What is green cleaning? Green cleaning, like “going green,” can mean so many different things and at times the term can be misleading. But the primary thing to remember is that green cleaning is using cleaning solutions and cleaning methods that promote a healthier environment.
To help you navigate the green cleaning industry we developed a glossary of the most popular green cleaning certifications, green cleaning terms, and green cleaning products.
Green Certifications for Cleaning Products
There are a number of green cleaning product certifications around. In general, all of these certifications exist to help consumers quickly identify products that are environmentally-friendly. However, there are a few small differences in these certifications.
Below we’ve outlined the most utilized green certifications and what they mean.
Green Seal Certification
Green Seal is an environmentally-friendly product designation. They develop stringent, multi-attribute standards and certify products and services that meet them. They have certified thousands of products and services that are specified by countless schools, government agencies, businesses, and institutions looking to green their purchasing. In order to be certified a product must meet a life-cycle-based criteria for sustainability.
Safer Choice Certification
Safer Choice is an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) designation that helps consumers and businesses find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment. To be eligible for the label, a product must comply with the Safer Choice Standard, which has very stringent human health and environmental criteria. The Standard incorporates safer chemical criteria for individual component class ingredients, like surfactants, solvents and chelants.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) Verification
The EWG is a research organization that educates consumers on the products they buy and the companies they support. They develop consumer guides on anything from cleaning supplies to skin care products. The organization also offers an environmentally-friendly product designation called EWG VERIFIED. To be EWG Verified a product must meet strict requirements for the ingredients it uses, how it discloses its ingredients, and its manufacturing practices.
GREENGUARD Certification is part of UL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories). GREENGUARD Certification focuses on certifying products that have low chemical emissions and promote healthier indoor air quality. To be certified products must meet strict low chemical and particle emissions for use indoors. The standards are primarily for building materials, finishes, interior furnishings, furniture, cleaning products, and electronic equipment.
Cradle to Cradle Certification
Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a global certification for environmentally-friendly and socially conscious products. To receive certification, products are assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories: material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
USDA Biobased Certification
Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. It offers a labeling program for biobased products, the USDA Certified Biobased Product label, which is displayed on a product certified by USDA. In order to be labeled BioPreferred a product must contain a verified amount of renewable biological ingredients (referred to as biobased content).
Green Cleaning Certifications for Cleaning Companies
Maintaining a green cleaning certification could be incredibly beneficial to your cleaning company. According to the International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association (IJCSA), all local, state, and federal government agencies now require cleaning and janitorial companies to be green cleaning certified to bid on and clean their facilities. Along with government agencies all major facilities maintaining a HACCP Standards Certification, ISO Certification, or LEED Certification, require that cleaning companies are green cleaning certified. So, having a green cleaning certification could help you win more business.
Below we’ve outlined a couple of the more prevalent green cleaning certifications for cleaning companies.
IJCSA Green Cleaning Certification
IJCSA offers a green cleaning certification for cleaning companies. This certification ensures your cleaning company or janitorial staff are current on safe green practices, training, and regulations.
Green Seal Cleaning Certification
In addition to providing certification for green cleaning products, Green Seal also provides certification for green cleaning companies and janitorial services. To start the Green Seal certification process visit their website and fill out this form.
Green Cleaning Products
The health benefits associated with using environmentally-friendly cleaning products is a plus for many facilities. If you want to go-green, avoid cleaning products that contain dangerous chemicals like phthalates and formaldehyde.
Below we’ve outlined a few green cleaning products to help you get started.
GOJO Green Certified Foam Hand Cleaner
This hand cleaner is a USDA Certified Biobased Product and ECOLOGO® Certified. It’s a mild, biodegradable foam hand soap that can be used in any facility.
Clea Natural Cleaner
Clea’s Neutral Cleaner is an all-purpose cleaner with a safe, neutral pH. It easily removes surface soils without dulling or harming surfaces. The cleaner is non-filming, therefore, no rinse is needed.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
Simple Green is an all-purpose green cleaner that is non-toxic, biodegradable, and fragrance-free to reduce the impact on indoor air quality.
Clorox Green Works Natural Glass Cleaner
This green cleaner is made from plant-derived cleaning agents, including: essential lemon oils, corn-based alcohol, earth-based minerals and filtered water. It’s ideal for any glass cleaning.
Clorox Natural Dishwashing Liquid
This natural dishwashing liquid is 98% naturally derived. It cuts through grease without leaving harsh chemical residue on dishes, pots, or pans. It’s ideal for use in commercial kitchens, office break rooms, and school cafeterias.
Looking for green cleaning tips? Read 6 of the Best Green Cleaning Tips and Products.