Splashing Water

A reader writes: “My company is testing a couple of water-based programs to replace the chemicals we currently are using. Is this safe?”

Before we get too far, please understand that I am a generalist in my knowledge on this subject. The question you are asking is beyond my expertise, so I will defer to the chemists and specialists in this field.

Based on my limited experience thus far, these products certainly have promise of being cost effective and green. However, since there are several different processes on the market, I am going to address some basic points/questions to consider when selecting the best option for your needs:

  1. Is it effective in “killing” pathogens (think germs that can make you sick or even kill you)? If so, how effective is it? I use the general categories of clean, sanitize, disinfect and sterilize to describe efficacy or kill rate.
  2. Does the product have an EPA registration number, which means that the Environmental Protection Agency has approved it as a disinfectant? In most cases, the label and SDS will have specific details as to what is and is not destroyed when directions are followed.
  3. What is the shelf life? I remember a product a few years ago that admitted to being effective for just a few seconds and then reverted to ordinary tap water. I am not sure how effective it was for day-to-day cleaning, but there are newer technologies that tout much longer shelf life today.
  4. How is it produced? Some of the systems I have seen have a carafe (similar to an old fashion coffee pot) that converts the tap water to a different state. Others utilize salts or other chemicals with an electrical charge. There are other variations. Do your research to find what might fit best for your processes.
  5. Can your average worker (or on-site supervisor) manufacture the product with an assurance that it is safe and effective? My concern here is that a “trained” worker is off for a week or leaves and the remaining staff do not understand the process.
  6. How does the product you are testing compare to the product you are replacing? First, effectiveness? Second, ease of use? Third, green? Fourth, overall cost?

I highly recommend that you be objective in your evaluation of any new system and make informed decisions based on data and science.

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.