Find out whether RTU cleaning products or concentrated solutions are the right choice for your commercial cleaning company.
In the world of cleaning products, choosing the best is complicated. In most cases, the “best” depends mainly on what you plan to use it for. Even then, you almost always have a variety of options, not the least of which is deciding between concentrates or ready-to-use products (more commonly called RTU cleaning products).
We could write volumes and have lengthy discussions about the multitude of variables that determine what makes any product the best in a given situation. But for now, we’re keeping it to just looking at these RTU cleaning products and concentrates.
While each option has benefits and drawbacks, there are characteristics of these products that make one a generally better choice for you and your cleaning business. So let’s grab the dustpan and sweep up the pros, cons, and details of each.
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How to determine whether RTU cleaning products or concentrates are right for you
Perhaps the easiest way to compare RTU cleaning products and concentrates is to detail the differences.
- Packaging is less resource-intensive since containers are usually smaller compared to RTU cleaning products, meaning they can be more environmentally friendly.
- They generally take up less storage space.
- Concentrates tend to last longer since the product is just a tiny part of the complete cleaning solution.
- Can be more expensive in the short term, though they are generally more cost-effective over the long term.
- Require you to correctly measure and mix them with water before use.
RTU cleaning products
- Packaging is usually larger and more resource-intensive as compared to concentrates.
- Require more storage space.
- Can often be initially less expensive compared to concentrates.
- Are “ready to use” without any additional measuring or mixing.
- Save time since they don’t need to be mixed.
- There is no need to worry about making the cleaning solution too strong or weak.
- Offer consistent performance.
As you can see, RTU cleaning products have the advantage of being less expensive (short term), and they don’t require your team to do any measuring or mixing. In fact, those are two of the most significant factors in favor of RTU cleaning products.
Outside of the commercial cleaning industry, many business owners and managers prefer RTU products because they worry that employees won’t properly dilute a concentrate, leading to waste. However, it’s not unheard of to find that same line of thinking in the professional cleaning industry.
One of the ways around this concern, (and a way to get the benefits of both concentrate and RTU cleaning products) is through using dispensing systems, where the concentrate and water are automatically portioned. Of course, as a commercial cleaning business, that may or may not be helpful, depending on how many locations you service and whether they have the space and inclination to install a dispenser.
As for concentrates, they tend to be more environmentally friendly, which is an important factor if you want to work on LEED-certified projects or offer sustainable or green cleaning services. And if your team is adequately trained on how to dilute them, they can be long-lasting.
Concentrates can also be far more cost-effective once you look beyond the initial expense. As one of many examples, it’s about $12 more to buy the concentrated version of a particular brand of rug shampoo than it is to get the RTU version.
In a different example, the cost of a 12-bottle carton of one RTU disinfectant on the market is $94. At 32-ounces per bottle, you get 384 ounces. The same cleaner in concentrated form is $77, which, is less expensive in this case.
However, when properly diluted to the recommended 1:16 ratio, that concentrate gives you around 1,500 ounces of cleaner. And in case you’re curious, that’s approximately 24 cents per ounce for these RTU cleaning products vs. about 5 cents per ounce for the concentrated version. So, in this case, the RTU cleaner is five times more expensive than the concentrate.
In other words, your team would need to waste a lot of product and time to make the concentrate truly more expensive. Add that to that the extra packaging and storage space, and it becomes clear that the main selling point for RTU cleaning products is their convenience.
While that certainly has its place, especially if you’re in a rush or need to cut costs temporarily, it seems clear that concentrates are most often a better choice for commercial cleaners.
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