Going Green: Sustainable Cleaning Services for Your Business

Karen Lawes

Written by: Karen Lawes Maguire

Karen is the founder and CEO of CleanerMatch.com, a leading cleaning industry website. With 10+ years experience, she's an expert on new cleaning technologies, regulations, and best practices.

People and corporations everywhere are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. With all of the chemicals involved in cleaning, it's no wonder that many people are turning to green cleaning.

The Benefits of Green Commercial Cleaning

Going green offers advantages for your company, employees, and the planet:

Diana Stewart - President of Envirox

According to Diana Stewart, President of Envirox:

"The whole point of green cleaning products is to be powerful and effective while at the same time less harmful to the environment, safer for custodians and everyone who occupies the buildings."

Stewart explains that green cleaning provides three key advantages: "environmental benefits, health benefits and economic benefits."

Stewart emphasized that with green cleaning, "if building occupants are healthier this leads to improved performance and productivity due to reduced chronic illnesses caused by harsher chemicals."

Green vs Traditional Cleaning: Cost Comparison

Initial Costs

  • Green cleaning products often cost more upfront than traditional chemical cleaners. Expect to pay 20-30% more for eco-friendly solutions.
  • Green equipment like chemical-free disinfecting systems and high-filtration vacuums also have higher upfront costs, around 15-25% more.
  • Staff training on green cleaning techniques can cost $200-500 for a cleaning team.

Operational Costs

  • While concentrated green cleaning solutions may cost more per gallon, they are diluted at much lower ratios, resulting in more usable cleaner per gallon purchased. This can lower the ongoing product costs.
  • Microfiber cloths and mops last 5-10 times longer than cotton equivalents, reducing replacement costs.
  • Green cleaning processes like strategic cleaning reduce labor costs by focusing on high-traffic areas.
  • The higher upfront costs of green equipment are offset by lower maintenance costs and longer lifespans.

Health & Productivity Benefits

  • Green cleaning improves indoor air quality, resulting in reduced employee sick days. This indirect cost savings is estimated at $30-170 per employee per year.
  • Lower worker exposure to chemicals reduces potential workers comp claims. These can cost $10,000 - $100,000+ per incident.
  • Enhanced organization reputation and worker satisfaction from green initiatives further boosts productivity.

Environmental Benefits

So while green cleaning requires more upfront investment, the total longer-term costs are comparable or can even be lower than traditional cleaning due to indirect savings and benefits.

Green Commercial Cleaning Cost Survey

Sample Real World Prices for Green Commercial Cleaning Services

I own a small retail store and just switched to a green cleaning service. It costs me $800 per month for them to come in twice a week and do a thorough cleaning of the floors, bathrooms, windows, etc. It was a bit more expensive than my previous non-green service, but it's worth it to me to use environmentally-friendly products.
As a dentist with a large office space, I pay about $900 per month for green cleaning services. They come after hours 3 times a week to sanitize the treatment rooms, sterilize instruments, vacuum, mop, and take out trash. The green products they use are just as effective at reducing bacteria as traditional cleaners.
My accounting firm has 5,000 square feet of office space. We hired a green cleaning service to come in 5 nights a week and they charge us $2,500 per month. It's on the pricier side, but we wanted to be eco-conscious so it's worth it. They are very thorough - floors sparkle, carpets are spotless, and desks dust-free.

Are Green Cleaning Products Effective?

While some may have concerns about the efficacy of green cleaning products for commercial use, the reality is that top green solutions "can be just as powerful and effective as traditional cleaning chemicals," says Diana Stewart of Envirox.

She explains that

"nature provides us with some potent ingredients which help power cleaning when used correctly."
Effective green cleaners leverage plant-based technologies and naturally derived compounds in the right proportions to deliver robust cleaning power.

As Stewart emphasizes, to be genuinely effective "it takes just the right amount of each ingredient." With the right formulations, Stewart assures that green cleaners "help power cleaning" across commercial facilities.

When selected carefully, implementers of green cleaning programs can feel confident that environmentally-responsible products will provide the "powerful and effective" cleaning ability needed for their industry and building needs.

Green Cleaning Company Working

Finding and Vetting a Green Cleaning Company

When looking to switch to green cleaning services or improve the sustainability of your current program, finding a genuine green cleaning company is crucial. Here are tips for evaluating cleaning companies to ensure they truly use green products and processes:

  • Ask for their green certifications - Legitimate green cleaning companies should have third-party certifications like Green Seal, CIMS Green Building or ECOLOGO.
  • Review product safety data sheets - Make sure cleaning products don't contain harmful chemicals like bleach or ammonia.
  • Ask which green cleaning best practices they use - Look for things like microfiber cloths, vacuum filters, chemical concentrates, and proper training.
  • Have them provide a sample cleaning - Observe their processes and ask about how they clean effectively while protecting health and the environment.
  • Request references - Reach out to past clients to confirm they had a positive green cleaning experience.
  • Compare costs - Going green may have a slightly higher upfront cost but often saves money when done right.

The key is vetting both the products they use and their cleaning processes. An authentic green cleaning service will be happy to provide documentation and references to give you peace of mind. Investing in genuinely sustainable cleaning improves safety, health, and your environmental footprint.

Case Study: Dalhousie University's Switch to Green Cleaning

The Challenge:

  • 950,000 liters of traditional cleaners used annually
  • Toxic chemicals linked to health and environmental issues
  • 40+ different cleaning products to manage

The Solution:

  • Switched to EcoLogo & Green Seal certified green cleaners
  • Converted degreasers, carpet cleaners & deodorizers
  • Worked with supplier to develop stronger green solutions

The Results:

  • 870,000 fewer liters of chemicals per year
  • 25% cost savings from less product & packaging
  • Cold water dilution improved safety
  • Better cleaning performance
  • Positive social impacts on staff morale

Key Takeaway:

Dalhousie University successfully converted to greener cleaning through procurement policies and staff training, significantly reducing its chemical use and environmental impact.

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