Published 1 year ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Image: Gustavo Fring
We believe that increasing the accessibility of information and transparency of ingredients is critical to transforming the cleaning products industry. Tapping into consumer demands for sustainable and trustworthy cleaning supplies will also drive the clarity needed by manufacturers to better understand what is in their products.
As consumers increasingly look for more sustainable ways to
all elements of the cleaning product supply chain are under pressure to assess,
and communicate, their ingredients and processes. Rather than feel daunted by
the need for transparency, this is an opportunity for cleaning product brands to
generate trust and connect with their customers on a deeper level. It is also a
chance for both consumers and manufacturers to play their part in accelerating
the sustainable transformation of the sector.
We have entered an era where consumers are asking more questions and requiring
more information about the products they bring into their homes; and this is
perhaps no more apparent than in their approach to cleaning products — an
essential part of keeping our homes safe and hygienic — and consumers want to
feel confident in their effectiveness. Yet, despite cleaning product
manufacturers providing more
than ever before, there is still more to be done — especially with so many
consumers looking online for details about what’s in these products.
Shoppers are also more likely to choose products with ingredients that are
aligned to their personal values. It’s no longer just about considering whether
products perform at a functional level; now, more than ever, there is
consideration given to whether products are performing in line with
sustainability expectations. A recent Capterra
revealed how important choosing healthy, sustainable products has become for
consumers. The survey showed that 84 percent of them would be willing to pay
more for sustainable products, despite current inflation levels.
With sustainability now at the forefront of many purchasing decisions,
will place the power directly into the hands of consumers — allowing them to
choose to clean and disinfect their homes and workplaces with products they
trust, and that don’t compromise their commitment to the planet.
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More than a decade ago, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) — which just released its 2022 Sustainability Report — led
the way in promoting voluntary cleaning product ingredient communication efforts
industry-wide. Policy discussions evolved over time, leading to the 2017
enactment of the California Cleaning Product Right to Know
— a law mandating a complete listing of ingredients on product labels and
The right to full ingredient transparency should now be extended to consumers
across the country. Our ultimate vision is for a national ingredient disclosure
standard that drives a consistent approach to information across the US, rather
than state by state. Sharing ingredient information in a transparent and
standardized way will make it easier for consumers to compare products and
choose the best option to suit their needs.
The power of consumers and manufacturers will come together most effectively
when ingredient transparency is not only universal but also comprehensible and
user-friendly. Brands and manufacturers must make sure consumers are, first and
foremost, able to understand what they are reading. Our mission at ACI is for
cleaning product labels to be universally accessible. It’s why we provide tools
on how to read labels correctly, use products safely and check ingredients
through our Cleaning Product Ingredient Safety Initiative (CPISI) and
Cleaning Product Ingredient Environmental Safety (CPIES) program. Most
recently, ACI released “What Cleaning Products Do” — which addresses the gap
between required ingredient disclosures and a consumer’s right to understand and
be able to make informed decisions. By using this tool, formulators, developers
and marketers can shape a better standard of consumer understanding of the role
ingredients play in helping to make cleaning products safe, beneficial and
While we focus on transparency, we must not forget to look at the ingredients
themselves and their potential impact on the planet.
Our members are motivated to create products that are safer both for human
which is why we are constantly striving for greater sector regulation. So far,
our contributions over the last decade have included adding eight chemicals to
the EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients
List. We also developed the
CPIES program as part of our push toward greater information accessibility. This
initiative helps consumers and companies assess the environmental safety of
certain ingredients. Furthermore, in an attempt to increase consumer awareness
and help them find products with safer ingredients, we partnered with Good Housekeeping magazine to host a first-of-its-kind cleaning summit, which
included a panel on ingredient transparency.
Beyond this, we are looking at the environmental impact of our products by
assessing the concentration of chemicals that go down the drain. Our publicly
available online tool, iSTREEM®, is designed to help
companies, academics and governments — as well as curious consumers — learn
about the environmental impact of certain
and how their residual levels impact aquatic environments. By making this
information widely available, we hope to encourage more sustainable purchasing
decisions and have a positive impact on the wider sector.
We believe that increasing the accessibility of information and transparency of
ingredients is critical to sector transformation. Tapping into consumer demands
for sustainable and trustworthy cleaning supplies will also drive the clarity
needed by manufacturers to better understand what is in their products. In the
coming years, we hope to see greater transparency resulting in more sustainable
cleaning solutions and a cleaner future for all.
Published Oct 27, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Melissa Hockstad joined the American Cleaning Institute as the President & CEO in January 2017. She is responsible for the overall leadership of ACI, including advocacy, science and research, communications, consumer education, sustainability, financial oversight and member engagement.