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Cleaning chemicals and a healthier indoor environment?

September 19, 2010
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Cleaners could select cleaning chemicals designed for healthful indoor air quality and should get green. Here’s how.

An important part of implementing a “cleaning for health” program involves the selection and use of cleaning chemicals — and related equipment and procedures — that are safer for workers, building occupants and the environment.

While there is a definite movement toward the formulation and use of cleaning products made from natural or renewable substances such as orange oils, seed esters, derivatives from corn, soy and other plants, there are many ways to clean for health that may or may not involve the use of these chemistries.

The right choice
Still, as the demand for greener products has increased, costs have decreased and effectiveness has increased, making many of these more “natural” cleaners an appropriate choice.

The phrase, “green and cost-effective” is no longer an oxymoron when it comes to many of these products.

The best ways to improve the health of your cleaning operation is to simply use fewer chemicals of any type to begin with. This means avoiding waste, using mechanical processes and chemicals intelligently.

With a focus on general purpose cleaning products for glass cleaning, floor care, etc., let’s look at fixing by mixing.

One healthy-cleaning trend we have seen during the past 10 years is the growing use of automated chemical dilution and proportioning systems that ensure chemicals are properly mixed and dispensed for their intended use, maximum effectiveness and safety.

Workers do not need to touch or manually mix the cleaning chemicals, reducing their exposure.

These systems may be portable, wall, cart or equipment mounted for easy access, and help protect workers, building occupants and surfaces, while reducing waste, packaging resources, shipping and storage costs.

Create a system
Having a system or program to follow when using cleaning chemicals is critical to ensure your staff knows what needs to be done, by whom and when.

Standardized procedures that outline step by step how each task is to be performed are vital.


Jim Harris Sr. is the CEO of Concepts IV, Albany, NY, and a consultant, trainer, corporate executive, businessman and entrepreneur.
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