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Cleaning with Chlorine

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

Chlorine is all around us.  It is in our household water supply.  That means we are drinking, it, we use it for showers and baths, and we cook with it.  And if that’s not enough, we clean with it and put it in our     laundry (Clorox, chlorine bleach) and swim in it.  Tampons (unless stated otherwise on the box) are bleached and the cotton fibers contain chlorine.

So? Isn’t that OK? If chlorine was so bad, someone would have said something, right?

Well there is plenty being said.

First off, chlorine is a harmful chemical. In liquid form it is a strong skin irritant.  It can “burn” your skin on contact (we’ve all gotten some bleach on us at some point I know) and it is a potent lung irritant if inhaled in gas form.  Anyone who has a pool can tell you, the bucket of chlorine used for the pool has to be handled as a “dangerous chemical” because it is.  When mixed with ammonia, it forms a harmful gas which when inhaled for just a short time will kill you.  (It bonds to the oxygen in your blood and without immediate medical attention, you suffocate)

It also has been linked to many forms of cancer including breast cancer.  A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it’s kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

Chlorine bleach…..it’s the “wonder” cleaner. We love to pour bleach everywhere…down the toilet, down the sink, we use it on our countertops….etc.

Clorox is a household name.  And if the Clorox people had their way, they would want you to think that there is no other way to get your house and clothes clean than adding Clorox.

As far as your laundry goes Clorox is an “optical brightener”. That means it just makes you clothes look whiter because it absorbs ultra violet light and emits it back as blue light. So your clothes look cleaner, but really are not.

Clorox (and any bleach) when mixed with water and the dirt from clothes, forms new toxic chemicals called organochlorines which can be cancer causing as well.

Use other products in your laundry such as chlorine-free bleach or put 1/2 cup of lemon juice in with your detergent.  Hydrogen Peroxide is a harmless way to make you laundry brighter as well (the same thing that is in the teeth whitener mixes) Many supermarkets make their own brand of this. The hydrogen peroxide exposure is safe, and when it goes down the drain, it turns into water and oxygen, so it’s much better for the environment.

I use both Oxy clean and the hydrogen peroxide. (my family likes my whites white)

When it comes to cleaning, there are a lot of options.  One of my favorite cleaners that does an amazing job in the kitchen and bath is BarKeeper’s Friend. It does not contain chlorine bleach, but you would think it does. I have found the powder works a bit better than the liquid.

 

Excerpt from The Savvy Sister blog. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.

Understanding the Relevance of the pH Scale


Posted on January 13, 2012
By Gary Fage

Understanding the relevance of the pH scale when carrying out cleaning tasks is vital to anyone that is serious about commercial cleaning

In general terms acidic products (less than pH 7) have descaling properties. Alkaline products (greater than pH 7) have degreasing properties.

The pH Scale is a means of measuring the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a cleaning agent or solution, simple, easy-to-understand, numeric terms. The scale itself has a range of 0-14,with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. The mid-point on the scale is 7 and is classed as neutral and this corresponds with the pH measurement for distilled water.

Acidic Products

When a pH value of a product or solution decreases below 7, its acidity will start to increase. Most acid based cleaning materials will have a typical pH value of between 0.5 and 5 on the scale. Concentrated pure acids will have a pH value of approximately 0.1, though these would never be used as cleaning as cleaning agents.

Acidic products are most commonly used to remove limescale deposits from hard surfaces as they will dissolve salts that are not soluble in water.

Alkaline Products

As you can see from the chart, if the pH value rises above 7, the product or solution will become more alkaline. Alkaline products are particularly effective in removing greasy and fatty deposits from hard surfaces. They will typically have a pH value of between 11 and 12.5. Stronger alkaline products such as emulsion floor polish strippers will have a value of around 13. Caustic soda, which is extremely corrosive, will have a pH value of 14.

Neutral Products

As we have pointed out earlier, the pH of distilled water is 7 which is taken as being the purest neutral solution. However, in reality, any product or solution with a pH value of between 6 and 9 is generally considered to be neutral. Neutral products are commonly used for general cleaning procedures and include washing-up liquid and carpet cleaning solution.

How is the pH Value Tested?

The approximate pH value of any liquid product or solution can be tested using Universal Indicator Paper, a type of litmus paper you may remember from science lessons in your schooldays. After being dipped into a solution the colour of the paper will change.

The colour of the paper can then be compared with a colour chart, the colour corresponding to the relevant value on the scale. The colours are illustrated in the chart at the head of this section.

About Gary Fage
Gary Fage has been Managing Director of Janitorial Express, since 1991, he is a Director of the Jangro Group and Council Member of the CHSA. www.janitorialexpress.co.uk

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Window Cleaning Tips

By: Nationally Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Tim Carter, www.askthebuilder.com

Accckkkk! Many people put off cleaning windows or struggle through it because they make the same mistakes I have made for 47 years. I had it all wrong! Do you want crystal clear windows – just like you see at businesses and commercial buildings? Here is how to achieve it!

Use the Right Tools – You must use the professional squeegees, soap and applicators I have already spoken of. If you don’t, your windows will look like they do now!

A Clean Scrubber – Always start the job with a clean scrubber or lambs wool applicator, sponge and/or porcupine cleaner. A dirty applicator can leave dirt behind. Rinse the scrubber frequently if you are cleaning many windows, especially dirty windows.

Watch the Sun – NEVER wash windows in direct sunlight. The sun can superheat the glass and cause all sorts of streaking problems.

Holding the Squeegee – Hold the squeegee at an angle so the water runs down the glass. In other words, mimic the motion or setting of a snow plow. The blade on a plow aims towards where the snow ends up. If a plow simply aims straight ahead, snow flows out of the plow at both ends. You don’t want water flowing from both ends of the squeegee.

Wipe the Blade – After each squeegee stroke, you must wipe the rubber blade with your lint free cloth. Placing a wet squeegee on the glass will leave a blade mark. You will get good at quickly wiping the blade.

Don’t Cut it Close – Overlap squeegee strokes by about one and one half inches. Remember to angle the squeegee so water flows towards the wet window surface, NOT the area that is clean and dry.

Lots of Water – When first washing the window with the scrubber, use a liberal amount of cleaning water. You want the dirt to come off the window with this solution. Use a decent amount on interior glass surfaces, but not so much as to cause a flood or standing water on woodwork.

Go Sideways – Horizontal squeegee strokes are recommended when at all possible. If you are right handed, the left side of the window pane will have triangles of water left behind with each stroke. You will wipe these at the end with a final vertical stroke going from the top of the pane to the bottom of the pane.

Wipe the Edges – There will always be water marks or spots at the edge of the window pane. After all squeegee action is complete, wipe the entire window edge with the lint free cloth.

Practice First – Practice with the squeegee when you first get it. It may be hard to control. Professionals often use an 18 inch model. You might want to start with a 12 inch squeegee and work your way up to a larger model once you develop good hand/eye coordination.

Summary: Window cleaning like a pro requires proper window cleaning supplies and technique. Getting the dirt off and your windows crystal clear depends on professional squeegees, soap and water, and the right applicators.

The Better Alternative: Chemical Free Products

By: The Chemical Free Cleaning Network

Scientific technical innovation is moving above and past “green” or “organic” products with progress in technologies that clean without the using of any synthetic chemicals.

Around the earth businesses and individuals are investing in a range of equipment and products that allow non chemical cleaning emerging and inventive methods.

From applying electric current to common water, to using the power of sunshine: new advances in cleaning technologies and strategies are making it simpler to clean chemical free.

A number of the technologies such as Sealed HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners, and hand applicators for liquid ozone and electrolyzed water are cost effective when considering the long term savings on synthetic chemical products.

Adopting a Chemical Free Cleaning plan in your house does not mean the outlay of thousands of dollars in using the latest alternative Chemical Free technologies.

Time-proven cleaning practices have been brought down through the generations could, in many cases, also provide effective cleaning results in the household.

The use of daily attention and natural, organic, chemical free materials located in each household could be mixed, combined, and blended in many ways to accomplish cleaning equivalent to the level of synthetic chemical cleaning liquids. However, keep in mind the even organic, green or natural products are not consistently synthetic chemical free.

There are many ways to help you in your move towards chemical free cleaning in your household.

Begin with reducing the total number of in-house synthetic chemical pollutants, and then check in the back of your kitchen pantry to select which daily products you want to keep for cleaning your home.

Get rid of synthetic chemical cleaners (but make sure that you get rid of them safely and securely).

You could help the environment, save cash and streamline your cleaning chore by changing your current artificial chemical cleaners with a few of the products discussed in this section.

 

The Chemical Free Cleaning Network was established by industry visionary Vince Elliott, B.S., M.H.S., who in his nearly four decades of professional experience in developing innovative cleaning strategies for commercial and industrial applications. He has strived to bring these disparate technologies and strategies under one connected organization to benefit building proprietors, janitorial service managers, homeowners, and our ecosystem as a whole.

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The ARCSI Tech Corner: Green Cleaners

Q: I hear multiple terms used to describe ‘green’ cleaning agents. So I have to wonder, is organic better than natural? How about sustainable? I’m confused.

A: You have every right to be confused. Marketers use words that sound warm and fuzzy but often have no real meaning. Let’s take a look at just a few of the terms in use.

GREEN: Ideally, ‘green’ means that a product has less negative impact on the environment or on people’s health or hopefully both, than similar, traditional products in the marketplace. Some products are self-certified, i.e. a manufacturer says this product is greener than their regular line. Others are certified by a third party. The three most recognized third party certifiers are Green Seal, EPA’s Design for the Environment (DFE) and Canada’s EcoLogo. Each has slightly different criteria for certification.

NATURAL: This normally means that the chemicals used to make this product exist in nature in the form used. It can also refer to natural substances that are altered through what are considered natural processes. An example would be apple juice fermented into vinegar. It is very important not to confuse natural with safe. Remember that curare is a natural toxin used by certain indigenous peoples to create poison-tip arrows, giving the hunter using that substance a surer kill. Natural can be quite unsafe.

ORGANIC: The term organic has taken on a connotation of ‘healthful’ from the food industry. However, it has a different meaning in chemistry. Organic chemicals are simply chemicals containing carbon. These chemicals often originated in life forms but may have changed significantly since. Thus vinegar is an organic chemical, or more accurately, a combination of organic chemicals, but so is oil, gasoline, etc. To say our cleaning agents use organic ingredients sourced from nature may sound good, but is not particularly meaningful.

SUSTAINABLE: At its most basic, ‘sustainable’ means that the cleaning agents are from renewable sources such as plants that can be grown, harvested and re-grown. The term ‘sustainable’ is evolving in some cases to reflect more extensive environmental and social issues.

So if you’re confused, join the club. It truly can be a jungle out there. It’s up to you to check out the claims, sort through the verbiage and find the best resources for your operation.

Here’s to your success and prosperity!

Bruce Vance is a 20-year veteran of the industry and holds the IICRC Master Textile Cleaner certification. He also holds industry certifications in Stone and Tile care, Hard Floor care, and Applied Microbial Remediation. He is the current chairperson of a national cleaning industry’s Technical Advisory Committee. The opinions expressed above are those of Mr. Vance and not those of ARCSI.

Oprah Introduces Cleaning For A Reason During Evening News

October 2009. Oprah returned to Texas and the news station where she once reported the news. A Zing Zap Cleaning Service is a proud Partner helping women undergoing cancer treatment with 4 free monthly professional cleans. It is important to us to give back to our community. It’s why we do what we do, everyday.