Whole Foods Launches Rating System For Cleaning Products

Just in time for Earth Day, Whole Foods Market introduced its Eco-Scale rating system to help shoppers make smarter, greener choices for their homes and the planet.

Everyone wants their home to be clean and fresh. Unfortunately, most of the cleaners and air fresheners on the market today contain toxic ingredients that actually put your health in jeopardy.

According to the EPA, scientific evidence indicates that indoor air can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. New carpets, electronics and plastics, glues, paint, pesticides, household cleaners, and air fresheners all contain carcinogens and/or endocrine disrupting compounds. Without proper ventilation, this equals a toxic cloud of pollution that’s trapped inside your home.

And if you think that watching the label will help you avoid these toxic chemicals, think again: a recent market research survey found that almost three out of four (73 percent) adults falsely believe that the government requires household cleaning products to provide a list of ingredients on the label.

The Eco-Scale system will attempt to clear up some of the confusion when it comes to household cleaning products. Under the new evaluation system, cleaning products sold at Whole Foods will color codedóred, orange, yellow or greenóbased on the specific set of environmental and sourcing standards each product meets.

All orange-rated products must be third-party verified to meet the following criteria:

  • No ingredients with significant environmental or safety concerns, such as phosphates**, chlorine***, or preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde.
  • No artificial colors
  • No animal testing

In addition to the criteria above, yellow-rated products must also meet the following requirements:

  • No ingredients with moderate environmental or safety concerns, such as DEA, TEA or MEA surfactants (surface acting agents that can act as foaming agents) that have the potential to contain nitrosamines and other impurities
  • No synthetic thickeners made from non-renewable petroleum-derived sources
  • 100 percent natural fragrances

Green-rated products represent the highest level of Whole Foods Market’s new standards and meet all the requirements of the orange and yellow products, but also contain

  • only 100 percent natural ingredients and
  • contain no petroleum-derived ingredients at all.

All cleaning products will be required to meet the new baseline orange standard by Earth Day, 2012. Red-rated products will be reformulated or phased out of Whole Foods Market.

“Shoppers have a right to know what’s actually in the products they use to clean their homes,” said Jim Speirs, global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods Market. “We’ve always carefully monitored ingredients. Now, with Eco-Scale, we’re able to help shoppers buy eco-friendly products with confidence and provide safer alternatives for their households and for the planet as a whole.”

Unfortunately, Whole Foods has not seen fit to extend its philosophy of transparency to the edible products on its shelves. The company has failed to enact a labeling policy for food brands that contain genetically modified ingredients, and recently came under fire for endorsing the USDA’s “coexistence” option for GMO alfalfa.

What do you think about the new rating system? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Also Check Out:
How To Make A Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Top 10 Eco-Friendly Ways To Clean The House
Are Green Cleaning Products Really Safe?
The Dirt On Cleaning Product Companies


carlee trent
carlee trent6 years ago


Emily Smith
Emily Smith6 years ago

Well, it's about time something like this came along. I'll definitely keeping my eye out for it. Thanks for sharing! :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener6 years ago

Like that, bring it to Australia!

Sarah Elizabeth L.
Sarah Little6 years ago

Sounds like a great idea. I wish there were more widespread practices like this, since Whole Foods' customer base is mostly people who ALREADY think/care about this stuff.

Linda E.
Linda E6 years ago

Thanks to Whole Foods for this VOLUNTARY system! It may be a long time before there is any mandate for cleaning products to be labeled like this.

Manojkumar Bhoyar

thanks for sharing

Manojkumar Bhoyar

thanks for sharing

Manojkumar Bhoyar

thanks for sharing

Sarah Zemke
Sarah Z6 years ago

Thank you

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Good article. Thanks for sharing.