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Green Product Specs

It's helpful to specify your standards for green cleaning products in your janitorial contract. 

The following product specifications come from the City of Portland's cleaning contract at the LEED Gold-certified Portland Building. The product specification numbers for UL Environment and Green Seal are current as of summer 2015.

Cleaning Products

Product Type

Specification/Technical Requirement

General/Multi-Purpose Bathroom and Glass Cleaners (including descales/shower cleaners)

  • Green Seal GS-37 and/or UL 2759 certified 

Carpet Cleaners

  • Green Seal GS-37 certified and/or UL 2795 certified

Other hard surface cleaners

  • UL 2759 certified


  • UL 2792 certified

Hard Floor Care Cleaning Products

  • Green Seal GS-40 certified and/or UL 2777 certified 

Metal Polish

  • Percent Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) by weight must not exceed 30%

Disinfectants or Sanitizers 

  • EPA registered active disinfectant/sanitizer ingredient(s)
  • Disinfectant/sanitizer shall not contain benzalkonium chloride (a surfactant belonging to the quaternary ammonium compound group with a CAS # 8001-54-5)
  • Percent Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) by weight must not exceed 1% for non-aerosol products or 70% for aerosol products. 

Graffiti Remover

  • Percent Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) by weight must not exceed 30% for non-aerosol products of 50% for aerosol products
  • Products cannot contain methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, or trichloroethylene. 

Misc. Specialty Cleaners spot removers, gum remover, etc.

  • Comply with the California Code of Regulations maximum allowable VOC levels for the specific product category

Hand Soaps

  • No antimicrobial agents (other than a preservative) except where requirement by health codes and other regulations
  • Green Seal GS-41 or UL 2784 certified

Waterless Instant Hand Sanitizers

  • Product must contain at least 60% alcohol
  • UL 2783 certified

Miscellaneous Cleaning Products

Identify the least-toxic option by:

  • Seeking products the meet the intent of the Green Seal of ECOLOGO (UL) standards
  • Referring to the EPA Safer Choice for products recognized by that program (e.g. deicers, graffiti removers) that are not certified by Green Seal of ECOLOGO.
  • Products do not contain known carcinogens, reproductive toxins, asthamagens, and other toxic ingredients
  • Minimize impact on indoor air quality and the environment (e.g. products that are low-VOC and readily safely biodegrade in aquatic environments)
  • Research least-toxic options from other resources as applicable. 

Paper and Plastic Janitorial Products

Product Type

Specification/Technical Requirement

Waste/Recycling Receptacle Plastic Liners

  • Contains a minimum 10% post-consumer recycled content or
  • Must be less than 0.70 mil in thickness

Compost Receptacle Liners

  • Product must be listed on the appropriate Composting Facility’s Accepted List

Paper Towels or Industrial Wipers

  • Contains a minimum 40% post-consumer recycled content
  • or Green Seal GS-09 certified 

Toilet/Bathroom Tissue

  • Contains a minimum 20% post-consumer recycled content;
  • or Green Seal GS-01 certified

Janitorial Equipment

Equipment Type

Specification/Technical Requirement

All Powered Equipment

  • Ergonomically designed to minimize vibration, noise, and user fatigue
  • Designed with safeguards, such as rollers or rubber bumpers, to reduce potential damage to building surfaces

Vacuum Cleaners

  • Carpet & Rug Institute “Green Label” certified
  • Operate with a sound level less than 70dBA

Carpet Extraction Equipment

  • Certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute’s “Seal of Approval” Testing Program for deep-cleaning extractors. 

Powered Floor Equipment (electric or battery), including buggers and burnishers

  • Equipped with vacuums, guards and/or other devices for capturing fine particulates
  • Operated with a sound level less than 70dBA

Propane-Powered Floor Equipment

  • High-efficiency, low emission engine with catalytic converters and mufflers that meet California Air Resource Board (CARB) or
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for the specific engine size
  • Operates with a sound level less than 90dBA. 

Automated Scrubbing Machines

  • Equipped with variable-speed feeds pumps and onboard chemical metering to optimize the use of cleaning fluids.
  • Alternatively the scrubbing machine uses tap water with no added cleaning products. 

Battery-Powered Equipment

  • Must be equipped with environmentally preferable gel batteries.