In a domestic setting people often combine their cleaning materials either on purpose, with a capful of bleach in a detergent solution to sterilise dishcloths for example, or inadvertently refilling one spray container with a different cleaning substance.
In a commercial cleaning context however, the mixing of cleaning agents is heavily discouraged and with good reason. In a worst case scenario, mixing cleaning agents can result in the release of poisonous chlorine gas, and you could conceivably end up with a visit from a Fire and Rescue Service decontamination unit.
But even if your cleaning service isn’t sending up clouds of green poison gas, there are still serious, and less astronomically unlikely, risks to health and safety lurking in the janitorial stores of every business in the UK.
Most commonly used cleaning agents tend to be acidic (good for removing scale deposits, tarnish, etc.), alkaline (for dissolving oil and fat deposits,etc.), surfactants like soaps and detergents, or solvents, including alcohol. Mixing these substances together can literally be a recipe for disaster!
At Crystal Clean Service, we insist that all our cleaners complete the internal ‘Crystal Academy’ training course. All our cleaners learn compliance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations that protect our clients and cleaners from the hazards associated with cleaning agents. This includes risk assessment, exposure control, health surveillance and incident planning.
They also complete our in-house ‘Chemical Competence’ course that focuses on the storage and use of the particular chemicals and cleaning agents they will be called on to use on a daily basis.
You don’t need a chemistry qualification to be a good cleaner, but knowing about the safe use, storage and transfer of chemical cleaning agents is essential for everyone’s safety in the workplace.