Today, people expect that facilities and cleaning operations use products that are eco-conscious. In one survey, 83% of office workers said they would like to see their company use environmentally friendly cleaning products. It is not just a preference, though. In many places, it is required for facilities to use greener cleaning products. In fact, 90% of U.S. states have a policy about purchasing greener products and in every U.S. state there are universities with sustainability policies2.

Changing the Products You Purchase Is the Easiest Change to Improve Sustainability

Many businesses want to be more environmentally friendly. Whether your facility is seeking LEED certification or looking for ways to use less energy or water, the easiest change to make is to buy different products.

To show why this is true, look at some requirements for LEED certification: the three changes below earn a facility a single point3:

  1. Implement three strategies for enhanced indoor air quality (strategies include increasing ventilation, ensuring windows are operable or installing permanent entryway systems).
  2. Replace two product categories that meet VOC content evaluation. Product categories include flooring, ceilings, insulation, and furniture.
  3. Use cleaning and disinfecting products with a certification such as EPA Design for the Environment and EPA Safer Choice

These first two choices, while important, can be expensive and time-consuming. Clearly, changing the cleaning and disinfecting products you buy is an easy and cost-effective way to help meet your sustainability goals.

Look for Product Certified By an Independent Organization

Even if your facility isn’t trying to achieve LEED certification, it’s important to use products certified by an outside, reliable organization in your sustainable cleaning program. Without it, you can’t be certain that your products meet stringent requirements for sustainability. A recent study showed that products labeled as “Green” that did not have an outside certification were not actually better for the environment than regular products4. In a previous blog post, I talked about several reliable outside (also called third-party) certifications for cleaning and disinfecting products.

EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) (for disinfectants) and EPA Safer Choice (for cleaners and degreasers) are two excellent third-party certifications that are easy to find. You can look for their logos on the products you buy or check their websites for recommended products.

You don’t need a large number of products to get most cleaning jobs done. Using fewer products can make it easier for staff to learn how to use them and can also cut down on waste. These 5 products can accomplish most of what you need, and all of them are available with EPA DfE or Safer Choice certifications.

  1. Broad-spectrum disinfectant. To kill germs on surfaces that people touch a lot, like doorknobs and tables. Choose one that disinfects quickly (2 minutes or less) to make it easier to effectively kill viruses on surfaces.
  2. Glass cleaner. Look for one that says “streak-free.” A glass cleaner is important to keep windows and mirrors clean and looking good.
  3. All-purpose cleaner. A cleaner that can used everywhere to clean visible dirt and soils and help remove dust.
  4. Neutral floor cleaner. A neutral floor cleaner is good for everyday use to remove dirt and soils. These are made specifically to clean floors without being slippery.
  5. Degreaser. To clean up tough, greasy messes in places like kitchens. These are stronger than all-purpose cleaners, so you’ll use less of them for the tough jobs.


1. Wires, R. P. news. (2007, December 3). Poll: Workers prefer companies with eco-friendly practices. Reliable Plant. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from
2. Bastian, J. (2022, October 12). Sustainability policies for cleaning and disinfection programs. CloroxPro. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from
3. LEED v4.1 [Internet]. LEED v4.1 | U.S. Green Building Council. [cited 2023Jan30]. Available from:
4. Gray AD, Miller JA, Weinstein JE. Are Green Household Consumer Products Less Toxic than Conventional Products? An Assessment Involving Grass Shrimp (Palaemon pugio) and Daphnia magna. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2022 Oct;41(10):2444-2453.
5. Maloney B, et al. The environmental footprint of single-use versus reusable cloths for clinical surface decontamination: a life cycle approach. J Hosp Infect. 2022 Dec;130:7-19