Innovate Blog
Why it’s important to consider the differences between ready to use and concentrated cleaning products

Friday March 16, 2018

Clean and simple: a series of blogs from Cleanline expert Rod Hale.

We asked our Cleanline expert ‘When choosing cleaning products for a catering operation, which should you go for – ready to use or concentrated products?’

And here’s what he told us…

Cleanline Expert – Rod Hale Twitter – @rodhale2

That’s a good question, but to make up your mind, first of all you need to know the facts about each option.

Ready to use cleaning products

A ready to use product is a cleaning product sold in its correctly diluted form ready to safely apply and use as it is.  Often, ready to use products come in handy-sized trigger spray bottles – making them ideal for use in smaller operations, but less cost effective in larger ones.

For many years ready to use products were the only cleaning products available for both commercial and domestic use, indeed most of the cleaning products used at home are still ready to use.

Cleanline Glass & Stainless Steel Cleaner

A recent survey completed by market research company Global Market Insite revealed that the three most important factors that influence consumers’ decisions when purchasing cleaning products for home were performance (44 per cent), branding (38 per cent) and promotions (18 per cent).

In the catering and hospitality industry, there are lots of advantages to using ready to use products. The first big advantage is consistency.  The ‘liquid’ in a ready to use bottle is made in a factory that uses the same water supply day in day out.  Frequent checks are made to ensure that the product always has the exact formulation, and samples are retained as a precaution in case of future challenges to authenticity and quality.  You certainly can’t have this benefit with concentrated products because water mineral content and quality vary throughout the country and you’re doing the mixing yourself, possibly not very accurately.

Ready to use  products are usually more suited to the smaller catering operator.  In a confined area there might not be room on the wall for manually operated pumps or brackets for product containers; with concentrated products you also need a water supply situated where you intend to mix the products and that’s not always possible in a restricted space.

Concentrated cleaning products

Cleanline Concentrated Glass & Stainless Steel Cleaner

A concentrated or even super concentrated product is a cleaning product that is designed to be diluted with water before use. There are different methods for diluting the cleaning product concentrate safely – from using a simple pelican pump to the provision of wall-mounted dispensing systems.

The primary benefits of concentrated products is its economy in use and sustainability.  At the point of use you are mixing water with concentrated liquid in re-usable plastic bottles that are usually supplied by the chemical manufacturer.  These bottles get used over and over again hundreds of times before they wear out and need to be replaced.  Ready to use bottles get used just once before they are thrown away and unless they are recyclable they often end up in landfill, so there is significantly less plastic waste when you’re using a concentrated system.

Since you are using your own water to make the cleaning solution on site, when compared with ready to use  products, far less room is needed in vehicles transporting products from manufacturer to end-user or distributor to end-user.  This lowers fuel consumption and reduces the number of trucks on the road, and in turn, the carbon footprint.  In the factory there are fewer emissions, less water is used, less plastic, fewer labels, reduced packaging, less lifting, less storage space and less effluent are all positive environmental benefits too.

If you can accomplish this accurately, re-using bottles and mixing on site with your own water means that the in-use cost of concentrated products is always substantially less than ready to use products.

You do have to bear in mind though that there is always the risk of human error; although there are many versions of accurate dosing pumps around, operators will often pour neat concentrated liquid straight from the bottle, this can destroy the point of the exercise and it can work out considerably more expensive than ready to use.

So, which should I go for?

Take a look at the size of your business and how many people you’re working with.  If you’re working alone or with a small team in a confined space, then ready to use products are the way to go.  One container of a concentrated product can yield literally hundreds of full re-usable spray bottles.  So, if you’re a smaller user there’s no point in buying concentrated products that sit so long on the shelf that they outlive their use-by date – and having paid for the dosing pumps and someone to fit them, your cleaning product supplier will need to sell you enough products to cover those initial costs.

If you have a consistently high level of custom, a staff training programme and the facilities for mixing the solutions, then you should be leaning towards concentrate products.  Don’t forget though, that like the free lunch, there’s no such thing as free equipment and service so remember that you also need a cleaning product supplier that includes in the price of their products, their cost of dosing equipment, the engineers to fit it, training support, point-of-use charts and call out facilities.

At Bunzl Catering Supplies our support is always available as part of our exclusive brand Cleanline service offer.  Whether you are buying ready to use or concentrated cleaning products, get in touch with us today for more information.

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