Is This the Ultimate in Green Cleaning?
What would you think if someone suggested to you that an effective way to remove a stain on clothing was to clean the problem area with water and two crushed aspirins? How about using vinegar and baking soda to clean inside a toilet bowl? Would you be willing to make your own disinfecting wipes again using vinegar and baking soda? And how about if someone suggested you make your own window cleaner using a combination of white vinegar and water?
Your first thought might be that these are “home remedies” for cleaning but certainly not usable or recommended for facility managers, tadalafil and for the most part you’d be right. They are all ways that many consumers are trying to clean their homes without the use of cleaning agents. But what would you think about some facility managers in a variety of facilities using cleaning techniques and procedures that don’t even include these home remedy ingredients? Instead they are using nothing but tap water.
Professionals in the cleaning industry are taking a closer look at what was initially referred to as “chemical-free” cleaning, treat but is now known as “engineered water.” Engineered water can be defined as the use of regular tap water that has been activated, discount ozonated, electrolyzed, heated, released under pressure, or treated in some way without the use of chemicals that turns it into an effective cleaning solution.
Some managers likely are already aware of one such cleaning process that does not use chemicals. Commercial-grade steam vapor (dry vapor) machines have been manufactured since the 1920s. “Commercial-grade” machines are developed for professional cleaning use and heat tap water to temperatures as high as 240 to 310 degrees (F). This is far hotter than consumer steam vapor machines. About 10 years ago, the University of Washington tested a steam vapor system to clean restrooms and reported hygienic improvements over other more traditional and chemical-using cleaning methods tested.1
However, what got engineered water in the cleaning headlines several years ago was when some major manufacturers of floorcare equipment introduced automatic scrubbers – machines used to clean large floor areas – that use activated, aqueous ozone, or electrolyzed water as a cleaning solution instead of traditional cleaning solutions.2 The reason for the headlines is simple: In most cases, these machines proved effective.
Two other forms of engineered-water cleaning that have proved their value are microfiber cloths and water to clean counters and fixtures and spray-and-vac cleaning systems, otherwise referred to as no-touch cleaning by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning association. While many if these cleaning systems and machines were originally developed to use chemicals, there are tests have found they work effectively even without the use of cleaning solutions.
The driving force behind engineered-water cleaning is that it is the most environmentally preferable form of cleaning. The goal of Green Cleaning is to reduce cleaning’s impact on the environment. With engineered water, there is essentially no impact on the environment.
Another benefit that facility managers will appreciate is the potential to reduce costs. While admittedly most of the cost of cleaning is labor, but depending on the size of the facility, chemicals certainly can become a cost factor. Using no chemicals minimizes these costs.
Other benefits include the following:
- Safety for the cleaning worker is increased; studies have found that some of the most serious cleaning-related accidents occur when workers are mixing and using chemicals.
- No mixing of chemicals is required not only promotes safety, it helps to protect indoor air quality.
- No chemical residue is left on surfaces after cleaning; chemical residue left on surfaces can act like a magnet, collecting soils and contaminants.
- Use of engineered water is much more sustainable; tap water does not need to be manufactured, packaged, or transported in trucks or by rail.
- With some systems, cleaning tools such as clothes, mops, etc., can be soaked in engineered water, helping to clean these tools for future use and increase the lifespan of the products.
Stephen P. Ashkin is founder of the Green Cleaning Network, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating building owners and suppliers about Green Cleaning and president of The Ashkin Group a consulting firm specializing in Greening the cleaning industry. He is considered the “father of Green Cleaning” and has been inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame (IGIHOF).
1 Rick Hoverson, “Steaming Clean,” American School and University, Oct. 1, 2006.
2 An electrical charge is passed through the tap water that turns it into a safe but effective cleaning agent.