Three years ago, The Wilburn Company officially became GS-42 certified by Green Seal. This notable distinction signaled that our company met green cleaning service requirements, including:
- Reducing chemical waste through the efficient use of chemicals
- Reducing solid waste
- Optimizing cleaning frequencies
- Providing continuing training to staff
- Ensuring transparent communication with clients and employees
But the journey didn’t end there.
While earning our GS-42 certification took commitment, keeping it requires ongoing effort, as well. Green Seal, the nonprofit organization responsible for confirming green cleaning services, is continually updating their standards, and maintaining the certification rightfully requires persistence in compliance.
Continuing to provide green cleaning means staying on the cutting edge of the industry through ongoing training, innovation, and optimization. With that in mind – and with help from Green Seal – here’s what’s new with green cleaning services in 2021.
1. Updated disinfection guidelines.
One of the biggest trends to come out of 2020 was an emphasis on safe, healthy, and effective disinfecting procedures.
The vast majority of green cleaning disinfecting techniques were in place prior to the pandemic. But in the wake of it, Green Seal released updated guidelines to reflect scientific understanding of the particular characteristics of the COVID-19 virus.
Disinfecting best practices are broken down into five steps:
- Create a cleaning and disinfecting plan.
- Ensure that cleaning personnel are properly trained.
- Maintain sustainability and healthy indoor air.
- Communicate the cleaning and disinfecting plan.
- Provide safer working conditions.
While many disinfecting techniques are unchanged from before 2020, some updates – including training on COVID-19 protocols, communication around suspected COVID-19 cases, and working conditions that account for social distancing – reflect the effects of the pandemic.
2. Updated cleaning products.
Green Seal also updated product guidelines to reflect considerations of environmental impact, human impact, and effectiveness in combatting viruses.
While disinfecting products can’t be certified by third parties because, as they’re designed to kill pathogens, they can’t be completely harmless, there are lists of recommendedproducts. Green Seal, for instance, recommends choosing disinfecting products with one of the following active ingredients:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Citric acid
- Lactic acid
- Ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol or just alcohol)
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Peroxyacetic acid
- Sodium bisulfate
- Hypochlorous acid
The EPA itself approves the first six ingredients in that list as being safer than traditional disinfecting chemicals while maintaining effectiveness.
In addition to disinfecting products, updates are also being made in the realm of microbial cleaning products. These products are designed using naturally occurring ingredients to reduce or eliminate hazardous solvents and surfactants. Unlike petroleum-based cleaning products, they tend to break down more quickly, leading to a reduced impact on aquatic life.
While Green Seal’s updated guidelines won’t be finalized until April, the current proposed guidelines on microbial products are available here.
3. Improved processes.
Finally, in addition to abiding by updated disinfecting procedures and using updated cleaning products, green cleaning services are also dedicated to continually improving operational processes. As always, the goal is to reduce any negative impacts of cleaning on environmental and human health while keeping people safe.
At The Wilburn Company, we’ve taken process optimization seriously.
As we’ve written before, our barcoding app also enables more efficient work assignments; managers create lists of tasks that become coded into barcodes. Employees scan the codes to see their tasks, and all of the information for each shift is fully visible for clients and managers.
Our new auditing process also provides total transparency into the status of our cleaning services over time. Built into that process are checklists to ensure compliance with GS-42 standards and recommendations. In 2020, we updated this to include things like closet ordering instructions, PPE regulations, lock box information, and updated information on cleaning processes and products.
The bottom line is that, in alignment with the ongoing development of green cleaning standards, we’re always seeking to improve our services for effectiveness and health.
Looking for green cleaning services for your facility?
At The Wilburn Company, we’re honored to have maintained our GS-42 certification for the past three years, and we look forward to continuing to provide green cleaning services that keep buildings safe and people healthy.
In 2021 and beyond, we’re committed to staying on the cutting edge to deliver services you and your occupants can trust.
If you have any questions about the developments with green cleaning services listed above (or about cleaning services in general), let us know. Remember, commercial cleaning isn’t just a utility; it’s a critical factor in maintaining the health of people, the condition of buildings, and the safety of our environment.
And, if you’re interested in upgrading the commercial cleaning services at your facility, get in touch with us today.