With more homes and businesses now adopting environmentally-sound practices for cleaning, the EPA has developed programs providing essential information to the public. One of these initiatives is the Safer Choice program which places labels on products that contain safe chemicals and meet green product standards. These standards ensure that the product a consumer is purchasing does not produce an adverse effect on individuals, families, employees, the community, and the environment, in general.
EPA has a Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) on its website to help consumers and manufacturers identify which products comply with these environmental standards. A green cleaning service could make a difference in the community by using these environmentally-friendly products that contain cleaning chemicals that are deemed safe for use by EPA.
Here are five cleaning chemicals that are EPA green approved.
This is a non-toxic naturally occurring chemical component found in fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes. Manufacturers have used citric acid as an active ingredient in various bathroom and kitchen cleaning products. As a cleaning agent, this chemical also possesses stain removal properties and is good for breaking down hard water stains. Citric acid is also effective in removing limescale, which often accumulates between the bathroom and kitchen tiles. For those who hate that chemical smell after cleaning, it also helps that it leaves the bathroom and kitchen smelling like an orchard.
Ethanol is produced by fermenting yeast sugars derived from corn or feedstock. Commonly distilled into alcohol, this clear liquid is incorporated in alcoholic beverages, and more importantly, as an ingredient in household hard surface cleaners, glass window preparations, detergents, and other types of hygiene and sanitation products. As an ingredient, ethanol also has antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. This makes the substance effective against a variety of bacteria and viruses.
While commonly known as a bleaching agent, hydrogen peroxide has disinfectant properties which make it an essential ingredient in some cleaning products. This colorless liquid has been identified as a safer alternative to chlorine-based bleaching agents. This substance is often diluted due to its corrosive properties. As an ingredient, it can be found in a variety of multi-purpose cleaning and disinfectant products.
Sodium Bisulfate is an ingredient in toilet bowl cleaners, swimming pool cleaning and maintenance products, and dishwater cleaning products. This white granular substance is also an ingredient in certain cosmetic products.
This organic substance has antimicrobial properties. Aside from being used as an ingredient in a variety of multi-purpose household cleaning products, this chemical is also used as a medical supply disinfectant. Like hydrogen peroxide, it also has corrosive properties and are often diluted. It is also used as a bleaching agent in food processing.
The items listed in the Safer Chemical Ingredients List have passed tests detecting carcinogenicity, environmental toxicity, and other factors. The process for identifying which chemical ingredients are safe involves submission of the substance name to EPA for review and testing. According to the EPA, there are more than 2,000 products with these safe chemicals which passed the Safer Choice program. For those who want to adopt green cleaning practices at home and at work, finding out whether a favorite cleaning product satisfies green requirements could be the first step.