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Green cleaning: the new eco friendly hotel standard

There has been a shift towards eco cleaning and eco friendly cleaning products in hotels for environmental and health reasons, known as green cleaning

The tourism industry is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – around 8% globally – which has sparked interest in industry changes like sustainable tourism as a means of combatting this impact. Some of the environmental impact comes from travelers themselves, and some some from the hotel, hostels, and other places these travelers stay.

To help combat the ecological impact of hotel operations, as well as for the health of travel guests, more and more hotels have adopted green cleaning and are switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Green cleaning helps hospitality providers waste fewer resources when serving guests.

Table of contents

1. What is green cleaning?

2. What are the benefits of green cleaning?

2.1. Green cleaning products are more effective

2.2. Green cleaning products are healthier

2.3. Green cleaning products are better for the environment

2.4. Green cleaning products indicate social responsibility

3. How can your business switch to green cleaning?

What is green cleaning?

Green cleaning is a sustainable housekeeping concept that means using eco friendly products and adjusting your cleaning procedures to operate more responsibly. The core of green cleaning is a shift away from chemically-based, industrial cleaning solutions towards more natural and environmentally friendly ones. Green cleaning products, in addition to emitting less pollution, are typically designed with safety in mind.

Many cleaning products that aren’t sustainably produced can provoke reactions from hotel guests, like allergies or skin irritation, and are often toxic. That’s why there are warning labels and instructions to wear gloves/avoid direct contact with these chemicals.

Green cleaning isn’t only about the products themselves. It’s also important to make sure you’re using green equipment in your hospitality premises, like green-certified vacuum cleaners and energy-efficient air conditioners. And while a shift to sustainable cleaning products is important, you need to use them responsibly as well.

Responsibly using green cleaning products means avoiding waste and doing research on the effects ingredients can have. Even if it’s natural, make sure you know how your cleaners can affect people and animals.

A clean hotel room, with 2 lamps and a large bed

What are the benefits of green cleaning?

Changing your housekeeping practices to prioritize eco cleaning has a lot of benefits beyond environmental impact. Since cleanliness is so important in hospitality, many hotel managers opt for the strongest possible cleaning solutions they can find, but those products are often safety hazards and not necessarily better at cleaning.

Green cleaning products are more effective

While it may have been true a decade ago that sustainable cleaning products weren’t as effective as chemical cleaners, there have been plenty of advancements to challenge this notion. One example of an efficient eco friendly cleaning product is electrolyzed water, which activates the ions in salt to create a natural disinfectant. The cleaning solution is actually around 100 times more effective than bleach.

Green cleaning products are healthier

Keeping your guests healthy is an important part of hospitality management. A clean environment is better for well-being than a dirty one, but traditional cleaning solutions can also harm people. Many commonly-used chemicals can provoke respiratory issues, skin rashes, or allergic reactions, such as:

  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Perchloroethylene

Your hotel staff needs personal protective equipmentlike googles and gloves to safely use these products, which your guests likely won’t have. In contrast, environmentally friendly cleaning products, because they are made without chemicals, pose a much lower health risk.

Green cleaning products are better for the environment

Though it’s a small shift, using eco cleaning products has a big impact on the environment. Chemically-based cleaners don’t only emit pollution, they also require a lot of other chemicals and energy to manufacture. These chemicals contribute to ozone depletion, local environment/air pollution, and are not biodegradable.

Hotels that use toxic cleaning supplies can actually pollute the local water supply through chemical runoff and residue on faucets. Natural cleaning products don’t harm the environment when used and consume far fewer resources when produced.

Green cleaning products indicate social responsibility

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is a great way to indicate to potential guests that you’re socially responsible and care about climate change. Value-based purchasing is very common now, with consumers overwhelmingly preferring to support businesses they perceive as green.

It’s not only customers, but investors as well. Sustainability is an important factor in a business’s future viability, which is why so-called ESG investors (who represent billions and billions in capital) support only sustainable businesses. It’s incredibly important to demonstrate your environmental and wellness commitments while avoiding greenwashing.

A hotel bedroom with a bath

How can your business switch to green cleaning?

The most basic change you can make to improve the environmental sustainability of your hospitality business is to use only naturally-produced, chemical-free cleaning products. Avoiding the harmful impacts of toxic cleaners by using eco friendly solutions instead is where the concept got its name, after all.

There are countless cleaners on the market now that are ecological, safe, and cost-effective. Sustainable cleaning products being expensive is another common belief, but you can buy brands like Mr. Clean in bulk for only a small difference, if that.

Beyond using environmentally responsible cleaning products and equipment, a successful transition to green cleaning means:

  • Better pest management: Pesticides are another category of hospitality product that are generally toxic and can harm guests that come in contact with them. You should aim to use only naturally-derived pesticides, minimize the amount of pesticide you’re working with, and warn guests ahead of time.
  • Train your staff: Introducing completely new products and equipment to your business means making sure your employees understand how to use it. In addition to the products themselves, make sure your staff understand why responsible cleaning products and practices are important.
  • Saving resources other ways: You can help guests and employees to be more mindful of their resource use and create less waste in your hotel. Water is a commonly overused resource – track consumption with smart meters and consider reducing tap flow. Refillable soap dispensers are another easy way to cut waste.

Adopting more eco-friendly cleaning products and adjusting business operations are easier with a digital checklist app like Lumiform. With Lumiform, you can download or create hotel cleaning checklists and establish quality standards for your workers to follow. The range of available checklists covers everything from daily cleaning to training new staff.

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