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We recently observed a trend that puts a heavy focus on viewing cleaning solutions ONLY from the prism of cleaning performance.
While this is the most important aspect of evaluating cleaning solutions, the cleaning performance of many products is close in a competitive world.
This is especially true when using superior cleaning methods like truckmount extraction and pit washing.
What then, are the overlooked cleaning solution features that break the performance tie?
Evaluating Cost versus Performance
For some products, the performance after the day of cleaning is the most important.
Encapsulation cleaning has two key performance measures: the cleanliness the day of cleaning and the amount of soil resistance left in the carpet.
There is a tendency to only evaluate the product on the day of cleaning, but the 30-day soil levels are just as important.
We introduced a “Soap Free” product over 10 years ago and added corrosion inhibitors to protect equipment when using it as a rinse.
This feature has not been incorporated into every “Soap Free” product.
If performance is similar, then the presence of the corrosion inhibitor should break the tie.
Protectors are of special concern. We have observed significant differences in their performance like the level of re-soiling. If protectors were pre-sprays, many common protectors would never be used.
Look at the pictures below and ask yourself what type of results you want to see.
If a consumer perceived that their protector provided little performance benefit, why would they purchase it again? Truthfully, long-term performance is of utmost importance for many chemical solutions.
However, it should be noted that the cost of a product is invariably one underlying determination for use of the product, and often the compromise is to say that a product performed well for the cost.
How the Cost of Cleaning Products are Determined
Below we are going to cover factors that determine the cost of a cleaning product: quality of ingredients, the concentration of product, packaging, etc.
Quality of ingredients
These are determined by the country of origin, percent of solids, and features of raw material, to name a few.
For example, fragrances can range from x to 3x per pound.
The most obnoxious fragrances you have discovered are low-cost, while the best fragrances are usually priced at a higher cost.
This determines the ratio of chemical costs to packaging costs.
We sell two similar products at different concentrations. One dilutes 1 to 8 and the other dilutes 1 to 32. The RTU per gallon cost of the more concentrated formula is around $1.50 while the less concentrated is around $2.50.
The primary reason for the increase is that we absorb the cost of packaging four gallons, which is more expensive than the cost of just packaging one gallon (Note: when you see a lower cost on any product consider dilution and most dilution differences incur higher packaging costs).
A lower-cost product usually means less chemical and higher packaging costs.
A Checklist for Evaluating Safety and Product Support
One factor not always considered when purchasing is human, shipping, and environmental safety.
For example, 20 years ago, ammonia was used in many products, including upholstery.
When we reviewed its Safety Data Sheet (SDS), we saw that excessive airborne exposure could lead to death, so we worked around the use of ammonia.
Even though it may be safe enough for a cleaner to use, we were not going to subject our employees to such a hazard.
Here are some behind-the-scenes considerations that you’ll want to pay attention to when buying the right product:
- Does the company pay attention to shipping regulations? Many companies improperly ship corrosive materials.
- Does the company pay attention to low VOC regulations? Many companies ship non-compliant formulations into VOC restrictive areas
- Is the company that you’re buying from transparent about the ingredients on their labels and website disclosures? Are there SDS readily available on web product pages?
- Does the product have ingredients that don’t compromise performance?
- Does the company selling the product invest in product support so that their customers can have peace of mind?
- Does the company provide education about the products that they sell?
- Is the company reliable and able to supply a product when needed?
- Does the product have clear directions on how to use it?
Our Commitment to You
We strive to do all of the things listed above because we want to provide our customers with consistent, reliable, and safe results. You can choose any of our products and have the confidence of knowing that we are here to support you every step of the way.
Everything on this checklist is the type of service that we recommend you to look for when buying your cleaning supplies.
The next time that you’re shopping for a pre spray or protector ask yourself: does the product come with all of these qualities?
Before you accept product performance as the basis for choosing a product be sure to consider performance after the day of cleaning, the true cost of using the product, the safety profile of the product, and all of the product support for whatever you choose to use.
The entire lifecycle of a product, its ingredients, and supporting features are too important of a consideration to overlook.