The fact that almost all schools surveyed have implemented green cleaning to some extent is an amazing foundation. We’re thrilled to see this widespread adoption but concede that, in some cases, the implementation is shallow. However, what this means is that there is a tremendous opportunity to deepen the adoption of green cleaning in schools and universities that have already started on the journey.

We think health and safety are key reasons to adopt a green cleaning program and key benefits of its implementation. We’re also encouraged to see that some of the common benefits schools have observed from adopting green initiatives are improved safety, reduced absenteeism and improved health for occupants and staff.

But it’s interesting to see that sustainable and green initiatives were issues schools were least concerned about when it came to their cleaning program. After all, the term most often used to talk about cleaning programs that reduce exposure to harmful chemicals is “green cleaning.” This underlines the need to emphasize the health and safety benefits of green cleaning when considering the implementation of a program or deepening the use of green cleaning products, equipment and procedures.

These same benefits are often outlined by third-party product certifiers, which have shown to be an effective way for purchasers to vet green cleaning products. However, we want to make sure those certifications are seen as a starting point for product considerations, rather than an ending point. We also want cleaning executives to push for continual improvement of custodial programs once they’ve begun implementing a green cleaning program.

While managers tackle that, Healthy Schools Campaign will make sure that third-party certifications are continually updating and encouraging innovation in the marketplace. These efforts will help drive the green cleaning movement forward.

The results of the 2018 National Education Facilities Cleaning Survey reinforced the belief that formal green cleaning policies are important. We weren’t surprised to see that they play a big role in schools’ decisions to implement green cleaning and a more widespread adoption of green products. A formal policy can provide the incentive and a clear framework to bring healthier environments to all students.

Overall, the findings of this survey are encouraging and will provide a useful benchmark as Healthy Schools Campaign continues to work to increase and deepen the implementation of green cleaning across the country. Learn more from the full report at 

ROCHELLE DAVIS brings broad experience as a leader in children’s wellness and environmental health to her role as president and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign, a national nonprofit organization she founded in 2002. She is also the co-chair of the National Collaborative on Education and Health, a national effort to support schools in creating the conditions of student health.

previous page of this article:
Survey: Why Schools Implement Green Cleaning
next page of this article:
Advocating For Health Schools