One of the first questions I often hear is “how do I start buying green cleaning products for my business?” This post is a big answer to that little question!
What products do you use for your cleaning business? Are they green? If not, do you need to go green? These are all important questions. There are reasons to use green cleaning products and supplies that are different from the obvious one of protecting out planet. It is good for business and it is safer for you and your team.
What is Green Cleaning
Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and developing and using methods to clean which are specifically designed to preserve both human health and environmental quality.
Eco friendly cleaning should be a holistic approach that incorporates human health and environmental impact centric solutions. This involves more than the chemicals used to clean, but also involves the
- supplies, equipment, tools,
- processes and procedures, and
- commitment to continuous improvement.
Why Is It Important to Use Green Cleaning Products
There are the 6 Reasons Why Green Cleaning Products are So Vital.
Moreover, we are exposed to residue from cleaning products whether as a cleaner (janitor, custodians, maid, housecleaner, or domestic helper) or an occupant of the building that has been cleaned. The cleaning industry employs about 2.8 million janitors. In addition to the professional janitorial staff, who are using cleaning products daily, many other building occupants perform light cleaning on a routine or occasional basis, e.g. dusting, wiping off desks and counters, etc. All building occupants are also potentially exposed to the hazards and volatile components of cleaning products.
Of the estimated 85,000 chemicals in the U.S. marketplace that the average person is exposed to in their daily life, sadly, only a small fraction of them have ever been tested for their chronic impacts to human health. While Europe has banned 1,100 chemicals from use in products, the US has banned fewer than 10. This concern increases when it takes as little as 26 seconds for a toxic chemical to get into our body. These chemicals enter into our body through inhalation, ingestion and/or absorption.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are common in cleaning products. As well as acute health effects, VOC’s affect indoor air quality leading to long term consequences while also contributing to smog formation in outdoor air.
Additionally most cleaning products sport a “clean and fresh” smell. Many consumers like the way their cleaning products smell, but they may not know that fragrance can contain highly toxic substances. Although this sounds benign, in fact the fragrances can be the most toxic aspect of the cleaning product formulation. Fragrances are only a smidgen of the total ingredients, but they have been found to be more toxic than other ingredient … even in minute amounts.
Furthermore, cleaning chemicals have been found in those dust bunnies lurking around in the corners. The Safer Products Project (2005) found household dust have shown high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), asthmagens and other toxic chemicals.
There is a real toll on human health from cleaning, data from Washington State show that about six percent of janitors experience a job-related injury from chemical exposure related to cleaning products every year.
The damage extends to the environment resulting from the use of cleaning products through evaporation of volatile components as well as that rinsed down the drain of residual product from cleaned surfaces, mops, and sponges.
Like the hazards experienced by exposed humans, there is also acute and chronic toxicity to aquatic species in waters receiving inadequately treated wastes. For example, if an ingredient is harmful to humans (such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, a common surfactant ingredient in cleaners and a known endocrine disrupter) the same adverse reproductive effects can be seen in wildlife exposed to polluted waters.
Benefits of Buying Green Cleaning Products
Good news! There is an option and a way to minimize the danger, which is to select and source only green cleaning products. This means to choose less hazardous products that have positive environmental attributes. In researching options, seek and select products that demonstrate:
- fragrance free,
- ingredients that are made from renewable resources,
- safe (noncorrosive & nonreactive)
- low toxicity,
- low volatile organic compound (VOC) content,
- reduced packaging, and
- low life cycle energy use.
Furthermore, buying cleaners in concentrates with reusable, reduced, or recyclable packaging such as a high quality reusable spray bottle, reduces storage requirements, decreases chemical surplus, minimizes packaging waste and shrinks transportation energy.
Even better, procuring less hazardous cleaners may reduce costs when it comes time to properly dispose of any leftover cleaner.
This goes a long way in reducing exposure and minimize harmful impacts to cleaners and building occupants, improving indoor air quality, and decreasing water and ambient air pollution while also ensuring the effectiveness of cleaning.
How to Buy Green Cleaning Products
Greenwashing is common in the cleaning products industry. As such be especially careful in interpreting vague or generic claims such as “environmentally friendly,” “eco safe,” and “green”.
The easiest way to ensure you are not being greenwashed is to only purchase and use cleaners that carry one or more of the third party certifications available for cleaning products (i.e., Green Seal, EcoLogo, and/or DfE / Safer Choice. These certifications enable you to have confidence that the cleaners are nontoxic with a low impact on the environment.
There is no need on becoming a chemist yourself to interpret the ingredient list! It is also valuable to note that part of the certification criteria is efficacy of the cleaner.
This you can be confident that the cleaner works for the designated application. Selecting and purchase products such as those included in the EnviroCare product line from Green Cleaning Products provides you with the assurance that you have a high quality that meets the desired specifications.
Since the EnviroCare products are available in super concentrated bulk quantities, they are also very price competitive. For instance just a gallon of the EnviroCare Neutral Disinfectant concentrate dilutes to 256 quart bottles so the initial cost of $95.00 for the gallon equates to only 37 CENTS per quart of the ready-to-use disinfectant!
… Also Green Cleaning Supplies
Much of this article is about the chemicals used in cleaning. It is equally important to the cleaners selected, to also carefully select supplies that support the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra of the environmental movement. Using products such as the streak free CleansGreen® Spunlace Microfiber Cloth which enables one to clean without chemicals, but rather just water and the specialty microfiber cloth.
Additionally a good quality duster, such as the Fluffy Microfiber Duster by CleansGreen®, works without cleaners and will eliminate that dust that has been found to hold the toxins.
It has been found a high quality microfiber cloth or a compostable cloth such as the EnduroCloth, not only saves time, but also saves on the wasteful use of paper towels and provides a safe green clean. For instance a single EnduroCloth has been found to replace more than 15 rolls of paper towels. Even more waste is minimized with reusable and long lasting microfiber cloths!
As with many things in life not all microfiber is made equally. The microfiber available from Green Cleaning Products is noticeably better than what is available in a retail store due to the fiber blend, the split methodology. The hundreds of thousands of fibers in each cloth have multiple edges which pick up and hold more dust, dirt, and liquid than with traditional cotton, disposable cleaning towels, or even other lesser quality microfiber towels. It’s like having millions of tiny hooks (created by the splitting process) that scoop up dirt and dust particles, trap them inside the towel and don’t let go, then gently release them when you toss them in the wash. Customers report the Green Cleaning Products microfiber cloths last as many as 500 washings!
As Sydney Smith says, “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.” Even if you are not operating a green cleaning business, there are solid reasons to select green cleaning products for your business. Green Cleaning Products LLC was formed to “free the world of toxic chemicals one building at a time” and is here to serve you as it has for so many other organizations.