University of California San Francisco Medical Center | Green Cleaning

University of California San Francisco Medical Center recognizes the importance of making evidence-based decisions related to its environmental initiatives.  So when the opportunity to participate in a 2012 study focusing on the link between sterilants, disinfectants and adverse health effects in health care workers, UCSF Medical Center was eager to contribute its experience and expertise.  As a result of the study, UCSF realized that harsh cleaners were impacting the air quality and worker safety, and set a goal of standardizing chemical use and transitioning to safer, healthier cleaners where possible.

After the study, UCSF’s Zero Waste and Toxics Reduction WorkGroups assessed current cleaning and disinfection practices, piloted healthier alternatives, and standardized products. The team selected the Green Seal-certified Hillyard for all purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, carpet and upholstery cleaners, and bathroom cleaner, fulfilling the goals identified in HHI’s Safer Chemicals Green Cleaning Challenge.  It also selected Green Seal Certified products for floor cleaners and laundry soaps.  The team purchased its cleaners in bulk and diluted the products on-site.  Staff was trained in the safe use of products and methods to prevent worker exposure to the chemicals.

The use of microfiber mops added to UCSF Medical Center’s strategy, contributing to reduced water use and increased staff satisfaction.  The organization’s design strategies resulted in the use of fewer chemicals due to its selection of flooring that do not require waxing or stripping.  The transition did not increase UCSF Medical Center’s cleaning costs and demonstrated a healthier outcome.