Monday, April 14, 2014

Cleaning vs Disinfecting: Implementing a Green Cleaning Program

“Cleaning green is comprised of an environmentally responsible application of methods and systems. It is achieved by integrating cleaning products, policies, operational procedures, methods or systems intended to minimize harmful environmental impact and maximize sustainability of the built environment.” In order to successfully carryout a green cleaning program, one must assess the sustainability measures of the following components: 1) Procedures, 2) Equipment, 3) Chemicals, 4) Consumables, and 5) Training. It is imperative that your commercial cleaning company have all functioning parts in conjunction with green standards. Below states the requirements that must be adhered to in order to successfully carry out and maintain a green cleaning program.

1)       Procedures
It’s not only what you clean with, but very important as to how you clean. In order to maximize the performance of your program, your cleaning procedures must be defined in detail with Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Develop and implement a floor cleaning and maintenance plan, consistent with manufacturers’ recommendations, to extend the life and appearance of flooring through routine, periodic, and restorative cleaning operations.
  • Determine schedules of routine cleaning operations, activities performed periodically, equipment operation and maintenance, cleaning inspections, and accident preparedness plans.
  • Schedule cleaning operations to ensure the minimum frequency required to clean and maintain the area to a level that adequately protects human health and the environment.
  • Include a review of cleaning operations at least twice per year to adjust the program as needed in response to the changing needs of the building/complex and its occupants.

Below are all factors that must be addressed in writing your Standard Operating Procedures. AFS Janitorial can assist you with this when you are ready to implement a green cleaning program.

-Identify people with special needs                 -Entryways
-Hard Floor Care                                            -Carpet Care
-Dust Mopping                                                -Dusting
-Restrooms                                                    -Food Areas
-Odor Control                                                -Spills
-Trash Removal                                              -Indoor Plants
-Recycling                                                      -Maintaining HVAC Systems
-Garage Maintenance                                       -Roof Maintenance
-Pest Management                                           -Fabric Cleaning
-Basements                                                     -Stairwells and Elevators
-Closets                                                          -Building Exterior

2)       Equipment
Ergonomic, sustainable equipment that does not have a negative effect on a facility’s IAQ is required in a green cleaning program. Benefit – more effective use; longer life; cleaner indoor air. Below displays a list of equipment type, along with requirements and examples of each.

Equipment Type
Vacuum Cleaners
HEPA Filtration, meet CRI standards, operates at sound level less than 70 dBA
Powered Floor Machines
Operates at sound level less than 70 dBA, guards and filters, controls for dispensing to optimize chemical use
Carpet Extraction
Low emission engine, building must be unoccupied in order to use
Powered Scrubbers
Control method for dispensing chemicals

A logbook should be kept for all powered equipment to document purchase dates, maintenance history and equipment information sheets. To view more options of equipment that meets green standards click here.

3)       Chemicals
Cleaning products play a major role in the health of your building’s IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). Chemical Management Systems aim to reduce waste and allow for proper dilution control measures. Benefit: more cost effective; safer for the user; less VOCs; less material in landfills. Chemicals that meet the standards set by Green Seal or DfE contain fewer toxins and lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). View acceptable chemicals here.

4)       Consumable Products
The three basic issues of concern for paper are total recovered material (recycled content), post-consumer recycled content, and the bleaching process. Environmentally preferable (check for green certification or recognition) paper products should meet the following standards for each of the following product categories:
  • Restroom tissue—100% recovered materials and 20% post-consumer content.
  • Toilet seat covers—100% recovered materials and 40% post-consumer content.
  • Paper towels and general-purpose industrial wipes—100% recovered materials and 40% post-consumer content.
Using coreless paper products also reduces waste. Considering using a "touch free" dispenser if possible, as it reduces potential cross-contamination of bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens.

5)       Training
Continuous one-on-one training ensures the success of a green cleaning program. Below are ongoing programs that AFS Janitorial staff receives.
  • Green Cleaning 101
  • Cleaning Basics
  • Equipment Training
  • Restroom Care
  • Floor Care
  • Safety (MSDS & Labels)
  • How to use Microfiber Chemical Management Systems
  • Green Products
  • Proper Use of Disinfectants
  • Personal Protective Equipment
The greenest thing you can do is to clean properly. Therefore, by constructing a cleaning program that incorporates process, equipment, and chemical, you end up with a program that achieves the true objectives of green cleaning. A study reported by the American Hospital Association showed that for all of the approximately 134,000,000 workers in the United States, asthma alone cost US employers 125,209,000 lost work days at a cost of just over $23 billion dollars.



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