Whether you’re in facility management or you’re just looking at different options for commercial cleaning in DC, you’ve no doubt heard about green cleaning. What, though, does green cleaning in DC look like today?
Unfortunately, the meaning of the term “green cleaning” has become somewhat murky and ambiguous. Some commercial cleaning companies might say they use green cleaning in DC, but what exactly does that mean? After all, saying products are “green” doesn’t just make it so.
Since green cleaning has become so popular, some cleaning companies look to capitalize on the trend. Instead of actually providing real green cleaning in DC, they offer cleaning that still has the same toxic, harmful chemicals.
This in no way should turn you off of the idea of using green cleaning for your property. The benefits of real green cleaning in DC are numerous – not just in terms of being environmentally friendly, but also because of how green cleaning affects the health of you and your employees. It’s just a matter of finding the right green cleaning company in DC – the one with experience and actual green-cleaning know-how.
Let’s take a look at commercial green cleaning – what it means, why it’s important, and how to find real green cleaning in DC.
What is Commercial Green Cleaning in DC?
If you walk into any grocery store right now, you can probably find a bottle of floor polish or window cleaner that has the word “green” on it somewhere. Some might even have labels or logos verifying that it meets special requirements of green cleaning standards.
While this is good for personal use, green cleaning in a commercial capacity is a much larger endeavor.
When it comes to commercial green cleaning in DC, the very first thing you need to look for before making a decision is whether or not the company is certified. The right certification is the difference between you getting an average commercial cleaning and one that has gone through extensive green cleaning training and only uses green cleaning products, procedures, and equipment.
As you can see, commercial green cleaning is about much more than just green cleaning products, although the cleaning products are a vital component.
- Green Cleaning Products: Of course, the first thing that probably comes to mind when you think of green cleaning products is that it’s good for the environment. This is absolutely true; before green cleaning products came along, people were forced to clean with extremely toxic materials that ended up seeping into the environment and sometimes causing a lot of damage.
What you might not think about is the damage that cleaning products are also doing to the health of you and your company’s employees. While we’ve been somewhat conditioned over the years to think something is clean when we smell bleach, the vapors that are inhaled from some cleaning chemicals are toxic and can actually do a number on your health over time. Same can be said for just about all cleaning products before the advent of green cleaning. Today, everything from floor cleaners, to window cleaners, and even to paper towels, is a part of the green cleaning family.
- Green Cleaning Procedures: Once a commercial cleaning company decides to go completely green, it doesn’t stop at just the products. Proper procedures have to be put in place. These procedures help establish what techniques are used during the cleaning process. They’re designed to be safe, effective, and to reduce the waste of cleaning materials. Every cleaning task has its own green cleaning procedure. As a general rule of thumb, green cleaning procedures are more efficient and provide a safer environment for everyone in your building while, at the same time, minimizing waste.
- Green Cleaning Maintenance & Equipment: Having the right products and the right procedures wouldn’t really do a lot of good if you used a dusty, old vacuum cleaner, right? This is why even vacuum cleaners have to meet the Carpet and Rug Institute’s requirements for green cleaning. Other powered equipment must meet specific noise levels, while gas-powered equipment must have a low emissions certification.
Why Is Green Cleaning in DC Important?
There are a number of reasons why your business should consider turning to a green cleaning service to meet your need for professional commercial cleaning. And, honestly, most of them have to do with the harmful effects of traditional cleaning products.
Traditional cleaners that are not green cleaners can be the potential cause of problems such as irritation of the eyes, skin, or lungs – and they could eventually lead to diseases or conditions. The severities of these risks are dependent upon the type of building or workplace, and on how long your staff occupies the building.
For example, people who work in hospitals are exposed to these cleaning chemicals for longer durations of time because they tend to work longer hours. In addition to improving the health of employees, green cleaning products create a healthier environment for customers as well.
By using a commercial cleaning service that specializes in green cleaning, you are not only providing a healthy place of employment, but you are also contributing to the productivity of your staff by reducing their risk of getting sick. Green cleaners that provide healthy and environmentally friendly office cleaning services and use green products greatly reduce allergy symptoms and reactions to cleaning chemicals.
If for nothing else, think about it this way: When your employees get sick, they miss work. If they’re not there, work isn’t getting done. You end up losing money because of it. Using a commercial green cleaning company greatly reduces the amount of downtime you have with sick employees. Over time, that adds up to a considered amount of money saved.
What Makes a Commercial Cleaning Company Truly Green?
When it comes green cleaning certification, the “green standard,” if you will, is Green Seal. Founded in 1989, Green Seal has grown to symbolize environmental leadership and represent proven-green products and services.
Green Seal has 33 issued standards for green cleaning that cover 400 products and service categories. In order for a commercial cleaning company to earn the Green Seal Standard for Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services certification (known as the GS-42 certification), it has to go through rigorous training and testing.
One of the requirements for the certification is that all employees who clean must take 24 hours of classes and testing yearly. This includes learning about OSHA standards and green cleaning. New hires must take a 12-hour course before the end of their first year of employment.
A company hoping to get the GS-42 certification has to have an established criterion for the products they purchase and use – chemicals, soaps, paper towels, toilet paper, equipment such as vacuum cleaners, etc. They also have to have a communication program, meaning they have to establish a way to communicate with the building occupants and the community because – let’s be honest – you can’t have a good, clean, and healthy building if everyone doesn’t participate.
Communication is an extremely important part of green cleaning.
The commercial cleaning company has to submit all types of documentation, such as the company’s training, chemical tracking, the maintenance on their machines, and a lot more to basically show they’re doing what they say they’re doing.
Commercial cleaning companies training for the GS-42 certification can’t just go out, buy some green products, put them on their shelves, and call it a day. That’s the smallest part of it.
The standard takes a systems approach to cleaning. Guidance is provided for tools and products used for cleaning and includes staff training and planning.
The standard also includes emphasis on environmental improvements that reduce toxicity, waste, and exposure to both building occupants and custodial staff. The standard can serve as a tool to help companies begin to take action to improve their cleaning service, and it is available for Green Seal certification.
As you can see, when a commercial cleaning service goes through all of this in order to become GS-42 certified, they are committing to more than just becoming part of the latest trend. They are committed to making sure your company is clean and healthy for you, your employees, and the environment.
Make the Wise Choice
So, just saying your commercial cleaning company uses green cleaning simply isn’t enough. For real green cleaning in DC, your company deserves to know exactly what you’re getting – and what you’re not.
In the DC area, more businesses look to The Wilburn Company for their green cleaning needs, and with good reason. The Wilburn Company prides itself on having the Green Seal’s stamp of approval, the GS-42 certification. They also have a staff trained in the very latest techniques, tools, and products for green cleaning.
Being in the nation’s capital, The Wilburn Company knows there are a lot of government facilities in and around the DC area. That’s why The Wilburn Company employs dedicated, highly trained, and cleared employees who are experts at providing green cleaning services to secure facilities. This enables The Wilburn Company to be the premier provider of government cleaning services and commercial cleaning services throughout the area.
Your business deserves the best, and The Wilburn Company is happy to provide it. Contact us today to see how we can help you with green cleaning in DC.