While engineered water technologies often depend on water, thereby eliminating the need to dilute and mix chemicals, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. After a period of time, some of these solutions will revert back to water; therefore, custodial executives need to ask their suppliers about the solutions’ stability.

“If your cleaning workers have four hours to clean, the solution has to be stable for four hours,” says Ashkin. “You can’t come in the next day and top off your spray bottles. You have to empty and refill them. So people have to be aware of the shelf life of the product and how it fits into their cleaning process.”

Additionally, these technologies are not suitable for all cleaning applications, such as heavy grease and soil removal or critical care applications that require a hospital-grade disinfectant. But as these technologies continue to evolve, proponents of engineered water and chemical-free options urge the industry to give them a chance.

“Look at the whole life cycle analysis when considering the technology,” says Hesselink. “I think the technology has been around long enough to prove it works, so people need to give it a chance and move beyond that testing mode.”

Ashkin agrees and stresses that this is the direction the industry is heading.

“It behooves facility managers to try these new technologies,” he says. “They can’t just bury their heads in the sand. We as an industry can make a difference by providing products and services that not only clean effectively, but reduce environmental impacts.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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