Using Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Cleaning Green

Time was, if the tiles in your building's front foyer got grimy, your super would pour some ammonia or bleach in a bucket, grab the nearest mop, and get down to business. If a drain was slow, out came the heavy-duty industrial solvents, and down the hatch. Sure, those cleaning products made everybody cough and rub their stinging eyes, but they got the job done.

Today however, things are different in a great many residential buildings. There's been a shift away from harsh, potentially dangerous cleaners and chemicals, and more and more boards and managers are requiring their building staff members to shelve the strong stuff in favor of gentler, "greener" products.

The reasons for this shift are multiple. These days, people are more conscious—not just about what kinds of substances they expose themselves and their families to, but of what they put into the environment.

In the context of an urban residential building, the issue of product safety and environmental impact becomes even more pressing. It's not just one family living in the building—there could be hundreds—so it's more important than ever to carefully consider what types of products are being put to use in your building or association.

That's Harsh

While few would argue against the many benefits of disinfectants and sanitizers, some cleaning products do have a significant downside: they may kill germs, but they pose distinct hazards to our health. The danger may be immediate—as in the case of caustic chemicals that burn the skin or cause respiratory or eye irritation upon contact—or they may be more slow-acting, contributing to long-term health problems such as cancer or disruptions of the endocrine system.


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  • Loved your article, people should use more green products
  • Stuart Finklestein on Sunday, April 19, 2009 11:12 AM
    I manage 12 condominium/cooperative properties in NYC and I know how difficult it can be to convert to green. My porters were so convinced that scent meant clean that we had to bring in a green company to demonstrate their product's effectiveness. It was then that the process moved along and now we're about 70% green and getting greener each month. They're not the only people who do this but we were extremely happy with the support we received from DEC Green of Newark because they spent quite abit of time with us without a commitment from us to purchase their products. In the end, it turned out great for both of us.
  • I am on the Green Committee for a coop of approximately 300 shareholders. We need suggestions as to which products to purchase. Thank you.