Greening The Cleaning

Why Green Cleaning is as Important as Ever in Schools


By Jim Ronchi, Project Manager GTC
As parents we all want what’s best for our children. From the day they are born, we worry about what pediatrician to use, if the laundry detergent is safe for their skin, should they be eating organic food, and is our home environment clean and healthy? Worry and concern are part of being a parent. Then comes the time when a parent has to separate from their child and they are off to school under someone else's supervision. And we still stress…does the school think the same way? Is it a healthy environment for my child? What can we do?
Considering that kids spend many hours a day inside classrooms, the chemicals in products used for school cleaning and maintenance can have a significant effect on the indoor air quality (IAQ), which can significantly affect their health. How big a problem is poor IAQ in schools?  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor levels of air pollutants can be two to five times higher (and occasionally 100 times higher) than outdoor levels. Poor IAQ, which can be worsened by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products, can actually reduce cognitive ability – potentially making it harder for kids to learn.1  Also, asthma, which is associated with exposure to some cleaning chemicals, is consistently a leading cause of school absenteeism. 
Fortunately there are safer options and healthier solutions. This is where green cleaning plays a major role in avoiding potential exposures to these chemicals. Green cleaning has become a proven, cost-effective way to help address these issues.
Green cleaning is the process of choosing cleaning products that are better for people and the planet. Green cleaning products should not contain hazardous chemicals, and so they are likely to pose fewer health risks. They are also, typically, much safer and more suitable for use around people with weakened immune systems or health conditions.
Keeping schools clean and reducing air pollutants, chemical exposures, and asthma in schools are all critical to promoting attendance and learning.

We have also learned over the years that green products can perform at the same high level of effective cleaning as traditional products.2  Paired with the use of microfibers and equipment that uses charged water to scrub floors or clean carpets, green cleaning has been able to be utilized in any setting. 

If you would like to begin a green cleaning program at your school I recommend that you choose products that are certified by a reputable third-party such as EcoLogo, Green Seal or DfE. If you do not see the third-party seal on a product, it does not have a green certification.


As a distributor of cleaning products and former Director of Environmental Services, I have seen a major shift in the type of cleaning products schools are using since the pandemic started. The trend has somewhat gotten away from trying to be safer and more sustainable, to overusing toxic chemicals and disinfectants. Cleaning personnel are utilizing one step disinfectants to clean first and then again to disinfect. I understand the need to disinfect as it is a critical step in keeping the spread of germs to a minimum, but let’s not overdo it. It is unhealthy for the user and the children who are exposed every day. When you choose a green cleaner as your first step, you minimize the chemical exposures for kids and everyone else.
As parents and educational leaders we have the tools, the choices and the products to keep our children safe and healthy. Choose the greener path and help make our school systems as healthy as possible for generations to come.
If you need any other information regarding Green Cleaning in your school, give me a call. Jim Ronchi (551-996-8047).


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