My last tip dealt with a reader who cleans their house with baking soda, vinegar and ammonia and wanted to use natural products in the workplace, too. I recommended to leave the product decisions to distributors, manufacturers and others in charge. But the question brings up another interesting subject: janitors bringing their own products from home to clean professionally.

I caution people against bringing ANYTHING into work to clean unless approved by your supervisor. Others have written regarding their bringing in their favorite bleach, pine scent or some homemade glass cleaner in a sincere desire to keep chemical costs down or be environmentally friendly.

Most cleaning companies will have a firm policy against any worker bringing in chemicals that have not been approved by their safety expert. They will usually purchase their cleaning products from a qualified distributor who manufacturers the chemicals under strict standards, provides SDS sheets and different mixing stations to be sure the product is diluted to the correct ratio unless it is RTU (Ready to Use). Their reasons are both legal and practical.

First of all, OSHA (go to can be very strict on companies failing to comply with their guidelines for labeling, training, etc. due to their efforts to protect workers and tenants in a building. Violations can cost not only in legal fees and fines but also bad publicity for a company caught violating the published guidelines.

The practical reason for not allowing workers to bring in their own products is that it defeats the concept of standardization. Your company should have the XYZ way of cleaning which includes certain color coded chemicals used a certain way thereby resulting in the same outcomes each time. Please do not bring in anything from home.

Just remember that most of our homes would not pass a basic OSHA safety inspection if they were allowed to look under the kitchen sink. We need to be careful of products we use at home and treat them with caution and respect.

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