Find out how commercial green cleaning can be effective against pandemics like COVID-19

In the pre-COVID-19 days, commercial green cleaning was growing quickly in popularity. Commercial cleaning companies were investing in green cleaning products, and clients were willing to pay more to hire companies that focused on green cleaning methods. 

From a client’s perspective, there’s a lot to love about commercial green cleaning. They have someone (you) coming in to take care of keeping their facilities sparkling and pleasant, and they don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals in the air, or hazardous cleaning concentrates sitting in their supply closet. 

But that was all before COVID-19. Now, there are a lot of questions about whether or not green cleaning products are effective against such contagions. Your clients want to know if the products you’re using can keep them safe. At the same time, they want to continue using environmentally friendly products in their facilities. 

Even though we are still learning about COVID-19, it is still a virus, which means we have a lot of information on cleaning and disinfecting effectively with green practices. 

Make sure your cleaning team has the information they need to complete their job accurately and thoroughly. Using a janitorial software like Janitorial Manager can effectively transform your cleaning operation!

Commercial Green Cleaning

A guide to commercial green cleaning for COVID-19 and other pandemics: Supplies and procedures

By this point, you’re likely familiar with many of the procedures for COVID-19 cleaning

  • Use disinfectants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19). (We’ll go over which of these qualify as green below.)
  • Increase cleaning of high-touch surfaces
  • Use appropriate PPE when necessary
  • Increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as you can
  • Ensure any disinfectants are allowed the necessary contact time to kill or deactivate the virus
  • Wear a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose at all times

None of this changes for commercial green cleaning companies. The big difference will be in the products you use. It gets a little tricky here, because there is only one Green Seal-certified disinfectant on the EPA’s List N. However, there are seven active ingredients that are deemed safer than many other chemicals and also approved by the EPA as effective against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19, although the two names are often used interchangeably in the non-scientific world). 

These ingredients are:

  • hydrogen peroxide (do not mix with peroxyacetic acid)
  • citric acid
  • lactic acid
  • ethyl alcohol
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • peroxyacetic acid (do not mix with hydrogen peroxide)
  • sodium bisulfate

There is a small number of products on the EPA’s List N that uses these active ingredients. Green Seal lists several of these products on their website, including: 

  • Force of Nature Activator Capsule (This is the only Green Seal certified product on the list, but it requires a 10-minute contact time.)
  • EnvirOx Critical Care
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaner
  • GOJO Industries PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfecting Cleaner
  • Ecolab’s Peroxide Multi-Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant
  • Diversey’s Oxivir TB Ready-to-Use Liquid
  • Lysol Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

Green Seal also suggests looking at the inactive ingredients to determine the overall safety and environmental impact of these products.

One important thing to mention here is that it’s best to be transparent and clear with your clients regarding any changes in cleaning products you use. If they’ve hired you specifically because of your green cleaning policies and you change products without telling them, you could end up with very upset customers. Get ahead of any potential problems and notify them of why you’re changing products. While COVID-19 hasn’t made it easy to maintain green cleaning practices, most people are understanding of why a different approach is necessary at this time.

In addition to altering your cleaning products, you may be using more materials, as well. Gloves, masks, and items like paper towels may be in higher demand. The best way to manage these supplies is to verify that, wherever possible, you’re sourcing these from responsible and environmentally-conscious vendors. 

Remember, too, that little things add up. It’s more important than ever to track your inventory and ensure you have the supplies you need to do your job. That’s good for keeping your overhead down, but it also cuts down on the amount of waste your commercial green cleaning business produces. 

A guide to commercial green cleaning for COVID-19: Personnel

One critical aspect of any cleaning business, but especially a commercial green cleaning business, is personnel. More than any product or supply list, it’s the people working for you that make the most significant difference in ensuring that COVID-19 doesn’t spread. 

Undoubtedly, you have a well-trained team. However, since we are living in a time that is different from anything most of us have experienced before, additional and updated training is essential. 

You may be busier than ever before, but it’s vital for the safety of your team and your customers to take time to learn or review several safety protocols. 

  • When to wear PPE and how to determine what PPE you need
  • How to properly put on and remove PPE
  • How to properly dispose of PPE
  • Proper preparation and use of cleaning and disinfecting products
  • How to handle cleaning and disinfecting products safely and correctly
  • How to dispose of used cleaners and disinfectants
  • Review the Bloodborne Pathogens standard set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Learn how infections spread and how you can implement infection control procedures into your routine

Don’t forget the people outside of your business, as well. One way you can increase the value you provide to your clients is to share what steps you are taking to ensure their safety. Additionally, provide them with tips on ways they can help keep their facilities safe. Distributing a short fact sheet may be sufficient here. 

Remember, commercial green cleaning isn’t just about taking steps to be environmentally friendly. It’s also about taking care of your people, customers and employees both.

Take charge of your cleaning services with Janitorial Manager where you can manage cleaning jobs, communicate with clients, and so much more. Schedule a free demo today to learn more!