From an institutional perspective UW-L custodial operations have recognized, for many years, the environmental health and safety hazards associated with various cleaning agents.  We continue to reduce the toxicity and hazards of the cleaning agents we use to maintain a healthy learning, living and working environment. 

We hope you embrace green cleaning whenever you are in a position to clean, whether it’s during a course, at work or in your residence.  Many common house-hold cleaners contain chemicals that are hazardous to human health and the environment.  Appearing on the market are many “green” alternatives to traditional cleaners, everything from dish soap to laundry detergent to floor cleaner. When shopping for cleaners, consider these alternatives.

Prior to buying cleaning products that are environmentally friendly, you need to understand and be able to evaluate claims on a label. “Green” certification criteria are generally available online by the certifiers.  The internet and your local store have a plentiful supply of “Green” cleaning products and tips.  When using the internet please keep in mind that effectiveness in cleaning or disinfecting is important.   A cleaning product that does not clean well is not good for the environment.  Producing and packaging a useless cleaning product is a waste of time and energy, which is very “un-green.”

In the end, green cleaning means many things, including, but not limited to: biodegradable, product being made from plants and not petroleum, less packaging, CFC free, phosphate free and recyclable packaging.  Most of us will identify green cleaning by our own definition of what’s good for the environment. 

This page does not endorse any name-brand “green” cleaning products.  However, as an example we share information on a very prevalent, low hazard household cleaner.  The material is common and inexpensive distilled white vinegar.  Vinegar is simply a weak acid that forms from the fermentation of natural sugars. Vinegar is reported to be as effective as or more effective than marketed household cleaners.  For instance, warm vinegar can be as effective as using a deliming agent comprised of hydrochloric acid.  For tips on ways to clean with vinegar, and just other things it’s good for, review this site: