Building Operating Management

Work With Vendors On Training Program To Maximize Effectiveness Of Green Cleaning Chemicals, Methods

Making the switch to green cleaning is a hands-on proposition, say experts and practitioners, and often requires the assistance of suppliers to make the most of new chemicals and methods. To be successful in the transition, work with your vendors on a training program for proper implementation of green cleaning chemicals and methods.

"I think the most important benefit is training of the cleaners with proper use of chemicals and materials for their own protection and a protection of the occupants," says Bill Garland, managing director of Daniels Associates.

To maximize green cleaning efforts, Bishop says he recommends working with distributors. "All have some form of a green cleaning line, and most are great about hands-on training for organizations that use their products," he says.

Sometimes the benefits of training are underrated, but new products always require a bit of training, to maximize both product performance and worker efficiency, says Woodard.

"We use the manufacturers of the products," he notes. "It's useful to have staff understand the goal and mission of the products to ensure that we clean as effectively as possible."

Following the required manufacturer demo and assistance with staff training, Woodard's staff then pilots the new method or chemical before staging a full roll-out campus-wide.

"We've developed product evaluations for a variety of things," Woodard says. "We ask staff to compare the new against the old," looking for things like of ease of use, ergonomics, exertion required, effectiveness, and more.

For chemicals, Woodard also will ask for feedback related to matters like smell and product efficacy, as well as whether it is easy to dilute and if the product label contains explanations for use.

Length of the pilot is determined by the kind of product being tested. "We had a 30-day test for flat mops," he said, "but the [Green Seal rated] floor finishes have been piloted for more than a year." Because floor finishing is usually performed a couple of times a year at most, the university wanted to go through a cycle or two to determine how easy it was to strip and apply the finish, as well as its durability.

Once a product or method has been approved through a pilot program, facility managers recommend extensive staff training to maximize performance. If staff is up to date with latest techniques, they'll be able to use less water and fewer chemicals and be more efficient with labor time.

For any organization just beginning to implement green cleaning, the task can seem daunting. After all, cleaning affects every portion of a building.

Woodard recommends that facility managers phase in green cleaning methods.

"Don't do everything at once," he says. "Determine what is least green in everyday cleaning use. Or assess paper products, for example, and then move to next category."

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  posted on 5/15/2013   Article Use Policy

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