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For starters, let’s look at what green cleaning is defined as.

Green Cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality.[1]

Green cleaning

Green cleaning can fall under a couple of different categories depending on who you talk to. For some, residentially, it could mean they only use natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Others and in the commercial world lends itself to Manufactured green cleaning chemicals. These are often green brands and are healthy for the environment. However, not all are alike, some may use ingredients that were grown or produced using eco-friendly practices while other cleaning products that may NOT be free of additives or harmful chemicals. Rather, they simply use recycled packaging or donate proceeds to environmental causes thus marketing themselves as a green brand or company.

Ok, but what is the cleanest green?

Thankfully, with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment program, we can see labels on products that meet a level of green criteria. This label will show itself as (DfE). This isn’t the only label you will want to check out either. You might also see “low VOC” or “no VOC”. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. The lower the VOC or absence of VOC translates to healthier and greener products.

Why does it matter?

Overall, green cleaning and green cleaning practices i.e. microfiber cloths, HEPA  filters, etc. help reduce the level of pollutants in the environment without using or leaving behind harmful chemical aromas or residues. Having a healthier environment, employees, and customers will ultimately lead to less sick days and better reviews, both saving the company money and making the company money.

In 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 258 the ” Cleaning Product Right to know act”[2]. This act requires ingredient labels to be placed on packaging and online for cleaning products. California is the first state to make this step as there are no federal requirements for disclosing ingredients on cleaning products. By 2020 this act will require known hazardous chemicals in products to be listed. So far 34[3] chemicals found in cleaning products have shown serious side effects including; cancer, birth defects, asthma and more. The list is below.

  1. 1,4 dioxane
  2. 1,1 dichloroethane
  3. Acrylic acid
  4. Benzene
  5. Benzidine
  6. 1,3 butadiene
  7. Carbon tetrachloride
  8. Chloroform
  9. Ethylene oxide
  10. Nitrilotriacetic acid
  11. Butyl benzyl phthalate
  12. Butyl decyl phthalate
  13. Di(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate
  14. Diethyl phthalate
  15. Diisobutyl phthalate
  16. Di(n-octyl) phthalate
  17. Diisononyl phthalate
  18. Dioctyl phthalate
  19. Butylparaben
  20. Ethylparaben
  21. Isobutylparaben
  22. Methylparaben
  23. Propylparaben
  24. Formaldehyde
  25. DMDM hydantoin
  26. Diazolidinyl urea
  27. Glyoxal
  28. Imidazolidinyl urea
  29. Polyoxymethylene urea
  30. Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  31. 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
  32. N-Nitrosodimethylamine
  33. N-Nitosodiethylamine
  34. 1-(3-chloroallyl)-3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloride

    1. “Defining Green Cleaning And Why It’s Important”
    2. “Bill Text – SB-258 Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017”leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
    3. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB258