The Truth Behind Green Cleaning Materials

green cleaning materialsI have discussed this subject with many colleagues and cleaning business owners and the final conclusion I come to is always one and the same – green cleaning stuff is not as effective as standard cleaning stuff. Like it or not, that was everyone’s opinion too.

Let me get into some detail now. I know nowadays everybody is shouting and screaming “Save the planet”, “Green cleaning is the way forward” “Green this” and “Green that”. OK, I agree. Green is the new black. Green is nice and green sounds healthy. In fact green IS healthy. You can use Green Energy, Green Machines, Green Carboxes, Green Cups, Green bags etc. It is even very trendy and fashionable  to do so. But when it comes to cleaning (and by cleaning I mean good old elbow grease) you can’t really rely on these “green” cleaning materials that many companies are trying to flog to the cleaning business owners (carpet cleaning included). Reason: they don’t work. Or at least they don’t work the way conventional cleaning stuff would work.

I have had a cases when a commercial cleaning client required that only green cleaning products were to be  used in their work environment but at the same time the requirements insisted on top quality cleaning result. And guess what – the “top quality cleaning” result could only be achieved by using the conventional cleaning stuff that us cleaning folk have been using since the very start of time. When presented with a detailed demonstration, the client decided to switch back to the standard cleaning products that everybody uses. He did not want to stick to his guns to the so called “fashionable green cleaning mumbo jumbo” and chose the path of reason and good old common sense.

I don’t blame him. The guy just wanted to provide his highly motivated office staff with the level of cleanliness they deserved and this process did not include “green” stuff.

While I am on the subject I want to point out that the so called “green” products still contain chemicals. I am not really 100% convinced they represent a completely clean alternative to normal cleaning products. What I am sure of is that many manufacturers (mainly small time garage based one man bands) have seen a very good niche to start exploiting for their personal gain. In many other areas the green way of living and working may lead to significant benefits for the people and the planet Earth but when it’s about the cleaning industry – I very much doubt it.

Yes, there are ways of reducing the use of chemicals in the cleaning process by introducing microfibre cloths and various other methods of cleaning, but this is something totally different and has nothing to do with the point I am trying to raise here.

I believe there is a lack of specific scientific research that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that using “green” cleaning products is much safer to the environment than standard cleaning products. I would be very interested to find out the facts. If you know something I don’t know, please feel free to comment with the evidence and I will gladly re-consider (and re-publish) my thoughts. Unti then I will stick to what I (and thousands others) know and rely their business on.



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2 thoughts on “The Truth Behind Green Cleaning Materials

  1. T. Caine says:

    Okay, that sounds fair. It is true that many green cleaning products lack the power of their chemical predecessors. In fact, many green cleaning products are completely useless while others aren’t really green at all and aren’t good for anything but green-washing. I tried a green dishwasher detergent a year ago and the long-and-short of it was that it didn’t work.

    That being said, the other side of the truth is that chemical laden cleaning products can be harmful to our bodies and the natural environment. The truth is that they are difficult for us to mechanically treat and difficult for nature to break down. Though it is true that they can kill everything that we don’t want in the base of our shower (or our carpet) they can also kill ecological components that we would be better off having. Cleaning products can also be prime sources for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)–things that we really don’t want to be inhaling.

    So knowing both sides of the truth, what is the solution? I have a hard time believing that the answer is do nothing and stick with the status quo for its own sake just because it is easier. Maybe it’s worth trying a few green (or even just “greener”) products to see if one can find a middle ground. After trying a bunch of dishwasher detergents, I still found a phosphate-free product that works just fine.

  2. cleaninglife says:

    Maybe the answer lies in finding the balance between using chemicals and nature’s own products.

    But when you think about the chemicals in cleaning products – they all have been introduced to speed up the cleaning process and to make the life of the cleaner easier. If we go back to basics, the time needed for professional cleaning results is going to increase because generally natural harmless “green” products require more elbow grease. This will lead to increased costs to end clients purchasing cleaning services. Only the environmentally friendly companies (still not sure even if they will agree to that) will be happy to pay significantly higher bills just to know they are helping preserve the planet.

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