According to recent research conducted by Underwriters Laboratories, 65 percent of those questioned do not believe cleaning products have improved much in the past five years when it comes to product safety. Further, 73 percent of consumers contacted do not believe household chemical manufacturers have taken adequate steps to ensure that “environmentally friendly” manufacturing procedures are followed.
This has come as a surprise for those companies that produce green cleaning products for the professional cleaning industry. Making matters worse, some of the largest chemical manufacturers in the industry were singled out as having “failing grades” when it comes to product safety.
But perhaps the idea that consumers do not trust the safety of chemicals should not come as a surprise. Some observers in the professional cleaning industry have noticed a small but apparently growing trend that seems to support these findings. More and more of our clients are trying to find ways to perform hygienic, effective cleaning without using any chemicals whatsoever. This trend has even been given a nickname: “extreme cleaning.” This name most likely came from a recently published book on the subject entitled Extreme Green Cleaning, which was written by Vince Elliot, a consultant in the professional cleaning industry.
In his book, Elliot argues that when it comes to chemicals, the cleaning industry has been evolving. We have gone from the conventional cleaning chemicals that have been used for decades to new green cleaning chemicals that have become popular in the past five to ten years. However, the next step in this evolution is what Elliot calls chemical-free cleaning. This could be the ultimate in green cleaning.
Elliot also believes that using no chemicals may actually keep surfaces cleaner. This is because chemicals have a tendency to leave a film or residue on surfaces that can act as a magnet for soils, causing resoiling–a common problem after cleaning carpets.
Cleaning without Chemicals
Does chemical-free cleaning mean that cleaning workers should continue to perform their regular cleaning tasks in the same manner but without chemicals? Far from it–no advocate would suggest this. And while chemical manufacturers in the industry are paying attention to the evolution of chemical-free cleaning, they are not gritting their teeth in fear for the future of their businesses. Most manufacturers say they strongly believe that chemicals—whether green or conventional—will always play a crucial role in cleaning activities.