Many janitors and supervisors remember the “good old days” when chemicals were dispensed by the “glug-glug” system. However the needs to control cost and improve safety created an opportunity for companies to design dilution control tools for the janitorial market.

When it comes to dilution control, there are many options available: chemical proportioners, plastic pumps, containers with built-in metering tips and more. One tool gaining in popularity with building service contractors is premeasured chemical packets. Preportioned chemicals come in packets that are mixed with water at any water source. Some products are even available in water-soluable packets that dissolve while mixing. Practically all chemicals are available, from all-purpose cleaners to floor finishes to germicides to floor cleaners and more. They can be mixed in spray bottles, mop buckets, autoscrubbers, extractors and anywhere else you would use chemicals.

Chemical proportioners require mounting and contractors are reporting their customers no longer want to drill holes in the walls. Obviously with packets, walls are not damaged since no holes are required. Wall-mounted proportioners also limit janitor mobility. For example, if the only unit is in the basement, carrying chemicals to any other floor is tedious and often strenuous work. Packets, on the other hand, are easily portable. Janitors can use any readily available water source, which reduces fatigue and saves the labor time required to return to a closet to replenish spray bottles, mop buckets, autoscrubbers, etc. More than one wall-mounted proportioner will be needed in a facility to alleviate these concerns.

Some distributors promise free proportioners when purchasing specific chemicals, but frankly there is no such thing as a “free” dispenser. The BSC is paying for the dispenser in the cost of the chemical. Once the supplier has recouped dispenser cost, the contractor keeps on paying.

Product dilution from packets is comparable to solutions obtained from wall-mounted dispensers and should be better than that from plastic pumps. Plastic pumps are not as accurate, and because of the limited ratios, precise measuring is not possible for various products.

Packet pilferage is a frequent concern among preportioned chemical users, but restricting the number of packets a janitor has access to will reduce this problem. Determine how many packets are needed for each day’s tasks and only give the janitor this exact count each day.

Skip Seal is a trainer and consultant with more than 30 years management experience in the cleaning industry. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) ISSA Certification Expert (I.C.E.). Seal and his team offer support across the country with sales and operation analysis, new market penetration, and sales training. He can be reached at