Remember the old adage the more the better? It’s just not the case with cleaning chemicals. Chemical concentrates that are too strong can be harmful to your cleaning surfaces, unsafe for your custodial staff, and add unnecessary cost to your budget. Safety, waste, and cost concerns with improper chemical dilution have led to a growing adoption of dilution control dispensing systems. These systems not only take the guesswork out of proper chemical dilution ratios, but are also cost-effective, safer, and more efficient to use.
Over the past 30 years, significant technology developments have led to a wide array of dilution control systems to choose from. However, the many choices can lead to some confusion about what system may be best for your facility’s cleaning program.
Here are four important factors to consider for choosing and using the right chemical dilution systems:
Choose a chemical dispensing system that is safe for your facility maintenance staff to use as well as safe to have in your facility. All cleaning chemicals, especially highly concentrated versions in a dilution control system, should be kept in a secure location. Both the concentrates in the dispensing device and the refills should be locked in the custodial closet and never left out where they can be potentially misused. Most quality systems typically offer a locking cabinet.
Your best choices will have a closed-loop design that seals the concentrated chemicals, connects securely to the dilution control device, and is properly fitted with approved backflow prevention. This minimizes worker exposure to concentrated chemicals, and the backflow prevention eliminates your facility water supply from becoming contaminated with cleaning chemicals in the event of a water main break or other plumbing incident. Work with your supplier to make sure the dispenser you choose meets your local plumbing codes.
Additionally, choose a system that is simple to operate. Simplicity helps with safety. For example, some systems use functional color-coded design cues to visually communicate correct product use. This can help reduce human error while also keeping your staff safer.
The accuracy of your dispensing system will have a great impact on the quality of your cleaning program. When considering dispensing accuracy, you need adequate, consistent water pressure so the dispenser delivers accurately mixed solutions—especially for highly concentrated disinfectants. Pick a system that utilizes a metering tip contained in the concentrate container. The “tip-in-the-bottle” choice reduces the chance of tampering and under-diluting the cleaner, which can lead to sticky floors or damaged surfaces.
3. Size and configuration
It’s important to select a system that matches the square footage and configuration of your building. If you work in a larger facility such as a school, hospital, airport, or commercial building, select a wall-mounted dispensing system for your primary location that can mix up to four cleaning solutions. Then use single product or portable dispensers for remote closets or “off-site” locations. This will help you maximize your inventory dollars as cleaning solution can be easily transported to other areas and not mixed off-site.
When installing your system in a custodial closet, make sure the space isn’t too crowded and securely attach it to the wall above the janitor’s sink away from outlets and electronics to ensure a safe environment. If your facility is smaller—such as a bank, preschool, or animal clinic—consider using a flexible/portable standalone system. These easily transportable systems are ideal for chemical dilution control in crowded or smaller areas. Choosing the best fit for your facility can reduce costs and improve the efficiency of your staff.
By using chemical dilution systems, you’re acknowledging your facility cares about the environment. These systems significantly impact carbon footprint by shipping less water with concentrates and reducing water, energy, and chemical waste by enabling more accurate dilution. Check with your supplier for third-party, green-certified products and recyclable containers. Be sure the system you choose meets your facility’s sustainability goals.
Following these simple tips will give you a renewed sense of confidence that your chemical dispensing system is accurate, safe, and effective. Considering these four factors will also help your facility maintain a commitment to sustainability goals and running a safer and more cost-effective operation.