Here’s a Little Secret: It Was Facility Managers that Advanced Green Cleaning

Many facility managers remember when the professional cleaning industry first transferred from traditional cleaning solutions and products to more environmentally friendly ones. The goal then, as it is today, was to reduce cleaning’s impact on the cleaning worker, building users, and the environment.

Adopting green cleaning and using more environmentally friendly and responsible cleaning products was customer driven. Facility managers wanted them, and the industry answered and provided them. 

However, something new is evolving in the professional cleaning industry, which facility managers are also advocating for. The industry is becoming much more sustainability-focused in its business operations. This applies to the manufacturers of cleaning solutions and products, the distributors that market them, and the cleaning contractors that use them daily.


Before going further, let’s clarify a couple of terms. Many people think green and sustainability are the same thing. They are not.

Green refers to products. For instance, a green cleaning solution that is healthier to use and more protective of the environment.

On the other hand, sustainability focuses more on a business’s actual operations. The term has evolved since the 1980s when it was first introduced. At that time, it referred to using natural resources in such a way that they would be available for future generations.

Today, sustainability is focused on three things: 

  • Environmental protection refers to the responsible use of natural resources, reducing carbon emissions, and protecting land and waterways.
  • Economic stability, encouraging business growth by promoting legal and fair business practices.
  • Social responsibility, ensuring workers are paid fairly with essential benefits, protecting human rights, and investing in local communities to make them more resilient.

The Whys Behind the Sustainability Movement

So now that we have some background and clarified a few things, it’s time to explain why the professional cleaning industry – including manufacturers, distributors, and contract cleaners – is getting more sustainability-focused.

Among them are the following:

It reduces costs. For example, distributors and large contract cleaning companies save thousands of dollars by purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Employee retention. Cleaning contractors practicing sustainability pay their staff fairly and provide more benefits. The result is enhanced employee retention, which means the same cleaning workers get to know your building better.

Differentiation. For years, cleaning contractors have been viewed as a commodity. Meaning they are all about the same. Segments of the industry are promoting their sustainability practices because it helps them stand out in the industry. 

The Time is Right. 

In May 2021, the World Economic Forum reported that a global “eco-awakening” is taking place. Consumers drive sustainability and believe brands, including those in the professional cleaning industry, are responsible for protecting natural resources, people and communities, and the environment.

“Today, consumers worldwide want to live more sustainably,” the Forum reports. “Many expect businesses to play a positive role in society and feel that when it comes to driving positive change, brands bear as much responsibility as governments.”

Sustainability and the Future of the Cleaning Industry 

As the professional industry becomes more sustainability-focused, we can expect to see changes in the types of cleaning solutions used to clean and maintain facilities. Green and environmentally friendly products are here to stay, but there will be much greater emphasis on what ingredients are used to make the products. 

An example is the increased use of citrus-based cleaning solutions. Made from plentiful limes, lemons, and other citrus fruits, at least one citrus-based disinfectant is now EPA-registered, effectively killing a broad spectrum of germs and bacteria. The same is true of citrus-based sanitizers.

Finally, in the future, a sustainability-focused cleaning contractor will be one of your best guides. Often, cleaning contractors know your facility as well as you – if not better. Being sustainability-focused, they can suggest ways to make your facility more sustainable, lowering operating costs, consumption, and waste.

Pronatural Brands cleaning, sanitizing & disinfecting products are made from 100% naturally derived, FDA approved food additive ingredients. They are just as powerful as leading chemical-based solutions – just safer. For more information, contact us here.


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