How to Choose Green Cleaning Products in a PC4HS Program
By PCHF Staff
We have been asked how PC4HS selects green cleaning products. We can think of no better response than to share this excerpt from the book, Clean and Healthy Schools for Dummies by Dr. David Mudarri [used by permission]:
Choose low-toxicity products that clean well. Green cleaning products are those that clean effectively while minimizing negative impacts to health and the environment.
Check for third-party certification or recognition of greenness, safety, health, and performance. Recognized green labels include Green Seal, EcoLogo, EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE), and others. The Carpet and Rug Institute provides performance ratings of vacuums, carpet cleaning equipment, systems, and chemicals through its Seal of Approval program. The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) offers a High Performance Cleaning Product (HPCP) Testing Program in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Lowell that tests, verifies performance, and helps promote hard surface green cleaning products that clean effectively.
If these evaluations aren’t available for a specific product, check the specifications or list of ingredients and do your best to make a balanced judgment.
Read the label of cleaning products. Look for labels that list all ingredients so the total adds up to 100 percent.
If you don’t know what an ingredient is, ask the manufacturer what it is and for proof that the ingredient is safe.
Also ask whether or not product ingredients are selected using resources such as EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) safer ingredient criteria - http://tinyurl.com/43o96rs.
Disinfectant use guidelines
MSDS and similar warnings are just part of the story because they mainly list ingredients that may pose acute dangers and may not address low-level or chronic chemical exposures that could cause problems over time.
Chemical disinfectants are among the most toxic cleaning products. Use them sparingly and carefully.
The following guidelines are important for using disinfectants:
- Use only where and when they are needed
- Choose the product that is labeled as effective for the particular application
- Use strictly according to directions. Don’t use more than necessary
- Ventilate the area during use and shortly thereafter
- Don’t mix more than is needed
- Use a sanitizer instead of a disinfectant where appropriate. Sanitizers are generally not as strong, but still kill many germs.
For information on getting a free copy of the book, Clean and Healthy Schools for Dummies, visit IEHA.org.