Cleaning Supplies - What and Where?
Cleaning Chemicals - What and Where?
You can never be too careful with professional cleaning products. Which janitorial supplies should I use, and where? Can I mix bleach and vinegar-based products? Will cleaning chemicals damage surfaces? And so many more questions. Many office cleaning tips are learned through experience but honest advice from anyone who provides commercial cleaning supplies and janitorial equipment is always welcome.
Whether you buy cleaning products online or from a wholesaler’s warehouse they should always be labelled with the active ingredients and the opportunity to get hold of COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) information or safety data sheet.
That’s why, at phs Direct, we include a safety data sheet for each of our cleaning products online or via our helpful Customer Support Team. As a member of the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA), you can be confident that our cleaning products are fit for purpose and that the information on the label is appropriate for the product.
What cleaning products do I need?
With so many different janitorial supplies on the market, it’s very easy to get carried away when buying cleaning supplies, building up a huge arsenal of sanitisers, sprays, ammonia and bleach. In fact, most of the products do a very similar job, or one multi-purpose cleaner could replace two cleaning chemicals for a safer, and just as effective, outcome.
Our list of essential cleaning supplies equipment includes:
- Sponges and scourers – for dishes or for wiping surfaces and scrubbing away drips, spills and grime.
- Dusters/microfibre cloths – for more delicate areas that require dust removal or polishing.
- Glass polishing cloths – for glossy surfaces, glass and mirrors.
- Floor brush or broom – does what it says on the tin: for brushing floors.
- Scrubbing brush – for rust or mould, and stubborn dirt on, floors, decks, tiles and paving.
- A mop and bucket – to wash away floor spills and remove dirt on floors.
- A dustpan and brush – for effective dirt collection and transfer to bin.
- Protective gloves and overalls – to save hands from soaps and cleaning chemicals.
- A plastic caddy or commercial cleaning supplies trolley - to carry and store the essentials.
And to accompany this office cleaning equipment, we recommend the following janitorial supplies:
- Glass cleaner
- Multipurpose cleaner
- Mildew cleaner
- Floor cleaner
- Toilet cleaner
- Washing up liquid
- Oven cleaner
- Dishwasher tablets
Which cleaning chemicals not to mix
Once you know which chemicals are in cleaning products, it’s easier to figure out what cleaning chemicals not to mix with others. Some combinations can be lethal so the safest rule is to NEVER use more than one cleaning chemical in any one area.
A mixture of ammonia and bleach chemical, for example, releases toxic vapours called chloramines that irritate the respiratory system, causing watery eyes, nausea, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and sore throat and nose. These are two common ingredients in washroom cleaners and must be kept separate.
Vinegar is a popular ‘natural cleaner’ which easily cuts through grease BUT mix bleach and vinegar and the result is chlorine gas which can also lead to breathing difficulties with coughing, burning and watery eyes. This is particularly dangerous in washrooms and kitchens where chlorine gas and water combine to make corrosive hydrochloric acid, which can burn eyes and skin.
The antiseptic properties of hydrogen peroxide make it a popular cleaner for removing bacteria, viruses and spores. However, combining hydrogen peroxide with vinegar creates peracetic acid which is also dangerously corrosive.
Where should cleaning chemicals be stored
With all these dangers in mind, it’s important to find a safe and secure place to store all cleaning chemicals. A locked room or cupboard with limited access is ideal. Also ensure that your janitorial supplies trolley or caddy is never left unattended or given to inexperienced users.
All household and professional cleaning products should be kept in their original containers. Decanting may allow cleaning chemicals to mix with a container’s previous contents, which we’ve already seen can have unfortunate consequences. Some at-home and commercial cleaning supplies are flammable, while freezing conditions could cause liquids to expand and burst their containers. For these reasons extremes of temperature should be avoided – don’t store cleaning chemicals outside, in a cool room, or in an airing cupboard or boiler room.
How to dispose of chemical cleaning products
Potentially dangerous ingredients in some janitorial supplies mean that you have to seriously consider how to dispose of chemical cleaning products. Whether they’re past their shelf life, no longer needed or the container appears empty, correct disposal must be followed. Businesses have an obligation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to safely contain and dispose of any waste they produce. This includes unwanted or unused cleaning products and chemicals.
NEVER pour cleaning chemicals down a sink, drain or toilet where chemicals can mix and cause hazards or where water supplies could be contaminated. Instead, you should follow advice from UK government on how to dispose of cleaning chemicals and train all associated staff to do the same.
If you are still unsure how to dispose of cleaning chemicals, contact your local council or waste disposal company for advice. ALWAYS ensure you receive the correct paperwork when passing on commercial waste to another party.
Cleaning supplies and equipment audit
As no two properties are ever the same, every home and office cleaning routine is different. You may not need all of this cleaning equipment but it’s sometimes difficult to stray from your cleaning habits or those passed from other staff.
Why not make use of phs Direct’s knowledgeable team of Account Managers? We can assess your individual needs and run a free consumables audit, allowing you to keep control of your budgets, keep a handle on your admin and, best of all, keep your premises spick and span with a reliable supply of janitorial supplies, cleaning chemicals and washroom consumables, tailored to your building.
Wherever possible, we would recommend environmentally friendly consumables and technology that can save you more money and help save our planet.