Mention cleaning clothes in cold water 20+ years ago, find and most people would have thought you were slightly off your rocker. Mention cleaning facilities today using engineered-water, help and most people would once again suspect you were missing a few marbles.

However, help washing clothes in cold water is now very common in both residential and commercial settings. And while engineered-water cleaning, as it is often called, is just making its mark in the professional cleaning industry, it is getting far more attention and being implemented in many more ways than anyone might have thought just a few years back.

Engineered-water cleaning is, as the name implies, cleaning surfaces from floors to counters using water that has been transformed into an effective cleaning solution. This goes beyond Green Cleaning because Green Cleaning, for the most part, does involve the use of cleaning chemicals, albeit ones that have a significantly reduced impact on the user and the environment. With engineered-water cleaning, there is virtually no impact on the environment.

Other potential benefits of engineered-water cleaning include the following:

  • Cost savings
  • No chemical residue left on surfaces; chemical residue left on a surface can attract soil to the surface, increasing the cleaning needs of a facility.
  • No fumes, no mixing of chemicals, and no impact on indoor air quality
  • Greater safety; a large percentage of the injuries that happen when cleaning are due to accidents and exposure to chemicals.
  • Reduce packaging including plastic bottles and cardboard shipping cartons and the reduction in the related environmental impacts from manufacturing these packaging materials.

While the benefits of engineered-water cleaning are obvious, the big question, of course is…does it work? Is the cleaning effective enough to protect human health and maintain an overall satisfactory facility appearance? Before we answer this question, let’s look at some examples of engineered-water cleaning.

Ozonated Water

A perfect example of engineered-water cleaning is one you may already be using: microfiber cleaning cloths. Whether used dry or damp with tap water, they have proven to be more effective at removing soils and contaminants from surfaces when compared to traditional cleaning cloths. Microfiber, when used in the professional cleaning industry, is sometimes referred to as “split microfiber.” This is because the actual microfibers are split and are as much as 200 times thinner than human hair. These splits make the fibers much better to absorb, trap, and hold microbes found on surfaces.

While you are likely familiar with microfiber cleaning cloths, you may not be that familiar with activated, ozonated, or electrolyzed water systems. While these are three different technologies, they are similar enough that we can discuss them here together. These technologies are designed to be used to clean restroom fixtures, counters, floors, and so on. A small electrical charge is passed through tap water used in the machine. The result is a mild yet effective all-purpose cleaner.


As to how well these systems work, studies are just now coming online.  For instance, in tests at a middle school in Dade County, Florida, independent tests using an ATP monitoring system – which measures if potentially harmful microbes are present on a surface – and other measuring procedures proved the chemical-free systems the school was using were very effective. In one test, where a 0 percent meant surfaces were not clean and 100 percent meant all areas were thoroughly cleaned, this school received an 83 percent in its restrooms and a 90 percent in its classrooms. While not perfect scores, these are considered exceptionally high ratings, no matter what type of cleaning regime is used.


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