Green cleaning is at the front of most business owners’ and managers’ minds today. Adopting a more environmentally friendly approach is great for our planet, but it also creates a safer, more comfortable workplace for your staff. Most people grew up believing that bleach was the universal solution for sanitizing, killing germs and bacteria and performing all-around cleaning tasks. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not all that effective, and highly toxic as well. Despite the perils, many businesses that perform janitorial tasks are using this dangerous corrosive as a cleaning agent.
What Bleach Can Do
First of all, bleach can make you and your staff extremely ill and possibly even kill you. Although this may sound dire, it’s true. If you mix ammonia and bleach, they form a chemical known as chloramine gas. This gas emits highly toxic fumes that, if inhaled in a high concentration, can kill a healthy adult. Because ammonia is a common cleaning agent found in many commercial products, a potential mix-up could easily occur.
If left on bare skin, bleach can cause severe burns. If you accidentally splash it in your eyes, it can cause permanent blindness. It can also corrode metal and etch surfaces, like the sealers that protect flooring. So why has this product been around for so long and earned such a good reputation? Bleach does one thing very well; it kills microbes. So much so, in fact, that the Environmental Protection Agency regulates it as a pesticide.*
What Bleach Cannot Do
This may come as a surprise to you, but bleach can’t clean a single thing. It’s not a cleaning product and it has no capacity to remove dirt. Its whitening properties may convince you it’s cleaning, but it is not. It sanitizes surfaces, but many other products are just as effective and much safer.
Bleach also loses its effectiveness quickly. For example, mixing one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water creates a safer concentration that can still provide some sanitary benefit. However, once it’s mixed with that much water, the mixture will lose all of its effectiveness in less than a week. Even at full strength in an unopened bottle, it becomes ineffective (but not less toxic) in three to six months.
What You Should Use Instead
Fortunately, you can find many excellent alternatives for safe sanitizing and disinfecting, some of which are actually considered environmentally safe. Contrary to popular belief, green cleaning doesn’t mean compromising effectiveness. Sanitizers made with hydrogen peroxide, for example, are effective at killing germs but emit no toxic fumes.
Benefect is a disinfectant made from botanical ingredients. The EPA recognizes Benefect as effective for disinfecting even in medical and child care settings. Most commercial and industrial cleaning lines offer safe and effective products for killing germs as well, many of which are made with strong concentrations of citrus oil or other botanicals. The best approach may be to talk with your company’s commercial cleaning contractor. They have the knowledge to recommend the right products for your needs, with the least impact on the environment.
Town and Country Office Cleaning recognizes the importance of using only those cleaning products and techniques that are both effective and kind to the environment. With more than four decades of experience, our certified cleaning professionals are fully licensed, bonded and insured to provide you the highest-quality service in the industry. Contact us today to learn more about using green cleaning solutions at your business.