Green Cleaning

Cleaning for Health – a Summary

September 26, 2011   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in Green Cleaning

The office janitor can have a significant impact on the health of employees and visitors – in dealing with indoor air quality, spread of pathogens, and chemical safety.  The real reason we clean our offices  is to protect the health and safety of our employees and visitors.Microfiber & hydrogen peroxide on an often used touchpoint

Folks often fail to consider the health impact of the air one breathes.  Suspended particles of  soot, bacteria, allergens, pollen, and dust mite *** exacerbate asthma attacks; many tiny particles, such as asbestos, cause various occupational disease syndromes (the AMA lists over 50).

One’s janitor can do quite a bit to capture and remove such particles from the workplace, by using HEPA filtered vacuums, hard surface floor vacuums, microfiber dust-wipes instead of feather dusters, microfiber damp mops, and by avoiding harsh chemicals and scouring powder.  Fewer bad particles inhaled by one’s employees means lower health care costs, fewer sick days, and a more productive, healthier staff at work

Touch-points (door jambs, knobs and push plates; elevator buttons; computer key boards and mice; phone handsets; stair rails, counters, interior glass) harbor pathogens, and spread disease through the workplace.

Again, the janitor can do much to combat the germs.   Start with a microfiber cloth.  Microfiber cloths scrub better than cotton or paper, and absorb more – both dirt and germs.  Apply a hydrogen peroxide (HP) based cleaner/sanitizer directly to the cloth (to minimize both over-wetting of surfaces and over-spray) and wipe the touch-point with the moistened cloth.

IAQ - HEPA filter, microfiber mop & microfiber wipeThe HP based product is an effective cleaner, as is the moistened microfiber cloth; combined, they’re hard to beat.  Most pathogens are removed along with the dirt (thanks to the microfiber); what’s left is killed by the HP, with minimal dwell time, depending on the particular germ.  Finally, the germs picked up by the cloth promptly die, thanks to the cloth being saturated with the sanitizer – so cross contamination is minimized.

Change the microfiber cloths frequently and launder them often, and one has an effective system; further, a system that takes no longer to use than the traditional damp-wipe to “clean” the touch-point.

Use a similar system to damp mop hard floors.  A flat microfiber mop scrubs better than a cotton string mop, and removes more solution, dirt, germs and allergens.  When mopping a large area, start with a number of mop heads in the solution (again, a hydrogen peroxide based product, to both clean andMicrofibr mop - clean oftensanitize).  Wring out the mop head (moist) and affix it to the mop frame, mop until the mop head runs out of solution, and set it aside for laundering.  Pull a fresh mop head from the solution, use it and set it aside.  Never dunk a soiled mop head.  The solution stays fresh, never contaminated.  The mop head in use is always clean, and no cross contamination occurs.

Finally, consider cleaning products.  It’s often assumed that bio-based products are harmless, both to people and to the environment, and hence preferable.  Many are.  Many also carry their own risks.  Note that the preferred poisons of antiquity, from arsenic to various snake venoms, were bio-based, and very good at their jobs.

Your janitor, properly trained and equipped, can be your first line of defense against injury or illness.

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