The Toxic Truth Behind Chemical Cleaning Products

 Spring is in full swing and it’s really time to start thinking about how you will responsibly maintain your facility, office, or place of business this year. The movement to employ green cleaning practices in commercial facilities, office buildings, and in businesses has never been more popular and crucial. Cleaning green is nontoxic, environmentally safe, and ultimately protects the health and wellbeing of hard-working employees (a successful business depends on healthy employees).

Below, we’ve gathered the most compelling chemical cleaning facts from that will surely inspire (if not convince) you and your facility or business to make the switch to green cleaning. Click here for more info about how to choose a green commercial cleaning team.

Chemical Cleaning Products – The Deadly Truth

• 1 out of every 3 chemical cleaning products contains ingredients known to cause human health or environmental problems1

• Commercial cleaning companies are under no legal obligation to research how their products might harm human health.

• The EPA ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health. Interestingly, five out of 10 Americans are not aware of this fact.*

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher (and sometimes even 100 times higher) than outdoor levels.*

• An EPA study concluded that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air.2

•  A study comparing women who work ouside the home with women who work at home , found a 54% higher risk of developing cancer in women who work at home. The study concluded that this is a direct result of the chemicals in household products.3

• On average, poison centers handle one poison call every 1.5 seconds4

• 89% of all poison exposures occur in the home4

• 92% of exposures involve only one poisonous substance4

• 2,403,539 human exposures to poisons were reported in 20064

• 8.9% of the human exposures involved household cleaning substances4

• Cleaning substances are the 3rd most common reason for exposure to poison in adults4

• 51% of the human exposures to poison in 2006 involved children under 6 years old4

• Household cleaning substances are the second most common reason for pediatric exposure to poison4

• Unintentional ingestion of toxic household chemicals is associated with an annual average of 39 deaths to children under age 5, and an estimated 87,700 children treated in hospital emergency rooms. These poisoning incidents resulted in an estimated societal cost of almost $2.3 billion.5

• Americans generate over 38 million tons of hazardous waste per year 6

• Chemical manufacturing accounts for 21 million tons (55%) of the hazardous waste 6

• Cleaning Compounds and soap account for 30,948 tons annually 6, “Purcasers Buy Safer, Effective, and Affordable Commercial Cleaning Chemicals,” no date.

*The American Lung Association “Airing the Truth About Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution”

2Consumer Product Safety Commission and Environmental Protection Agency, “The Inside Story A Guide to Indoor Air Quality” CPSC Document #450
no date, available at:

3International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Proceedings, 5th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate: Indoor Air ’90,
Toronto (Canada) 1990.

4Bronstein, Alvin C., Spyker, Daniel A., Cantilena Jr, Louis R. Green, Jody, Rumack, Barry H. and Heard, Stuart E. (2007) ‘2006 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS)’, Clinical Toxicology, 45:8, 815 – 917 available in pdf here

5U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION “2007 Performance and Accountability Report” 2007, available at:

6United States EPA “The National Biennial RCRA Hazardous Waste Report” 2005, available at:

What If All Offices Went GREEN? [Infographic]

Just imagine if we added biking to work AND green commercial cleaning to this infographic! If all offices adopted greener practices like these ones, we’d have a cleaner earth and environment, healthier employees, more successful businesses, and a lot more money and resources saved at the end of the day. To learn more about going green at your place of business, contact us for a free estimate and consultation.


Sick Building Syndrome: Why Cleaning Green is the Best Remedy

DSCN8867Work itself has its tolls, but did you know your office can actually make you physically sick? Whether it’s a stuffy nose, dry eyes, or even an itchy sore throat, your symptoms (no matter how mild they might be at first) can be indicative of deeper problems with your building’s indoor air.

The culprit? Sick Building Syndrome (yep – it’s a real thing). From mold to dust to VOCs and neurotoxins from cleaning products, your building’s cleaning regimen is directly linked to the quality of your workplace’s indoor air and the health of your employees.

How do you prevent Sick Building Syndrome? In addition to better ventilation, cleaning green is at the top of the list. Ultimately, the key to a healthy building (and healthy employees) is reducing exposure to toxic chemicals that poison indoor air quality.

At GBS, our goal is to make your building safe, sanitary, and sustainable. Here are our top tips for maintaining an indoor environment that is clean, green, and free of public health woes.

Magical Microfiber

Do you know what type of dusting cloths your cleaning company uses? Or how often the surfaces, air ducts, and windowsills are dusted? First of all, feather dusters are always a no-no, as they are more likely to kick up dust and recirculate it around the room than actually trap it. Using a rag, even if it is clean, is also not the best method as rags usually just push dirt and dust around instead of removing it. Our go-to? Microfiber. High-quality, hypoallergenic, antibacterial microfiber is truly the best remedy for eradicating dust and germs. Microfiber is so effective at sanitizing surfaces, it’s almost magical! If your cleaning company doesn’t already use microfiber cleaning cloths, have them turn in their feather dusters ASAP.

The Right Products

If the cleaning products used in your building are giving off fumes that you can smell as soon as you walk in the door, then that’s a big red flag. In reality, despite the “fresh” fragrance, your building may be making you really sick. Toxic chemicals like phosphates, VOCs, formaldehyde, and phenol acid (just to name off a few) are all found in household cleaning products, and their effects on public health are seriously scary. At GBS, our cleaning solutions are all non-toxic and fragrance-free, and do not contain any harsh chemicals, allergens, or carcinogens. What’s in your cleaning products matters – make sure you commercial cleaners have chosen wisely.

Backpack Vacs

When we plug in a vacuum cleaner, we assume they will do their job: suck up all the dirt and dust so that our floors look clean. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Ordinary bulky, commercial vacuum cleaners have poor suction and very low-quality filters. They kick up tornadoes of dust into the air, and just like rags, they do a better job redistributing dirt than removing it. Energy efficient backpack vacuums with HEPA filtration technology are the only way to go, and are the only vacuums we use at GBS. They are specially engineered to actually get rid of dirt and dust while cleansing the air of germs, allergens, and other illness-causing pathogens. When it comes to cleaning, HEPA vacuums are truly a breath of fresh air.

With sick building syndrome on the horizon, now is the time to make sure your commercial cleaning company uses products and practices that keep your workplace as healthy and high-functioning as possible. For more information, contact us at GBS!

Germiest Places in the Office [Infographic]

Just because your desk looks clean doesn’t mean it’s actually germ-free. From your computer keyboard to the company’s communal coffee pot, keeping your office clean from head to toe is necessary when it comes to protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and maintaining a productive workplace.

Check out the infographic below from CMF Business Supplies and find out where the most germs are hiding at your workplace. Questions about hiring a commercial cleaning service? Contact us at GBS to learn more about what we can do to help you keep it clean while keeping it green!


Winter is Coming! Why is it Important to Keep a Clean Facility?

We’ve always said that a clean (and green) workplace is a healthy one. With the cold weather coming our way – and with it lots of moisture, freezing temperatures, and flu season – maintaining a clean facility this time of year is more important than ever. Hiring a commercial cleaning service not only prevents illness for your employees, but it also promotes productivity while ensuring your facility is both safe and welcoming to visitors and customers alike. Check out the blog post below from Maintenance One and learn more about why hiring a commercial cleaning service this winter is such a beneficial business move.


Get In Front of Employee Illness This Winter


Productivity takes a massive hit when winter hits. There’s the decreased amount of daylight – that definitely doesn’t help, nor does the colder weather, both of which together lowers morale and generally makes your employees more sluggish. It’s natural, and there are plenty of documented ways to combat this kind of seasonal behavior. One thing you can’t fight through positive thinking, however, are the germs and flus that become more quite common during winter. For that, you need a professional cleaning service.

Winter illness is a huge problem for companies seeking to maintain productivity throughout the season. The CDC estimates that approximately 17 million workdays are lost every year to influenza-related illnesses, many of which could have been prevented. Vaccination is the usual countermeasure, and definitely one you should encourage among your employees. However, you can take additional steps to prevent illness by keeping your work environment clean during the colder months.


What Winter Cleaning Looks Like

Professional cleaning companies offer a number of services based on the type of office and your particular cleaning needs. At a bare minimum, basic janitorial services are something you should have for your office on a monthly basis, if not weekly or even daily. Your janitorial services should include restroom sanitation, carpet care, floor care, waste removal, and recycling services – the basics of cleaning, in other words, all of which can contribute to prevent the spread of illness among your staff.

More comprehensive commercial cleaning services can include upholstery cleaning, hard floor surface care, window cleaning, computer room cleaning, and carpet cleaning. This is the kind of cleaning that can do a lot to prevent the spread of influenza, as germs have a tendency to build up in chairs, on windows, and in carpets, making them dangerous repositories of disease that are best cared for often.

Professional office cleaning services can be engaged for additional cleaning services, such as cubicle and workstation cleaning, dusting and wood furniture polishing, and the cleaning of your lobby or reception area. This thorough attention to the details of an office, and where germs are most likely to build up in that office (i.e., wherever employees spend most of their time), is vital to ensuring that your employees’ health is safeguarded, along with your company’s productivity and therefore its bottom line.


Healthy Habits Make Healthy Employees

Your employees can do a lot to make sure that they are preventing the spread of disease themselves. First and foremost, it’s important that they wash their hands in the restroom. Sometimes people forget, or are in a rush, or who knows what; but this where many illnesses end up getting passed on to others, and so your employees can do a lot of good just by washing their hands. Putting up a sign as a reminder can, in itself, do a lot of good; the occasional intra-office PSA may help as well.

Your employees should also not be afraid to call off if they are sick. Yes, you don’t want to lose productivity, but your employees will hardly be productive while they are in the grip of the flu. You stand to lose very little if an ill employee stays home, but if they come to work, they are very likely going to spread their illness to your other employees. This either means they will have to call off as well, or they will come in ill, get next to no work done, and then call off themselves.


Look Out For Your Employees and They’ll Look Out For You

It pays to be reasonable about illness among your employees and take precautionary measures whenever possible. Cleaning services are a great way to do take such measures, and they are surprisingly affordable as well. When you consider how much productivity, and therefore profit, you are likely to lose if you are not cautious regarding employee illness this winter, it is obvious that the economic choice is to invest in cleaning services, and therefore in your employees’ continued health and wellbeing.

Consider also that your employees will work more efficiently and generally be more satisfied when they are working in a cleaner, more organized environment. It’s a proven fact that people are just more productive when their workspace is clean! Between their improved attitudes and their reduced number of sick days, this winter could be the best quarter yet for your business.



For more information about how GBS Commercial Cleaning can serve your facility’s maintenance needs, contact us today!

Toxic Cleaning Chemicals to Watch Out For

Due to rising awareness of the all of the toxic (and potentially carcinogenic) chemicals that are in household cleaning products, green cleaning has become increasingly more popular over the last several years. Many have adopted green cleaning practices at home to protect the health and wellbeing of their kids and pets, which has caused an explosion in the residential green cleaning industry. Nowadays, you can buy eco-friendly cleaning products right off the shelf at your local supermarket, or easily hire a home cleaning service that only uses natural cleaning solutions. Our homes are becoming safer and greener, which is a positive trend that we are very proud of.

But what about the cleaning products and practices that are used at your office building, workplace, or place of business? It’s just as important to go green at work as it is to go green at home. The health and wellbeing of employees is something everyone should value, not to mention engaging in sustainable and environmentally responsible business practices.

The list below includes some of the most common toxic chemicals that are found in both household and commercial cleaning products:

– Phenol/Carbolic Acid (most commonly found in disinfectants): Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a hazardous air pollutant. It can also severely irritate the eyes and burn skin upon contact. When inhaled, phenol is highly corrosive and attacks the central nervous system, heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

– Formaldehyde (most commonly found in mold and mildew cleaners): Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic chemical, air pollutant, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. Household cleaners that contain formaldehyde contaminate our “ambient air” and cause symptoms such as severe nausea and headaches, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, and memory loss. Inhaling formaldehyde can also increase your risk for nasopharyngeal and lung cancers. 

– Ammonia (most commonly found in glass cleaning products): Ammonia can cause severe irritation to the eyes and skin upon contact and can also cause damage to the respiratory and digestive tracts upon inhalation. Ammonia is especially poisonous to aquatic animals (including fish, marine mammals, and amphibians), and has fatal consequences when it is released into our waters and ecosystem.

– Phosphates (found in most general cleaning products): One of the largest culprits behind ocean pollution is phosphates, which are responsible for algae overgrowth and the subsequent depletion of oxygen in our oceans, rivers, and streams. Ultimately, high phosphate levels are fatal and create an unlivable environment for both aquatic wildlife and plant life. When it comes to human exposure to phosphates in cleaning products, symptoms such as nasal and throat irritation as well as skin rashes are not unusual.

We know it is intense and a bit frightening to learn of what’s really in that smelly cleaning solution that is used to wipe down your desk each week, or what dangerous VOCs you are breathing in at the office all day… Yikes! But knowing these facts about toxic chemical exposure is necessary in order to protect our health, reduce our overall environmental impact, and make our facilities and professional workplaces healthier, safer, and better places for all!

For more information on how to integrate green cleaning practices into your office’s, business’, or facility’s professional cleaning routine, contact GBS today!





5 Ways to Make the Workplace More Eco-Friendly

Besides cleaning green and sticking to sustainable janitorial practices (which not only is better for the air and environment, but also better for the health of employees and the overall success of a business), there are many other ways you can create an eco-friendly workplace. Whether it’s bringing in plants to green up the office or choosing to ride your bike to work, even small changes can make a huge impact.

Check out the tips below from The Economic Times and find out what you can do to help make your business greener.





Five ways to make the workplace eco-friendly

From: The Economic Times

With environmental consciousness on the rise, companies are going the extra mile to reduce their collective carbon footprint — by installing solar panels, using eco-friendly appliances and organizing tree-planting initiatives. They are also encouraging employees to take individual steps towards a better environment. ET tells you how to move towards a cleaner and greener workplace.

1. Go Digital

Going paperless is the first step towards making a workplace environmentally friendly, says Mohan VC, general manager of corporate occupational health, safety and environmental protection at Bosch India. “Use electronic forms whenever possible, and email letters and documents rather than sending printed copies,” he says. “Compact flash drives can also be used to efficiently transport and share documents.”

2. Encourage Sustainability

Measures should be taken to make office campuses cleaner and greener. Recycling waste paper, using shared transportation and having a no-smoking work environment can make a huge difference, says Vikas Goswami, head of Good & Green, GILAC. Sensitising and involving employees in environmental activities is also a requisite.

3. Keep Plants

Having small potted plants inside the office helps to improve the quality of air, feels Mohan VC. “What’s more, plants always brighten up a place.” Added benefits? Having plants around your work-area can also significantly reduce stress and boost your productivity.

4. Save Energy

“Put computers on ‘standby’ or on ‘hibernation mode’ when they haven’t been accessed for more than 10 minutes; turn them off when you’re done for the day,” says Mohan VC.

5. Build Awareness

Company measures to go green will be half-hearted without employee participation and proactiveness. Awareness is important, says Goswami. Sensitize employees towards a greener workplace, and generate interest towards a cleaner and greener office environment.


Source: The Economic Times

How to Start Spring Cleaning Your Office

Spring Cleaning doesn’t have to be so scary. Get started on revitalizing your work space by following these easy steps!

1) Pick a date. It is easy to keep putting off dealing with the piles of clutter on your desk, but procrastinating what you need to get done will just cause you more stress. Plan ahead and schedule your Spring Cleaning day into your week so that you can stay on top of it! You will feel much better knowing that a date is set, and it will empower and inspire you to feel ready to tackle your office chores.

2) Start sorting! A large stack of papers and things can be really quite daunting; our desks and drawers collect lots of items throughout the years and it may feel impossible to get through at first. But the key to organizing is first sorting. Grab some boxes or containers, assign labels (such as, “trinkets,” “papers,” “supplies,” “photos,” etc.), and just start picking things up and dropping them into the correct box. Once everything is sorted by type, it will be much easier to go through your stuff and decide what needs to be kept and what needs to be tossed!

3) Take your time. No matter how badly you want to get your Spring Cleaning over with, don’t rush. The last thing you want to happen is to move to quickly and end up throwing something out that you actually needed to keep! Be sure to stay present and as you go through your things, ask yourself, “Do I need this? Have I used this in the last 30 days? Will I really miss this if it’s gone? Is this replaceable?” If you are unsure about something, create a miscellaneous file folder and stow it there. For office supplies like pens and scissors, you only need a couple working pens and one pair of scissors, so do not be afraid to get rid of the rest.

4) Recycle and clean green. ALWAYS recycle whatever you can and donate working office supplies, and don’t bring in toxic chemicals to tackle any messes– they will only pollute your indoor air. Need help with keeping it clean and green this spring? Contact GBS!

5) Whistle while you work! Don’t make Spring Cleaning such an awful drag. Put on some good music and get in the zone! It also helps to get a friend or colleague to join you so you can have a buddy while you work (it’s always nice to have a teammate on your side!). Happy Spring Cleaning!

Spring is Almost Here! Why Hire a Commercial Cleaning Company?

Sustainable Lafayette

Sustainable Lafayette

Winter is on its way out and it’s time to start thinking about preparing for spring!

The dawn of the new season not only brings us nicer weather, but it also brings us the opportunity for a fresh start, giving its name to the well-known annual tradition of “spring cleaning.” If you own a business, or maintain an office, building, or any other type of facility or workspace, then the thought of “spring cleaning” may seem very, very intimidating… and that is normal! To get things organized and clean in time for spring (and to maintain this all year long), there is truly so much to do. Cleaning up the winter muck from all of the windows, carpets, and floors alone is enough to make your spring to-do list feel daunting and endless.

But don’t panic just yet— help is out there! Outsourcing these chores to a commercial cleaning company can really help make “spring cleaning” a breeze and can cut your daily, weekly, and even monthly maintenance to-do lists down to zero moving forward.


Here are the top three reasons why hiring a professional commercial cleaning company to maintain your facility is smart (and a lifesaver!):


– It improves the appearance and quality of your office, business, and/or facility. When your space is clean and well kept, it is more inviting and comfortable; people (customers, visitors, and employees alike) will greatly appreciate and enjoy its new, clean look and sparkling atmosphere! And even after the whirlwind of “spring cleaning” is over, it’s still important to follow a cleaning regimen so that your space and working environment can stay tidy, organized, and look and function its very best. If your space is not kept clean, then you will not keep customers or employees.


-It improves your employees’ health and overall work productivity— a clean workspace is an efficient and successful one. Keeping your space clean does not just have aesthetic implications; sanitization is absolutely necessary in order for employees, customers, and visitors to also feel as safe as possible. Clutter can cause accidents, believe it or not, and dirty floors can cause falls (cleaning your facility is truly a liability). From bathrooms to desktops, to carpets to windows, germs and dirt also hide every where; the amount of germs and pathogens that exist in an average work or business environment is staggering, and we cannot begin stress more how vital it is to protect the health and wellbeing of those who work for you. If your space is clean and sanitary, you can count on employee attendance and feel confident that they are coming to a safe, healthy, and happy place to work each day. Furthermore, it’s also important to prioritize the efficiency your work environment— it’s been proven that a clean workspace  maximizes employee morale, productivity, and is an integral benchmark for your business’ success. Hiring a professional janitorial service to ensure your space is routinely disinfected and cleaned is a practical (and necessary) business decision.

Feel free to check out the following infographics to find out how clean your office really is and why a clean and green office is a healthy office!


You can use a commercial cleaning company as often or as much as you need. At GBS, we customize our janitorial and facilities services to fit your exact needs. We assess your space in person and work closely with you to design a service proposal that is the perfect, personalized plan. Whether its daily, weekly, or monthly, we are here to listen to your janitorial and maintenance needs and make sure that your space is well taken care of at all times. Interested in learning more about how we can help you keep it clean and keep it green? Click here!


Ranker Lawn

Ranker Lawn

The Power of Plants in the Workplace [Infographic]

Adding a little “green” to your workspace is truly a game-changer! Not only do plants help to clean and filter out the toxins, chemical residues, and pollutants that are commonly found in indoor air, but they also have many functional benefits. Having plants around your workspace inspires productivity and efficiency, boosts morale and attendance, and even soothes stress while lowering blood pressure.

We love this infographic from Ambius below illustrating the power of plants in the workplace. From offices and schools to hospitals and hotels, plants really do help to keep it clean and keep it green!

Questions about greening your business, office, or facility? Call GBS303.443.3366