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Harmful Effects of Everyday Cleaning Chemicals Compared to Natural Green Products

30 Sep 2020 5:43 AM | Guadalupe Gomez

     As we use everyday cleaning products we know they contain harmful chemicals that we may not be aware of.  We use cleaning products that will make our homes and businesses cleaner, more sterile, smell better and with the goal of removing germs, viruses and bacteria.  During this process we inhale toxic chemicals and expose everyone from employees, cleaning staff and visitors to the business to these toxic chemicals too.

     For these reasons Green Cleaning Products have become part of our mainstream culture.  Green Cleaning with a focus of using green janitorial supplies and Green Cleaning Products began in the mid 1980's and still gaining strong momentum in this growing cleaning industry today.  What started originally as tips passed between housekeepers and family members has become a real and concise science.  It makes full sense that the use of Green Products to clean homes and residences has now moved into the process of commercial cleaning companies.  The chemicals found in everyday cleaning chemicals can have many negative effects, like contributing to asthma, cancer, and increased birth defects, according to the EVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP'S (EWG).  This negative impact of the current everyday cleaning chemicals has caused a necessity for Green Cleaning Products and the increasing popularity of "being green" has caused many companies to see this as an opportunity to capitalize on its popularity. 

     In an ideal world, we would easily be able to tell which chemicals are toxic and which ones are better for people and the environment.  In the real world though, assessing cleaning products so that you can make good decisions is not always easy.  The reason why its not always easy is due for two main reasons:

1.  GREEN WASHING is rampant in the green cleaning product field.  Countless of have vague marketing terms such as "Eco-Friendly"  or "Natural".  These are so meaningless that even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidance against making general environmental benefits claims. 

2.  To fully evaluate a product, you need to know all the ingredients and how they might interact with each other.  Many companies do not fully disclose their ingredients, which makes evaluation about the health and environmental impacts difficult.  Even if the company did disclose all ingredients, you would have to be knowledgeable about the chemicals to understand how they interact.  This is why it's better to look at independent,   Third-Party data when making decisions about Green Cleaning Products that we will use.  

     When considering using Green Cleaning Products it is best to see if they fall under the common Third-Party Certifications in the Cleaning Industry which they are:

1.  GREEN SEAL- the original Green Cleaning Certification, which is has been in use since 1989.  Green Seal Certification includes the evaluation of the entire life cycle of the product, and meets Independent International Standards.  

2.  SAFER CHOICE- the EPA's own certification that ensures that products "contain only the safest possible ingredients."

3.  ECOLOGO- a certification issued by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a company with over 100 years experience in developing safety standards.  Both Green Seal and UL are members of the GLOBAL ECOLABEL NETWORK, an international nonprofit organization that works with certifying organizations to ensure the certification standards are published and transparent, that they address multiple criteria, and that they look at the life cycle of a product.   Retrieved from:

     Products that do not have Third-Party Certifications, there is two reputable resources we can use to gain knowledge about cleaning products: 

1.  GOODGUIDE- a database of over 210,000 personal care and household products that are rated according to health, environment and society.  GOODGUIDE was started by a UC Berkley professor in 2007 and acquired by UL in 2011.  

2.  ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP(EWG)- a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive Guide To Healthy Cleaning that rates more than 2,000 products based on containing ingredients that are known to cause health problems ranging from asthma to cancer.  

     Clearly we can see that using Green Products are safer for the ones using them to clean and Green Products are obviously good for the environment.  As we use green products to clean and maintain the cleanliness and sanitation of homes and businesses we will lessen pollution, health problems, save water, petroleum and trees.  Additionally the clean environment can improve efficiency of employees and a clean, sanitary environment is much easier to work in.  So by using Green Products instead of everyday toxic cleaning chemicals we are providing a solution in saving our planet and ourselves. 

For a Green Cleaning Certified Company go to:   


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