Invest in the best for maximum sustainability and savings - When it comes to providing green cleaning services, there are a lot of areas for BSCs to think about. To be truly sustainable, you need to address nearly every facet of your business, not just one or two. That means looking into ways to green up your chemicals, methods, equipment, and business practices. While this can be a lengthy and complex process, no one expects your company to become a champion of sustainability overnight. It’s best to start small and make steady progress using a well thought-out plan.
One area that can take a bit of time and expense is ensuring that all of your cleaning equipment is as green as possible. Depending on the size of your business and your access to capital funding, this task can sometimes take place over a period of several years. The good news is that by switching to equipment that’s designed to be more sustainable you will not only help protect the environment, but you will also save money, improve your operational efficiency, and protect the health of your clients and employees. In the long run, investing in green cleaning equipment is one of the wisest business decisions you can make.
"In the long run, investing in green cleaning equipment is one of the wisest business decisions you can make."
Before spending lots of money on new equipment, it helps to know exactly what to look for. The following tips provide useful information about several of the most common types of cleaning equipment, so you can select the gear that offers the best levels of both sustainability and performance.
Look for vacuums that are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label program and run at a sound level below 70 dBA. Vacuums that are certified by CRI will remove a defined amount of soil from carpets in four passes, will not release more than 100 micrograms of dust per cubic meter of air, and will not deteriorate the carpet’s appearance with frequent use. Use HEPA vacuum filters, which can remove 99.9 percent of airborne particles. Where possible, use backpack vacuums, which help increase cleaning efficiency and protect employees from fatigue and injury. You can also invest in backpack vacuums with extension wands to clean ceilings, light fixtures, walls, and other hard-to-reach areas. By vacuuming the dust rather than stirring it up through traditional dusting, you can further help improve air quality.
Look for carpet extractors certified by the CRI’s Seal of Approval program, which evaluates the effectiveness of extractors for their soil removal, water removal, and carpet texture retention. Extractors should not only effectively eliminate ground-in soil in carpets, but also allow the carpet to dry as quickly as possible to prevent mold. Look for extractors that provide low-moisture cleaning or those that use dry powders instead of water. The CRI recommends that extractors should allow the carpet to completely dry within 24 to 48 hours after cleaning. To reduce the amount of chemicals used, extractors should be able to deliver maximum soil removal with the minimum amount of detergent. To this end, extractors that use high water temperatures of up to 212 degrees can clean many carpets without any detergent.
The latest automatic scrubber machines use much less water and cleaning chemicals than traditional versions, while also maximizing operational efficiency. The most effective scrubbers are equipped with variable-speed feed pumps and chemical metering to reduce the amount of water and chemicals used, while other machines are capable of cleaning with water alone. For the best performance and safety, use scrubbers that are fitted with cylindrical-style brushes and come in an ergonomic design. Automatic scrubbers equipped with special rectangular scrubbing heads offer an easy solution for straightedge cleaning along baseboards and other wall surfaces. Look for flexible scrubbers designed for single pass, chemical-free floor finish removal as well as daily scrubbing needs. Finally, go with machines that have rear squeegees that move in line with the scrubber path to recover more water and eliminate “trails.”
Switching to microfiber materials instead of cotton for your mops, dust cloths, and scrubber pads is a both a greener and cleaner alternative. In terms of their green attributes, microfiber materials have been shown to reduce cleaning chemical and water consumption by as much as 90-percent more than traditional materials. Microfibers also cut down on cleaning times and require less wringing and washing. In terms of cleanliness, microfibers do not leave behind lint, and they are much more durable than cotton. Studies have shown that microfibers are also better at picking up dust and dirt than cotton and paper, which tend to push it around instead of absorbing it. Because of their enhanced absorption of contaminants, microfiber’s are especially valuable in places where cleanliness is key: health-care and educational facilities, food service establishments, and residential buildings. And because microfiber mops leave behind less water than cotton ones, they reduce the risk of slip-and-fall injuries among clients and employees.