Sweeper Brooms: First Buy the Best, Then Make Them Last
A helpful guide to buying, replacing and caring for industrial sweeper scrubber brooms.
Sweeping. It's where industrial floor cleaning starts. Even if you need to follow up with a wet scrub, the first cleaning step is to remove the dry dirt, dust, and debris that accumulates on the industrial floor surface. Many companies use walk-behind or ride-on sweepers or even combination sweeper/scrubbers since these machines provide consistent, efficient cleaning for large areas.
Every sweeper relies on brooms to do the work. There’s usually a side broom (or two) and a main broom. The side brooms are disk-shaped and move dust and debris from edges and corners into the path of the main broom. The cylindrical main broom sweeps the material into a hopper. Both the side and main brooms wear out with use and will need to be replaced regularly.
Improving the Life Expectancy of Sweeper Brooms
Buy Quality Brooms
Improving the life expectancy of sweeper brooms begins with buying quality brooms. Investing in quality brooms results in longer brush life and better service in your facility.
Use the Correct Brooms
Making sure you are using the correct type of sweeping brooms for the floor surfaces and debris you are sweeping is also key to longevity and effectiveness.
Rotating is one of the most overlooked methods you can use to extend the lift of your sweeper brooms. If your sweeper model is designed to permit it, you should remove your brush after 20 hours of sweeping and turn it end for end to keep the bristles from bending too far in one direction. An effective brush is one that has maximum flicking action and rotation will help your bristles maintain the greatest degree of flicking.
Ensuring your operators are trained in these three areas will also extend the life of your brooms and improve cleaning efficacy:
- Correct down pressure (#1 reason for premature brush/broom wear)
- Proper storage of brooms on and off the machine
- Correct mounting on the machine
The most common cause of prematurely worn-out brushes and brooms on floor cleaning equipment is allowing more downward pressure than necessary — or, what we call "excessive down pressure." The excessive friction caused when broom bristles make too much contact with the surface causes the fill fibers to wear at a much faster rate. Making sure the right amount of pressure is applied can reduce extra wear and tear on both the brooms and the equipment.
How to Test for Down Pressure
You can test for proper down Pressure by “Burning a Pattern”. Start up your machine and lower your spinning brush onto a smooth surface. Spin the brush in place for about 30 seconds, lift it and pull forward. Now observe the pattern your brush has “burned” into the pavement. It should be a perfect rectangle the length of your main broom. If it is not perfect your brush is mis-aligned and should be adjusted. (Refer to your owner’s manual.)
If it is perfect check the width of the pattern. The pattern width should be adjusted to around 2” wide to start. You may be able to go less if the surface you are sweeping is flat and smooth and may have to go more if you are sweeping a very rough surface. The pattern should not exceed 4”; otherwise, you are wasting your brush.
Avoid sweeping with your brush in the “float” position, because it is very easy to forget you set it there and you could easily wear out a new brush in one day sweeping this way.
Most floor sweeper manufacturers provide very detailed instructions on setting brooms for optimum sweeping performance. Unnecessary wear caused by excessive down pressure can be prevented by teaching operators how to adjust the sweeper brush to the right settings.
Ultimately, the maintenance of any machine comes down to the people who use and care for it. Providing proper training and teaching good operating and maintenance habits can make a huge difference when it comes to extending the life of your floor cleaning equipment, brushes and brooms.
Proper Broom Storage
Always store your brooms in their boxes in the upright position for the greatest protection against bristle damage.
Do not park your sweeper with the brush down, it will cause a flat spot that will lead to excessive vibration.
Correctly Mounted Brooms
Follow the OEM’s instructions for how to properly mount brushes and brooms on your machine.
When to Replace
Brooms are wearable parts. They constantly make contact with the floor, so they wear out and require replacing on a regular basis. When is it time to replace your sweeper brooms? The general rule of thumb to follow is when the bristle is half its original length.
Main/Side Broom Popular Material Fill Types
Here’s an overview the different brooms available and their recommended applications.
Poly: Polypropylene is an economical bristle material that is excellent for sweeping most soiled areas under medium dust conditions. Poly bristle is excellent for use in wet conditions as it retains its stiffness when wet, however this material is not recommended for use in high temperature environments or for higher temperature debris. Brush life is considered good to very good.
Proex: Considered to be a good universal all-purpose bristle material, Proex offers excellent sweeping performance either indoors or outdoors, including environments with dampness or high humidity. As with Poly, this bristle material is not recommended for very high temperature applications. Proex is a blend of 3 different diameter polypropylene bristles that provide excellent all-purpose sweeping, good dust control, and good to very good brush life.
Nylon: Nylon bristles provide excellent wear life and are slightly more aggressive than Union Mix. This material offers good hopper loading performance however, it does not perform well in moist conditions or high humidity. Nylon brooms are well suited for use on rough surfaces or in high-temperature environments because of its toughness and long wear characteristics.
Crinkle Wire: Crinkle Wire is a special purpose fill material for applications needing only the scraping action of thin wire. Recommended for applications with very compacted soil and little dust. The wire alone does not provide effective dust control.
Flat Wire: This material is typically used only on side brooms, and typically for outdoors. This material is very aggressive, which makes it ideal for digging debris away from the edges of buildings and curbs.
Poly/Wire Mix:(Main Broom Only) This is our most popular bristle fill combination. The Proex bristles give this brush good general purpose sweeping ability while the wire provides a moderate cutting ability. This mix, however, does not provide the dust control of Union and Wire. A very popular fill material because of its cleaning aggressiveness and multi-application versatility.
Union and Wire: (Main Broom Only) In this fill combination the Union fiber is well suited for sweeping fine debris and exhibits
excellent dust control that compliments the light cutting action of wire bristles on impacted dirt and mud. Union and Wire composition has a shorter wear life compared to Proex and Wire .
Union Mix: This natural fiber is an excellent material for dust control and sweeping fine debris but has a relatively shorter wear life than other materials.
Main/Side Broom Fill Patterns
Remember, the type of debris determines the fill pattern you require.
Double Row (D.R.): This fill pattern is the most popular brush fill pattern for main sweeping brooms. Usually with 6 or 8 rows, this design provides the most versatile pick-up characteristics. In this fill pattern, the rows of bristles pick up fine debris while the empty spaces in between the rows trap bulkier litter for removal. The D.R. pattern is a good choice for general sweeping because it has good performance characteristics and excellent hopper loading for both fine and bulky debris.
Full Fill or High Density: This fill designed for use in applications that have fine debris but not a lot of litter. This is usually a single row (S.R.) design using 18 or 24 rows giving the brush a very full look. The dense pattern of these brushes is most effective in heavy dust conditions with fine debris, including sand, and no litter. This pattern is especially suited for indoor sweeping environments with concrete floors.
Patrol: The Patrol fill configuration is designed specifically for high-speed sweeping. With greater spacing in between the rows, this design enhances sweeping of light debris and allows it to effectively grab bulk litter at high speeds. This type of brush is excellent for maintenance sweeping of large areas such as parking lots.
Get the Sweeper Brooms that Best Meet Your Needs
When purchasing sweeper brooms make sure you are using the best type of broom and the best quality broom for your application. Your operators can help by regularly reporting on cleaning performance and letting you know about problems.
Application: What type of floor surface(s) do you need to clean? How often?
Conditions: What type of dust, dirt and/or debris do you need to clean up?
Specifications: What brand/model sweeper do you have? Have your serial number ready!
The parts professionals at your local Morrison Industrial branch are happy to help you find the recommended brooms at the right price. We stock OEM quality, drop-in replacement parts, brooms and brushes for all brands of industrial floor cleaning equipment—most available with 1 day delivery—backed by our Customer Satisfaction Guarantee.
Did you know Morrison’s factory trained service technicians offer ongoing support and fast, knowledgeable service for your floor cleaning equipment as well as your forklifts?