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American Hardwoods Enhance Healthy, Healing Spaces
Meeting the exacting requirements of aesthetics, sustainability, durability
Additional Required Reading
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Cleaning Hardwoods—What Architects Need to Know

For architects concerned with a project’s life-cycle costs and sustainability, non-toxic care and cleaning of American hardwood products are important considerations in their own right. Architects should also note the Centers for Disease Control guidelines stipulate that hand hygiene is the most significant factor in reducing transmittal of infection—thus paving the way for green cleaning rather than the use of harsh disinfectants on hardwood surfaces in health care settings.

Mike Sawchuk, Vice President and General Manager of Enviro-Solutions, offers the following eco-friendly guidelines for keeping hardwood floors clean:

  • Warm soapy water should not be used to clean hardwood floors, because the soap may leave a film that could become slippery when wet.
  • Consider cleaning products that are either Green Seal or EcoLogo certified.
  • Use pH neutral cleaners.
  • An effective matting system should be used at each entrance. “Approximately 80 percent of soils are walked into a building on the soles of footwear,” says Sawchuk. “By having 15 to 20 feet of matting that scrapes and then wipes dry footwear, assuming the matting is adequately vacuumed and dried as required, between 70 and 80 percent of the soil will be captured at the entrance matting and not allowed to spread throughout the facility.”
  • Dust mop frequently with a microfiber mop. This type of mop will typically cut chemical use and waste by 80 percent, increase performance up to six times, and reduce labor fatigue by up to 70 percent.

At the Lewis and Clark office building, “Our janitorial cleaning contractor worked with the state throughout the building design phase to assist in making determinations of how surfaces should be cleaned, or not, using environmentally friendly cleaning products. This is one step usually not taken in the building design phase,” according to Dan A. Walker, Division of Administrative Support, Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He adds, “We’ve found the cleaning product market makes significant changes to meet the needs of the rapidly developing sustainable building industry.”




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