Green Cleaning is not just buying a product, To really green clean, you need to practice green cleaning. I hope to show you how.

How Microfiber Cleans

How Microfiber Works To Clean

If you are using microfiber cleaning tools, then you know how well they work. Cleaning is much easier with microfiber mops, dusters and cloths. But have you ever wondered how microfiber cleans so much better?

What Is Microfiber?

Microfiber cleaning tools are made up of tiny fibers. They are 10x finer than silk. Up to 30x finer than cotton. 40x Finer than wool. And 100x thinner than a human hair. That’s pretty thin!

Cleaning Microfiber Size

Microfiber fibers are actually made from plastic. Cleaning microfiber consists of two types of plastic. Polyester and Polyamide. Polyester provides the scrubbing action while polyamide gives it the absorbing properties. Typical cleaning microfiber consists of 70-90% polyester and 10-30% polyamide.

These 2 plastics are extruded under high pressure into the fibers. Then they go through a splitting process that opens spaces or channels between them.

microfiber after extrusion

These microscopic fibers are spun together to form a strand of thread. This thread is woven in to cloths, yarn and even fabric.

How Microfiber Cleans

Microfiber cleans because of both the properties of the 2 types of plastic material and the channels between them. When a surface is wiped with a microfiber cloth or mop, dirt is scrubbed away by the polyester, and held in the channels by the polyamide. This trapping and holding of dirt is what really makes microfiber work so well when cleaning.

Traditional cotton cleaning materials have to trap the dirt in between the fibers and threads. Because they are solid, there is no where for the finer particles to be trapped. They rely on chemicals and liquid to assist in absorbing dirt. Microfiber can capture much smaller particles and hold on to them with its gripping fibers. Which makes how microfiber cleans, so different than traditional fibers.

How Microfiber Cleans

Other Factors That Make Microfiber Clean So Well

Microfiber is plastic. Plastic will not rot. Also, unlike cotton which is a natural fiber, microfiber will not aide in the growth of bacteria. This means that as long as it is rinsed out, and cleaned on a regular basis, it will not stink. Yay! No more smelly mops!

Another advantage is being plastic, it does rinse out very easily and is very durable. If cared for properly, microfiber mops and cloths will last a long time. And long lasting cleaning tools equals money saved!

 

buy green cleaning products

Don’t Just Buy Green Cleaning Products

Do a search for green cleaning and your results will look like a shopping list. You will find of every type of mop and chemical that has found a way to spin themselves as eco-friendly. If you really want to clean green, find out how to do it without a purchase. The act of cleaning green has a much bigger impact than buying it. Use less. Make smart, educated choices and grow into a green mindset. You can’t just buy green cleaning products and call it a green cleaning program.

To Buy Green Cleaning Products Is A Small Part

I am not saying that you should never buy green products. There are some truly great innovations out there that make cleaning easier, safer and reduce the amount of products needed to improve our environments. Cleaning chemicals work better and cause fewer health issues. They also reduce damage to facilities. Acid bowl cleaners are not used as much and trust me your chrome thanks you for that.

The Most Powerful Green Cleaning Product

With new ways of cleaning, you no longer have to throw powerful products at stubborn soils. When you use a green cleaning mindset, you see that proactive cleaning is one of the most powerful cleaning tools out there. Most difficult cleaning tasks, the ones that require the ‘good stuff’, are often the result of neglect. Restroom odors are caused by not being able to clean at source of the odor. Hard water deposits are the result of not cleaning toilet bowls often enough.

Using a long term green cleaning mindset will result in a proactive approach that will all but eliminate the need for deep cleaning. Educate yourself and the cleaning staff that a little work today will go a long way!

Challenge yourself to resist the urge to buy green cleaning products because of green claims and buy only when improved results, reduced consumption and improved efficiency merge to change the mindset of how your cleaning is done.

gym floor finish

Cleaning Up Close: Gym Floor Finish

Refinishing gym floors is a very labor and time intensive process. I wanted to understand the effects of use on gym floor finish and how the damage to the surface caused the floor to lose it’s shine. I had an opportunity to take a closer look at a floor using a microscope at 400x magnification. I was surprised at what I saw. Read more

green cleaning focus

Green Cleaning Focus On Health

So much has been said about green cleaning. Too often the green cleaning focus is simply grabbing a products with a green claim. If this is what your green cleaning program consists of, you may be making a big mistake.

To understand what it really means to clean green, you must first understand what it means to clean. When we go through the process of cleaning, we are doing more than just removing dirt. Cleaning has 3 main focuses, preventing long term damage, improving the appearance and most importantly, keeping the facility healthy.

Preventing Damage

When you clean a surface, you are stopping the build up of contaminates. If left unchecked, dirt, residues and minerals will deteriorate the surface. Long term damage will occur from not maintaining the cleanliness of a facility.

Green cleaning should look to not only stop the damage to a facility, but to aid in lengthening the life of the materials within a building. Reducing the need to remodel and replace, prevents the use of raw materials to create replacements.

Improving Appearance

It is often said in the cleaning industry that we shouldn’t clean for appearance. While this is true, if it looks dirty, it usually is. Appearance isn’t not something that should be overlooked but used as a measuring tool. It shouldn’t be the only factor used, but it is the one thing we are constantly being graded on. So keeping things looking good should always be important

Green Cleaning Focus on Health

Health should always be the goal of any cleaning program. When we reduce and remove germs from a building, those that work and live there benefit. Because green cleaning focus is on using safer practices and products, everyone wins. Keeping building safe and healthy for everyone should be included in everyone’s mindset. From educating the cleaning staff on the best ways to reduce contaminates, to the build occupants understanding the need to reduce use. Green cleaning focus is what will make the biggest difference when going green!

school health

Who Is In Charge Of School Health?

School health, when I was a kid, was either a little room with a very cold vinyl bed or it was a class you had to take with classmates of the same gender that taught students the basic functions of the human body. The only person that was in charge of school health was the nurse, who was only part time. Well that has all changed now.

With the media’s attention focused on flu out breaks, and school administrators having to submit real-time reports that dissect health trends in a district, state and region, school health is at the forefront of many people’s minds.  There is also the fact that many school district budgets are tied to attendance in one way or another. Money strapped schools are paying attention to every dollar, incoming and outgoing.

So this raises the question, who is really in charge of the school health?

School Health Isn’t What You Think

Most don’t realize it but the school custodian is. In a lot of cases, the custodial staff doesn’t even know how important their role is.

From the beginning of modern civilization, cleanliness (or the lack there of) has been directly tied to the spread of illness. From the Bubonic Plagues of the late 1300’s and early 1400’s up to today, the fact is that keeping a society healthy begins with cleanliness. Then, why is the school custodian often not viewed (or educated) to be focus of healthy schools?

The Impact Of School Health

Having worked with many schools at all levels over the years, I have seen the impact cleanliness has on health in schools. Trying to convince a school superintendent, principal or even a school board that their cleaning staff, whom in many cases, has no formal sanitation training and at the very bottom of the pay scale, is one of their most important employees, is a tough sell. After all, none of the other school employees are relevant if the students aren’t there due to illness.

Every parent should be asking, “Who is in charge of school health?”

microfiber cleaning products

Not Using Microfiber Cleaning Products? You Are Wasting Money.

Microfiber cleaning products have taken the North American cleaning industry by, well, spring shower. For some reason, cleaning professionals have been lukewarm when it comes to converting to the use of this material that in Europe is the standard. Why is this? I say it is a perceived value over cost issue. Yes, in most cases, the upfront purchase of microfiber is significantly more than the traditional tools.

The Cost Of  Microfiber Cleaning Products

Buying a dozen microfiber mops that cost 25% – 50% more than a traditional mop has understandably met with resistance. They do also have to be laundered regularly.  You also need new hardware which also needs to be replaced. The old mop handles and buckets are obsolete. Don’t forget about the learning curve for microfiber cleaning products too. They do cause you to clean differently.

I can imagine that you are thinking “That sounds like a huge waste of money and time.”

Trust me. It is not.

Microfiber Cleaning Facts

Here are some facts associated with microfiber cleaning products.

  1. Microfiber removes 2 to 3 times more soil from a surface than traditional fibers.
  2. Depending on the system that works best for your cleaning program, very few mops are actually needed.
  3. The life expectancy of microfiber is 10 to 15 times longer.
  4. Moping with microfiber is easier, more ergonomic and reduces the amount of cleaning
    chemical needed.

A Different Way Of Cleaning

The biggest problem is that the cleaning processes are different. Using microfiber causes you to have to re-look at the way you clean. Since it’s physical properties are actually removing the majority of the soil from the surface, chemicals that have been used for years to remove soil are not are not as important. We just keep trying to use them because it is all we know. You have to have a chemical to clean right?

What Is Microfiber Made From?

Since the term microfiber only describes the thickness of the thread, 1-100th of a human hair, there is some confusion as to what makes microfiber a cleaning tool. When you purchase an article of clothing or furniture that is made of microfiber, it will typically be 100% polyester. Unlike the leisure suits from the 70’s though, the thread is much smaller, thus softer, making it more comfortable. Since polyester is a type of plastic, it is also much easier to clean.

When it comes to microfiber that we use in cleaning, there is another element, polyamide, which is a different type of man-made material. Polyamide has grabbing power that retains soil and moisture. When combined with polyester, and then split, chambers and openings are formed between the two materials that collect soil. This is different from traditional materials that are solid strands that rely on moisture and chemicals to hold soil. (see my post on how microfiber cleans)

Hold the Dirt. Don’t Just Push It Around

By actually holding the soil with in its fibers, microfiber has much more capacity. Since, again, it is all just plastic, and with limited sticky detergents, it will release then easily when rinsed, making them more effecting for longer periods. The other factor over natural fibers such as cotton is that plastic will not support the growth of bacteria. The reason cotton mops tend to have a foul smell, is that the bacteria that is picked up can actually feed on the fibers. As bacteria eat, they give off gases which is where not only mops get their smell but as do restrooms, carpets and anything else that attracts bacteria.

By using microfiber cleaning tools, you make your efforts much more productive. You will also will not need to purchase replacement mops and cloths nearly as often. And the results will be a cleaner, healthier and much safer environment.

Stop wasting money and start using microfiber!

green cleaning programs

5 Results Of Green Cleaning Programs

Implementing green cleaning programs has become the focus for many. Some of the questions that come up are “What does it cost?” “How long does it take?” “Do I need to be certified?” These are important questions, but there is one questions that needs to be asked first.

What are the reasons  for implementing green cleaning programs? Although there are thousands of green products on the market and most have been given the image that to use them, you  must sacrifice cleaning quality for green clean compliance. This seems to have had a measurable impact on green cleaning momentum.

To implement green cleaning programs, the focus must first be moved from green cleaning products, to green cleaning practice. Most importantly, results. There is a need to change the way cleaning is done, before green can be achieved. These changes are not because of a desire to be green, they are because of the need to clean with health in mind. There are definite changes that are made when a green cleaning program is implemented with a focus on health. Many of which are not even factor in the world of traditional cleaning.

5 Results Green Cleaning Programs.

1. Health

By implementing cleaning programs, you will experience improved indoor air quality, slow the spread of illness and reduce the chances for exposure to toxic chemicals. By employing safer green procedures, less chemical residue is left on surfaces to promote the spread of germs and there are fewer air borne particles released that contaminate the air.

2. Appearance

Green cleaning programs actually remove more dirt if implemented and performed properly. Taking a step back and re-learning what clean really is, it will become apparent that the level of clean we have grown to accept is no longer acceptable. Green cleaning allows surfaces to be cleaned much more effectively. This improves the cleaning results as well as the appearance.

3. Reduced Surface Damage

Many traditional methods of cleaning, over time, actually damage the surfaces they are meant to maintain. Toxins and abrasives may remove soils but also cause long term and even permanent damage that can be costly to repair or replace. By reducing or eliminating harmful practices, and focusing on maintenance, the surfaces will last much longer.

4. Cost To Clean

Green practices are much more efficient. Accomplishing more, with less is at the heart of green cleaning programs. By directing effort toward better results, you are able to achieve a cleaner, healthier facilities, in less time. This is done by employing techniques that eliminate the use of wasteful and counter-productive cleaning products that in many cases can cause surfaces to be more difficult to clean.

5. Employee Morale

By being able to perform tasks more effectively, with less risk to yourself and the facility and actually see the positive results from your efforts, the morale of the staff will be improved. No one likes to do a bad job and given the know how to do a good job only makes performing the task more rewarding.

Implementing green cleanings program is very effective way to maintain facilities. By evaluating cleaning results and setting up procedures that use resources more efficiently, you will discover the positive effects of from green cleaning!

Green Clean Institute Review

I recently took the Green Clean Institute’s Certified Technician Training. It consisted of two courses, GCIC Technician 101 and GCIC Technician 102. Even after 20 years of actively perusing cleaning industry knowledge, I was pleased with the information and the direction the materials took. This is not Cleaning 101, this is Green Cleaning 101 (and 102, I guess.) If you need to learn how to swing a mop, re-finish floors or clean windows and carpet, then I would recommend acquiring those skills prior to taking attending this class. The focus of these courses is personal health and the concepts of Green Clean Compliance.

Green Clean Institute Technician Certification

The 101 section works with the history of and evolution of green cleaning, green business and how cleaning green relates to business along with other attributes that add to green in cleaning programs. There are procedures, responsibilities and federal regulations that are covered. If you are new to the world of green cleaning or a green fanatic, this spells it all out in a nice, neat package.
In the 102 section, topics include the impact of green products, how they differ from traditional cleaning products and how to evaluate them. It also covers green cleaning techniques and procedures, source reduction, recycling and staff training among other related topics. Read more

vacuuming carpet

Vacuuming Carpet. Why Do You Vacuum?

Why is it that when we are vacuuming carpet, do we go back and forth then, step forward and repeat the process? If we were to use this  same type of pattern when mowing our lawns, there would be tufts of grass all over. The yard would look terrible and we would have wasted the majority of the afternoon with nothing to show for it. Chasing that paper scrap and those potato chip crumbs is not why we vacuum carpet. It is to capture the dirt we don’t see.  Read more

entrance matting

Entrance Matting – Stop Dirt At The Door

Entrance matting is an important part of any cleaning program. What if you could have an employee stand by the door and clean off people’s shoes as they walk in to the building? What kind of impact would this have on your floor finish and carpet? Studies have shown that as much as 85% of dirt in a building comes in right through the door. This is where entrance matting makes a big impact on your cleaning.

I always ask people “How does dirt get to the 20th floor of a high-rise building?” Read more