Why Janitors Shouldn’t Use Bleach

Bleach-bottleIn the world of professional cleaning, greenhas become the norm. These days most facility managers base their cleaning product selection on whether or not products have a reduced impact on the environment (and for good reason).

However despite this massive shift within the industry, some cleaning professionals are still under the impression that harsher chemicals, like those found in bleach, are more suitable cleaning options.

The Problem With Bleach

Though bleach has remained a tried-and-true option in the professional cleaning industry for more than 50 years, it’s important to note that bleach isn’t actually cleaning agent — which is part of the reason it doesn’t belong in most routine cleanings. It does however, carry disinfectant properties which sometimes make it an appropriate option in health care settings (though broad spectrum disinfectants will work just as well).

Besides being incredibly toxic (especially when it comes into contact with ammonia), there are number of reasons to avoid bleach.

  • It has a short shelf life. Bleach has a “chemical shelf life” of 3-6 months, depending on the stored temperature. Whether you use it or not, it will quickly lose it’s potency over time. If you mix it with water (to lower its concentration of hypochlorite), it’s shelf life will be reduced even further.
  • It’s corrosive. Bleach is an extremely harsh cleaning product. So much so that it can destroy or damage metal or stainless steel. If accidentally spilled, it can even etch floor finish and sealed concrete, which can equate to significant repair or replacement costs down the road.
  • It contains zero surfactants. Though it doesn’t kill bacteria, a surfactant is one of the most important components of almost any cleaning product. When dissolved in water, they work to dislodge and remove dirt. Bleach alone is not enough to wash away dirt and grease.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons