Being “green” and being “sustainable” is not the same thing. The federal government defines green as products and services that reduce health and environmental impacts compared to similar products and services used for the same purpose. Sustainability, on the other hand, can be represented with a three-legged stool having a leg for environmental, social and financial responsibility. Ronnie Wendt has spent many years differentiating between the two to help businesses move down the path toward greater sustainability. Below are a series of articles Wendt did for Cleanlink.com to further sustainability, reduce environmental impacts and promote green cleaning.
In September 2015, Pine Crest Nursing Home joined the ranks of a growing number of nursing homes in North America that have implemented a new airborne pathogen reduction technology designed to counter HAIs. Novaerus technology essentially “scrubs the air” to keep infections at bay. It provides 24/7 protection from airborne pathogens by passing air through its patented disruptive plasma field, which is basically a wall of high-intensity, ultraviolet radiation that safely destroys virus’ protein biofilms, breaks down the cell walls of bacteria, and denatures mold, allergens and odors.
In 2013, a study of this device by scientists at Microsearch Laboratories, revealed that the Novaerus system killed all but 0.001 percent of bacterial cells, bacterial spores, mold and yeast. The study found that the technology destroyed all but one billionth of a percent of viruses like influenza and norovirus, and that cleaning the air in this fashion also kept surfaces cleaner. In fact, lab tests found microbe counts were reduced on surfaces by up to 90 percent when the technology was used.
There are two classes of enhanced water products that can effectively clean, sanitize and even disinfect: Deionized Water and Engineered Water.
Deionized: Deionized water falls under a technological group called “Natural Cleaning or Sanitizing.” Its name says it all: all the ions in the water have been removed so the water doesn’t conduct electricity. A good application for this technology is window cleaning because it eliminates the need for surfactants and other chemicals in the cleaning process and leaves windows clean.
Engineered: Engineered water includes electrolytically enhanced or converted water, aqueous ozone, electroporation and steam vapor.
- Aqueous ozone — often referred to as liquid ozone — adds an extra atom to the water, converting it into O3. When sprayed, the ozone is attracted to germs and bacteria, quickly eliminating it and leaving pure oxygen and water behind. Research has shown this solution works well as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that targets bacteria, fungi, viruses and more. This technology also can be used as a deodorizer and degreaser.
- Electrolytically converted water runs an electrical charge through the water to transform it and create a solution to clean. According to experts, the technology cleans with decent results. If a small amount of salt is added, sodium hydroxide is produced, and it is an effective sanitizer. Electrolytically enhanced solutions increase the alkalinity of water to a point where it can be used as an effective degreaser.
- Electroporation is a process where high-voltage pulses are applied to a pair of electrodes as water flows between them. An electroporation solution can be used to kill 99.9 percent of germs to a sanitized level and will kill bacteria within six seconds of contact.
- Steam vapor is another technology that can be used to clean. Not to be confused with steam cleaning, which uses more water, these systems utilize tap water to produce saturated steam that is low in moisture and high in temperature. When this steam is applied to a surface — carpets, steel, glass, etc. — it disrupts the soil that bonds to that surface and removes it via a heat transfer process.
Touchless cleaning machines carry everything that’s needed to clean a restroom on board. They typically have their own water supply, pressure washer, chemical dilution system and more.
Whether of the spray-and-vac or spray-and-squeegee variety, these units enable operators to easily and thoroughly clean around fixtures much faster than when using brushes or mops. The machines flood surfaces with properly diluted cleaning chemicals and water via concentrated directional spray nozzles to loosen and remove debris and contaminants. The result is hygienically cleaner facilities.
According to the “Cleaning Effectiveness of the Spray-and-Squeegee Touchless Cleaning Systems Vs. Conventional Mopping” report by Advanced Testing Laboratory, restroom cleaning machines reduced the amount of microbial residue on tile by 99.9 percent compared to 81 percent when using a string mop and 82.2 percent when using a flat mop.