Discard Your disinfectants

January 9, 2009

Hotels, restaurants, office buildings – they all utilize traditional cleaning agents that are costly to make, costly to dispose of, yet essential to maintaining a safe and healthy work or living area. A small Massachusetts startup offers an alternative, a patented electrolysis device. If utilized properly, it could bring dozens of companies, if not whole industries, further into the “green” era of corporate environmentalism while dramatically changing the marketing landscape of the cleaning and disinfectant industry.

The Electrolyzer converts standard tap water into two different liquids, which marketing claims to be potent for up to three months. One is a sanitizer more potent than bleach, the other a cleaning solution similar to lye. Both are claimed to be safe to drink, albeit lacking any desirable taste. We don’t envision a new soft drink phenomena (although the branding possibilities are obvious, “Bleach-Up” and “Dr. Lye”) but the impact this will have on marketing will be significant. Both products are currently being tested in restaurants and hotel chains, with encouraging results.

The potential drawbacks are primarily the initial purchase and installation price for the machine, which has been priced up to as much as $12,000. For large organizations, that price tag can be earned back from the savings gained by discontinuing use of traditional cleaning products. Will industrial strength cleaning brands fade away into obsolescence? Not for the time being. Several countries already utilize electrolyzed water, and traditional cleaning brands still exist. Never the less this is a threat to existing manufacturers.

An interesting prospect of this new “drinkable” disinfectant would be to offer in hotel bathrooms. International travelers are traditionally cautioned against using local tap water, from a simple glass of drinking water, to wetting one’s toothbrush. This sanitizer would be able to transcend those worries, and help combat one of the standard traveling concerns. A potential that no traditional sanitizer can claim.

The Electrolyzer can be seen as a pioneer of sorts, the leader of a new style of cleaning. A more environmentally conscious cleaning product. And in an age where going “green” is becoming par for the course in all industries. Traditional cleaning product brands, and their respective companies, are going to have to create strong communication and marketing strategies to maintain market share. Or shift their target audience to companies and organizations unwilling or unable to afford an on-site electrolysis machine.

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