tree with green leaves grows out of a textbook illustrating healthy and green schools

Changes that have been made to environmental initiatives over the past decade

When we look around at our world, the one constant we see is change. We see self-driving cars, smart homes, televisions that roll up into the wall — for the first time, we’re living closer to the Jetsons than the Flintstones. And in the world of green cleaning, it’s no different.

When Healthy Schools Campaign launched the “Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools” in 2006, the cutting-edge message was that departments could purchase green chemicals that actually clean. It’s a message that worked for awhile as schools realized the benefits of seeking out more sustainable products. But it’s a message that is looking more and more quaint everyday.

We see this change in the chemicals that schools purchase, the equipment that they use and the way they think about how they clean their schools. The past decade has seen so many improvements in the technology of cleaning, this is a good opportunity to look back on what has changed and how progress might improve cleaning in the next decade.

Cleaning Chemicals

In 2006, Green Seal was the de facto standard third-party certification for green cleaning products, with EcoLogo making its way from our neighbors to the north. More importantly, the quantity of products was nowhere near the availability today.

Now we still have Green Seal as the leading ecolabel, but EcoLogo, along with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice, means greater options and availability in the marketplace. The standards have also improved, so now we know that not only are the chemicals safer, but their packaging, transport and many more health and safety endpoints are healthier for children and our world.


I remember in our first round of applications for the first Green Cleaning Awards, many of the school nominees were focused on their use of microfiber as a strategy to improve their ergonomic health and reduce environmental impact. What’s changed since then is two-fold.

First, microfiber has gone from something that people promote, to something that is expected. Microfiber technology has become something we almost take for granted.

Second, the options for microfiber have greatly expanded — everything from mops to rags. Various product options and fabric quality have resulted in innovative choices for desk cleaning, window cleaning and specific tools to assist with infection control programs.

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Future Of Cleaning Green