Our top tips for tackling common cleaning conundrums

Throughout the different areas of a train there are countless opportunities for contaminants to cause a cleaning complication. With over fifty years’ experience developing and manufacturing transport floors, we pride ourselves on being able to give you the tools to ensure our products stand the test of time.


With the demands of the daily commute there is a range of soiling that can occur throughout a commuter train. Here we share our experience in how to tackle the different problems.

Saloons and vestibules

Common contaminants: mud, graffiti, chewing gum

As the part of the train where your passengers spend the most time, we know you want to make a good impression. Unfortunately, those who we’re trying to impress are also those who’ll be creating the mess! Since a train with no passengers is a sad sight, here’s how to sort the most common expected contaminants:


Mud tracked in on the bottom of passengers’ shoes is most often a mix of organic and inorganic material, so aside from the unsightliness, it’s important to clean it off to prevent bacteria from growing on your carriage floor , especially if your chosen floor is made up of soft fibres. As an insoluble, particulate material which could also be abrasive, we recommend that you first sweep up any dry material. After that, use a mop, detergent and clean water to clean off light soiling. If the mud is impacted, it will need agitating before vacuuming or sweeping before you use a wet cleaning method.


We wish it wasn’t, but graffiti is an all-too-common problem on public transport. Whatever has been used to graffiti your train, in the first instance, we recommend that it is cleaned off as soon as possible to make sure that the pigments haven’t penetrated the surface of your floor, wall, or door. If the graffiti has been done in something other than permanent marker, it should come off with a deep clean. If not, there are specialist graffiti removal products available on the market to help with this. We do recommend testing these products on a small, less visible area first before using on areas in full view.

Chewing gum

This pesky, sticky mess can be very difficult to remove if left for a long time, so for best results, try to remove it as soon as possible. If the gum needs to be solidified to make it easier to remove, use a freezing spray. It also, by contrast, may need softening in order for you to loosen it, so in this case you’ll need to use a solvent-based spray. As always with harsher cleaning chemicals, make sure you test the chemical on a small area before using more widely. Alternatively, you could use warm water and an oxygen bleach to treat the gum directly, leave for three minutes, and then scrub with an abrasive pad to remove. Once the gum is removed, clean your floor as normal.

Buffet car

Common contaminants: food waste, litter, coffee stains

In the buffet car, some contaminants like food packaging are easy to sort out – simply sweep them away – but organic stains, such as food waste and coffee stains, can be a bit harder to shift. In an area where food is prepared and consumed, it is even more important to do all you can to ensure that bacterial contamination is kept to a minimum.

Some food waste, such as sugar and salt, is soluble, and will clean up easily with a mop and warm water. For soluble stains which have been left to permeate the surface of your flooring, we recommend a deep clean with detergent and water in a dilution of 1 to 10. While the detergent is dwelling on the floor, agitate it vigorously with a deck brush or scrubber before rinsing away. As always with stains to our floors, we recommend that spills are cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent staining.

Using a steam cleaner is a great way to kill bacteria from organic matter on your train.


Common contaminants: organic matter, limescale

When coming into contact with soiling which is high in bacteria we recommend that you integrate steam cleaning into your regime, as this is an effective way of killing bacteria without using strong detergents. As this is an area that may need cleaning throughout the day’s service, a regime that is less reliant on chemicals is worth considering in order to protect your flooring and fixtures.

If you’re operating in a hard water area, and limescale is a problem, we recommend an acidic detergent to help effectively break up deposits.


One of the most important factors in ensuring passenger satisfaction on your train services is the cleanliness of the train. Here at Altro we’re committed to using our experience to helping you improve your passengers’ experience. Got a query? Contact us to find out more.

Posted: 19/11/2019 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments