Cleaning practices are an afterthought for many business owners. Sure, you want your offices and facilities to look tidy and presentable. But perhaps you don’t pay much attention to the products or procedures that make it that way. Spending money on environmentally friendly cleaning products – or a professional “green” cleaning service – may not seem worth it.
However, consider this: Green cleaning offers many benefits beyond just being environmentally friendly — and it’s not as price prohibitive as it used to be.
Not only are eco-friendlier cleaning practices good for the Earth, they are less toxic to the indoor air that you, your employees or clients breathe every day. Standard cleaning products emit gases (called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) and odors that can aggravate breathing problems, skin allergies and other health concerns.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency says that cleaning agents are among the main contributors to poor indoor air quality.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to consider making the switch. Many businesses and consumers have been deterred because of the higher costs of buying green products or services. But those cost premiums have come down significantly in recent years, as green cleaning becomes more commonplace. Many commercial and industrial green cleaning services, as well as residential ones, now claim to charge the same price, or slightly more, for using green cleaning products.
Moreover, some studies find that green cleaning improves indoor air quality and, in turn, improves workplace productivity. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank found that improving indoor air quality can bolster workplace productivity by up to 10%.
Want to implement green cleaning practices effectively in your business?
Here are a couple key steps:
Find The Right Green Products
Today, even major cleaning brands are rolling out eco-friendlier cleaning products, such as Clorox Green Works. Cleaning product aisles are awash in green as established brands compete with companies like Seventh Generation and Method, which have been selling eco-friendly cleaning products for years.
Even though they all claim to be “green,” you must dig deeper to find out how truly environmentally safe and effective they are. The Environmental Working Group recently put out its Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which scores various household cleaning products on their ingredient safety and disclosure.
GreenSeal.org, a certification organization, also provides lists of commercial and industrial cleaning products that have been certified. (Keep in mind that household standbys like vinegar and baking soda can be just as effective cleaners in some environments.)
Before hiring a professional cleaning service – if you do — ask some questions. Which brands and types of cleaning products does it use? Does it take steps to reduce its water and paper towel usage? You don’t want to discover too late that the cleaning service was “greenwashing” (no pun intended).
Consider Your Methods
Green cleaning isn’t just about cleaning agents. It’s about the entire process, from the type of cloths used to water usage to the packaging. (Aerosol cans, for instance, aren’t very “green.”) Take a holistic approach to your business’s cleaning, open the windows and try to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals.
At the end of the day, you and your employees may feel healthier for it.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Photo via Shutterstock