Chemical Science Blog

Janitorial Products | 2019 | Professional (commercial) vs consumer cleaning products

Cleaning products that are manufactured by major brands for mass sales easily find their way to the shelves of consumer stores household cleaning section via great marketing. Most consumers are unaware of the cleaning products that are intended for the janitorial industry across hotels, sanitation, hospitals, food preparation and facility management.

Consumers typically have no idea what is in the product and/or are easily swayed by useless information or “magic” chemicals.  If I wasn’t in this industry and was asked if I should get commercial cleaning products or consumer I’d say… I guess consumer since their cheaper.  They actually are more expensive and many generally… suck.


Value is an important factor to both consumers and professionals.  This is where reality bytes…  Consumer products are more expensive ounce per ounce, square foot per square foot, and use per use because you are paying for marketing.  99% of the cost of a consumer product is marketing and distribution.  Research?  No way.  Consumer products have about as much research behind them as the natural supplement industry. 

If research was a factor in a consumer product it was done in the 50’s and is still being used like Lysol which crosses over both consumer and commercial markets. 

Facts you need to know:

  • Home contaminants (dirt, grease, etc) are easier to clean in homes typically.  So a consumer product might work for home but not commercial
  • Bacteria control standards are lower lacking more expensive chemistry such as QUATs, instead, relying on less effective bleach or lower cost enzymes that can’t handle heat.
  • You will pay 2.4x more on average for consumer products by the square foot
  • There is no research in all practical terms.  Just re-hashing old research and plenty of great marketing


Commercial products return greater value to both commercial and consumers who choose to go down this road instead of buying “Wham Bang” at the Qwik Mart.  They will cost almost 2.5x less to use and have a longer shelf life.

The majority of cost with is, as in any product, wrapped up in marketing.  However the ratio is starkly different then consumer products with about 67% (industry survey) in marketing/distribution and a whopping 33% in research and development (compared to 1% in consumer products).  This is a big deal as 33% is a number that most over the counter drugs can’t even afford to put into R&D.

A few facts:

  • Specific formulations are more effective with killing bacteria including QUATs, and advanced enzymes that can stand hot water and other chemicals getting involved
  • You save a great deal per ounce vs consumer products
  • Greater variations / product types cover specialized needs better such as restaurant vs restroom, etc