A reader asks: "I use a well known powdered cleanser with bleach every day in servicing restrooms. My customer has stated that this product is not "green" and that it will damage the new sinks and counters. Is this true?"

The short answer is that you are running the risk of damaging the sinks (synthetic materials) and the counters (a synthetic marble) by using a powdered cleanser that has grit/abrasives in it. I recommend you cease using it immediately and only use such a product in restorative work where nothing else works.

For example, I had an old, abused set of restrooms with the old-fashioned enameled sinks, porcelain sinks and urinals. They were extensively pitted and stained to the extent that regular safer products were ineffective. I tested a small area first and then had the customer approve the process with the warning that if there was any original protection left (which was doubtful due to the observed pitting) that the powdered cleaner might remove it. The customer was so impressed that I had been able to make any improvements that he approved.

From that point forward, we utilized the powdered cleanser only as a last resort when the pitted surfaces became stained again. In day-to-day cleaning, we used a mild detergent/disinfectant that was effective in cleaning the surface but was unable to bleach out the stains that slowly built up over time.

As to the product not being green, your customer is correct. The bleach, Tri-sodium phosphate and other chemical compounds are potentially hazardous at many levels.

Please use caution with these products and ask your distributor for safer, greener alternatives.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.