All cleaning products are ordered centrally through Facilities & Engineering or Housing & Dining (H&D). David McDonald, the H&D Senior Business Director, created a list of cleaning and janitorial products that are Green Seal approved or equivalent, and all departments are required to make purchases off of this list.
Rice's custodians specifically use a Green Seal approved product called H2Orange2, made by EnvirOx, as the general purpose cleaner in all of the campus academic buildings. H2Orange2 consists of hydrogen peroxide, citrus oil, and a biodegradable surfactant. Switching to EnvirOx required no additional costs and no sacrifice in quality. The custodial teams also use microfiber cloths, which last considerably longer and are more absorbent than traditional rags.
Rice relies heavily on steam cleaning in the academic buildings. In addition to vacuuming, the carpets are cleaned with a duplex hydro washer. No shampoos or soaps are used on the carpets. A vapor steam cleaning system is used that can clean for hours on a single quart of water which replaces mopping.
Rice custodians undergo a formal training program known as "Cleanology" to teach custodians the science and the "whys" of cleaning as opposed to the "hows." Cleanology is defined as the study of cleaning and behavior in relation to custodial maintenance. The Facilities, Engineering & Planning department at Rice has compiled a formal document outlining the Cleanology procedures, training techniques, and requirements. The stated mission of the Cleanology program is to provide faculty, staff, students and visitors with a healthy, clean and safe environment. Furthermore, the program seeks to promote green cleaning and a "green and clean" lifestyle through the use of environmentally friendly products, promote sustainability and life cycle for a healthier and safer environment, and combat pollution and global climate change. Specifically, the Cleanology program includes formal classroom training from both internal and external experts in the field, on-site seminars, and on-the-job training. Throughout the program's 16 training modules, custodial teams learn everything from chemical safety and green cleaning to the Cleanology procedure and conflict management.
The Custodial staff has the ability to achieve the levels of basic, certified, and registered Cleanoogist. Basic Cleanology is an eight-hour course taught over eight weeks. All custodial employees must attend and pass this course during their new hire period. A 10-month course required for both the certified and registered levels. After receiving a registered status, participants are selected to attend the "Top Gun School" to learn the latest teaching methods and become instructors. It is the overarching goal of the program to provide Cleanologists and managers with high technical proficiency and knowledge of the systems on campus. Training sessions are offered periodically throughout the year so as to ensure that all current and replacement employees have the opportunity to attend.