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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Green Business: Green Cleaning

Resources to help businesses get started on the sustainability path.

Purchasing Green Cleaning Products

Green Cleaning Basics

According to the Ashkin Group, each year,  6 billion pounds of chemicals and 4.5 billion pounds of paper products (representing about 25 to 50 million trees) are used to clean commercial buildings. That's a big environmental impact. Changing your cleaning products and practices can have a big environmental impact.

Why Convert to Green Cleaners?

  • Helps you meet green purchasing goals
  • Promotes a healthier working environment
  • Improves safety for janitorial workers
  • Reduces your organization's environmental footprint
  • Helps your organization reach it's green purchasing goals
  • Helps create a more sizable market for cost effective high performance green products
  • Helps position your organization as a leader in the use of sustainable business practices

EPA Guidelines for Green Cleaners

  • Minimizes exposure to concentrates
  • No ozone depleting substances
  • Reduced/recyclable packaging
  • Recycled content in packaging
  • Reduced bioconcentration factor
  • Reduced flammability
  • Reduced or no added dyes, except when added for safety purposes
  • Reduced or no added fragrances
  • Reduced or no skin irritants
  • Reduced or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Purchasing Is Only Part of the Green Cleaning Picture

By changing your cleaning practices, you can also reduce the need for strong, toxic cleaners. Follow these tips for greener cleaning:

  • Keep dirt out of the building. A durable welcome mat encourages visitors to wipe their feet
  • Minimize product use by matching the product with the need. Don't use a strong cleaner on a mild stain.
  • Choose cleaning equipment that is durable, energy efficient, and quiet
  • Train your staff to use products properly