By Rich Feczko, National Director. Systems. Standards. Innovation & Global Support
I vividly remember in my youth the outcry against the use of aerosol spray cans. During the 1990s, these cans released chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the air, which damaged the ozone layer in the Earth’s stratosphere. It was one of the first times scientists discovered how an everyday product hurt the environment – and a precursor the challenges facing us decades later.
Today, just about everyone is concerned about how they can stop the damage to our environment and seek sustainable solutions whenever possible. As a result, many health-conscious consumers are turning to more natural cleaning products to disinfect their homes. We’ve witnessed an uptick in products, chemicals and solutions that can reduce energy while reducing water use and waste. But do these products work?
Are trendy cleaning products safe and effective?
Our work at Crothall has given me some keen insight into the products that work well. During the past few years, we’ve invested heavily in sustainable equipment and cleaning solutions, and we’ve made significant progress in using such products to clean and sanitize hospitals nationwide.
For example, after a long period of testing and evaluation, we worked with Tersano, a company based in Ontario, Canada, to use its sustainable cleaning products. Its product saves millions of gallons of chemicals each year from going into drains or landfills. By using this product, we’ve been able to stop using other surface-cleaning solutions, thereby cutting our expenses while helping the environment.
Floor care is another good example where we’ve turned to environmentally-sound products. Not long ago, hospital administrators viewed a shiny, polished floor as a way to demonstrate the cleanliness of their facility.
Now, however, there’s a movement away from any product that produces shine and the corrosive stripping of polish needed to achieve it. In older hospitals, we will optimize the use of floor gloss with other products that reduce stripping and finishing to expand their durability.
When new floors are installed, hospitals are moving away from the old materials – such as vinyl and linoleum. Instead, hospitals are looking to purchase and install Texas granite and terrazzo floors, especially in their lobbies. These materials are more durable and sustainable, too.
For people who want to use natural cleaners at home, here are a few practical tips that will help you “clean green” without sacrificing safety:
Vinegar is Versatile. In the old days, I used a mixture of vinegar, water and newspaper to clean car windshields. Today, vinegar is used to clean windows and still used on car windshields. In a spray bottle, mix 50 percent distilled vinegar and 50 percent tap water. For extremely grimy glass, pre-wash the windows with very soapy water, then go to the vinegar spray. Vinegar can also be used for other tough household jobs, such as cleaning black mold from bathrooms or other damp rooms in the house.
Non-Ammonia Cleaners. There are now a wide variety of cleaning products available in most grocery and drug stores that don’t contain ammonia. These products are available to clean multi-surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. I use it on stainless steel, such as refrigerator surfaces and traditional stovetops. And there are other non-ammonia products for carpet and rug shampoos and to remove stains.
Ice Cubes to Remove Sticky Substances. Use ice cubes to remove gum and other sticky substances that can stain a carpet. Years ago, I used a product from an aerosol can to clean stains in hospitals. One day, the product was not available, so we improvised and used ice. That’s how long I’ve used ice to get rid of gum and other sticky substances. While often used to remove stains from clothes, Spray n’ Wash is another option for lighter carpet stains.
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