We all have a responsibility to the planet and sustainability is increasingly an issue in all of our daily lives, both personally and professionally. Certain issues about eco-friendly cleaning and eco cleaning products have become the popular understandings of cleaning sustainability and these issues, although probably once with some foundation, are no longer true and it’s time to consign them to history.
They cost more
Once a cleaning organisation starts to measure its true costs (through costs in use) and stops measuring by price alone then a reasoned debate can be held about the relative costs of various inputs such as cleaning chemicals. It is true that non-eco cleaning products on average have slightly lower price points however the value story goes much deeper than that.
If we look at the situation holistically, eco cleaning products can provide a greater economic benefit than traditional chemical cleaners because they reduce labour costs and protect surfaces and buildings over time.
Chemical cleaning products are only effective during the few seconds of actual cleaning. Following cleaning, the surfaces start to become soiled again, requiring more frequent cleaning leading to higher labour costs and more chemical usage.
Eco cleaning products have beneficial bacteria that continue to breakdown soiling on the surface area after cleaning, leading to less frequent applications and all cleaned areas look cleaner for longer.
They don’t work as well
It has long been thought by many that eco-friendly cleaning products are not as effective as traditional cleaning chemicals.
Let’s cut to the chase. Both eco-friendly cleaning products and non-eco-friendly ones use chemicals that are effective. The difference is that non-eco-friendly cleaning products use manufactured chemicals that occur naturally in our environment whereas traditional cleaning chemicals are formulated in a lab. Most traditional cleaning chemical cocktails have formulated surfactants which helps to disperse dirt and grime. These surfactants however do not naturally break down and cause problems further down the line when they have washed away with wastewater. The natural surfactants in eco-friendly cleaning products degrade naturally once discarded. So cleaning efficacy is powerful and comparable with eco-friendly products with the added sustainability advantages.
Eco-friendly cleaning products are a great area of innovation and new ideas are being brought to market all the time such as foam spray heads on dispensers for exact dosing, reducing overuse and cost.
They are not backed by research or standards
Eco-friendly cleaning products are no longer a niche area for small altruistic start-up businesses. The big manufacturers have realised that there are large future markets for these products and are starting to invest heavily in research and development. This means that today’s eco-friendly cleaning products are probably some of the most advanced cleaning agents available in terms of research investment.
Industry standards are progressing as well to take into account the whole lifecycle of the products including transport and packaging. This new standard “cradle to cradle” is what to look out for to guarantee real sustainable credentials.
In short, pre-conceived ideas need to be updated, eco-friendly commercial cleaning can be cheaper with more advanced well-researched products, delivering comparable cleaning performance and a sustainable future for us all.