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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Working with Your Janitorial Company

If your workplace uses a janitorial company, making the switch to greener cleaners will involve working closely with them. If your property manager handles the janitorial contract, you’ll likely need to work with them as well.

Best practice: Write green cleaning products and practices into your contract.

In the middle of an existing multi-year contract?  Talk to your company about switching some of the products used to safer alternatives. 

Click here for product recommendations.

Benefits to janitorial staff

Switching to green cleaning products and practices can have a big positive impact on the health of janitorial staff in your building. Over 2.8 million people are employed as janitors in the U.S.  Data from Washington State show that about 6 percent of janitors experience a job-related injury from chemical exposure to cleaning products every year [1]. Switching to greener cleaning can dramatically improve the health and quality of life of your janitorial staff.

The importance of diluting concentrated cleaners

Does your workplace or janitorial company use concentrated cleaners? If yes, start by making sure concentrated cleaners are properly diluted.

Some cleaning products are sold as concentrated solutions. Buying in concentrate reduces transportation and packaging – both great for the environment. However, concentrates can be harmful to janitorial staff when not properly diluted.  

Properly diluting cleaning products has multiple benefits:Woman diluting cleaners

  • Safer working environment for janitorial staff.
  • Cleaning product lasts longer, saving money and time in re-ordering and re-stocking.
  • Higher effectiveness of cleaning product: not too strong or too weak.

If using concentrates:

  • Install automatic dilution dispensers to ensure proper dilution every time.
  • Talk with your janitorial supply company. Sometimes these dilution dispensers are available free of charge, or at a low cost.
  • Make sure janitorial staff are trained on how to properly dilute the product.

Consider including a clause in your cleaning company contract about proper dilution training for staff.


  1. Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products