Home Cleaning & Maintenance Is It Time to Review Your Green Cleaning Arsenal?

Is It Time to Review Your Green Cleaning Arsenal?

Michael Wilson

With the busy tourist season here, many hotels focused on protecting the environment and sustainability are taking a second look at their green cleaning arsenal and asking themselves, “Are these still the best green cleaning products available?”

Asking this question is not only timely but a good idea. It’s easy to get into a pattern of ordering and reordering the same cleaning products year after year, unaware that new or more advanced technologies may be available that are more effective, sustainable, and cost-effective.

The first step in rejuvenating your cleaning supplies is to meet with your janitorial distributor. Your distributor, if he or she is what the industry now terms an “exceptional” distributor, will be your guide in this process. They are well aware of these more advanced green cleaning technologies and can provide reliable, timely information and, in most cases, offer a wide range of high-quality products to select from. You’re not alone in this journey.

Below are some green cleaning technologies that meet the criteria set out above. Each one is designed to help reduce cleaning’s impact on the environment and enhance the appearance of your property. And most importantly, they help ensure your hotel is not just protecting the well-being of your guests and staff, but also actively contributing to a healthier planet. You can take pride in your hotel’s green initiatives.

Cleaning with Salt, Water, and Electricity

Electrolyzed water (EW) cleaning systems are not necessarily new. Still, today’s machines are more flexible and can be used in more ways and on more types of surfaces—including floors, countertops, carpets, walls, restroom partitions, and restroom fixtures—than in the past. Further, the EW liquid can now be bottled, giving EW added flexibility. These systems use water, salt, and electricity to clean and disinfect. According to a study published in the journal Microorganisms, EW “is an effective antimicrobial and antibiofilm agent.”* They go on to say that EW is “environmentally friendly and safe for human beings.”

Many once skeptical hotel housekeeping staff have transferred from using non-green cleaning products to spray bottles filled with electrolyzed water. Several years ago, a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel housekeeper remarked, “I didn’t believe in it at first because it didn’t have foam or any scent. But I can tell you it works. My rooms are clean.” 1

Green Scrubbing

When we think of green cleaning for floors, we tend to think of using green-certified cleaning solutions. However, can the floor pad used to scrub and clean floors also be green? According to Green Seal, a leading green certification organization, the answer is yes. Green floor pads have faster biodegradation (compared to traditional pads), are made from at least 80 percent recycled content and fibers, and are more absorbent, requiring less water and cleaning solution to work effectively. An exceptional distributor will be able to locate these pads for hotel managers.

Putting Lemons & Limes to Work

Citric acid cleaning solutions have been used for thousands of years. They are made from lemons, limes, and similar citrus fruits. They have long been considered safe for the user and the environment. Some brands can sanitize and disinfect surfaces, and some are now green-certified under Green Seal’s Environmental Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaners. (See below: Cleaning Terms)

Originally these products were used primarily for household cleaning. But with their recent certification and proven effectiveness, several cleaning solution manufacturers now make them. Citric acid cleaners also have a unique feature: they clean effectively with hard water. Eighty-five percent of the water available in the U.S. is hard water, meaning it contains high volumes of minerals. A little-known fact is that the effectiveness of many cleaning solutions is minimized by hard water. Citric acid cleaners maintain their effectiveness even in hard water conditions.

Green Dispensing

Manually measuring cleaning chemicals is still quite common, but it is not appropriate in a green or sustainability-focused hotel property. The process, along with being time-consuming, can be wasteful of both the cleaning agent and water, is unsafe for hotel housekeepers, can result in inconsistent cleaning when too much or too little solution is diluted, and produces fumes that may negatively impact the health of hotel guests and staff.

Because of this, automated dispensing systems are now considered vital to a green cleaning program. Further, advanced dispensing systems utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and ensure proper dispensing of chemicals. These dispensing systems help reduce water, energy, and chemical waste, promoting sustainability. When used with green concentrated cleaning solutions, which must be diluted, they also reduce a hotel property’s carbon footprint, greenhouse gases, fuel to transport the products, packaging waste, and the amount of waste that ends up in local landfills.

The Wrap-Up

Green-focused hotel owners and managers must view green cleaning as a journey. The process is gradual but picks up speed over time. The goal is to swap out traditional cleaning products with a green cleaning arsenal. It’s a continuous process. Thankfully, there are distributors that can help you along the way.

Michael Wilson is the CEO of AFFLINK, a distributor membership organization made up of nearly 300 distributors in North America. He has been with the organization since 2006 and provides strategic leadership for distributor members around the country. In his free time, Michael works with the Wounded Warrior Project, helping veterans heal and get their lives back on track. He can be reached through his company website at www.afflink.com.

Cleaning Terms Green-Focused Hotels Should Know.

  • The removal of soil from a surface.
  • Green cleaning. Cleaning products and methods that reduce cleaning’s impact on the user, building users, and the environment.
  • Green certified. Products that are independently tested and recognized and meet recognized standards and criteria can be labeled green certified.
  • Reducing the number of pathogens on a surface to safe levels.
  • Eliminating allpathogens on a surface based on the “kill claims” on the product’s label.
  • Kill claims. Kill claims refers to the types of microorganisms that a product can kill or eliminate from a surface.
  • Sustainable cleaning. Cleaning products and methods that use fewer natural resources than traditional products for the same or similar purpose.

* Biofilms are communities of potentially harmful microorganisms. Often hard to eradicate, EW has proven effective at eliminating these communities.

1. “Simple elixir called a ‘miracle liquid’,” by Marla Dickerson, The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 23, 2009.