We don’t just clean buildings for aesthetic reasons. We clean buildings to protect human health. How can anyone claim to be protecting human health if they are using chemicals known to be hazardous?  Safe products are commercially available at little to no additional cost. They work just as effectively as the other products. Why would anyone use anything else?” 

- Scot Case, formerly with UL Environment, EcoLogo Program 

According to the Western Sustainability & Pollution Prevention Network, nearly one-third of all janitorial cleaning products have ingredients that can cause harm. The highest risk cleaning products are associated with cancer, reproductive disorders, poisonous ingredients, skin and eye irritation, or respiratory ailments. These products, when used, can also pollute local water resources, harming fish, plants and wildlife.

Janitorial cleaning products with reduced health, safety, and environmental impacts are readily available and have been successfully used around the country in both public and private settings. Many facility managers view switching to “green” cleaning products as a necessity to reduce worker complaints, health and safety issues, and their associated costs.

This guide is intended to provide strategies and resources to help government agencies, schools, businesses and other organizations make the transition to environmentally preferrable cleaning products for the health of both their people and the planet. 


The information provided in this Fact Sheet should be considered by public agency and business purchasers who are interested in buying environmentally preferable products. StopWaste provides it as a public service in an attempt to provide environmental benefits and reduce costs. Listing in this Fact Sheet is not a recommendation or an endorsement. This Fact Sheet is not a substitute for the exercise of sound judgment in particular circumstances and is not intended as recommendations for particular products or processes. StopWaste is the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, and the Energy Council operating as one public agency.

This Fact Sheet was prepared by Kies Strategies & StopWaste in October 2015.