More often than not, Restoration professionals are faced with the issue of having to use harsh industrial chemicals during the process of cleaning and restoration. In these cases it is rare not to be met with a myriad of health and safety warnings for such chemicals. As such, for the safety of their employees for their customers, many restoration companies are moving away from synthetic chemical products and moving towards hazard-free botanical blended antimicrobial products.
Botanical antimicrobials are disinfectants that rely not on a chemical (or collection of chemicals) to eliminate microbial contaminants, but rather essential oils extracted from plant material as the primary active ingredient of the disinfectant. Since federal law requires manufacturers of any substance that stakes the claim of successful elimination of microbes or germs to be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, botanical antimicrobials are (like their chemical counterparts) rigorously tested for efficacy prior to the issuance of an EPA registration number. With standardized EPA testing and little to NO health or safety concern(s) botanical antimicrobials have taken a seat at the round table of staple necessities offered by restoration companies far and wide.
The underlying scientific foundation for formulations of botanical antimicrobials rests on centuries of evidence in nature as many plants protect themselves from microbiological contaminants the harsh environments in which they reside. The mechanism of their resistance against bacteria, fungi and viral matter in their environments is the essence of the plant material itself. The oils naturally found in many plants function as a chemical; destroying the cell walls or membranes of the contaminants. And like any other product, certain oils are more resistant than others to various species of biological contaminants. Research examining the efficacy of botanical oils such as Red Thyme, Lavender, Cassia & Clove found that even against MRSA types (Staph aureus, etc) more effectively eliminated by combinations of botanicals than chemical alternatives.
There are not only safety issues that are put to rest when botanical antimicrobials are used, but also ethical issues surrounding sustainability of the environment. Plant material is easily accessed, easily grown and safely administered. As evidence continues to grow with regard to efficacy being as good if not better than chemical counterparts, Cleaning and Restoration outfits are becoming more akin to the use of these alternative (and natural) options.