There are many ways to green restrooms. A lot of them obviously involve the procedures and products that are used to clean. But in order to give the restroom cleaners a fighting chance, there are a few ways to make the cleaning easier and can add green to any restroom. Read more
Green Cleaning is not just buying a product, To really green clean, you need to practice green cleaning. I hope to show you how.
A commercial restroom cleaning checklist is a great way to keep track of your cleaning time. It will also help you keep from missing important steps. But most generic check lists are not specific enough for me. Over the years I have build a system for creating my own bathroom cleaning checklists Because of the dynamic nature of these facilities, there are always challenges.
I have talked at length about in the past about being a big fan of backpack vacuums. Their versatility and ease of use make them one of the best innovations in the cleaning industry in recent history. That being said, as a whole, the industry (and I) have been patiently, yet eagerly waiting for an effective cordless backpack vacuum to reach the market.
Just think of the possibilities that removing the cord from a backpack vacuum would offer! Dust mopping would practically become a thing of the past. Dusting even the most difficult to reach areas becomes a breeze. And most importantly, the productivity, comfort and safety of the cleaning staff would be greatly increased. Yes, an effective battery backpack vacuum would change the world of cleaning. Well the GoFree Pro battery backpack vacuum from ProTeam just may be the innovation we all have been waiting for. Read more
The amount of money that is spent in cleaning industry each year is estimated to be $100 billion . That’s right. With a “B”. And it continues to increase, even in these difficult economic times. When you add in the popularity of green cleaning and green cleaning products, who knows how high it will go. What this means is, as a society, we are concerned about maintaining clean environments. And while we are spending huge amounts of money each year to clean, I feel that much of it is wasted. Read more
Green Cleaning has been a buzz word for a while. It seems that environmentally preferred choices have become part of everyday cleaning. You may not realize it, but ‘green’ is also big business too. As businesses seek to improve their image and reduce the corporate foot print, they are looking for more professionals that can add to their efforts. Because of this, many are turning plain old cleaning into a green cleaning career. Read more
There is a lot of hesitation and anxiety when it comes to selling green cleaning products in the Jan/San Market. The push back from customers at times due to negative perception and is often answered by resorting to a version of the old standards. In an article about green products from Sanitary Maintenance, Ronnie Garrett points out that “Distributors can work around these perceptions by selling a green philosophy.” The green philosophy is fine to have but might be the wrong topic to lead with. A more correct way to convince customers that green cleaning products are the better choice is to use a clean philosophy. But there is one sure way to convert them, Stop Selling Green!
It’s The Results That They Buy
I truly believe that green cleaning products have risen in quality, effectiveness and offer a much greater value than ever before. They are safer, easier to use and save thousands of hours of ridiculously hard work. If this is the case, then why do so many resist using them? Perception.
They have not been shown as a better cleaner, which as a custodian is really all I care about. I want my job to be easier and make my boss, customers, students, teachers and myself feel like I have done a good job. Period. If you tell a custodian that they need to switch the products I am using to make the world better, there is no payoff for them. No one at the E.P.A. is going to pick up the phone and demand the custodians get a raise because they did “the right thing.”
And oh, by the way, you are going to have to probably change your procedures, routine and learn how to use different tools as well. That sounds like a bunch of wasted time to me.
Breaking The Green Cleaning Product Barrier
First you yourself have to learn the products but more importantly, you have to believe in them. Go on. Get out there and experiment. I am sure your vendors will be happy to provide you with all of the sample product and demo equipment you will need.
Learn what happens when a microfiber mop needs to be changed and see how much cleaner the floor is compared to a rotten cotton mop.
Discover that the window is streaking because of the chemical residue and after cleaning it a couple of times with a green cleaner and microfiber cloth, the film is gone.
Spend an hour in a restroom cleaning grout that although mopped every day with traditional methods, releases a seemingly never ending flow of dirt and bacteria and stench until it is actually clean. Feel the difference in the surface once it is really clean.
Selling Green Cleaning Products
Now that you have taken the time to see for yourself the results of green cleaning products, roll them out to your customers, but instead of telling them they are green, tell them that you have the answer to their problems. You are about to make their lives a whole lot easier.
Show them the process and result of using a microfiber mop correctly. Point out that it is a lot less weight to sling around and that their back isn’t taking the same abuse as it always does.
Have them clean the glass twice and then have them slide their fingers against the glass and feel the difference between their results and residue free cleaning. Show them that their floors are affected by this as well.
Volunteer to bring a no-touch cleaning machine into their restrooms and demonstrate the effectiveness for actually removing years of build up from the grout lines. After you’re done, make evident that the floor is no longer slippery. Traction!
It’s not their fault the facility is this way, it’s the fact that they haven’t been exposed to the correct information and supplies. After all, you can’t achieve great results without the proper knowledge and tools
The Green Cleaning Hook
Once they can see for themselves that better results are possible and that it actually makes the tasks at hand easier, they will want to change. It only makes sense right? “You mean I don’t have to deal with sticky restrooms floors anymore? And all it takes is a couple of changes to procedures and routine? Sign me up!” The green cleaning products are wanted, not because they are green, but because they work.
Epilogue – Going Green
When they call you a few months later in a panic because their boss just requested that they make the switch to green cleaning products, tell them, they are already there.
I would bet the day the dry erase whiteboard was invented, while the creator was out to lunch, someone came in and wrote on it with a permanent marker. Thus leaving us all to battle with how to remove permanent marker from whiteboards. Read more
Biodegradable is, by definition, made of substances that will decay relatively quickly as a result of bacteria breaking them down into elements such as carbon that are naturally recycled. Leaving little impact on the environment as a result. Safe cleaning products require more than just being biodegradable.
The claim “biodegradable” is being associated with environmentally friendly, or green cleaning products. In many cases they can be synonymous, but there are a lot exceptions. Many things that are biodegradable and natural and plant based and earth friendly and “green” are not friendly to our own personal environments. In the world of cleaning and green cleaning, several come to mind.
Not All ‘Natural’ Chemicals Are Safe Cleaning Products
d’Limonene is one of the first I think of. Back when I first started cleaning, we had a product that we called Sewer Sweet. It may have actually been called that but I never knew for sure. It seemed that the label had always eaten off by the product. It had a very strong orange smell. It was really greasy when you got it on your hands. (We rarely used gloves of any kind back then unless it was cold.)
It would cause our skin to tingle and if it was spilled on the ground, it would be slippery and was extremely difficult to wash away. We poured from a 5 gallon metal container into a drinking cup to then be carried to a stinky storm or floor drain.
If we made it to the drain before the cup dissolved, it would then be poured down the drain, giving the area a fragrance of orange for a few hours until the foul odors returned. I know now it was a completely natural product called d’Limonene, which is oil that is extracted from the peal of citrus fruit.
Safe Cleaning Products and Not So Safe
Although d’Limonene is a solvent that is much safer than most other chemical solvents and is much less toxic than compounds like mineral spirits but is classified as a skin irritant. It is biodegradable, but due to its low flash point, it must be treated as hazardous waste for disposal. It is also currently regulated by the E.P.A. as a VOC. d’Limonene is an environmentally preferable product (EPP) when used as is or as part of an EPP formulation but has many precautions to follow when using it.
Using d-limonene can cause polymers to swell. Many plastic materials can be damaged by its use. This includes equipment seals made of rubber or Neoprene, which are the materials used in many types of cleaning equipment and tools. It can also damage many surfaces that are plastic based or polymer coated. (ie: floor finish, sealed stone and poly based fabrics)
It is suggested that when working with d-limonene, solvent-resistant gloves should be worn as well as eye protection. It will deplete the natural oils in your skin and will irritate your skin and can cause sever damage to your eyes if not flushed immediately.
There is no question that biodegradable cleaners in general are a better choice. With the evolution of technology, there are very effective products available that can give you good cleaning results. Be cautious though. Be sure to read the label and safety data sheet before using any chemical product.
Just don’t assume that because something is natural or biodegradable that it is safe. Safety first. Results second. And if those two check out, then the product will almost always comply with green cleaning standards. Green cleaning means not only safe cleaning products, but effective ones as well.
I have always been told about the how dirty carpet causes damage to the structure of the carpet itself, but I had never actually seen it. While it just makes sense that abrasive soil and sand grind away at the plastic fibers, I am from Missouri and I have to see it for myself.
Using a microscope, I took some pictures of well used carpet. To put it lightly, I was amazed at what dirty carpet looked like up close. Jagged edges, debris, and broken fibers were prevalent through-out the entire carpet.
Vacuuming To Prevent Dirty Carpet
Keeping this kind of damage to a minimum starts with vacuuming. Not just any vacuuming but consistent, overall vacuuming.
Most people focus on the dirt they can see when vacuuming. It is best for the carpet to vacuum the entire area. Dirt gets trapped deep in the carpeting. As foot traffic pounds away, the dirt gets packed into the base of the carpeting. This forms a layer of dirt that grinds away at the carpet fibers. As the carpet fibers break, the overall appearance of the flooring is diminished. Therefore, the carpet is damaged, and damaged carpet cannot be fixed.
Regular vacuuming will keep this dirt from building up and add to the life of the carpet.
Choosing The Right Vacuum Cleaner
The performance and efficiency of your vacuum cleaner plays a key role in the life of your carpet. By using vacuums with higher air flow or cubic feet per minute and superior filtration, more dirt is removed from carpet. Any vacuum can pick up visible dirt. For the best results, use one that will get the dirt you cannot see.
There are many types of vacuum cleaners. It is personal preference and facility demands that decide which types you should consider when selecting a vacuum cleaner. On board tools and size are important to some but noise levels, capacity and portability may be important too others.
The important thing is to remember to use it often. Staying in control of the dirt is what makes any vacuuming program successful. Keep in mind, dirty carpet takes more vacuuming than you may think!
I often get frustrated at the lack of attention paid to cleaning. For all of the money that is spent on labor, supplies and equipment, we should really be getting better results. Has our society just become use to poor results? It seems that cleaning awareness is missing.
Lack of Cleaning Awareness
I took the picture below in a public restroom where I was helping my son use the facilities. Since he could not reach the urinal, I had to hold him up. His feet were on top of my feet and left a sticky residue on my shoes. Also, due to excessive use of cleaning chemicals, the floor was sticky. And as you can see, there was obviously a lack of attention paid in the “Dribble Zone.”
Wasted Cleaning Effort
My real problem with the situation is that someone was paid to mop this floor, a lot! It was obvious from the sticky chemical is evidence! They are doing the job. A supervisor should be inspecting the work. It was a busy restroom. Have we just come to accept it. No one seems to notice or care that the floor is not fit for zoo animals? The monkey house is at least hosed out once a day?
Therefore, all the work, time and money put into restroom cleaning would be better spent on a portable toilet just outside that will be sucked out each day and hosed out weekly.
In addition, this restroom exited into a carpeted area. As a result, everything that is on the restroom floor is tracked out on to the carpet. Carpet that parents have no problem allowing their children to crawl around on.
Who’s Fault Is It?
So who is to blame? First of all, the custodian is at the bottom of the list. This person is doing their job with the tools and knowledge they are given. Maybe it should be the supervisor? Is it this person’s fault that they have never been shown what is acceptable or even possible?
I really feel it is the patrons. An industry study has shown that 94% of patrons will not return to a business if the restrooms are not clean, but do they ever tell the business? We can’t just walk away without saying anything. We have to let them know that their idea of clean and ours is not the same.
Unhappy customers equals no customers. Hence, no customers equals no business, jobs, money ect…
Trust me, if you talk, now more than ever, they will listen and act.