Category Archives: cleaning technology


We were asked these questions recently:

Can I use commercial cleaning products at home? It seems to make more sense to buy the larger volume at a reduced price and I understand the commercial cleaning products are stronger so would be more effective. Is this true?

It is true that “commercial” cleaning chemicals often stronger than their residential, or non-commercial counterparts. That said, however, many commercial cleaners contain the same or similar chemicals consumer products, but in higher concentrations.

For example, “spray and wipe” commercial cleaners are commonly made with a high percentage of citrus oils for heavy-duty cleaning. Most have to be diluted before use, with dilution rates ranging from 1 ounce per gallon of water to 12 ounces per gallon (for extreme cleaning). Improper dilution can cause damage to certain surfaces to be cleaned and create a perfect environment VOC.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are vapors and gases that are emitted from certain solids or liquids. VOCs can include a variety of chemicals some of which may have adverse health effects. As one might expect, VOCs tend to be higher in an enclosed space than outside. In a very large building, these can dissipate, but in smaller, particularly residential spaces, the fumes can gather and become a health risk.

Reputable cleaning companies such as NKeepers ensure that their staff is trained in the proper use of commercial products. We would strongly advise against using commercial cleaning products without proper training in their use.

By law, commercial cleaning chemicals are sold with an MSDA, a Material Safety Data Sheet, that includes important information such as

  • Composition and Information on Ingredients
  • Hazards Identification
  • First Aid Measures
  • Fire Fighting Measures
  • Accidental Release Measures
  • Handling and Storage
  • Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
  • Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Toxicological Information
  • Ecological Information
  • Disposal Considerations

The above list is just a sample of the information required by law to accompany commercial chemicals, which we hope would be intimidating enough to require anyone to get the proper training before handling them. While it may seem that commercial cleaning products might be a bigger “bang for the buck”, there are a lot of overhead, safety and other important considerations. Our advice is to stay with products you buy at the store, or call us for any commercial or residential cleaning you may need.


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As specialists in commercial cleaning, we’re often asked how new technology stacks up against conventional. In one area in particular, there have been numerous new product introductions in recent years; particularly the “microfiber” mop…

Microfiber cleaning material fibers are a 1/16 the thickness of the human hair. These fibers are a blend of microscopic polyamide and polyester and are split as to create microscopic hooks that act as claws that can dirt, dust and grime.

Don’t be fooled by the 1/16 thickness either, these fibers are capable of holding six, yes SIX, times their weight in water. Microfiber mops/pads consist of a lightweight handle that is extremely sturdy in higher quality products, that allow for maneuverability of the flat, rectangular mop head or “pad”. These pads never need touch dirty water, but can be placed in the cleaning solution, lightly wrung out and used as needed. The pads are light weight and can be laundered in a standard washing machine.

The mop head (or mop pad, we used the term interchangeably) is usually attached to the lightweight handle by Velcro; one can simply toss the mop pad on the floor and set the handle on top of it and begin mopping. These mop heads are about twice the price of conventional mop heads. That said, they can last about 10 times longer. Most vendors who sell microfiber mop/pad heads usually guarantee at least 500 washings. In addition, the reduced volume of chemicals needed to accomplish the task can produce a decrease in chemical overall cost.

So, here are some of the benefits to using a microfiber mop:

  • No need to rinse and wring.
  • Microfiber is a lint-free synthetic fiber.
  • Mopping is less tiring, easier, more efficient.
  • Very absorbent so it hold a sufficient amount of cleaning solution, without dripping.
  • No need to re wet the mop pad so the floor dries quickly.
  • Significant reduction in the amount of water and chemicals used.
  • Studies indicate that use of microfiber mops/pads can use 95% less water and chemicals.

What about the “traditional” mop?

Using the “conventional” loop mop for wet mopping floors has long been the standard for the cleaning of floors in many facilities.

Let’s face it, for the longest time, that was all there was. The trouble with the conventional mop isn’t so much the mop as the combination of mop and chemicals. Many floor cleaners contain extremely harsh chemicals such as butoxyethanol, and quaternary ammonium chlorides, which may be harmful to human health and damage the environment.

Conventional mops use a great deal of water (and therefore chemicals) in order to accomplish the task. Whether you are using a 10oz., 12 oz., 24 oz., or 32 oz. mop head, with a top down ringer, chances are you are still putting a great deal of water and chemical on the floor.

Conventional wet mopping practices include

  1. Mopping the floor;
  2. Preparing and changing the cleaning solution;
  3. Wringing the mop before and after jobs;
  4. A thorough clean by a “pro” takes about 10 minutes for a typical 15 x 15 room.

The mop heads should not be laundered in a standard washing machine, but should be cleaned in a commercial machine. Most vendors who sell conventional mop heads usually guarantee at least 60 washings. Thus, in order to extend the life of a conventional mop, the head is often not cleaned as regularly as it should be.

Also, having a lot of water on the floor means that the floor takes more time to dry.  The time in which a floor is wet increases the potential for hazard, even with wet floor signs (a whole different post). Conventional mop heads tend to be  heavy, making mopping difficult (and larger areas a real pain). Unless someone knows what they’re doing, these mop heads can easily be misused, and without the correct amount of cleaning solution can also fail to attract dirt. So they end up redistributing dirt around the area being mopped.

Sounds as though we have a clear winner, doesn’t it?

Don’t throw in the towel yet.  The conventional mop really works well in high traffic areas and on greasy floors. Unless up against an auto scrubber, the conventional mop wins in these areas hands down. Unlike their microfiber counterparts, washing conventional mop heads can include using chlorine bleach, guaranteeing disinfecting.

So, what’s the answer?

In a nutshell: each has its place. We suggest that the microfiber mop be incorporated into your cleaning business alongside its established cousin for quicker and better cleaning results!

Rick Eastman is Operations Manager at NKeeper Cleaning Systems, a commercial janitorial services company in Phoenix, Arizona.

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