It’s Important to Stay Safe, but Here’s How to Green Clean Your Business During the Pandemic

It’s Important to Stay Safe, but Here’s How to Green Clean Your Business During the Pandemic

Almost every business is now cleaning more than ever since the new coronavirus broke out in order to keep the virus away. It’s certainly important, and it has become a topic that CEOs and other high-level executives talk about now.


“It’s way down the food chain. I don’t think that a real estate CEO was ever involved in a decision-making conversation about the cleaning side of the business. Of course now, cleaning, disinfecting and COVID mitigation are probably the No. 1 topic of every CEO,” said Green Seal CEO Doug Gatlin.


Gatlin stated that the janitorial industry is widely outsourced because it’s a hard sector to make a profit. But now, in order to make employees and customers feel safe, businesses have been using cleaning strategies.


This hyper cleaning was met with criticism, notably Derek Thompson, writer at Atlantic who said that it’s a huge waste of time, since WHO hasn’t recorded a coronavirus infection from a surface since early July.


However, green cleaning experts see that this trend can be a good opportunity to educate consumers and businesses about better alternatives to harsh chemical disinfectants with more efficient technologies and procedures.


Companies and businesses have started cleaning everything multiple times a day and they should be

aware of what’s inside the products. It may be harmful for people’s health in the long run, and it is harmful for the environment/wildlife.


So, in order to stay safe and green during the pandemic, here’s what you need to know.


Use List N to know green products that help getting rid of Covid19

There are countless of cleaning solution available right now, which makes it harder for us to choose. But there’s a way to filter those options: List N Tool. It’s developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and it identifies 478 products that work against the virus.


Not all have been directly tested against the virus, but they’re capable of killing viruses deemed harder to eradicate than the Covid19 pathogen, making them eligible. After all, the virus has a lipid shell and it’s very fragile to cleaning and disinfecting.


Steve Ashkin, founder of the Ashkin Group, stated that it’s also important to use a product from List N that uses antimicrobial ingredients approved by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program.


It lists certain active ingredients found to be safer for human health and the environment, which are citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, L-lactic acid, ethanol, isopropanol, peroxyacetic acid, and sodium bisulfate. We have to make sure that those green products actually kill the virus.


“Some people want to use the harshest, strongest products out there. Some people think that’s somehow going to be better or more effective. But you can’t kill the virus deader than dead,” said Ashkin.


Foggers vs sprayers

aerosol disinfectant sold out when there was an outbreak. photo by Philafrenzy Wikimedia Commons

There are two popular types of technologies used to clean surfaces: foggers and electrostatic sprayers. Experts believe electrostatic sprayers offer a chance for more sustainable and better cleaning while foggers are perceived to be dangerous and are not recommended by the CDC.


Sprayers aerosolize particles in chemical cleaners to coat the surfaces of desks, furniture and other surfaces with less solution than traditional cleaning methods.


Gatlin stated that we can use two thirds less formula with these sprayers. Although, many janitors are using electrostatic sprayers with cleaners and disinfectants that are not formulated for aerosolized applications.


“You could actually have a double whammy. You could be spraying stuff into the air that isn’t safe in an aerosol form. And then it may not even be effective against controlling coronavirus,” said Gatlin.


Now, foggers, on the other hand, pump aerosol cleaner into an entire room. They distribute the disinfectant, a chemical substance, indiscriminately. The residue settles on papers, water bottles, chairs, and many things that lasts for days to months.


Additionally, foggers have been linked to asthma flare-ups and other health issues. Some are necessary for cleaning large spaces quickly such as mass transit, but experts said that they’re not ideal for an office environment.


Strategize cleaning to make it more successful and efficient

clean effectively in places where it’s actually needed. photo by Eusko Jaurlaritza Wikimedia Commons

A strategy is needed so that businesses can avoid overcleaning or cleaning for cleaning’s sake. Since surface transmission related to this virus is low, cleaning every surface shouldn’t be the main goal—this can overwhelm people.


Areas that should be focused on are the ones frequently touched such as light switches, door handles, and elevator buttons.


Note that simply spraying and immediately wiping up a disinfected won’t kill the virus, and cleaning people need to know that. Products need anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes of wet saturation to kill the virus. List N outlines how long is needed for each product.


Business owners can also apply health porter concept, which is basically people on standby who respond to any immediate cleaning and disinfecting needs.


Health porter’s job could involve cleaning a conference room after a large meeting or disinfecting the elevators during the rushes at the beginning and end of the day, and during lunch breaks.


Using strategized cleaning, we’re trying to stay away from the virus in effective, responsible, and environment-friendly ways.


Disinfectants kill everything

Everything, including the good kinds of bacteria and microbes which are good for the environment and our health. That is why it’s important to reintroduce good bacteria back into homes and offices in a controlled way.


Probiotic cleaners such as Veo and Counter Culture Clean use probiotics to continue cleaning long after someone has put the sponge and mop away.


Some of the biggest companies in the world already use this method. After applying a toxic disinfectant, The New York Stock Exchange’s final step in its deep clean was to add a layer of Z BioScience Enviro-Mist Microflora spray, a probiotic cleaner, to protect the area for a few more days.


Clemens Heikaus, head of Novozymes’ microbial cleaning department, said, “Let the disinfection happen first, with harsh chemistry. But then reintroduce a known entity back so that the surface continues to clean itself.”


Get help from third parties

If you, as an eco-conscious business owner, feel overwhelmed by the things you need to do to green clean your business, you don’t have to do it all alone. There are industries ready to help you through this.


Some people are setting up a plan and bringing in experts to help guide them, while also working with certified providers with knowledge of the best approaches that support risk reduction and also reduce negative impacts to human health.


Third party organizations and standards like Green Seal’s Disinfecting Guidelines and UL’s COVID-19 support and services program can help you confirm an approach and make sure everything’s safe, sustainable, and successful. They can also evaluate cleaning procedures and indoor air quality.


We know that all our efforts to be environment-friendly and sustainable have to be paused because of the pandemic. And now, we should change and adapt our sustainability.


Right now, and until there’s a good solution to get rid of this virus, business owners should focus on innovations which are sustainable and not harmful to human as well as environment health.


Everything’s been more complicated because of the new coronavirus, don’t you think? Let’s hope this ends soon.



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