Choosing less hazardous and less toxic cleaning chemicals can minimize harmful health impacts to custodial workers, improve indoor air quality, and reduce water pollution.
“Green” janitorial supplies also include paper products, such as bathroom tissues, paper towels, wipers, facial tissue and napkins, and can liners that contain recycled content, are compostable or meet some other environmental standard and certification.
Policy and Goals:
- Purchase green cleaners
- “green” certified cleaners
- compostable can liners
- microfiber cleaning cloths/mops
- chemical free equipment
- recycled content
- unbleached/non-chlorine bleached paper
- bleached paper products
- virgin paper products
- hazardous chemicals
- toxicity signal words: "poison," "danger," and "warning"
End of Life
- compost paper towels
- safely dispose of chemicals
While the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined “the risk is generally considered to be low” for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, it is still important to maintain clean spaces to reduce its spread, as well as the spread of other germs and viruses.
Disinfectants can contain hazardous chemicals, so it is important to use them correctly, not to overuse them and to choose products with safer active ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide.
Look for the U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) ecolabel, which verifies that antimicrobial products, like disinfectants and sanitizers, have been reviewed by EPA and found to meet both the pesticide registration requirements and the standard for DfE-certified products.
For a full list of applicable products, check out San Francisco’s Safer Disinfectants for COVID-19 guide.
For best practices for cleaning disinfecting during a pandemic, check out this fact sheet from the University of Washington.
An EPA checkmark indicates a certification or standard is recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Technical Specification Language
Responsible Purchasing Network: Purchasing Guide for Cleaners
Green Screen for Greener Chemicals: Alternative Toxics Assessments
City of San Francisco, California: Health & Environmental Requirement Approved Products