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Green-certified cleaners reduce environmental impact and excess chemicals at one suburban school district
For years, Prospect Heights School District 23, in Prospect Heights, Illinois, relied on old-school methods and a glut of outdated chemicals to clean its schools. Then, three years ago, the district overhauled its cleaning chemicals and implemented equipment and procedures that supported its newfound green initiatives.
“Like a lot of other school districts, we were using a lot of different cleaning chemicals that had accumulated over the years,” notes Brian Rominski, director of buildings and grounds.
Custodial closets housed an array of chemicals, all unique to specific cleaning tasks.
“There were toilet bowl cleaners, products to shine water fountains, floor drain deodorizers, grout cleaners, and products for floors and tables,” recalls Rominski.
In addition to reducing the number of cleaning products, the district wanted to eliminate hazardous chemicals that posed a threat to students and staff, and move away from cleaners with low or high pH levels in favor of neutral-based cleaning products. It was also imperative that chemicals should be multi-use.
“Sometimes, cleaning products are used inappropriately to save money — or because that’s the way they’ve always been used,” says Rominski. “For example, a custodian may use a disinfectant to clean windows, or he may use a glass cleaner to clean desks and tables. We wanted to make sure cleaning products and chemicals were being used appropriately and in the correct spots.”
The Move To Multitaskers
Located in a suburb outside Chicago, Prospect Heights School District consists of three elementary schools and one middle school, totaling 123,000 sq. ft. of cleanable space. The district employs 10 custodians and one maintenance worker to clean and maintain its buildings. When Rominski first came on board, the district was in the process of testing cleaning chemicals from several different manufacturers.
“We were primarily interested in their performance and whether or not the chemicals were Green Seal certified,” he explains. “For disinfectants, we looked at their chemical makeup and how hazardous they would be to students and staff.”
The district chose EnvirOx’s H2Orange2 Concentrate 117 as its go-to multi-purpose sanitizer/virucide cleaner. The product has two dilutions and combines cold-pressed orange oil and hydrogen peroxide to clean, deodorize, degrease and sanitize any water-safe surface.
“The H2Orange2 covers 95 percent of the schools’ cleaning needs,” says Rominski. “We use it to clean and sanitize almost everything — glass, surfaces, stainless steel, restrooms.”
The district also switched to EnvirOx’s green-certified Industrial Degreaser for heavily soiled areas and spot cleaning.
“We use it for targeted, heavy-duty applications on a limited basis,” explains Rominski. “For example, we’ll use it as a spot spray for pens and markers that show up on desks, and we use it once a week on our kitchen floors.”
For daily floor cleaning, custodians use EnvirOx’s green-certified Neutral Floor Cleaner in mop buckets and floor scrubbing equipment. The district also replaced strong acid-based products with EnvirOx’s green-certified Mineral Shock, a mineral deposit, hard water and soap scum remover that custodians use on sinks, urinals, water fountains, etc.
Although Prospect Heights’ schools may occasionally have the need for targeted disinfection, these four EnvirOx products take care of most of the facilities’ daily cleaning needs, according to Rominski.
“There are going to be circumstances, like MRSA, that require us to focus our efforts with a specialized disinfectant,” he says. “The only time we use a broad spectrum disinfectant on a daily basis is to clean our wrestling mats.”