Grout Cleaning Made Friendlier

Young Woman Cleaning The Tiled Wall

Unsafe ingredients in household cleaning agents can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, asthma, allergies, rashes, and hives. In the early 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began encouraging manufacturers to move toward safer ingredients in their cleaning products. The agency’s hope was to minimize the potential of these products to cause unintended health and environmental consequences.  

Safer for your family.

Cleaning products and the ingredients they contain are only one source of indoor air pollution. Products used around the home for wood, stainless steel, carpet, tile, and grout cleaning can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Fortunately, the EPA is committed to protecting consumers, especially children. With the implementation of the Design for the Environment Programs (DfE), indoor air quality became improved as companies began using safer ingredients in their products. The DfE program evaluated the potential impacts of products, materials, processes, or activities.  Then in 2015, the EPA introduced the Safer Choice Label. This new program requires manufacturers to list all of their products’ ingredients, on the packaging or on an easy-to-access website. With more than 40 years experience in evaluating human health characteristics of chemicals, the goal was to lower the risk of potential health hazards. The program has led to a sizeable reduction of carcinogens, and reproductive and developmental toxins.

Safer for the planet.

In order to promote social and environmental justice, the Safer Choice Label encourages product manufacturers to adhere to a safer chemical ingredients list and strive for sustainable options in packaging. In 2009, the program helped companies reduce chemicals of concern by more than 500 million pounds. Approved ingredients are considered less toxic to fish and aquatic life. The ingredients are proven to break down more quickly through natural processes. These guidelines have led to less contamination of the food chain, pollution in streams, and damage to the ecosystem. A reduction in the impact on water treatment facilities is also lowering infrastructure costs for communities.

Manufacturers of household cleaning products voluntarily invest in research and reformulation in order to enter into a partnership with the Safer Choice Program. The program assists these companies in choosing ingredients based on several assessments. They also make sure that all chemical alternatives are available to manufacturers and feasible for their uses. The EPA helps companies ensure that products are of similar or better value in cost and performance. The agency strives to understand the chemistry that leads to product performance. This partnership lasts three years and manufacturers are subject to surveillance and audits to ensure adherence to program standards.