Engineered water and chemical-free technologies are changing how facility managers think about cleaning programs

Cleaning with chemicals is ingrained in the industry’s psyche. And while there will always be a place for chemicals in keeping facilities clean and safe, chemical-free and engineered water technologies are becoming more widely accepted as an alternative or adjunct to traditional cleaning methods.

Although the technology itself is not new, these alternative options have only recently begun to win over skeptics in the cleaning industry with products that meet Green Seal’s standards for environmental health, safety and performance. This, coupled with the drive to adopt “greener” cleaning practices, is starting to convince facility cleaning executives that engineered water technologies are a worthwhile investment.

“I think the technologies are awesome,” says Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group in Los Angeles. “There are huge environmental benefits because of the upstream impacts that these devices have. They eliminate the environmental impacts from extracting raw materials that go into making the chemicals, as well as manufacturing those ingredients into effective chemical products. They also eliminate the environmental impact from the plastic bottles that we package chemicals in, the cardboard shipping cartons, and the disposal and recycling of those packaging items.”

In addition to being sustainable, using engineered water can reduce chemical costs, as well as the health and safety concerns associated with mixing and using cleaning chemicals.

“There are roughly 600,000 workers injured every year from improper handling of chemicals,” says Vince Elliott, president of Elliott Affiliates, Baltimore. “These [engineered water] technologies are safer and healthier for workers and occupants of the building.”

Furthermore, by eliminating the common problem of improper dilution ratios, engineered water options improve the quality of cleaning, according to Ian Greig, president of Daniels Associates, in Phoenix.

“I’m not against chemicals,” he says, “but they need to be used at the right concentration. Sometimes people aren’t trained in the measurement of chemicals and how much active ingredient to use. This can affect the quality of work.”

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