What makes our products sustainable

Produced with low emissions, ecologically conscious material selection, energy-saving and water-saving usage – products for cleaning and care should be sustainable in many ways. Therefore, responsible behavior at Kärcher includes machine development and the production and supply chain right up to correct disposal – and it does not end at our factory gates.

Sustainability icon illustration set on top of a photo of a stand of forest trees.

Contribution to value preservation and durability

Consumers now ask important questions upon purchase: Where was the product manufactured, by whom and in what conditions? What materials is it made of? And can it be recycled afterwards? How efficiently does the machine operate? We take these concerns very seriously. Kärcher offers cleaning solutions for households, industry and business – and these consume water, electricity and cleaning detergents. But Kärcher technology also contributes significantly to value preservation and the durability of buildings or machines – and there is already a great deal of sustainability in this.

Learn more here about the sustainability aspects of pressure washers, vacuum cleaners and more.

Animated illustration of water dripping.

Saving water

Handling the resource of water responsibly is now more important than ever. What our technology can contribute to this? Cleaning machines can ensure that less water is consumed in a number of ways. Recycling systems in automated car washes, for example, collect up to 98 percent of the used water, process it and use it for the next cleaning process. Pressure washers save around 80 percent of water due to their high cleaning performance compared to working with a garden hose. Pumps for the garden make rainwater usable for watering the area around the house. These examples provide an impression:

Kärcher pressure washers save up to 3,100 liters an hour, meaning they use about 80 percent less water compared to cleaning with a water hose. They are distinguished by a great cleaning performance and cleaning efficiency with inherently lower consumption, which makes cleaning expeditious – consequently saving time, water and energy.

This is due to patented nozzle technology and customized adaptation to the performance of individual machines – you get a better result faster. In addition, most models can also be operated with reclaim water. For this, the machines simply suck the water from an available reservoir. This way, the user dispenses with the use of drinking water, thereby protecting the environment, and is also independent of the water supply.

Illustration of a standard water hose next to a pressure washer.

The FC 7 Cordless floor cleaner removes all types of dry and wet daily contamination in a single step. There is therefore no need to vacuum before wiping the floor. This saves the machine up to 90 percent of water when cleaning a 60 m² floor area, in comparison with a conventional mop with bucket.

The FC 7 Cordless works with four contrarotating cleaning rollers that are continuously moistened with fresh water and detergent. The rollers reliably pick up all types of household dirt and wipe the floor both in the forward and reverse movement.

Photo of the FC 7 Cordless floor cleaner
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Using energy efficiently

We are constantly improving the energy efficiency of our products – no matter whether they are corded, supplied by a battery, or supplied by a combustion engine. An important development in terms of cleaning machines is the Kärcher eco!efficiency mode, which can also be activated during operation. With it, the machine functions are automatically managed at the best possible efficiency. This reduces the consumption of energy, water and detergents. These examples show how that works in practice:

Numerous model series of Kärcher floor scrubbers already have an eco!efficiency mode. With it, the brush speed and the suction power are reduced to a performance sufficient for lighter dirt. This allows convincing cleaning results with significantly lower consumption to be achieved. Up to 30 percent of energy and 10 percent of water and detergent can currently be saved with the eco!efficiency mode.

Man cleans a business entrance area using a Kärcher professional floor scrubber.

With hot water under high pressure, comparable cleaning results are achieved with a significantly decreased use of water. Moreover, the eco!efficiency mode is used with hot water pressure washers. If it is active, the water temperature is set to 140°F, as this temperature is completely sufficient for most cleaning tasks. The burners of the hot water pressure washers are especially efficient and environmentally friendly, as confirmed by the EUnited Cleaning association. Kärcher was the first manufacturer of cleaning equipment in the world to receive such a certification.

The certification includes several elements: The burners used must display an especially high effectiveness, while at the same time not allow emissions of soot and carbon monoxide to exceed the very low limits. This combination leads to particularly environmentally friendly machines that not only release few harmful substances, but simultaneously make operating costs low due to their low consumption. The industry association EUnited Cleaning is the leading provider of floor cleaning machines and pressure washers for professional use.

A worker cleans equipment using a Kärcher hot water pressure washer.

With 40 percent lower power input, the eco!efficiency vacuum cleaners achieve 98 percent of the suction power of the basic machine, which is more than sufficient for daily maintenance cleaning. At the same time, the suction of eco!efficiency machines is nice and quiet, and can be measured and felt at only half the volume. With cordless machines, it also extends the working life while simultaneously offering a strong cleaning performance.

A worker cleans a tile floor with a Kärcher wet/dry vac.
Animated illustration of fog clouding a skyline with the sun dissipating the fog.

Reducing emissions

Especially in interior spaces and if users work directly on the machine, it is important to reduce emissions or totally avoid them where possible – including operating noise. So it is particularly important with vacuum cleaners, for instance, that they really capture the drawn-in dust and do not release it from the machine again. In other areas, such as with lawn mowers and electric saws, the switch from machines with a combustion engine to electrically operated machines can ensure that absolutely no more direct emissions are produced. Kärcher counts on efficient filter systems for products or offers emission-free products such as the machines of the battery platforms.

Many tasks on construction sites, in workshops or on the production line for industry produce large amounts of dust. Various precautions must be taken in order to comply with work protection regulations and keep the impact on health as low as possible. The aim is to keep work environments largely dust-free. Types of dust that also contain constituents such as pollen, quartz, mold, viruses or even asbestos are especially problematic.

Safety vacuum cleaners are designed so that they reliably absorb and dispose of such particles. Filters are designed to collect fine dust particles and prevent them from being released back into the surrounding air. When dealing with large amounts of dust, there is a risk of this clogging up the filter and considerably reducing the suction power. Safety vacuum cleaners are therefore equipped with systems for filter cleaning.

Fully automated functions for filter cleaning allow the absorption of large quantities of fine dust without interrupting work or losing suction power. Kärcher also uses the further developed Tact system in its safety vacuum cleaners. Here, a sudden switch of the air flow cleans the filter automatically.

Worker uses an electric sander connected to a wet dry vac to collect dust.

Noise emissions are also emissions that should be reduced. Therefore, we optimize our machines both in terms of their volume and the type of noise. The K 2 Silent pressure washer is 10 dB(A) quieter than the previous model. A person will perceive this reduction as a halving of the volume. In addition, the frequency spectrum has been influenced so that the remaining noise is felt as significantly more pleasant. We have achieved this by using innovative plastics, such as special polyurethane damping materials. These effectively disconnect the pump from the housing. In addition, we use sound-absorbing foam mats made of melamine resin.

Product photo of the K 2
Animated illustration of the recycling symbol appearing from the right and then spinning in the center.

Responsible use of plastic

Since 2012, we have managed to quadruple the amount of recycled plastic in our machines. In material procurement, we watch out for sustainable resources, allowing us to close the circuit and to reuse the recycled plastic in products. We have made it our goal to achieve a recycled plastic content of up to 50 percent in our Home & Garden pressure washers by 2025. How sustainable material use already looks today:

The ultra-lightweight BVL 5/1 BP backpack vacuum's low weight is due to the EPP plastic used in its production. However, the material is both extremely lightweight and fully recyclable. The vacuum also offers quiet, energy-efficient operation thanks to its brushless motor and eco!efficiency mode.

Kärcher BVL 5/1 in use

Kärcher was one of the first companies to use the "Technyl® 4earth® technology" from the manufacturer Domo in series production for the end consumer market. The recycled material used is extracted from fabric in recycled airbags and material left over from their production process. That guarantees both a consistent material quality and security of supply. In addition, CO₂ emissions, water consumption and the use of non-renewable energies can be significantly reduced.

The polyamide used is reinforced with 30 percent fibreglass. As the spray lances of the Kärcher pressure washers must withstand an exceptionally high pressure during use and also have to be hard-wearing against environmental influences and cleaning detergents. What is also special is that the recycled material displays no loss of properties compared with the raw material.

Pressure washer spray lance sits in front of the tiny components that it's comprised of.

We use recycled material in our Home & Garden range whenever possible. For example, for the lower housing parts of our SC range steam cleaners. The shape of the material remains stable across a wide range of temperatures, which makes it the ideal material for steam cleaners and has no disadvantage compared to new plastic.

A workers steam cleans a tiled floor.
Animated illustration of three detergent bottles with a strike going through them.

Conscious use of detergent

A cleaning detergent does not always have to be used for a thorough cleaning, as plenty of dirt can be removed entirely with steam cleaners or hot water pressure washers, for example. In many areas, however, use of an efficient and application-oriented detergent is essential for the best possible result. Kärcher has been developing products that are good for the environment for more than 30 years. In the development process, a whole range of aspects should be considered to produce a detergent sustainable across the entire life cycle – from raw material selection up to packaging. Since 2012, all Kärcher detergents have been certified with the Sustainable Cleaning Label. The label characterizes products which were manufactured in companies that act in a sustainable manner. In addition, a number of the more than 600 different Kärcher detergents fulfill the requirements of international, sustainable environmental certificates.

Under the name eco!perform, Kärcher offers environmentally friendly cleaning detergents for professional use. The range includes a complete line for building cleaning and products for vehicle washes, which have been awarded international environmental certificates such as the EU Ecolabel or the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

In order to satisfy the strict requirements, the eco!perform concentrates satisfy the issue of sustainability in a number of ways. First, Kärcher totally dispenses with materials that endanger the environment and people's health during manufacture. So only fully degradable surfactants are used, and phosphates, microplastics and halogenated hydrocarbons that are hazardous to health are avoided. In addition, the fragrances and dyes used meet the standards of the international ecological certification. The containers also comply with the environmental requirements regarding weight, composition and recycling.

The eco!perform products are also particularly sustainable in terms of dosing. Small amounts of the detergent are enough to achieve the best possible cleaning result. Owing to their high effectiveness they are very efficient, and up to 50 percent less detergent than comparable products can be measured out.

eco!perform logo

Destroy weeds on paths and open spaces totally without chemicals – the use of hot water allows this. This way, dandelions, thistles, etc. can be removed without herbicides. The principle of thermal weed control is based on a basic biochemical rule – most proteins denature from a temperature of about 42 °C. This means that the proteins change, break up and are no longer able to fulfill their functions.

The heat required for this can be generated and converted in different ways – as a direct flame or indirectly via thermal radiation, as hot water or steam. Of these, hot water is the only method without chemicals that also sustainably reaches the roots and consequently curbs fast regrowth. Hot water pressure washers can offer a consistent water temperature of up to 208 °F, which is just under the steam limit and is therefore ideal. Even if the roots are not immediately completely destroyed, the weed is further weakened with each application of hot water. If it is regularly applied right from the beginning, regrowth is impeded and the application frequency will significantly decrease as early as the second year. As a rule of thumb, three to four treatments a year are sufficient.

A worker sprays hot water on weeds that surround a park bench.

Floor coverings were polished using crystallization for many years. This is often still true even today. The user applies an acid to the floor covering here, which they then work in mechanically in order to etch the surface. Then the floor is polished – a laborious procedure that produces a great deal of dust, and which on account of the acid is not without danger. Meanwhile, instead of this process, single-disc commercial floor machines or floor scrubbers are now operating with diamond abrasive pads, which can be used on nearly all stone surfaces and bring back the shine to high-gloss surfaces in a single work step.

A worker polishes a tiled floor in a laboratory.

Totally without chemicals, thanks to the preset steam flow control, the SC 3 Upright EasyFix steam mop is ideally suited to clean all sealed hard floors – even wood. With thorough cleaning, the machine actually eliminates up to 99.9 percent of enveloped viruses*, such as coronavirus or influenza viruses, and up to 99.9 percent of typical household bacteria**. When it comes to thorough cleaning, the SC 3 Upright EasyFix Premium is considerably superior to conventional methods such as using a mop, thanks to the combination of the EasyFix floor nozzle with the hook-and-loop system and high-quality microfiber cloths. So the user does not have to come into contact with dirt when changing the cloth.

*When spot cleaning using the Kärcher steam cleaner, i.e. a steaming duration of 30 seconds at the maximum steam stage with direct contact with the surface to be cleaned, 99.9 percent of enveloped viruses such as coronaviruses and influenza viruses (except the hepatitis B virus) can be removed from typical smooth and hard household surfaces (test germs: Modified Vaccinia Ankara virus).

**When cleaning at a cleaning speed of 30 cm/s at the maximum steam stage and with direct contact with the surface to be cleaned, 99.9 percent of all household bacteria on smooth, hard household surfaces are killed (test germs: Enterococcus hirae).

A man uses a SC 3 Upright EasyFix steam mop to clean floors under a bathroom sink.

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