Going Green with Cleaning
With a little more effort and minimal additional costs, churches can implement green cleaning practices. A core principle of green cleaning is to seek to use nontoxic chemicals or the least-toxic chemicals required to accomplish the task. Another key principle is selecting highly effective and efficient equipment.
Green Cleaning Chemicals
Do they harm aquatic species? Do they end up in our drinking water? We want to seek products that are biodegradable rather than those that include chemicals that buildup in the environment. We prefer products that include no or very low levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Given that most of us do not have the time or knowledge to precisely analyze the chemical compounds in cleaning products, we recommend that you use the information provided by third-party organizations.
For cleaning products, the organizations we depend on for independent testing are Green Seal, EcoLogo, the Carpet & Rug Institute, and the EPA's Design for the Environment Program.
For everyday cleaning tasks in most settings, the products certified by these organizations should be sufficient. For special cleaning tasks, you may need to gather your own information to inform product selection.
We hold that there are times when the wisest choice is to use raw products like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide rather than purchasing special chemical compounds.
Vacuums and Carpet Cleaning
We recommend purchasing vacuums that have been evaluated by the Carpet and Rug Institute and earned their Green Label.
When cleaning carpets, you want to make sure that you are not using a product/equipment combination that attracts more dirt or damages carpet fibers. With carpet extractors, it is important that they effectively recover water from the carpet.
We recommend that you select carpet cleaning equipment that has earned a label from the Carpet and Rug Institute. We encourage consideration of cleaning equipment that uses exclusively tap water with no added chemicals.
Buffers and Burnishers
Procedures should be implemented to make sure the mats are cleaned frequently. Extra time spent cleaning entry mats can result in reduced cleaning demands in interior spaces.
This information is courtesy of the Green Church Association, www.greenchurchassociation.org.