Eco-conscious disinfectants are just as effective as traditional disinfectants, so how should you choose one?

There still seems to be a lot of confusion about what makes a good “green” product. Today, you can get the same germ-fighting benefits and powerful cleaning from eco-conscious products as you can from traditional products, without the tradeoffs. But with so many eco-conscious disinfecting options available, how can you tell which ones are best? Here are 5 must-haves for selecting an eco-conscious disinfectant:

  1. Trusted Third-Party Certifications: EPA Safer Choice and EPA Design for the Environment products have been thoroughly reviewed by the EPA to ensure they really work, but are also made ingredients that meet strict criteria for human health and environmental safety. Look for products with these certification logos on their labels or check on the EPA Safer Choice website to find certified products.
  2. Fast Disinfection Contact Times. Disinfection of high touch surfaces is critical for maintaining healthy public spaces. To disinfect properly, the surface must remain wet long enough to meet the product’s listed contact time for disinfection. One study has shown that a product with a 2-minute disinfection contact time can be applied to a surface without needing to rewet. This saves time and money on disinfection, even compared to a 10-minute dilutable product (CloroxPro Study Summary). Additionally, in offices and schools, look for products that can kill common illness-causing germs like cold and flu viruses, SARS-CoV-2, Norovirus, MRSA and other food-borne illness causing germs such as Salmonella and E. coli.
  3. Low/No PPE Requirements and Safety Ratings. Products with minimal or no PPE requirements can be more comfortable and easier for frontline staff to use. Look for products with safety signal words “CAUTION” or with no signal word at all.
  4. Low/No Fragrance and Odors. Some people in schools and offices may be sensitive to fragrances or strong odors. Products with high alcohol content, strong fragrances, or harsh chemical odors can be irritating to cleaning staff and building occupants. Find products with minimal or light fragrance, or with the EPA Safer Choice Fragrance Free label.
  5. Strong Cleaning Performance. Just because a product disinfects doesn’t mean it can clean surfaces well. Selecting products that can both clean and disinfect is a great way to save time and simplify protocols by using one product where you otherwise might need two. Look for products that say “One-step Cleaner Disinfectant” or with both cleaning instructions and disinfecting instructions on the back label. And try them out for yourself—not all cleaners are created equal. Some products may be better on kitchen grease while others may be more effective on bathroom soils like soap scum.

Consider the experience and comfort of the frontline cleaner and building occupants

Front-line cleaners have among the highest injury rates of many professions in the U.S. Each year, roughly 500 of every 10,000 cleaning workers miss workdays because of an injury.1 While everyone wants public space to look and smell clean, some facilities, such as schools, may cater to more at-risk groups, such as children or people with asthma who are sensitive to harsh chemical smells. Here are some things to know when selecting cleaning products for these more-sensitive spaces:

  • Most frontline cleaner injuries are due to slips, falls and ergonomic challenges which result in missed workdays1. Providing products that are effective, easy to use, and can be used safely without PPE may help reduce some of these injury risks throughout the day.
  • Frontline cleaners use the most product and are exposed to the most. Second only to ergonomic issues, prolonged exposure to potentially irritating substances is one of the most common reasons frontline cleaners miss work from on-the-job injury1. Products that can be used safely without gloves and goggles can help eliminate this hazard.
  • Peace of mind for building occupants. School children, teachers, or and other staff with sensitivities like asthma often prefer to learn and work in spaces that are treated with no or low-fragrances products or without harsh chemical odors.
  • Residue left on surfaces and musty odors can give the impression that a space hasn’t been cleaned, when in fact it has. Using a cleaning product that effectively removes dirt and soils without adding a lingering odor or filmy residue help facilities appear clean, fresh and healthy.

Have your clean and be comfortable, too!

Today, there are more options that ever for products that clean and kill germs, without the tradeoffs. EPA Safer Choice and EPA Design for the Environment-certified products are effective and have been thoroughly reviewed by the EPA for human health and environmental safety. Look for products with these logos on their labels or check on the EPA Safer Choice website to find products.