The Risks of Commercial Cleaners Using the Wrong Products

Posted on May 28, 2019


When commercial cleaners use the right cleaning products, the result is a cleaner and safer workplace.

But when cleaners use the wrong products, that’s no longer the case. At minimum, your workplace won’t be as clean as it should be. In other scenarios, it could actually be dirtier than it was in the first place.

And that doesn’t even touch on the risks to property and people. Using the wrong product on certain types of surfaces can cause permanent property damage. Worse yet, if commercial cleaners use hazardous cleaning products the wrong way, people’s health could be at risk.    

Ineffective Cleaning & Disinfection

When commercial cleaners use the wrong cleaning products, they don’t get the intended results. In a best-case scenario, the results they get instead are relatively harmless. For example, maybe they leave streaks and smudges on glass, or filmy residues on desktops and counters. Or maybe they have to spend twice as much time to get your workplace as clean as it should be.

These situations might not be great news for the quality of your cleaning services. But they’re a lot better than permanent damage or a workplace health hazard.

Things start to get risky when it comes to sanitizers and disinfectants. These products often contain dangerous chemicals, so using them in high concentrations or volumes can be a health risk. Alternatively, commercial cleaners might use the product in a way that doesn’t actually sanitize or disinfect the surface being cleaned.

This can happen if cleaners…

  • Use a product that’s not effective against the pathogen(s) in question.
  • Dilute the product to the point where it’s no longer effective.
  • Apply too little of the product or apply it inconsistently.
  • Fail to allow the product to sit for the required dwell time.

In any of the above cases, you’re running a risk. Dangerous bacteria could linger on surfaces after cleaners are finished. Even worse, your staff will assume that these surfaces are safe to use!

Damage to Furnishings & Equipment

There’s a reason why commercial cleaners use the products they do. Simply put, these products are great for removing things, like oily handprints, dirt stains, and bathroom bacteria, you don’t want in your workplace.

But if they’re used in the wrong situations, these same products can remove — or destroy — stuff they aren’t supposed to. Apply the wrong detergent to upholstery and the dye starts to bleed. Choose the wrong product for hardwood and you’ll destroy the topcoat finish. Clean marble floors with an acidic cleaning agent and you’ll inflict permanent damage.

Thankfully, serious damage is typically covered by insurance. But even then, you’re going through the hassle of making a claim and replacing the damaged property. And if cleaners cause damage to critical equipment, your business could crawl to a halt while you scramble to fix the issue.

Health Risks to Commercial Cleaners & Staff

When cleaners use the wrong cleaning products, the biggest risk — by far — is to human health and safety. Many cleaning agents contain toxic, flammable, or caustic ingredients, making them harmful if used incorrectly. And if commercial cleaners use the wrong product in the first place, there’s a good chance they’re using that product in an unsafe manner.

Things get especially dangerous when commercial cleaners start mixing or combining different products.

Take the classic example of ammonium and chlorine bleach. Ammonium is typically found in surface cleaners, such as glass cleaning products. Bleach is typically used in sanitizers and disinfectants.

On their own, ammonium and bleach can be safely used with the appropriate precautionary measures. But if they’re mixed together — either on purpose or by accident — they produce chloramines, a potent and highly toxic class of gases. When inhaled, chloramines can trigger chest pain, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and pneumonia.

Given these risks, it’s vital that commercial cleaners use the right products and that they use them the right way.

At JAN-PRO®, we value expertise and experience in our commercial cleaners. Connect with your local JAN-PRO today by calling (866) 355-1064 and request a FREE cleaning estimate!