Cleaning chemicals: how to know if your cleaning company is using safe, quality products

What chemicals should be avoided in cleaning?

In the cleaning industry, many  products are labeled with the word “caution.” This means that they are strong enough to use for industrial or commercial cleaning, but they need to be handled by trained professionals. In order to avoid any work safety or health issues, your cleaning provider should not be using any products labeled with “poison/danger”, “warning” or “flammable.”

Below is a list of chemicals that are considered unsafe to use in cleaning operations.

  • Dichlorobenzene – This chemical is extremely dangerous because of its carcinogenic qualities. Cleaning sprays containing this chemical have been banned in many areas around the world. What happens if you use this?
  • Chlorine – While chlorine is an acceptable product to use for swimming pools, in an undiluted form it poses several risks. It is highly corrosive and capable of damaging skin and eyes. Chlorine can also cause carcinogenic chemicals to form in waste water supplies, and should therefore be avoided in cleaning.
  • Synthetic fragrances – These usually contain dozens of chemicals derived from petroleum, and they affect the air quality when used indoors. Exposure to these fragrances prolonged periods of time can lead to serious health problems such as? In fact, research conducted by The National Institute of Occupational Safety in the US found that one third of substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic.
  • Triclosan – Some disinfectants contain this chemical, which is known to create bacterial resistance and produce dangerous side products such as?. In Canada, concerns about triclosan’s potential danger have led to its complete ban.

What ‘green’ cleaning products are available?

‘Green’ products are by far the safest and most environmentally sustainable choice for commercial cleaning companies and their clients. Many green cleaning products have been developed to the point where they rival the stronger chemicals in quality and efficiency. While the Australian government does not regulate cleaning products, there are several ‘eco labels’ that determine whether a product is ‘green’ or not. Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) is one of the most reputable associations that undertakes these product assessments.

‘Green’ products have the following characteristics:

  • Chemical-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Low volatile organic compounds
  • Renewable
  • Non-hazardous and non-toxic
  • Contain no phosphorus
  • Minimise the use of resources and water
  • Use recycled content
  • Environmentally sustainable

How can you find out if your cleaning provider is using safe products?

When it comes to cleaning products, unfortunately, the industry is very lightly regulated. Aside from the Green Stamp in Western Australia, there are no specific programs that are authorised to certify cleaning products. However, the easiest way to ensure that your cleaning provider is operating in a safe way is to check their accreditations. The certifications for Quality Assurance, OH&S, Environmental Management, and Risk Management are all granted by third parties that enforce high global standards. If your cleaning provider has these qualifications, this means they have been deemed trustworthy, credible, and ethical.


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