Public spaces like schools, hospitals and offices are a breeding ground for germs of all kinds. Particularly in the winter, they become the site of a merry-go-round of infections which never seem to go away. Persistent illness can lead to loss of workdays and reduce productivity. In schools and hospitals, infections can be a serious matter. Choosing a janitorial service that is both efficient and effective can be of the highest importance for such spaces. Many cleaning services now offer green cleaning, using products and methods that minimize the impact on the environment. Green cleaning also benefits human health, by avoiding the use of strong chemicals in living and work spaces.
How infections spread
Germs travel through physical contact. The five most common ways that people pick up germs, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, are: from the nose, mouth, or eyes to hands to others; from hands to food; from food to hands to food; from an infected child to the child’s hands to other children; from animals to people.
One out of every five Americans will obstruct the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, 80% of all infections are spread through contact with contaminated hard surfaces by way of direct human contact.
Spaces such as telephones, desks and keyboard are home to millions of germs. A mouse, keyboard, office phone or chair typically has 21,000 germs per square inch while a seemingly harmless desk can harbor up to 10 million bacteria.
Why infections are a public health problem
Getting sick at work is not just an individual problem, since it affects overall productivity. Sick days can reduce productivity by up to 54%, while costing businesses over $225 billion a year. In schools and hospitals, the problem of recurring infections affects highly vulnerable populations, primarily children and those who are already suffering from some illness.
Regular and efficient cleaning can reduce the risks of infection. Janitorial services typically work the second or third shift, when buildings are typically empty or there are very few people around. This minimizes interruptions of work, classes and other activities.
Keeping such public use spaces clean is a matter of public health as much as aesthetics. Green cleaning services offer many advantages over more traditional cleaning companies. By avoiding the use of strong chemicals, they reduce the impact on the environment.
Benefits of green cleaning
Strong chemicals used in many cleaners also affect human health adversely. Green cleaning services, on the other hand, make sure that a clean environment is also a healthy environment. Many suppliers are beginning to acknowledge the importance of using sustainable materials. In fact, a survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project found that 72% of suppliers included the effects of climate change among factors that would affect the supply chain.
Hospitals are experimenting with alternative mopping techniques for hard floors, as a way of improving patient, employee and environmental health. The U.C. Davis Medical Center began a pilot program in 1999, using microfiber mops instead of the conventional wet loop mops and strong chemicals. Over time, this substitution resulted in significant savings of 60% in lifetime costs for mops, 95% in chemical costs, and 20% labor savings.
Janitorial services that offer green cleaning make a contribution to the overall health and safety of vital public spaces like schools, hospitals and offices. Green cleaning offers further benefits in terms of both environmental and human health.