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Wholesale Cleaning Supplies and the Modern World
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's a fact of retail life that wholesale cleaning supplies are sold in untold numbers, in good economies and bad. It's also true that, although low-cost deals and close-outs on cleaning products naturally become more attractive when times are harder, great discounts never stop being highly attractive even when the economy is in grade A shape. Regardless, products that help us clean our homes, businesses, clothing and selves, remain among the most reliable products any retailer can carry.

Now, you may not realize it, but there's probably never been a cleaner point in human history than right now. Several hundred years back, the Western world was, to put it mildly, pretty filthy. Some of this was cultural and some of it was due to an overreaction to the massively deadly medieval Black Plague, which was thought by European physicians to have been spread in public bath houses. As England and the continent grew more cleanliness conscious in the 19th century, the New World lagged behind. However, partly as a result of advances made during the Civil War and after, America developed a growing bond with the idea that, as the saying goes, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Today, many Europeans think that perhaps we Americans go a bit overboard when it comes to keeping things spotless.

Of course, our need to be clean comes into conflict against all the other needs in life, like the need to work for a living and the need to sleep. And so, modern cleaning products are usually made with built-in conveniences, some of which are now so common we take them entirely for granted. Indeed, it's hard to imagine using, say, a glass cleaning product without a spray bottle, even if they actually only became available during the early sixties. The aerosol spray bottle arose about twenty years earlier in the form of the "Bug Bomb" developed by Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan. Of course, many products, like sponges and mops, have countless modern variations but remain basically unchanged since ...well, we don't know when they were first used, but we're pretty sure it was very long time ago. Even such thoughtful improvements as the mop trolley commonly used for clean-ups at stores and industrial sites is based on some pretty old technology.

Still, there's no underestimating the impact of industrialization on modern day cleaning products and habits. The act of cleaning clothes was once -- and still often is in developing nations -- a tedious, difficult, and probably not very effective matter of holding clothes under water and agitating them in various ways. The industrial revolution gave us the earliest ancestors of today's washing devices, and eventually the modern washer, and the laundry detergent and stain removers to go with it. If you think about it, washing clothes with a machine is a pretty painless process, especially considering the physical exertion involved in physically agitating clothing and then wringing it out by hand.

Making things easy is really the name of the game with both retail and wholesale cleaning products. Cheap or expensive, modern products seek to reduce the element of work that comes with cleanliness, or at least the appearance of being clean. Whether we're talking about products that remove smells from clothing without the need for a wash, to paper towels and flushable bathroom wipes, and more elaborate items like multi-purpose vacuum cleaners, to idea is get to the goal of being clean without having to deal with too much excess labor. Hard work may be its own reward, but it's one area where most of us are already amply rewarded.