COVID-19 RECOVERY - Products and Solutions to help your business move forward - Learn More



Green Trends in the Cleaning Industry That Are Here to Stay

Grainger Editorial Staff

Whether you are a cleaning service provider or considering the cleaning you do in your own facility, you’re probably wondering how you can be more green in your cleaning practices. Many cleaning methods involve many different kinds of harsh chemicals. These harsh chemicals come in heavily packaged containers and take up space. Using heavy chemicals can also have a negative effect on cleaning staff or anyone else exposed to them regularly.

As technology advances, cleaning is being swept up by more environmentally friendly approaches. Advances in science have made it easier to clean without having to resort to those abrasive bleaches and cleansers. Consumers demanding greener practices have pushed cleaning service vendors to take a look at what they offer, and how they offer it, to make cleaning go green.

Fewer Chemicals

Scientists and engineers have been working to find ways to achieve the same high level of clean we expect without the use of abrasive chemicals. Many strides have been made in offering these new chemical-free methods to businesses across many industries. The most successful so far is activated (or engineered) water and dry steam.

Activated Water

Did you ever think you could clean away dirt, grease and bacteria with just water and salt? That is what is happening with Electro Chemical Activation (ECA). Many food industries have already started implementing cleaning systems that use electrochemically activated water to clean their products, which eliminates the harsher solvents from the food processing operation. It works by adding an electrical charge to salt water, which enables the water to break up oils and bacteria similarly to how detergents act now.

Dry Steam

Steam is hot—but not all steam is created equal. In dry steam cleaning, water is superheated to a much higher temperature. This creates steam that has a higher pressure and less water molecules. Combine these two and what you have is a powerful cleaning tool that requires no chemicals at all. It is called “dry steam” because of the low moisture concentration. Dry steam cleaners can clean spots, disinfect surfaces and kills microbes efficiently with its high heat.

Microfiber Cloths

If you are still using that scrub brush and sponge mop, you will soon be trading them in for items made of microfiber cloths. What makes microfiber materials so much better for cleaning? These materials are made of thousands of tiny fibers—much more so than traditional cleaning materials. These fibers are also smaller, and this enables them to pick up smaller particles. The microfibers act like a magnet, picking up dust, dirt and even some bacteria that normally get left behind. And since the particles are naturally attracted to the fibers, detergent is not always necessary to clean all of your surfaces.

Consuming Less Cleaning Products

Even if you are still using traditional cleansers and detergents, it is still possible to be greener in your approach. Cleaning products are among many other types of materials that are guilty of heavy packaging. The more packaging an item has, the more materials it uses. The more materials it uses; the more materials get wasted that could possibly be saved.

Many companies that sell green cleaning products have begun to take part in source reduction—that is, using fewer materials up front. This can be done in several ways—some you may already have seen in goods you purchase for your facility. Some companies have changed the materials their products are packaged in to be more environmentally friendly. Others have changed the makeup of their packaging to use less of the same materials. Some cleaning vendors change the formula of their product to be stronger—for example, concentrated detergent. This way, you get the same amount of cleaning agent in a smaller bottle, and you use a smaller amount. Reducing waste through greener packaging is the first step to a more environmentally friendly cleaning process.

A Cleaner Future

While advances like activated water and dry steam may seem like new or futuristic cleaning systems, the science behind them is not. It is only just recently that these types of cleaning systems are being put to use and available to your facility in an affordable way. Methods of chemical-free cleaning are a lasting change that all those in the cleaning industry can expect to see more and more of. Coupled with better cleaning tools, green cleaning products and materials, a greener cleaning future is available right now.



The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

Featured Resources

New: OSHA's Top 10 for FY 2021


Take a Break with Grainger


More Equipment KnowHow


Get more great content like this sent to your inbox.