In today’s increasingly eco-conscious world, the demand for natural cleaning products has skyrocketed. As building managers, we are responsible for maintaining clean, healthy, and environmentally-friendly facilities. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of natural cleaning products, their benefits, and how to incorporate them into your building maintenance routine.



Understanding Natural Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products, also known as eco-friendly or green cleaning products, are formulated using naturally-derived ingredients that are less harmful to human health and the environment. These products typically avoid the use of synthetic chemicals, harsh detergents, and other potentially toxic substances found in traditional cleaning agents.

Defining Natural Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products are those that are made from plant-based, mineral-based, or other naturally-occurring materials. They often contain ingredients such as essential oils, vinegar, baking soda, and plant-derived surfactants, which are effective in cleaning while posing minimal risks to users and the environment.

Differentiating from Traditional Cleaners

In contrast to traditional cleaning products, which may contain a cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals, natural cleaners prioritize the use of safe, biodegradable, and non-toxic ingredients. This shift towards sustainability helps reduce the environmental impact of cleaning, minimizing the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants.

Certifications and Regulations

To ensure the authenticity and safety of natural cleaning products, various certifications and regulations have been established. Some of the widely recognized certifications include:

  1. EPA Safer Choice: This certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures that a product meets strict safety and environmental criteria.
  2. Green Seal Certification: This independent certification verifies that a product meets standards for human health and environmental impact.
  3. USDA BioPreferred Certification: This program identifies products made from renewable, plant-based materials.
  4. EWG Verified: The Environmental Working Group’s certification indicates a product meets their safety standards.

The Benefits of Natural Cleaning Products

Transitioning to natural cleaning products offers a range of benefits for building managers, their tenants, and the environment. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Traditional cleaning products can release a cocktail of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other airborne pollutants, which can negatively impact indoor air quality. Natural cleaners, on the other hand, typically have lower or no VOC content, helping to maintain a healthier indoor environment.

Reduced Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

Many conventional cleaning agents contain chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, and synthetic fragrances, which can be irritating or even toxic, especially for sensitive individuals. Natural products minimize the risk of exposure to these harmful substances, promoting the well-being of building occupants.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Natural cleaning products are often formulated with biodegradable ingredients and packaged in recyclable or compostable materials. This reduces the environmental footprint of cleaning operations, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Cost-Effectiveness in the Long Run

While natural cleaning products may have a higher upfront cost, they can be more cost-effective in the long run. Many natural cleaners are concentrated formulas that can be diluted, reducing the overall consumption and waste associated with traditional cleaning products.

Versatility and Effectiveness

Contrary to the misconception that natural cleaners are less effective, many natural cleaning products are formulated to be just as, if not more, powerful in tackling a wide range of cleaning challenges, from removing stubborn stains to disinfecting surfaces.

Transitioning to Natural Cleaning Products

Implementing a natural cleaning program in your building can be a gradual process, but the benefits make it a worthwhile investment. Here are some steps to guide you through the transition:

Assess Current Cleaning Practices

Start by evaluating your current cleaning protocols and the products being used. Identify areas where traditional cleaners can be replaced with natural alternatives.

Research and Evaluate Natural Cleaning Options

Explore the market for natural cleaning products that meet your performance, safety, and environmental requirements. Consider factors such as certifications, ingredient lists, and user reviews.

Pilot Natural Cleaning Products

Before a full-scale implementation, conduct a pilot program to test the effectiveness and user acceptance of natural cleaning products in your building. Gather feedback from cleaning staff and monitor the results.

Train Cleaning Staff

Educate your cleaning staff on the benefits of natural cleaning products and provide proper training on their use and handling. Emphasize the importance of following manufacturer instructions for dilution and application.

Communicate the Transition

Inform building occupants about the transition to natural cleaning products, highlighting the environmental and health benefits. This can help build awareness and support for the initiative.

Monitor and Adjust

Continuously evaluate the performance of natural cleaning products and gather feedback from building occupants and cleaning staff. Adjust your cleaning protocols as needed to ensure optimal results.

Incorporating Natural Cleaning Products into Your Building Maintenance Routine

Integrating natural cleaning products into your building maintenance routine requires a strategic approach. Here are some recommendations:

All-Purpose Cleaners

Look for natural all-purpose cleaners that can be used on a variety of surfaces, from countertops to floors. These versatile products are often formulated with ingredients like vinegar, essential oils, and plant-based surfactants.

Bathroom Cleaners

Natural bathroom cleaners typically contain ingredients like citric acid, baking soda, and essential oils to tackle soap scum, hard water stains, and mildew without harsh chemicals.

Floor Cleaners

Natural floor cleaners, often vinegar-based, can effectively remove dirt and grime while leaving floors clean and streak-free.

Dish Soap and Laundry Detergent

Opt for natural dish soaps and laundry detergents that are free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, and harsh surfactants. These products can help reduce the environmental impact of your cleaning operations.

Specialty Cleaners

For more specific cleaning needs, such as window and glass cleaning or deodorizing, explore natural specialty cleaners that cater to those tasks.


While natural cleaning products are effective for general cleaning, you may still need to use EPA-registered disinfectants to kill harmful pathogens. Ensure that the disinfectants you choose are compatible with your natural cleaning program.

Overcoming Challenges and Misconceptions

As you transition to natural cleaning products, you may encounter some challenges and misconceptions. Here’s how to address them:

Cost Concerns

While natural cleaning products may have a higher upfront cost, their long-term cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits often outweigh the initial investment.

Perceived Lack of Effectiveness

Dispel the myth that natural cleaners are less effective. Many natural products are formulated to be just as powerful as their traditional counterparts, if not more so.

Resistance to Change

Building occupants and cleaning staff may be hesitant to adopt natural cleaning products due to familiarity with traditional methods. Effective communication and training can help overcome this resistance.

Limited Availability

If certain natural cleaning products are not readily available, explore alternative suppliers or consider developing your own custom blends using natural ingredients.



Promoting Sustainable and Healthy Building Environments through Natural Cleaning Products

Embracing natural cleaning products is a significant step towards creating a more sustainable and healthy building environment. By understanding the benefits, navigating the transition process, and incorporating natural cleaning solutions into your maintenance routine, you can contribute to the well-being of your building’s occupants and the environment. Remember, the journey towards a greener, cleaner future starts with small, yet impactful, steps.