Tennant’s Cleaning Technology Draws More Criticism

A division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that some of Tennant's claims about its ec-H2O technology are not supported by evidence; meanwhile, a Danish competitor has violated the council's policies by using the council's findings about Tennant to promote itself.

Golden Valley-based Tennant Company claims that its ec-H20 cleaning technology is designed to electrically convert ordinary tap water into a powerful detergent that cleans effectively, saves money, and reduces environmental impact compared to traditional floor-cleaning chemicals and methods. However, at least two of its competitors claim that the technology doesn't work.

One of them, Denmark-based Nilfisk-Advance, took the issue to the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Division (NAD)-which investigated Tennant's claims. NAD found that the company's statements that the technology converts water into a “superior cleaning solution” that “outperforms” many conventional chemicals are not supported by evidence-and it asked Tennant to stop making those claims.

After NAD released its findings, Nilfisk issued news releases and started contacting media outlets, proclaiming that Nilfisk exposed the fact that Tennant's advertising claims are misleading. But a NAD rule prohibits companies from issuing their own public statements about the ad group's findings and using the findings to promote themselves. NAD has since issued two requests for Nilfisk to stop making its own proclamations about the findings, but Nilfisk has not cooperated with the requests.

Nilfisk spokeswoman Amy Rotenberg, told the Star Tribune that the company doesn't think it violated NAD's rules, and even if it did, it has no regrets about publicizing the ruling.

“This is about telling the truth,” she said. “If a competitor is not playing fair, it should be called out.”

Nilfisk is not the only competitor that takes issue with Tennant's claims about its ec-H20 technology.

Germany-based Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Company in September filed lawsuits claiming that the Minnesota company has made false and misleading advertising claims about its ec-H20 technology.

Recently, Kärcher said publicly that Tennant has changed its advertising claims for its ec-H2O technology as a result of the lawsuits, but a German court granted Tennant an injunction last week, prohibiting Kärcher from making such claims going forward.