Tricks of the Trade

How to choose the best green cleaning products for your facility

Jim Smith, a Ferguson author

by Jim Smith

 

Upgrading your facility’s cleaning system to one that is sustainable, or green, can be beneficial in a number of ways. In addition to reducing your facility’s environmental impact, choosing green cleaning products can help you reduce your facility’s overall operating costs. By focusing on what makes a cleaning product best suited for your facility, you can help minimize waste and maximize the productivity of your cleaning staff. Find out what makes the best green cleaning products and learn how to develop a sustainable cleaning system in your facility.

  • Beware of misleading labels.

    Just because a cleaning product is labeled as organic or all-natural, it does not always mean that it’s best for the task. Reducing the environmental impact of the cleaning products in your facility is not as simple as choosing products that are advertised as green. Instead, facilities should take a holistic approach by examining their overall cleaning and maintenance program to include the product efficiency and labor components.

  • Use the right cleaner for the job.

    A core component to reducing a facility’s environmental impact is to minimize the waste of cleaning products and supplies. To find out if cleaning products are being wasted, the questions to ask are:

    • What are you trying to clean?
    • What products are you using for the task?
    • Are you using the cleaning products correctly?
    Using the wrong cleaner for the job is a waste of inventory and operating costs. By making sure your maintenance staff uses cleaning products correctly with the right tools, you will be limiting the amount of waste your facility contributes to landfills and wastewater systems.

    Bonus tip: Consider purchasing hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners for your general purpose cleaning needs. Hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners are effective because they have good surfactant qualities, they can have antibacterial properties in certain concentrations, and they break down very rapidly in the waste stream.

  • Implement a dilution system.

    It’s been said that the correct dilution is the solution to pollution. When it comes to facility maintenance, this is a true statement. Opting for concentrated cleaning chemicals and diluting them properly with water through a dispensing system helps to reduce waste because it allows for more usable product to be packaged and transported with fewer resources. Simply train your associate on the proper dilution ratios to maximize product efficiency.

  • Calculate cost-per-use.

    When purchasing cleaning supplies, it’s better to choose products with a lower cost-in-use rate rather than cost-per-case. Spending less upfront budget on cleaning products can actually cost you more in the long run. Premium cleaning supplies are made with quality ingredients, so you can use less product to achieve the same results versus if you used twice as much discount cleaning product. This also helps in terms of labor savings, because your crew can complete their cleaning projects faster by using premium cleaning supplies instead of less effective alternatives.

  • Pay attention to water temperature.

    Choosing products that are temperature-specific and using them with water at the appropriate temperature can help your crew make the most of the cleaning supplies in your stockroom.

    • Cold water products: Heating water is a strain on energy resources, especially for facilities. Opting for cleaning products that work effectively with cold water can help to limit the amount of water your facility heats. For example, choosing laundry detergent that is designed to be used in cool water is a smart choice for facilities that frequently wash large loads of laundry, such as in hotels and assisted living facilities.
    • Hot water products: In certain instances, using cold water can literally wash your inventory down the drain. Some jobs require hot water for cleaning agents to work as effectively as possible. Removing greasy soils from the floor of a commercial kitchen is a prime example: Using cold water will cause the grease to remain solid, whereas the hot water will help to liquefy the grease and allow the cleaning agent to work properly.
    Using the wrong cleaner for the job is a waste of inventory and operating costs. By making sure your maintenance staff uses cleaning products correctly with the right tools, you will be limiting the amount of waste your facility contributes to landfills and wastewater systems.

Find the janitorial products, MRO material and expert assistance you need from Ferguson. See how we’ll help you get the job done better with facility maintenance supplies and solutions for the professionals in your industry.

Jim Smith, a Ferguson author
Jim Smith

Jim uses his wealth of knowledge of facility maintenance best practices to help customers maximize the cleanliness and cost-effectiveness of their facility operations.