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General Purpose Cleaners

General Purpose Cleaners

Scrub, squirt, splash, scour. We could be winning the war against filth and grime . . . but at what cost to the environment?

Cleaning products are among the most hazardous chemicals you will find in your home or office and are
therefore regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These cleaners are part of our burgeoning hazardous waste stream. …

Because the chemicals found in cleaners are not as easily dispersed indoors
as outdoors, concentrations of toxic chemicals may be higher in your home or
office than outside. A recent 5-year EPA study found the concentrations of 20
toxic compounds to be as much as 200 times higher inside homes and offices than outdoors. General purpose cleaners can be toxic, corrosive, irritating,
and flammable.

  • Green Seal surveyed manufacturers of general purpose cleaners and these
    products are available in the market at competitive prices. You should be
    able to find an environmentally responsible product that does the job without
    paying more for it.

  • In this report we identify environmentally responsible general-purpose
    cleaners. These are cleaners currently available on the market which have a
    reduced impact upon the environment and upon human health. This report also
    reviews the information you will need to look for when buying cleaners.

  • All of the 11 recommended general purpose cleaners recommended in this
    Choose Green Report are labeled as biodegradable; are non-toxic to both
    humans and aquatic life; do not contain EDTA or NTA, do not contain chlorine
    bleach or sodium hypochlorite; do not contain phosphates or derivatives of
    phosphates; have acceptable packaging; do not contain phenolic compounds; do
    not contain glycol ethers; do not contain petroleum or petrochemical
    compounds; are concentrated and work optimally in cold water; have an
    acceptable pH when diluted; have an acceptable VOC level when diluted.

    To read Green Sealís environmental rating of 11 name brand general purpose
    cleaners, download their Choose Green Report on General Purpose Cleaners!

Read more: Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning

Adapted from a Green Seal Choose Green Report, by Green Seal. Copyright (c) by Green Seal. Reprinted by permission of Green Seal.
A Green Seal Choose Green Report, by Green Seal

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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+ add your own
7:46AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

12:22AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Thanks for the article.

10:24AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Thank you

7:50PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011


10:41PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Thanks for the info.

11:36AM PST on Jan 19, 2011


11:45PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010


5:09AM PDT on Mar 28, 2010

Wonderful article. Thank you Annie.

2:32AM PST on Dec 5, 2009

Multipurpose cleaners are comprised of an alkoxylated carboxylic acid ester corresponding to the formula (I): ##STR1##wherein R1 CO is an aliphatic acyl group, AlkO is CH2 CH2 O, CHCH3 CH2 O, CH2 CHCH3 O, or a combination thereof, n is a number from 1 to 20 and R2 is an aliphatic alkyl group, and a betaine, an amine oxide or a combination thereof.


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