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Sustainable Cleaning

What We Are Doing At Utah State University 

At Utah State University, the facilities maintenance department is continually striving to become more environmentally friendly in both product usage and processes. There are several processes that are currently in place.  They include:

• Recycling.  Last year, USU recycled 700 tons of 20 different types of materials at its onsite recycling center. Seventy percent of the recycled material consisted of paper products and cardboard.  

• Green Seal chemicals.  Wherever possible, facilities maintenance uses Green Seal approved chemicals.  Out of the chemicals we use on a daily basis, fifty percent are Green Seal approved.   

• Consumables.  We are now exploring environmentally friendly consumables. Right now, USU is converting to a foamy hand soap that creates less waste. We have also converted our paper towels to a product that consists of forty percent recycled materials.   

• Training.  There is a training team that meets on a biweekly basis and their charge is to effectively train facilities maintenance employees in the proper use of chemicals and processes to better ensure maximum efficiency and reduced waste. 

• Quality improvement.  Our quality improvement team is charged with improving the materials and processes we use.  Through their efforts, we have become more environmentally friendly by incorporating more Green Seal chemicals and equipment. This team continues to explore new techniques and products to lessen USU’s environmental impact. As we move into the future, USU Facilities has made significant strides in becoming more environmentally preferable institution and will continue to seek new ways to 

What You Can Do At Home

Many household products can contribute to nonpoint source pollution of our local waters once they wash down your drain. For example, cleaners containing phosphate can contribute to the eutrophication of rivers and lakes, depleting them of life sustaining oxygen. The best cleaning products are easy to make and inexpensive.

All Purpose Cleaner:
Mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a new store bought spray bottle, and you have a solution that will clean most areas of your home.

Or try these products:
Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner
Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner
Green Works Natural All Purpose Cleaner
Mrs. Meyer’s Countertop Spray

Bathroom Cleaner:
1 2/3 cup water
1/4 cup liquid soap
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons vinegar
A few drops of essential oil (optional)

Add soap to water and let dissolve. Stir in baking soda, and then add vinegar. Store in a spray bottle and shake before using. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving a residue.

Or try these products:
Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner
Green Works Natural Bathroom Cleaner
Mrs. Meyer’s Shower Cleaner

Toilet Cleaner:
Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Or try these products:
Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Bon Ami 
20 Mule Team Borax

Natural Scouring Powder:
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup borax
1 ½ cups hot water

Or try these products:
Bon Ami Cleanser Powder 
Biokleen Soy Cream Cleaner
20 Mule Team Borax

Drain Cleaner:
For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.
1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon boiling water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.

Or try these products:
Drainbo Natural Drain Cleaner

Window Cleaner:
Wash windows and mirrors with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Crumple newspapers from your recycling bin to wipe windows for a super shine.

Or try these products:
Green Works Natural Glass and Surface Cleaner

Oven Cleaner:
Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Wipe up the residue with a wet sponge or cloth, and rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.

Or try these products:
Restaurant Hood and Oven Cleaner

Dish Soap Products:
Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid
Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap
Biokleen Hand Moisturizing Dishwash Liquid

Dish Detergent Products:
Seventh Generation Free and Clear Automatic Powder
Mrs. Meyers Automatic Dishwashing Packs
Biokleen Automatic Dish Gel

Laundry Products:
Seventh Generation Natural 2X Concentrate Laundry Liquid
Mrs. Meyers Automatic Laundry Detergent
Biokleen Automatic Citrus Laundry Powder