the floor sweep.


This is another very important ingredient that needs to be used when the floor sweep is to be applied to fine floors, i.e. marble, terrazzo, tile, vinyl or coated concrete. It is also used on sub-flooring that is being prepped before glue is to be applied and then the finished flooring. There are a lot of different waxes out there that are being used but most manufacturers use a thin liquid type wax. Some use glycerin and call it wax. Superior Sweeps is the only manufacturer that uses a paraffin soft wax that has to be melted before it can be mixed in with the other ingredients. You should always ask what type of wax is in the wax base floor sweep that you purchase. The price will tell you something as well because the wax we use is very expensive.


There are basically two types of shavings that are used to make floor sweeping compound: softwood and hardwood. This is the median that holds the oil or wax which is what actually causes the dust and dirt to stick to the floor sweep. (As mentioned within the “Oil” category, the type of oil and wax used in the product will determine how well the dust and dirt is picked up.) The best type of shavings to be used in the manufacturing of floor sweep would be kiln dried softwood. This type of shavings has first been dried out and is more porous which will absorb more oil or wax than any hardwood would be capable of. Another type of shavings used by other manufacturers and not mentioned above is ground up hardwood pallets. The draw back on this type is the fact that it is a hardwood and the other fact is that you don’t know what has been spilled on the pallets before they had been ground up to be used in the floor sweep. Another thing to look for in the shavings is the consistency in the size of the shavings. The best type is small and grass seed sized. The small size does a better job of picking up the dust and dirt because it will expose more oil or wax to the floor than larger particles. Also you should not have small pieces of sticks or bark in the shavings. Superior Sweeps runs its kiln dried softwood shavings through a hammer mill to get the small grass seed size consistency that we have in all of our floor sweeping compounds.


The Material Safety Data Sheet gives you information on who the manufacturer is, hazardous ingredients, physical data, fire and explosion hazardous data, health hazard data, reactivity data, spill or leak procedures, special protection information, special precautions and Section 313 supplier notification (SARA). The main thing is that the floor sweep does not contain any hazardous ingredients. I’m not aware of any manufacturer out there that uses any hazardous ingredients. The other main thing to look at is the physical data. This may tell you what ingredients are put into the manufacturing of the floor sweep. The manufacturer does not have to list the specific ingredients nor list the percentage of ingredients. You can always call the manufacturer and ask what type of oil and wax they use in the floor sweep to be sure you are paying for the types of ingredients you are looking for in your floor sweeping compound.