Health concerns have become more prevalent for office employees – today more than ever – which put conventional cleaning products with harsh chemicals in the spotlight. Going back to basics and turning to environmentally-friendly cleaning options seems to be the best solution to act upon – not only for all people involved but also for the environment.
Let’s take a look at the seven factors that affect the effectiveness of green office cleaning.
Conventional office cleaning products are either highly acidic or highly base/basic. Those with low pH level (below 7) are used for dealing with rust, hard water stains, and mineral deposits on bathroom mirrors and fixtures as well as mould and mildew on surface tiles. Those with high pH level (above 7) are used for dealing with fatty and oily soils on almost any type of surface or fabric including hardwood or sealed wood surfaces.
Office cleaning products, to be considered green and effective at the same time, require a pH level that is close to 7 for its designated purpose – tough enough to remove dirt and grease but safe enough to preserve the quality of the office equipment, furnishings, or surfaces.
It is certainly a worthwhile consideration for your company to choose more-neutral but highly concentrated office cleansers to minimise the formulation ‘harshness’ on surfaces as well as exposed skin after repeated or regular use.
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), according to the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), are carbon compounds that lead to photochemical reactions when they come in contact with the atmosphere.
In other words, these are chemical toxins emitted as gases from liquid or solid and can come from furnishings, surfaces, and products whether fluids, plastics, wood, or electronics.
Common office cleaning solutions are infamous for having high VOCs which can cause long-term poor air quality and can lead to health-related problems to all facility occupants, most especially to those with existing skin allergies, respiratory irritations, hormonal imbalance, and compromised immune systems.
Green products for office cleaning have low VOC content because the main purpose is not only to provide meticulously cleaned and properly disinfected office areas but also to ensure that all facilities remain safe and non-toxic.
Unnatural colours and/or complex scents in commercial cleaning products can indicate presence of artificial fragrances and dyes that tend to linger on surfaces and fabrics; worse, they are used to cover up offensive chemicals present in the product itself.
Prolonged exposure to these chemically-infused products can exacerbate irritations and allergies or can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other unwanted illnesses.
Green cleaning products, on the other hand, use organic ingredients with no aroma and high levels of natural antimicrobial properties because it is more effective in producing a clean, safe, and germ-free office environment.
Environmentally-conscious office cleaners avoid cleaning solvents and surfactants with significant, negative impact on the earth. These products leave behind harmful residues which don’t just worsen indoor air quality but also make office equipment, furnishings, and surfaces unsafe for direct use or instant contact.
Green office cleaning is all about leaving as little environmental footprint as possible during and after the cleaning process. Look for products with the Design for the Environment (DfE) label as it contains natural ingredients that are easily broken down into non-toxic elements when used for office cleaning.
Unlike caustic cleaning solvents and surfactants that are highly flammable or can cause burns on direct contact, green products used for office cleaning rely on adequate ‘dwell time’ for a chemical reaction to take place – not only to remove basic contaminants on any office area but also to ensure that heavy soiling will be dealt with thoroughly.
Designated office cleaners who are not mindful of this fact may grow impatient and wipe off the surface prematurely. This will lead to a build-up of microorganisms that are supposed to be removed, which will also increase the cleaning frequency of that particular office area.
Therefore, it is essential to understand the required time duration to benefit from the effectiveness of the green products used for your office cleaning.
Temperature has direct influence over the cleaning substance and office pollutants alike. Dirt and grime dissolve much faster when there is an increase in temperature. With the right amount of heat, microorganisms are destroyed, too.
This will allow for a more thorough disinfecting of surfaces, greater cleaning efficiency, as well as significant reduction of time and chemicals used in the process.
The overall effectiveness of green office cleaning can be judged not by how clean a surface or an area looks but by how clean it becomes. This refers to the thorough and complete removal of all particles, residues, and contaminants in question and proper disposal to its designated location.
When unwanted substances remain on the surface, this can remain unnoticed just by hiding in plain sight or altering its appearance; in the long run, it will eventually be too obvious not to be attended to – unless it is completely extracted and removed.
Office cleaners must not confuse aesthetically pleasing with ‘safe, healthy, and germ-free’; neither should you!
As the 21st century ushers us into becoming a virtually paperless society, you would think that it makes office cleaning faster, easier, and more convenient. But the demanding pace of the business environment, more often than not, can unsurprisingly lead to a neglect of such duty.