What is Green Cleaning?
Making the move to green cleaning from traditional cleaning is a goal many businesses have. However, many might be cautious about making the decision due to previous misconceptions around the power of green cleaning. Is it as effective as traditional cleaning? What steps will be needed to make the change?
First, it’s important to understand what green cleaning is. There are a variety of definitions for the term, but green cleaning essentially means that you're using cleaning products that contain ingredients that are safe for the environment while also being safer for those who use them. This means using cleaners, products or substances that:
- Contain no artificial fragrances
- Contain no chlorine
- Contain no additives or harmful chemicals
- Use packaging that is recyclable
For businesses and facilities who may want to make the move to green cleaning to show their commitment to the health of our planet, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions as well as some recommendations that can be used to transition your business from traditional cleaning to green cleaning.
How Does Green Cleaning Compare to Traditional Cleaning?
Green cleaning is often thought of as weaker or more expensive than traditional cleaning. People may prefer using traditional brands “to save money,” which may not be the case. Green products are as effective and cost-efficient as traditional cleaning products, while using ingredients that are safer for the environment. Green products are also of equal quality to traditional products, while helping avoid health problems that are common from the use of strong chemicals.
Green products come from a range of sources: from simple baking soda or vinegar to full-fledged commercial products that have reduced volatile organic compounds (also known as low VOC, which are chemicals emitted as harmful gases), are eco-friendly or have fewer toxic chemicals. Many meet EPA's criteria for use in commercial settings, and companies interested in green cleaning rely on them as alternatives to brand products that would otherwise cause worry due to health issues that employees may experience when in use.
For businesses who wish to partner with a cleaning company, choosing one that offers a green cleaning option will be important. Companies like ServiceMaster Clean use proprietary products that are certified green by independent agencies.
What Do the Different Logos in Green Cleaning Products Mean?
Businesses and facilities interested in green cleaning are at an advantage now more than ever. Using eco-friendly cleaning products without harmful chemicals is becoming commonly accepted for many companies committed to sustainability. However, the labels on green cleaning products can be confusing due to the use of terms that many might not be familiar with.
Here is a quick list of labels from different brands you might find in common green products and what they each mean:
- Green labels claim that they are safe for the health of you and the planet.
- Eco-friendly is used in products that reduce the impact on the environment.
- Non-toxic claims to contain products or substances that don't result in adverse health effects.
- Cruelty-free claims that products are not tested on animals.
- Natural claims to be naturally derived.
While the terms above are commonly found in some popular cleaners today, they all have one thing in common: the terms are not regulated by the FTC, EPA or another official government entity and, as such, lack the official certifications that businesses may be looking for.
While the product or cleaners may indeed have eco-friendly, non-toxic or all-natural ingredients, it can be hard to verify the claims unless you're an expert in cleaning product ingredients.
However, there are official labels that are regulated by 3rd-party entities that may be of use for businesses that are looking to use green cleaners:
- Certified Organic is used by the USDA to denote products that do not use GMOs or synthetic fertilizers. While more common in food, it does apply to certain cleaning products.
- Certified Biobased is used by the USDA to show how much of a product contains bio-based ingredients.
- ECOLOGO is a 3rd party certification used to show products that have reduced environmental impact.
- Green Seal is given to products that meet certain standards for sustainability. The entire life cycle of the product is reviewed, meaning that there are strict standards that a product must follow to be certified. All ServiceMaster Clean green cleaning products meet these rigorous requirements and are certified with the Green Seal.
How to Transition Your Business or Facility to Green Cleaning
For businesses that are trying to be more environmentally friendly and are looking to transition their cleaning services to be greener, there are some easy steps that can be followed:
- Get familiar with green products and how they can be used in various areas of your business. For example, manufacturing plants and industrial settings will want to consult their cleaning team to see if the products they choose meet the strict requirements needed for their specific industry or for their manufacturing process. Those in need of school cleaning services will want to verify the product’s safety for students.
- Identify what your cleaning needs are by consulting with your facility managers or internal cleaning team. What types of surfaces are cleaned? Are there areas that need more regular cleaning/stronger products? How often should the surfaces and areas of your business be cleaned to meet regulations?
- Familiarize yourself with the appropriate cleaning methods to apply the products. While you may have bought these products, knowing the proper procedures to apply them to each surface is also important. Does your internal cleaning team know the appropriate methods to safely apply the product for a more effective clean? Are they maintaining an appropriate dwell time? Are they using appropriate PPE as needed to prevent contamination in industries that require stricter cleaning guidelines?
- Organize a transition plan to meet internal goals for the shift which may include setting a timeline on when green cleaners will be used and when traditional products will be removed or used completely to discourage waste. This step will require input from the internal cleaning team or company to prevent waste of existing products while also adopting a realistic timeline that works for everyone.
- Partner with a green cleaning company such as ServiceMaster Clean. We use environmentally friendly products that are free from hazardous chemicals without sacrificing cleaning power and are knowledgeable in a wide variety of commercial and industrial settings. This knowledge helps us adapt quickly to the needs of your business in a schedule that works best for your needs. Our green cleaning products are also certified by independent agencies to ensure their effectiveness and commitment to a healthier environment.
Choose a Green Cleaning Partner
ServiceMaster Clean is a green cleaning company committed to sustainable practices. We use environmentally friendly products and methods that are better for the environment and the businesses who use them. We are the industry leader in the development of green cleaning services and systems that help businesses reach their sustainability goals while remaining as healthy environments for their customers and employees to thrive in.
The green cleaning products that we use are certified green by four independent agencies, and in combination with our green cleaning tools and methods help your work environment be healthier, more effective and sustainable. Find a ServiceMaster Clean location near you and see how we can partner as you shift your cleaning standards to help the health of your employees, customers our planet.