Similar to the way that auto racing serves as a research and development venue for technologies that eventually make commuter vehicles more reliable, powerful and efficient, so, too, does the JanSan industry function to make cleaning and maintenance better for residential applications.
An industry propelled by innovative problem solving, JanSan manufacturers are at the forefront of new product technologies and commercial cleaning and maintenance professionals are pioneers in product application and servicing techniques.
A relatively new technology in the industry is electrically charged or activated water.
While the science behind this innovation has been around for more than a century, applying electrolysis to cleaning is only now gaining momentum.
By applying a small electrical charge to water as it passes over a membrane, devices utilizing this technology are able to clean and disinfect surfaces with nothing more than tap water.
Just as disinfectants kill potentially harmful germs and bacteria, devices equipped with activated water technology render them incapable of causing infection or disease — all with no chemicals.
"As the green movement continues to revolutionize the cleaning industry, it puts pressure on manufacturers to produce environmentally friendly products that work as well as or better than conventional cleaners do," says Chris Deets, marketing director for Activeion Cleaning Solutions LLC. "Today''s big sellers are the kinds of products that maximize the health, safety and sustainability of employees, customers and the environment."
And, because no chemicals are required when cleaning and disinfecting with activated water, a cost savings can be realized from a chemical inventory reduction.
Now, after receiving praise from commercial cleaners and accolades from organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), devices equipped with activated water technology are appearing in residential applications to provide the same environmentally preferable cleaning power to the masses.
Some microbes — living organisms too small to be seen by naked eyes — are beneficial in food processing applications and digestion.
However, pathogenic microbes like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella are harmful and potentially deadly — and keeping them off surfaces is of grave importance.
A solution that has been implemented in many JanSan applications to counter microbial threats is antimicrobial coatings.
These coatings, which inhibit the growth of germs, can be found on everything from soap and chemical dispensers, mop and broom handles and countertops to toilet seats, restroom partitions and floors and walls.
According to Mike Kramer, president of International Coatings Inc., commercial and institutional applications demand low-maintenance equipment with resistance to mold and other unwanted bacterial growth.
"By supplying the JanSan market with such products, we are also able to offer homeowners alternatives to traditional products that are more susceptible to contamination and require more maintenance. The drive for these products in commercial settings is directly applicable to residential use," notes Kramer.
Microfiber is a synthetic blend of polyester and polyimide whose individual fibers are roughly 1/16 the width of a human hair but are able to hold more than six times their weight in liquid.
The polyester in microfiber provides scrubbing power and the polyimide supplies the incredible absorption power.
Because of its launderability — most microfiber cloths and mops can be washed and reused hundreds of times — many have swapped their conventional cotton cloths and mops for sustainable microfiber alternatives.
"Microfiber, due to the great job it does and its ease of use, is growing in popularity," proclaims Kathy Ledford, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Microfiber Products Ltd. "Costs have gone down from 10 years ago, when it started getting popular, and now is very affordable. Using microfiber is more cost and time effective than ever before with the added bonus of doing a better job than conventional methods."
Aside from its widespread use in commercial cleaning, microfiber cloths, mops and other products are increasingly finding homes in the residential market.
Just as it does in the JanSan industry, sustainability, as a holistic concept, resonates well with homeowners and renters.
Adopting microfiber alternatives to dated and obsolete products is one way custodians, janitors, maintenance professionals and consumers are reducing their carbon footprints.
There are a plethora of innovative JanSan offerings that have proven useful in other markets and industries after having been tested, honed and mastered by those tasked with cleaning and maintaining the built environment.
It is unclear which breakthrough technologies will cross the commercial-residential boundary next, but we can be sure the trend will continue as the "more, better, faster" mentality drives innovation in all segments of manufacturing.