Biological Cleaning/Remediation/Decontamination/Decommissioning

Biological Cleaning/Remediation/Decontamination/Decommissioning


Biological Cleaning


Biological Technology

Cleaning agents generally separate soils from fabric or surface substrate by dissolving or suspending them in a water or solvent liquid solution to be carried away when the solution is removed.
The cleaning action of the primary formulation components is supplemented by additives to optimize the performance of the cleaners.

Biological additives are used to break down organic soils into smaller particles so that the soils are more readily separated and emulsified by surfactants for subsequent removal. Low levels of residual organic soils may often remain on surfaces due to incomplete solubilization or suspension of imbedded soils or incomplete rinsing of the surface. Biological additives impart a residual activity to the cleaned surface allowing for a slow removal of deeply embedded soils.

Biological additives function through the action of enzymes. Enzymes are organic catalysts found in nature. These catalysts hasten specific chemical reactions. Each enzyme selectively speeds the breakdown of a single type of chemical bond. Four classes of enzymes are commonly used in cleaning:
(1) protease which breaks down protein,
(2) amylase which breaks down starch;
(3) lipase which degrades fats and oils, and
(4) cellulase which breaks down cellulose.

Enzymes are produced via fermentation and can be added to cleaning products formulations in the form of a stabilized extracellular enzyme concentrate or a wild type beneficial microorganism that can produce the enzyme needed as required at the site of use. Beneficial microorganisms are able to detect the organic soils present and provided they have the genetic capability, produce the specific enzymes needed to degrade those organics.

While traditional antibacterial cleaning products remain as popular and reliable as ever, biological cleaning products are growing in demand thanks to their environmentally-friendly natural ingredients, and unique sanitising properties that offer many benefits – including separating dangerous, and friendly bacteria.
But what exactly are biological cleaning products, and how are they different to traditional antibacterials? Read on for our ultimate guide to biological cleaning products so you can decide which types of cleaning products are best for your business.

Understanding biological cleaning products

Biological cleaning products are simple enough to understand, yet are rather fascinating. Also known as ‘microbial’ or ‘bacterial’ cleaning products, they contain one or more species of ‘useful’ bacteria that are able to secrete enzymes to break down a soil, and then consume it. As there are so many different types of bacteria, the bacteria included in the product must be correct for the intended purpose, and they will multiply as long as there is food for them to consume and the conditions are right.

When they are applied to a surface, the bacteria in biological cleaning products begin a process called ‘biological decomposition’ to degrade fats, oils, grease, and organic grime, turning it into oxygen and other useful substances whilst cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing, even long after their application.

How do biological cleaning products sanitise a surface?

The bacteria in biological cleaning products begin to reproduce as they digest the organic waste and soon out-perform any pathogenic, or ‘bad’ bacteria that are present. This process is called ‘competitive exclusion’, as the ‘good’ bacteria halt the growth and spreading of the bad bacteria until they fully take over, and the surface is not only clean and odor-free but also completely hygienic.

This differs from traditional antibacterial cleaning products in that these products instantly eliminate all types of bacteria. In some environments, this rapid action may be necessary, but with the growing concern around the future implications of antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial resistance, you may believe that it’s important to preserve the good bacteria in your particular environment.


The many key benefits of biological cleaning products

The benefits and advantages of biological cleaning products go beyond their cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing properties. Many of the key benefits are in the specific ways in which biological cleaning products clean, and their impact upon the wider environment.
Here are some of the key benefits of biological cleaning products that you should know about:

1.    They have a long-lasting cleaning effect
As the bacteria in biological cleaning products will continue to work for as long as there is ‘food’ (the dirt, or bad bacteria) for them to consume, they have a long-lasting effect. This differs from traditional antibacterial cleaning products in that these products have an immediate effect, but they do not continue to work for much longer after their application, so a more frequent clean may be required to guarantee a sanitary environment.

2.    They can penetrate deeper into surfaces
The particle size of the microbes in biological cleaning products is much smaller than those in traditional antibacterial cleaning products. This allows them to penetrate deeper into the microscopic pores of surfaces and clean, sanitize and deodorize where other cleaning products may not be able to, as they work only at a surface level.

3.    They are environmentally responsible
As we’ve previously covered in our article on ‘Should You Consider Using Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products?’, there is growing pressure on businesses in the UK to show consideration for the wider environment and sustainability in the day-to-day running of their business, including when choosing cleaning and hygiene products. Biological cleaning products are often referred to as ‘green cleaning products’, as they use natural ingredients, have been manufactured to have a reduced impact upon the environment, and do not contaminate the water supply when they are washed away.

4.    They may be safer for human use
As well as the wider environment, biological cleaning products may also be considered to be safer for humans too. Biological cleaning products do not contain corrosive ingredients unlike many conventional cleaning products, and brands such as Cleantec Innovation have ensured that all of their biological cleaning products meet strict standards regarding inhalation toxicity, combustibility, and skin absorption. You may consider this to be very important especially in busy environments, and in many commercial settings, highly powerful and corrosive cleaning products are simply not necessary.

5.    They are specialised to particular cleaning tasks
As we’ve briefly mentioned, the bacteria found in different biological cleaning products are chosen to be fit for purpose, so you’ll often find that biological cleaning products are very specialized. This includes biological toilet cleaners, which may be highly useful in places where the use of bleach is not permitted, as well as limescale remover, odor treatments, biological degreasers, and even biological graffiti removers. Highly effective biological multi-purpose cleaners are available too, but when you have a particularly tricky cleaning task at hand, you’re likely to find a biological cleaning product designed to help you tackle it.

Biological Cleaning in Hospitality

Biological cleaning products are generally considered to be products that use good bacteria and the enzymes they produce as cleaning agents. These friendly bacteria can also produce other actives including acids, polymers and other cleaning agents.
How does biological cleaning work in practice? Different dirt sources, such as fats, oils, food debris, body fat, and body waste are all good source of food for The MACK Group’s positive bacteria, which produce enzymes to help them break down the waste, which can be likened to us producing saliva to help us eat our food.
Housekeeping, unlike any other cleaning sector, is very unique where high standards are required with very little time to “turn rooms around”.

By utilizing biological cleaning,  you not only get an immediate clean but thanks to residual cleaning BioVations products continue to clean for hours, and even days after the initial clean. Spreading positive bacteria on the surfaces that counteract negative bacteria and protect the surface for your staff, property, and guests. BioVations products are super concentrated running up to 400/1 for multi-purpose cleaning, add this to the neutral PH level’s and diluted products not carrying any CLP regulation or requiring individual risk assessments –The MACK Group is not only saving you time cleaning, but also on COSHH administration, risk management, storage and even training thanks to the support team and mobile application (The MACK Group)

The MACK Group uses the most advanced technology to demonstrate this, simply clean with your current products and swab the surface using an ATP monitor, then clean with The MACK Group’s biological cleaning products and watch the resulting drop dramatically – proving biotechnology is the future of cleaning!

If sustainability, safety, environment, and performance are as important to you as cost, then The MACK Group could be the answer to your hotel’s cleaning requirements.


Biological Remediation


Biological remediation, a process defined as the use of microorganisms or plants to detoxify or remove organic and inorganic xenobiotic compounds from the environment is a remediation option that offers green technology solutions to the problem of environmental degradation.

What can bioremediation clean up?

Bioremediation is the process by which microbes (generally bacteria) or plants transform a harmful water contaminant into a non-harmful substance, much as we turn sugar into carbon dioxide and water. Bioremediation can help clean up groundwater contaminated with gasoline, solvents, and other contaminants.

What is bioremediation and how does it work?

Bioremediation is a naturally occurring process where very small living organisms called microbes, clean up contaminated soil, groundwater, and surface. Bioremediation stimulates the growth of certain microbes that use contaminants as a source of food and energy.

What contaminants can be treated with bioremediation?

Contaminants treated using bioremediation include oil and other petroleum products, solvents, and pesticides. How Does It Work? Some types of microbes eat and digest contaminants, usually changing them into small amounts of water and harmless gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

What are the examples of bioremediation?

Some examples of bioremediation related technologies are phytoremediation, mycoremediation, bio venting, bioleaching, landfarming, bioreactor, composting, bioaugmentation, hemofiltration, and biostimulation.

What are the two types of bioremediation?

Some of the most common types of bioremediation are microbial bioremediation, phytoremediation, and mycoremediation.

What is microbial remediation?

“Remediation” is problem-solving and “biological remediation. ” refers to the use of biological organisms to solve environmental problems, such as contaminated soil or groundwater. Bioremediation means the use of a biological agent to suppress or clear contamination.

What are the benefits of bioremediation?

Bioremediation has been successfully used to clean up pollutants including crude oil, gasoline, pesticides, sewage, and chlorinated solvents used in cleaning supplies. The benefits of bioremediation include lower costs and less disruption of the contaminated environment when compared to other clean up methods.

Biological Decontamination


Biological decontamination is required in any environment involving the processing of tissue and micro-organisms. This can range from areas within hospitals to research institutions. The MACK Group Environmental Services provides bio-decontamination services to companies and organisations in many different sectors.
Sometimes a facility needs to be decontaminated as a matter of routine, at set intervals, to ensure it continues to have a clean-air environment. Staff often introduce a level of contamination through natural shedding of hair or skin particles during their work, so regular decontamination is needed to address this. Sometimes, however, the process needs to be carried out as a matter of urgency, following a specific contamination incident.

Routine Decontamination

There are various environments where regular bio-decontamination is required as a matter of best practice at key times. These include:

Healthcare – Isolation rooms and critical care wards, as well as operating theatres, blood banks and other areas with a high requirement for cleanliness, need to be sanitized and sterilised on a regular basis. Sterilisation is also needed following treatment of specific diseases, to avoid any risk of infection for patients and staff. Test labs routinely testing for pathogens also require decontamination to prevent any hazard to the health of operators.

Research – Cleanrooms or labs processing pathogenic materials, such as those where medical conditions and illnesses are researched, as well as animal research facilities, need to maintain the highest standards. This is essential not only for operator protection but also to protect the integrity of research findings and ensure they are not altered by the presence of contaminants.

Pharmaceutical / Biotech Facilities – These are other types of institutions with cleanrooms and laboratory areas that must maintain sterility at all times. It is important to avoid any damage to the purity of the drugs and other products being handled, as well as safeguarding staff.

Regular, routine laboratory or hospital decontamination needs to be combined with other services including cleanroom testing, monitoring, biological sampling and validation. A regime including all of these means that you will quickly become aware of any persistent problem which cannot be overcome by regular cleaning or filtering and needs to be addressed.
The MACK Group offers routine biological decontamination services as part of a cleanroom services contract. On completion of a cleanroom validation visit, we effectively sterilise the area, using the latest, technologically advanced ionized Hydrogen Peroxide decontamination (iHP), to ensure the facility is left safe and ready for use.

Emergency Decontamination

Regular cleanroom maintenance and testing visits under contract will include decontamination as a matter of course. However, in addition to this, cleanrooms and other facilities may need a one-off sterilisation at short notice following a specific concern.
This could be because there has been a spillage of a known pathogenic or contaminating substance, or a breakage of equipment causing a risk of contamination. Monitoring systems may also have detected an unexpected occurrence of a pathogen, or unusually pathogenic substance, or there could be a suspicion or discovery of unusually high levels of contamination.

Water leaks or floods can cause contamination within a cleanroom, lab or operating theatre, and there could also be airborne contamination following a power outage and consequent failure of equipment. A one-off incident such as a member of personnel becoming ill could be another cause of a contamination alert.

As well as problems in a cleanroom or clean lab itself, there could be contamination in an unmonitored area nearby, such as a public area or an unmonitored general laboratory. There may also be an indication of an alarm within a facility, but where the type or extent of contamination is unknown.

In any of these instances, it is good practice to arrange for an emergency visit from The MACK Group's expert cleanroom service team. If the cause of the contamination is unknown, we will carry out tests of the area in order to diagnose the problem, so that any necessary repairs can be carried out. The facility can then be decontaminated, so it can quickly be brought back into use without unnecessary downtime.

Biological Decontamination from The MACK Group

The MACK Group is able to carry out routine or emergency decontamination as required, for all types of lab, cleanroom or healthcare environment. We use the latest iHP technology, which means that bio-contaminants, including spores and viruses, can be reduced to below detectable levels, creating a clean and sterile environment.
IHP is a very environmentally friendly solution because it is non-corrosive and quickly breaks down into water and oxygen after the process is completed. It is also fast-acting, working within seconds, without posing any risk of toxicity to people in the area or harming equipment.

The MACK Group are also suppliers of the high-tech Phileas® hydrogen peroxide sterilization units, which use a spinning disc system to diffuse a dry fog into the area which needs treating. This automated disinfection system is ideal for a wide range of facilities, including hospitals and labs.

The MACK Group offers a regular cleanroom monitoring service, combining maintenance with validation and keeping all records to ensure regulatory compliance. By regularly visiting and keeping a close eye on how well the cleanroom is working and the performance of all systems and equipment, we can help to minimize the number of events where biological decontamination is needed. As well as offering contracts, we can also visit as needed if there is an emergency.
Biological Decontamination – Contact The MACK Group to find out more about our expert cleanroom services.

Biological Decommissioning


Laboratory Decommissioning Procedure

SMU employees responsible for laboratory facilities and operations are required to follow this Laboratory Decommissioning Procedure prior to vacating any laboratory or other space where chemical, biological, or radioactive agents have been used or stored.

Events requiring decommissioning of a laboratory include:

●    Terminating affiliation with Southern Methodist University
●    Relocating to another laboratory space
●    Major laboratory renovation
●    Retirement from research pursuits

The principal investigator, academic instructor, lab director/manager, and graduate student are fully responsible for complying with all laboratory decommissioning requirements. In the event of death, disability, abrupt termination of employment, or another unplanned event, the department head/division director becomes responsible for implementing the decommissioning procedure. The department head/division director is additionally responsible for oversight of the decommissioning procedure and for certifying that a vacated laboratory space has been properly decommissioned.

Researchers who are vacating shared spaces shall ensure that this procedure is implemented for their portion of the lab space. Graduate research projects must follow this procedure to decommission research materials and dispose of waste prior to completion of work and before the thesis or dissertation is signed. Effective identification of research materials/waste and appropriate disposal should be an integral component of the educational process when dealing with hazardous materials.
Departments/Divisions may incur significant costs as a result of laboratories and research materials that have not been properly decommissioned. Departments/Divisions are responsible for any deficiencies not corrected by the individual responsible for laboratory facility and/or research materials. Any regulatory actions or fines resulting from improper management or disposal of any regulated material may also accrue to the department/division.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Hazardous Materials - Remove chemical, biological, and radiological agents prior to decommissioning. Be aware that numerous restrictions apply to the transfer of hazardous materials; EHS provides consultative assistance in the lawful transfer of these materials.

●    Chemicals – Coordinate chemical waste disposal with EHS at least 30 days prior to decommissioning. Unopened and uncontaminated chemicals can be returned to departmental stockrooms or redistributed among colleagues.

●    Compressed Gas Cylinders – Transfer to the willing recipient, return to vendor, or dispose of as chemical waste.

●    Biologicals – Dispose of biological wastes, potentially infectious materials, and sharps according to EHS procedures. Liquids can be decontaminated and poured down the drain. Coordinate with EHS for guidance on non-routine materials destruction.

●    Radioisotopes, x-ray machines, or instruments containing a radioactive source – Coordinate with EHS or departmental Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for disposal of waste or transfer of usable materials or equipment to another authorized user. All equipment must be cleared by RSO before sending to Surplus Property.
Remove Stored Items - Remove all glassware, laboratory research apparatus, empty containers, and other equipment. Storage areas, cabinets, and fume hoods must be completely emptied prior to decommissioning.

●   Clean and Decontaminate – Clean and decontaminate all laboratory surfaces, including those in fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, and chemical storage areas. General cleaning and chemical decontamination can be accomplished by washing with warm, soapy water. Further decontamination may be necessary for:

●    Biologicals – Areas that may have been exposed to spills can be decontaminated with a 20% bleach solution or another suitable disinfectant.

●    Radioisotopes –Surfaces must be decontaminated and removal of surface contamination must be documented with wipe tests. Contact the departmental Radiation Safety Officer to perform final survey and certify that laboratory can be released for unrestricted use.

●    Equipment – Decontaminate all accessible surfaces.

●    Biosafety Cabinets – Wipe down all accessible surfaces (including the spill pan) with a suitable disinfectant.

●   Inspection – Schedule decommissions inspection with EHS and the Department Chair. All deficiencies must be corrected before the laboratory can be certified as decommissioned. In radiological laboratories, the Radiation Safety Officer will need to inspect the lab and certify that the lab can be free-released for non-radiological use before the full decommissioning certification document is issued by the Department Head.

●   Recordkeeping – Department Chair retains original Decommissioning Form, with one copy to the PI, one copy to EHS, and one copy prominently posted in the decommissioned area. Additional documentation may be required for special regulated hazards such as radioactive or biological materials.

●   Exceptions – In situations where it is impractical or unwarranted to remove all stored items, including chemicals, the department chair, and PI may agree to make exceptions to this requirement. Exceptions shall be documented on the exceptions page, signed by both parties, and posted with the Decommissioning Certification Form.
Questions on the use of this procedure or form should be addressed to SMU Environmental Health and Safety.