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Cleaning Product Chemicals

It’s National Chemistry Week, a great time to celebrate the chemicals that make up everything around us! We are made of chemicals, as is our food, our clothes, our medicines and our cleaning products. And new innovations in using the chemicals around us help make our lives easier and safer. Cleaning products have played a key role in keeping communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. They help to reduce germs, dirt and allergens in our homes, schools and businesses through the chemicals that make up their ingredients. How? Let’s dive into some questions we’ve gotten recently:

How do cleaning product chemicals work?
Each ingredient in a cleaning product has a role to play. Surfactants pull dirt and grime to the surface so that they can be washed away. Disinfectants kill germs and preservatives keep these important products working for longer. See how all these ingredients and more work together at ExplorationClean.org.

Are there chemicals I should look for in products?
If you need products to work against COVID-19, look for a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and a disinfectant that is on the EPA list. For general cleaning, there are lots of options of cleaning products, each with a different mix of ingredients. To familiarize yourself with what those chemicals are, why they’re there and what might be the best choice for you, look up the product in SmartLabel. The good news is that all the ingredients found in the well-known brands have been tested and shown to be safe when used as intended.

Can I clean too much or too little?
Cleaning too little can open the potential for getting sick and cleaning too much may be unnecessary. A house usually doesn’t need to be cleaned to the same standard as a hospital. An unclean restaurant can be a vector of disease. What really matters here is that the cleaning routine fits the environment and meets your needs. ACI has guides on how (and how often) to clean and disinfect homes, schools and businesses.

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