Are Green Cleaning Products Really Green?

When Rachel Carson published her eye-opening book Silent Spring in 1962, it prompted society to reconsider their overuse of chemicals and pesticides - and the U.S. government to provide greener choice alternatives. However, this seemingly positive evolution brings a new issue to the fore: are these ‘green’ alternative products as harmless as they claim?

With the aim to define the true meaning of green cleaning, this article compares the safety, sustainability, and effectiveness of generic green cleaning products to Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO®).

Are Green Cleaning Products Sustainable?

It’s no secret that traditional cleaning products are harmful to the environment, but you may be shocked to learn that even green and plant-based cleaning products are to blame for a fair share of environmental damage. For example, a study reveals that plant-based cleaning products scored up to four times worse for the environment than traditional cleaning chemicals in categories like natural land transformation and ozone layer depletion.

In addition, many green cleaning product manufacturers use covert and vague language like ‘fragrance’ or ‘other ingredients’ to disguise what their products contain beyond the few ingredients they are legally obliged to list. In fact, a study found that ‘green’ cleaning products with fragrance included virtually the same amount of harsh chemicals as traditional cleaning products!

What’s more, it is not always the solution that does environmental damage, but the packaging. Many green cleaning agents and plant-based chemicals can’t avoid their single-use plastic spray bottles, which often end up in landfills, cluttering our environment with waste.

Is Ozone Cleaning Sustainable?

With no VOCs, toxins, or harsh chemicals, ozone cleaning proves to be a more sustainable alternative to many generic ‘green’ cleaning products. Tersano’s Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO) solution harnesses the power of two natural elements to clean: water and ozone, an allotrope of oxygen.

Stabilized Aqueous Ozone is a 100% biodegradable solution that has no negative impact on the environment, whether on the land, in the air, or under the sea. SAO takes no greenery from the earth and allows plant life to thrive untouched. Best of all, after Stabilized Aqueous Ozone finishes cleaning, it turns back into ordinary oxygen and water, leaving no impact on the planet.

More than this, Stabilized Aqueous Ozone uses on-site generation technologies, eliminating the need for single-use plastic cleaning bottles. Our commercial and home dispensers convert ordinary tap water into Stabilized Aqueous Ozone on-site and on-demand, reducing your carbon footprint and plastic use in one fell swoop.

Are Green Cleaning Products Safe?

Many people do not distinguish between eco-friendly and health-friendly cleaning products. There is a widespread assumption that something good for the earth must also be good for one’s health and wellness. Reality tells a different story.

Authentically safe cleaning products are typically non-toxic and incapable of causing poisoning even when they contact the eyes, skin, mouth, or are ingested. However, a cleaning product that is green or natural is not necessarily non-toxic. Many things grow from the ground – including poisonous plants – or become toxic when they mix with ambient air. For example, a recent study found formaldehyde vapors when natural cleaning solutions combined with ambient air, like those containing citrus and pine-based ingredients.

Although marketed as ‘green’, some products by popular brands like Method, Seventh Generation, Honest Company, and Green Works have been rated poorly by the Environmental Working Group regarding their safety. Many of these kinds of products contain toxic chemicals like allergens or skin and respiratory irritants.

Thus, distinguishing between ‘green’ and ‘non-toxic’ is crucial. It is dangerous to assume that a product labeled natural is safe to handle without gloves or to leave it out where one can accidentally consume it. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) give a clearer view of the environmental and health risks of using a cleaning solution. They should be carefully reviewed to ensure there are no risks of hazardous reactions when used with other products. Businesses can write their own SDS, and while they must disclose identified hazards, some SDS keep certain ingredients under trade secret.

Thus, the best way to know if a cleaning product is truly safe, sustainable, and effective is to look at compiled, academic research as well as the product’s certifications. You can trust third-party regulatory and academic bodies as a source of transparent reassurance.

Is Ozone Cleaning Safe?

Tersano’s non-toxic Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO) solution provides individuals with a genuinely safe cleaning and deodorizing solution as well as the data to back it up.

It’s not just us that know SAO is safe, nor our Safety Data Sheet rating of 0-0-0; renowned regulatory bodies worldwide, like Green Seal, HACCP, NSF, EcoVadis, LEED and more support SAO’s safety. In addition, SAO is cruelty-free, certified Halal and Kosher, and complies with FDA, EPA, and USDA Organic safety standards.

The science of ozone cleaning is based on over a century of study and active application. In fact, aqueous ozone has been used as a safer alternative to chlorine to clean things like Olympic swimming pools and to clean drinking water at treatment facilities. It’s even used at dentist offices for oral hygiene and cleanliness!

Do Green Cleaning Products Work?

Cleaning is more than a function of aesthetics: it is crucial in providing safe and healthy environments for building occupants. Sanitizing while you clean is essential to this process and should not be skipped.

However, a 2009 study analyzed 27 green cleaning products against their ability to sanitize while cleaning by destroying virus-causing germs and mold growth. Out of the 27 green cleaning products analyzed, only 1 claimed the ability to do so.

Concerning the study’s data, most green cleaning products only provide a surface-level clean: they don’t kill the mold or virus-causing germs that often make us sick. Thus, it’s not always what some generic green cleaning products do that is concerning, but rather what they don’t do: sanitize.

Does Ozone Cleaning Work?

Yes! Tersano’s devices safely turn oxygen (O2) into ozone (O3) by adding an extra oxygen atom. The O3 is then infused into ordinary, cold tap water to create SAO. SAO is a natural active oxidizer that's proven to be stronger than chlorine bleach. After it finishes cleaning, it reverts to water and oxygen again, leaving no negative impact on people or planet.

But it’s not only Tersano who knows that SAO is effective. As a solution certified by Green Seal, SAO was required to pass a standardized lab test (ASTM D4488-A5) to prove its efficacy in removing standard soils from surfaces. As Tersano’s SAO earned a record of four Green Seal certifications (GS-37, GS-8, GS-53, GS-52), it’s safe to say that it passed the efficacy test!


While generic green cleaning products are often marketed as safer alternatives for people and planet, emerging research is telling a different story. But don’t let your due diligence go to waste: cleaning can be green with the right innovation, technology, and science. Choose Tersano’s sustainable cleaning technologies for your home, health, and planet today and discover the true meaning of green cleaning!

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