Sorting Out Your Supply Closet

cleaning supplies, cleaning chemicals

Cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants, oh my!

After a while, chemicals can pile up in your facility’s cleaning supply closet. Having too many cleaning chemicals on hand can lead to improper use or dangerous mixing of those chemicals.

Cleaning teams across the country are likely feeling the grunt of the labor shortage that cropped up in recent years. While there are many reasons for the current shortage of workers, your facility should focus on simplifying cleaning processes to help your custodial professionals.

Simplifying is easy as 1, 2, 3

When tackling a messy supply closet, start by auditing the chemicals and tools you have. This can be done by one of your facility’s cleaning professionals, or you can partner with a third-party organization to do the task for you. While it may seem like a daunting task, remember that the benefits of streamlining your facility’s cleaning supply closet include:

  1. Increased labor efficiencies: A properly stocked cleaning supply closet with the right types and amounts of chemicals and tools can mean huge time savings for your cleaning team. For example, four types of window cleaners, three types of floor neutralizers, and six types of oven degreasers are unnecessary. Fewer cleaning chemicals lead to shorter training times since new staff will receive training on a smaller number of items.
  2. Reduced safety risks: Each chemical in your cleaning supply closet comes equipped with a specific set of instructions for proper use. It can be difficult to quickly learn and remember the correct steps for each, which gives way to unsafe chemical mixing. This can be highly dangerous as mixing even common chemicals, like bleach and rubbing alcohol, can produce toxic fumes—in this case, chloroform. Fewer chemicals can lead to fewer incidents of mixing incorrect chemicals by providing an easier understanding of chemical labels. Regular training can also help minimize safety risks. As mentioned, having too many chemicals on hand can complicate training, so a simplified closet can help provide a targeted training approach that cleaning team members can quickly learn and execute.
  3. Helping the planet: Almost 8 in 10 consumers believe sustainability is a crucial part of running a business. Therefore, finding ways to invest in sustainability strategies should be top-of-mind for facility operators. Some options include minimizing waste, using third-party certified products, and recycling when possible. All these options can be incorporated when you clean out your supply closet. For example, use up existing cleaning chemicals before purchasing new ones and ensure the new chemicals you purchase are certified by a third party like Green Seal or ECOLOGO®. On top of that, find ways to properly recycle used containers rather than throw them away.

No better time than the present

While the time for spring cleaning is many months away, it’s never too early to get your supply closet organized, especially when it can help improve health and labor efficiency. It may seem like a daunting task if your supply closet organization has been neglected for years. However, making a conscious effort to improve your cleaning team’s procedures will be extremely beneficial in the short- and long-term. By doing so, your facility can help your cleaning team feel prepared to take on the workday while also helping the planet.

Julia Messinger

Marketing Manager, Cintas Facility Services

Julia Messinger is a marketing manager for the Facility Services division of Cintas and is currently responsible for product line management in the cleaning tools and chemicals category. For more information about facility services offerings from Cintas, visit 

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Sorting Out Your Supply Closet
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