By Alicia Fenwick*
In this modern age of technology, the environmental impact of public space cleaning is subject to increased scrutiny. Facilities are now under pressure to meet heightened demand for patron and staff safety whilst balancing sustainability and productivity in their cleaning procedures. With outbreaks of contagious diseases becoming more prevalent, attention has shifted from a reactive approach to one that prioritises proactively stopping the spread of infection and contamination. Therefore facilities are now looking for alternative cleaning strategies that increase effectiveness and productivity, while keeping their costs from sky rocketing.
The thought of cleaning in a public environment without fully relying on synthetic chemicals is one that is rapidly being embraced. Awareness of microfibre and its benefits as an alternative or compliment to chemical cleaning are becoming better understood.
Without the aid of chemicals, microfibre has been proven to remove 99.9 per cent of microbes, including C. diff from the environment in which they are used. This stops the chain of infection and potential contamination. This concept, aptly called green cleaning, is cleaning with environmental protection and sustainability in mind.
Environmental and economic benefits
The benefits of green cleaning don’t revolve entirely around environmental sustainability. The concept has additional benefits that impact all involved in the end to end cleaning cycle. The risks associated with traditional cleaning methods inside a facility can be minimised as well as limiting the user exposure to cleaning chemicals.
Cleaning products and systems are crucial in effective infection prevention and control strategies. There is a common assumption that the use of chemicals produces a cleaner environment but the continual use of these chemicals, their production and disposal needs to be considered in their total environmental impact and cost.
Microfibre cleaning systems use less water and don’t rely on chemicals, but if used, only minimal quantities are required to achieve optimum cleaning results. Due to this, microfibre cleaning is often seen as a more environmentally friendly solution.
Developments in microfibre to combat infection
There is strong evidence that suggests the environment plays a critical role in transmitting infections and that microbial pathogens have the ability to survive on surfaces for extensive periods of time if they are not removed. The use of microfibre, with or without the aid of chemicals, is the answer for any facility that cannot allow an outbreak of disease to occur.
However, people need to understand that not all microfibre products are created equal. Microfibre, as the name implies, is a fibre that measures less than one denier. For perspective, one strand of human hair has a ‘weight’ of 20 denier.
Developments in the field of microfibre have enabled the design of a split blended composite material. The use of different polymers creates positive attraction, holding pathogens and dirt amongst the fibre and reducing the risk of transfer. This microfibre has a denier of 0.13 to 0.23, four times finer than the generic un-split monofilament microfibre filling the market.
The finer fibre used in split blended microfibre is required to remove microbes and eliminate food sources for live pathogens. It performs better than disposable impregnated wipes which often leave behind a film that can serve as a breeding ground for live pathogens. Microfibre eliminates this issue as it is designed and proven to remove 99.9 per cent of pathogens it comes into contact with.
Leaves a visibly cleaner environment
Cleaning in a public environment has to be as effective at removing germs that can’t be seen as eliminating dirt that can be seen. Innovative microbe removing technology is complimented with built-in zig-zag scrubbers, designed to remove dirt without streaking or smearing, leaving a visibly cleaner environment behind.
The future looks green
As awareness of the environmental impact and concern for those who use synthetic cleaning chemicals mounts, the need to implement more sustainable and user friendly systems is proving just as important as effective infection prevention and control techniques.
If a facility can implement a balanced cleaning cycle utilising the capabilities of both split blended microfibre and sustainable use of chemicals, they can help reduce the environmental impact and costs of their cleaning solution, as well as decrease WHS risks to staff and patients.
Implementing a microfibre solution can help any facility achieve their green cleaning goals, along with optimal infection prevention, superior cleaning performance and improved productivity, all within the one system.
*Alicia is the senior manager, brand marketing at Rubbermaid Commercial Products