On any given day, hundreds of students and faculty members may pass through a school and its gymnasium, tracking dirt, germs, and debris with them.
A thorough, regular floor cleaning schedule can help keep a school population safe and healthy. However, cleaning and maintaining the floors of a school or gym is a massive undertaking. There’s a lot of area to cover, but more importantly, you have to be mindful of the cleaning solutions you use so you don’t damage the flooring material and finish.
While many traditional, chemical-based cleaning products exist for the care of school and gym floors, choosing a safer green cleaning solution is better for your building, your health, and the environment.
Green Cleaning vs. Traditional Cleaning
If you’ve ever read the label on a traditional household cleaning product, you probably noticed health and toxicity warnings, with instructions to seek emergency medical attention if you come into direct contact with the product. What you won’t find is a full list of ingredients.
That’s because cleaning product manufacturers are only required by law to list “chemicals of known concern” on their labels. There are no other disclosure requirements for other potentially hazardous ingredients, nor are there any testing requirements for such products. This means harsh chemicals like phthalates (fragrance), ammonia, 2-butoxyethanol, nonylphenol ethoxylate, sodium xylene sulfonate, and more are lurking in many commercial floor cleaners.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration warns that exposure to these chemicals may cause eye, skin, and lung irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds. If your school uses traditional commercial cleaning products, everyone in the building is being exposed to their chemical ingredients on a daily basis. When those chemicals are dumped down the drain during clean-up, they also make their way into the water supply, causing an even wider ripple effect on the health of the local population, wildlife, and environment.
Green cleaning products, on the other hand, are safer for the environment and less harmful to your health. However, just because a label says a product is “green” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. True green products are certified by reputable independent programs, such as Green Seal, EPA Safer Choice, ECOLOGO, and other product-specific certifications. Approval from a third party ensures that a green cleaning solution’s ingredient list meets certain environmental and safety standards.
In addition to reduced risks to our health and the environment, green cleaners are also better for your floors. Long-term use of harsh, corrosive chemicals may damage flooring over time. Green cleaning products may cost a little more than traditional cleaners up front, but you’ll save tons of money in the long run by avoiding the cost of stripping and replacing expensive school and gym floors.
Which Green Cleaning Solutions Are Right for Your Floor?
There are a lot of options for green floor care, so how do you know which one is right for your school or gym?
In our nearly 40 years in the cleaning and maintenance industry, we’ve worked with numerous suppliers for our commercial cleaning jobs. Today, we use and recommend Ultra Chem Labs’ line of green floor cleaners.
Ultra Chem Labs is committed to creating products that are environmentally safe. The company aims to go “beyond green certified” and offer schools the ability to safely and effectively clean their floors.
Not only are Ultra Chem Labs floor care products Ultra Approved Green, they contain just 4 gm./L of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are compounds released from a variety of sources, including commercial cleaners, that can reduce air quality and cause short- and long-term health problems. For comparison, the standard acrylic floor coating contains 250 gm./L VOCs, and school gym floor coatings may contain up to 600 gm./L VOCs.
The Best Green Cleaning Products for School Floors
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose school floor cleaner and restorer, Ultra Chem Labs’ Cleaner and Conditioner does the trick. This powerful cleanser does not rely on pH, solvents, ammonia, or other toxic chemicals, and can be used on all hard surfaces. It features Electrolytic Cleaning Technology that can maintain your floor finishes and preserve durability, which reduces the need for frequent cleaning and ultimately saves on time and labor costs.
Ultra Chem Labs also offers other products for the care and maintenance of school floors, including a food-grade acidic Neutralizer rinse, Styrene free Floor Finishes, and a low odor finish remover if/when you need to strip your floors.
Top Green Cleaning Products for Gym Floors
Ultra Chem Labs’ Slam Dunk Gym System is a two-product system specially formulated for wood gymnasium floors. Most gym floor finishes are urethane-based, which is incompatible to wood and causes a deteriorated appearance, loss of wood flexibility, and delamination over time. Slam Dunk Gym Finish is made with a polysaccharide acrylic polymer derived from tree-based sugars.
Polysaccharide polymers are naturally drawn to wood, so Slam Dunk penetrates and absorbs into the wood substrate better than other types of gym floor cleaners. This low-odor product also eliminates delamination, sustains the wood’s flexibility, and enhances its natural color.
Best of all, the plant-based polymer used in the Slam Dunk Gym System does not contain styrene, a known carcinogen and floor discolorant. Slam Dunk All-in-One Clean and Prep is specifically formulated for periodical cleaning maintenance. It is also used as prep when resurfacing your gym flooring.