When cleaning rooms, suds and foam signal to housekeepers that they're doing their job. "That visual impact gives the impression that they're cleaning properly," said Nabil Moubayed, g.m., Hotel Monaco in Chicago and regional eco champion for Kimpton Hotels.
But what if the product is suds-free? Often, that's the case with green products, according to Moubayed, whose hotel has been green for several years.
The hotel discovered a nontoxic cleaning solution line from Sierra Environmental based in Seattle.
"They sought us out and we used them as a test product," he said. "Our biggest benefit: No more complaints of itchy skin from our housekeepers."
But the hurdle was training employees to forget about the suds and bubbles.
"You just won't get chemical reactions with Sierra's products," he said.
Now, 70 percent of Kimpton hotels use Sierra Environmental's cleaning line. At Hotel Monaco, the staff uses four products: glass, toilet, shower and tile cleaners. When the hotel began using the product, it saw about $20,000 in savings.
Veteran of green clean
The Habitat Suites Hotel in Austin, Texas, has been doing the "green thing" in its hotel since 1991. Today, the cleaning product of choice is Biokleen, an orange oil-based product the hotel has used since 2002. The product, from Eco-Wise, is used for everything related to cleaning the hotel, according to Natalie Marquis, g.m.
"The odorless product is simpler, more convenient and leaves less residue than more common cleaning agents," she said.
Biokleen is used as the hotel's laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, stain remover and a furniture cleaner. Eco-Wise's all-purpose cleaner has two options—kitchen and bathroom strength.
"The staff loves Biokleen," Marquis said. "One of the great benefits is that they aren't exposed to fumes and can clean without any upper respiratory problems."
Guests are equally satisfied with the after-effects.
Chemical-free cleaning options
The green mantra at Boston's Colonnade Hotel, part of Preferred Hotels Group, is to use less, a philosophy impacting the entire hotel, including housekeeping. That's why the company did its research before settling on the cleaning system from Electrolyzer Corp. known as ElectroCide.
The Colonnade became a beta site to test Electrolyzer's products, which consist of pure plain tap water and salt that are mixed to create electrolyzed water that can be used as cleaning agents and sanitizers. The hotel has used the system in housekeeping for 6 months.