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If it’s green it doesn’t clean. Think again

22 May 2017

It’s often believed in the facilities management industry that if a cleaner is ‘green’, it doesn’t clean. The products are perceived to be too expensive and offer little return, and with many low-cost chemical alternatives, contractors in the industry are yet to be swayed to biological cleaners. But, with new biological cleaning advancements products entering the market in 2017, it’s time to debunk some of the myths that surround them, explains ​Dr Emma Saunders from Genesis Biosciences.

Myth #1 – Biological cleaners aren’t effective at removing heavy soiling

It’s often perceived that biological cleaners fail to effectively remove heavy soiling on hard surfaces, but true biological cleaners are incredibly effective at not just removing soiling, but preventing it from reappearing. 

By ‘true biological cleaners’, we’re referring to cleaners that contain beneficial bacteria in the cleaning formula. 

A lot of products labelled as ‘biological’ only contain enzymes and these products don’t offer the same targeted long-term advantages as products containing beneficial bacteria, which is where some of the misconceptions about the effectiveness of biological cleaners come from.

Biological cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that use energy created through the breakdown of organic soiling to continue replicating in the area of application. The bacteria form a resilient biofilm on the surface being cleaned, offering long-term protection as the bacteria constantly produce the specific enzymes required to quickly degrade dirt as it appears.

Even deep down in surfaces like fabrics, flooring and grout, the bacteria applied can efficiently remove ingrained dirt, stains and odours and provide ongoing protection.

Many so called ‘advanced ‘ chemical cleaning concentrates require dilution of up to 500 times for use, resulting in extremely low concentrations of active cleaning ingredients. These products have a limited instant cleaning and deodorising effect and simply cannot compete with the long-term performance of biological cleaners.

Myth #2 – Biological cleaners are too expensive

It’s true that biological cleaners tend to be more expensive on a per litre basis partly due to higher raw material costs and partly because the producers are often smaller companies that do not enjoy the same economies of scale as the mainstream producers.

However, when looking at the complete picture, biological cleaners can provide a greater return on investment than traditional chemical cleaners because they reduce labour costs and protect assets and infrastructure in the long-term.

The drawback with most chemical products is they only work during the few seconds of cleaning and once cleaned, the area immediately starts to become soiled again, which makes frequent cleaning a necessity and leads to higher labour costs.

Frequent application of chemical cleaning products can result in chemical residues being left on the surface, posing potential slip hazards and resulting in surfaces quickly losing their lustre.

Biological cleaners don’t have that drawback because the beneficial bacteria continue to breakdown soiling on the surface area, after being applied. This means cleaners need to less frequently apply the product, while surfaces remain cleaner and polished for longer.

Using biological cleaners means no harsh chemical residues are left behind and abrasive cleaning approaches are not needed. This helps in the medium and long term to preserve asset value and reduce the impact of damage to hard surfaces and fixtures.

Myth #3 – Biological cleaners aren’t backed by rigorous scientific research

 A common misconception contractors have of biological cleaners is that they are a ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ marketing fad, not backed by in-depth scientific research, unlike their well-established chemical alternatives.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. At Genesis, we have invested over £2.5m into our research and development process and thousands of man hours have gone into product testing. Through all of this testing, we can categorically show contractors in-depth reports and research to prove our products achieve the cleaning results we claim they offer.

Our biological cleaners are targeted by design, we have rigorously tested every one of our formulas through a stringent process so we can be confident the beneficial bacterial in our products will thrive in the area of application and target the organic soiling long after application.

Every contractor purchasing biological cleaners should be able to ask the supplier to support their claims with strong evidence. We take great pride in being able to support our product claims and that should be the case for any reputable provider of cleaning products.

Thankfully, with new EU Biocidal Products Regulations in place, there is even greater scrutiny on cleaning product claims, and this is great news for contractors because there is greater transparency and cleaner quality.

By using the very latest technology and not harsh chemicals to meet today’s cleaning challenges, biological cleaners can deliver incredible performances, offer long-term cost savings, improve end-user safety, and ultimately have a minimal impact on the wider environment.

 But those benefits won’t be felt if we don’t start changing the perceptions that facilities management contractors have of biological cleaning products. Hopefully debunking these three common myths is a good start.

Dr Emma Saunders is General Manager at Genesis Biosciences, a global leader in the development of microbial cleaners, using their patented eco-benign© technology.