A reader writes: "I use vinegar to clean toilets, ammonia to clean windows and baking soda to clean sinks, tubs, etc. at home. Why can’t I use these natural products at work instead of the poisons they make me use?"

Can you imagine walking into a building that first smells like pine scent on the first floor and the second floor smells lemony while the third floor smells like salad dressing? We could go with the various odors that could be generated by home-derived "natural" cleaning products and the IAQ (indoor air quality) would be a nightmare. In addition, think of one worker mixing the ammonia (which is not a natural product) with some bleach and pine scent in an attempt to develop a stronger cleaner. As most of us know, he/she could not only kill themselves but injure other’s sinuses, lungs and overall health.

You do not seem to have a clear understanding of the pH scale and how acids and alkalis (base) chemicals should not be mixed unless the mixer knows what they are doing. This is one time I vote for the manufacturer/distributor who has already learned how to create a safe, environmentally friendly product that is color coded and labeled correctly. Please do not try to be a "Junior Chemist" when there are far safer alternatives.

I highly recommend you consult with your onsite supervisor and ask for training on not only how to use the products in your inventory correctly and safely but also why they chose a particular line of chemicals. Ask them to safely demonstrate some of the hazards involved in mixing the wrong chemicals (even natural ones) the wrong way. Although your desire to be green or save money is commendable, your understanding of key concepts may just save your job and or your life.

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