Microbial-Based Cleaning Products


Update:  On November 11, 2021, Green Seal issued six standards with updated criteria for microbial-based cleaning products. Spray-applied microbial-based cleaning products are now eligible for Green Seal certification. All documents on this criteria revision can be found on Green Seal’s Library of Standards page. 

Green Seal is proposing several important improvements to our standard criteria for microbial-based cleaning products to better recognize leadership in this popular product category.  These updates will remove unnecessary requirements and provide more opportunities to highlight healthier, safer options for buyers.

The Benefits of Microbial Products

Formulating with microbes is an exciting application of green chemistry. These naturally occurring ingredients can allow product formulas to reduce or eliminate hazardous solvents and surfactants and make it easier for producers to formulate with biobased rather than petroleum-based ingredients. In certain cases, these products are likely to be healthier, to degrade at a faster rate and under more natural conditions, and to be less harmful for aquatic life. 

When Green Seal first issued criteria for microbial-based cleaning products in 2011, we took a precautionary approach by designing heavy restrictions until more information was known about the safety and environmental impacts of this newer product type. In the decade since then, these products have proliferated across the North American and global markets with no scientific evidence they present a higher level of risk to human health or the environment than traditional cleaning products. Adding to our understanding of their safety profile, these types of products are being studied as safer options in healthcare settings. 

Removing Excessive Requirements  

Recognizing the green chemistry benefits and safety profiles of microbial-based cleaning products, Green Seal is proposing to remove unnecessary and burdensome requirements for these products that exceed those we set for other cleaning products. These key updates include:

  • Allowing certified microbial-based cleaning products to the be sold in spray packaging
  • Reducing certain labeling requirements

The requirements proposed for revision are located in the “Microorganisms Annex” of each of the following standards:

  • General Purpose Cleaners (GS-8, GS-37)
  • Laundry Care Products (GS-48, GS-51)
  • Specialty Cleaners (GS-52, GS-53) 

Seeking Feedback

Green Seal is accepting public comments on this proposal until April 8, 2021. To submit comments or schedule a conference call, contact us.

The Proposed Revisions and supplementary documents are available on Green Seal’s Standard Projects page. 

Green Seal’s reputation for credibility and market impact rests on an open and transparent process for developing and revising our science-based standards. All major standard revisions include extensive stakeholder outreach and opportunities for public input. Green Seal publishes all formally submitted comments, as well as a response to each substantive issue identified by commenters. 

Green Seal

Green Seal is a global non-profit whose certification mark is a universal symbol that a product, cleaning service or facility meets the highest benchmark of health and environmental leadership.