For your home or place of work: learn the facts about cleaning products and which are safe for you and the environment!
Cleaning products are necessary for maintaining attractive and healthful conditions in the home and workplace. In addition to the obvious aesthetic benefits of cleaning, the removal of dust, allergens, and infectious agents is crucial to maintaining a healthful indoor environment. But cleaning products can present several health and environmental concerns. They may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues. Additionally, the concentrated forms of some commercial cleaning products are classified as hazardous, creating potential handling, storage, and disposal issues for users.
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Green Cleaning Products
Below are six green cleaning products options that are great alternatives to conventional products. Many of these green cleaners can be found in stores in Madison such as Willy St. Co-op, Fresh Madison Market, Trader Joe’s, Capitol Centre Market, Whole Foods, and more.
It is not an easy task to choose what green cleaners to use, and the following companies and products are clearly not the only six green cleaning options out there. But these six options are a good place for anyone to start cleaning in a greener way. The following companies are transparent about what is in their products, they use a variety of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, they strive to find natural ingredients, and they have a commitment to environmental/sustainability goals. Browse the websites of these products to learn more about their sustainable products and practices.
- Natureclean cares about family health, has a passion for protecting our natural world, and feels we should love ourselves enough to use safer products.
- All products are non-toxic and biodegradable and are created from naturally derived ingredients.
- Products: Household cleaning, dish care, laundry care, personal care, prodcut wash, & eco-refills
- Mission: Making a Healthy & Sustainable Lifestyle Easy through Respect, Integrity, & Commitment
- Ecover strives to use primarily plant-based and mineral raw materials from sustainable sources in our production process.
- Products: Dishwashing, Laundry, Household, & Personal Care
- Earth Friendly provides cleaning products without toxins, petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, phosphates or other harmful ingredients.
- Sustainability is a core obligation for Earth Friendly, check out all their sustainability policies.
- Products: Cleaning for the Bathroom, Laundry, Household, Kitchen, & Pets
- Method is all about making products that are clean, safe, & green that also have an appealing design and fragrance. “When it comes down to it, we’re here to make products that work, for you and for the planet, ones that are as easy on the eyes as they are on the nose. it’s a tall order but we wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
- Method’s products are non-toxic, made with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients. Check out all their “greenskeeping” practices.
- Products: Home cleaning, dish cleaners, hand & body, laundry, & refills
- Mrs. Meyers’ cleaning products combine hardworking, naturally occurring ingredients and essential oils that are tough on dirt, yet gentle on your home and the earth.
- Products are biodegradable, packaged in recyclable bottles, ammonia-, chlorine bleach-, paraben- and phosphate-free, and never tested on animals.
- Products: Household cleaners, hand & body, laundry, & air fresheners
- Seventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment.
- Check out their 2010 Sustainability Report to get a sense of the company’s commitment to sustainable practices and green products.
- Products: Household Cleaners, Feminine Care, Botanical Disinfectants, Hand Wash, Laundry, Baby Care, Recycled Paper & Household Supplies, & Dishwashing
Additional Information on Green Cleaners
- Green Cleaning Products Price Analysis by SFEnvironment
- Asking the question: do they really cost more?
- Found out that “it takes green to go green,” isn’t always true.
- Results show the relative affordability of green cleaning products
- In this comparison three major brands of green household cleaners are reviewed: Seventh Generation, EcoDiscoveries and Green Works.
Livescience Article on Green Cleaning
“The only conventional cleaners that green products can’t completely match in terms of strength are those that contain chlorine, such as bleach. In those cases, the green cleaners take a little more scrubbing but can get the job done. You don’t really need any chemicals to clean, said Natan, of the National Environmental Trust. “These chemicals make cleaning easier, but they don’t make cleaning any better.”
Air Quality Sciences Study- Green Cleaning for Health
The study answers the following questions:
- What is the current definition of “green cleaning”?
- What health effects are associated with cleaning products and processes (green and conventional)?
- Are green cleaning products more or less safe and effective than their conventional counter parts?
- How can decision makers and consumers tell if marketing claims are valid or bogus?
- What distinguishes green cleaning products from other products?
Another great alternative to conventional cleaning products is natural cleaners. You can even make them yourself!
-Example: Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry detergents are also now available online and in select stores.
-all purpose, floor, bathroom, detergent, air freshener, etc.
-use empty spray bottle to make and refill your cleaning products
Also, check this out! Top 10 Plants that REDUCE indoor toxins:
-Indoor pollutants that affect health are formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene or TCE), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, pesticides and disinfectants (phenols), and radon.
-These pollutants contribute to ‘sick building syndrome’, which causes symptoms ranging from allergies, headaches and fatigue through to nervous-system disorders, cancer and death.
Commercial Green Cleaners
It is also important that green cleaning products are used on a commercial scale, and not just for households. By doing large-scale cleaning with green products, the toxins and health hazards of conventional cleaners can be reduced on an even larger scale. The following sites/companies are a good place to start for commercial green cleaning.
- Diversey believes in leading the world to a cleaner, healthier future. They work to deliver superior products that help our customers protect their customers and their brands.They have partnerships with customers and industry experts to save water and energy while delivering improved cleaning results.
- Diversey’s chemical products are tested and certified by independent organizations such as Green SealTM, Environmental Choice, GreenGuard, EU Flower and Nordic Swan.
- Check out their Healthy High Performance Cleaning (HHPC) program, which offers strategic planning, best practices and guidelines to clean for health, safety and the environment.
- A mission is to deliver effective, new and innovative, environmentally friendly, non toxic, non caustic and humanly safe cleaning products at a cost effective price.
- ECO CONCEPTS product formulations exceed major industry requirements for ‘compliance and approval’ with current and pending regulatory laws and mandates
- ECOCONCEPTS offers a line of bulk janitorial products as well as home care products, automotive care products, and marine care products.
- Green Seal is a a non-profit organization that uses cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offers third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard.
- Green Seal has been actively identifying and promoting sustainability in the marketplace, and helping organizations be greener since 1989.
- They have a long list of institutional green cleaners that take green cleaning to a larger-scale.
- The companies listed have all received some certification for their green products and practices.
Additional third party certifiers for both commercial and residential cleaning: