When deciding which cleaner to use in your home or workplace, look for the signal word on the product label. Signal words help to show the hazards associated with cleaning products and can be used by shoppers to find the least toxic products. The signal words found on cleaning products are DANGER, POISON, WARNING and CAUTION.
Buying and using safer cleaners
Avoid products labeled DANGER, POISON or WARNING
Products labeled DANGER, POISON and WARNING are hazardous to people, pets, or the environment. Products with no signal word or those labeled CAUTION are a safer alternative.
Look for certified safer products
When choosing products, look for certification labels on the front or back which certify the least harmful products. Metro recommends products with the Safer Choice, which is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or the Green Seal or Ecologo certification.
Not all cleaning or disinfecting products are submitted for certification, when in doubt, stick to products with no signal words or those labeled CAUTION. Alternatively, you can make non-toxic cleaners at home with safer ingredients.
Follow the product directions
Always check the label to see if you need to wear protection for your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin and use as directed. In case of an emergency, call the Oregon Poison Center helpline at 800-222-1222.
Properly dispose of unused cleaning products
Take unused cleaning products and other household hazardous waste to a hazardous waste facility or a neighborhood collection event.
Learn more about common hazardous wastes
Looking for safer cleaners for your business?
Get assistance from Recycling and Sustainability specialists in your area.
Learn more about waste prevention at work