A completed installation of AmeriWorx conductive (ESD) vinyl tile flooring in an electronics manufacturing facility
ESD Tile cleaned with StaticWorx ScrubWorx and Formula 20.20, EIT

Choosing the Right Cleaning Supplies to Protect Your ESD Floor

5 min read

An electrostatic discharge (ESD) floor is critical for mitigating static electricity in any facility that manufactures or handles sensitive electronic components or equipment. ESD floors are designed to prevent the buildup of static electricity (be antistatic) and dissipate charges to ground (have inherent, measurable conductivity). To maintain the effectiveness and electrical performance of an ESD floor, it is important to use the right cleaning products – i.e., products that will not damage the floor or degrade the floor’s conductive properties.

Identify Your Cleaning Needs

Before purchasing cleaning supplies for your ESD floor, first identify your cleaning needs. Some factors to consider include the frequency (how often you clean your floors?); the types of traffic (foot traffic? machinery?); the level of traffic (high, medium, low); and the types and amount of dirt and contaminants on the floor.

If your ESD floor is in a high-traffic area, exposed to a wide range of contaminants or in need of extreme cleaning or refurbishing, you may need a more powerful cleaner, such as StaticWorx EcoScrub, a cleaner/degreaser that can effectively remove dirt, grease, and other contaminants. If your ESD floor is in a low-traffic area or is only exposed to light contaminants, a milder cleaner like StaticWorx ScrubWorx neutral pH cleaner may be sufficient.

Vinyl tile before and after maintenance. The before (left side) is dirty and marked. The after is free of marks and is shining.
Vinyl tile before and after maintenance

Understand the Properties of Your ESD Floor

Next, you need to understand the properties of the floor. ESD floors are typically made from carbon-impregnated materials such as carpet, vinyl, rubber, or epoxy. Conductive elements, such as conductive yarn or carbon filaments, are introduced in the manufacturing process. ESD flooring materials have different electrical properties and different requirements for cleaning.

ESD vinyl, the most common type of ESD flooring material, is typically cleaned using a neutral pH cleaner formulated specifically for ESD floors. Many rubber ESD floors, such as StaticWorx Eclipse rubber (EC and GF) are cleaned simply with water. ESD epoxy is the most durable and chemical-resistant ESD flooring material. Epoxy requires a non-abrasive scrubbing process and neutral cleaner, formulated for use on ESD epoxies.

The importance of an inherently conductive ESD floor

If You Use Conductive Finish or Wax On a Non-ESD Floor, You Must Perform Regular Resistance Tests

True ESD floors derive their conductivity from conductive elements, such as conductive fibers or carbon filaments, introduced into the material during the manufacturing process. An inherently conductive floor – i.e., the conductive properties are embedded in the material – should be permanently conductive. For example, the electrical performance (conductivity) of every StaticWorx ESD floor is guaranteed for the life of the floor.

It is possible to add conductivity to a non-ESD floor after the floor has been installed. This can be done by applying a topical ESD finish such as StaticWorx static-dissipative CoatZF emulsion. However, all topical finishes – whether it’s a static-dissipative emulsion, such as CoatZF, a conductive wax, polish or antistatic spray – wear off over time. You will not know when this happens. Conductivity is not something you can see or in any way perceive. To be sure your floor is performing properly, it is crucial to test its electrical resistance regularly, following the guidelines in ANSI STM 7.1. Without regular testing, you will have no way of knowing if the floor is still protecting your electronics from random ESD events. 

CoatZF static-dissipative emulsion can also be used on inherently conductive ESD floors, such as AmeriWorx SVT or GroundWorx epoxy, to enhance their appearance, if desired. In this case, because the conductivity is derived from the floor, not the finish, the ESD properties are permanent and will not wear off.

Choose a Cleaner that is Compatible with Your ESD Floor

Once you have a good understanding of the properties of your ESD floor, you can look for a cleaning product that is compatible with the floor. Traditional cleaning products may contain chemicals that can damage or abrade the floor. Waxes/finishes may put a hard coating over the floor, potentially interfering with the floor’s capacity to dissipate static. That’s why it’s important to choose a cleaner designed specifically for use with ESD floors.

Look for a cleaner that is non-corrosive, pH-neutral and does not contain harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. Always choose a cleaner that is non-abrasive, as abrasive cleaners can scratch the surface of the floor and affect its aesthetic appeal.

Photo of the StaticWorx range of cleaning products, including bottles of ScrubWorx neutral pH cleaner, EcoScrub stripper/degreaser and Formula 20.20 cleaning emulsion. There is also a box containing CoatZF static-dissipative floor finish and three scrubbing pads, one grey, one maroon and one natural fiber.
The range of StaticWorx cleaning and finishing products

Choose a Cleaner that Meets ESD Standards

When buying a cleaning product for your ESD floor, it is important to choose a cleaner that meets ESD standards. ESD standards are designed to protect sensitive electronic components from harm caused by random electrostatic discharge (ESD) events. Random ESD events can damage or destroy sensitive electronic equipment.

Cleaners that meet ESD standards maintain its intended electrical resistivity (resistivity requirements vary by application). Non-ESD waxes, for example, can create an insulative surface that raises the electrical resistivity of the floor. Before and after cleaning, floors should measure within the intended electrical resistivity range.

Cleaners should also enable the floor to remain antistatic. That is, before and after cleaning the floor should inhibit body voltage – i.e., prevent static from building as people walk on the floor.

Measure conductivity, or electrical resistance, of the floor with an ohm meter, following procedures outlined in ESD STM7.1.

For electronics manufacturing and handling, the floor must measure < 1.0 x 10E9 ohms.

For end-user facilities, the floor must measure >1.0 x 10E6 and < 1.0 x 10E9 ohms.

Measure the antistatic properties of the floor (also called body voltage) by following procedures outlined in ANSI/ESD STM97.2.

In an electronics facility the floor should generate < 100 V.

In an end-user facility, it should generate < 500 V.

Read the Label and Follow the Manufacturer's Recommendations

When choosing cleaning products for your ESD floor, it is critical to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. The label should provide information about the ingredients, pH level, and recommended usage. It may also provide information about the types of surfaces the cleaner is compatible with.

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations will help to ensure that the cleaner is used correctly and that the cleaning process does not damage the floor. Solid vinyl tile, such as AmeriWorx SVT, should never be buffed at a speed higher than 350 rpm as high-speed buffing can damage the surface of the floor. It is also important to follow any safety precautions listed on the label, such as wearing protective gloves or eye protection.

Consider Environmental Factors

When buying ESD floor cleaners and finishes, it is important to consider environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Temperature and humidity can affect the conductivity of the ESD floor and can also alter the effectiveness of cleaning products.

Some cleaning products are formulated for use in high humidity environments or at specific temperature ranges, while others may not be as effective under these conditions. It is important to choose a cleaning product that is appropriate for the specific environmental conditions in which the ESD floor is located.

You may also wish to consider purchasing products that pass emissions testing, are low in VOCs and have no chemical irritants.

Buying the right cleaning product for your ESD floor is an important step in maintaining the performance of the floor. To ensure that you choose the right cleaning product, it is important to understand the properties of your ESD floor, identify your cleaning needs, choose a cleaner that meets ESD standards, and consider environmental factors. By following these guidelines, you can help to protect the integrity of your ESD floor and ensure that the floor continues to provide adequate, long-lasting protection against random ESD events, safeguarding your valuable equipment.


Maintaining an ESD Floor


StaticWorx Cleaning Products


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Maintaining an ESD Floor


StaticWorx Cleaning Products


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About StaticWorx, Inc

All StaticWorx posts are written by our technical team and based on industry standards and specifications, test data, independent lab reports and other verifiable data. We provide ESD training and offer CEU credits to architects. If you’re interested in an ESD training session or architects’ ESD workshop, give us a call: 617-923-2000.

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StaticWorx high-performance static-control floors protect electronic components, explosives, and high-speed computers from damage caused by static electricity. ESD flooring is part of a system. Choices should always be based on objective, researched evidence. When you partner with us, we look at all possible items that may need to integrate with the floor, and, focusing on your goals and objectives, help you find the right floor for your application.