How Things Have Changed…Green Cleaning Part 3

By Lina Younes

I still have vivid images of cleaning days in my grandmother’s home in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico when I was a child. I remember watching my great aunt using a lot of water and detergents to wash the tile floors, bleach the sheets, and perform other household chores. The entire operation was very labor intensive and used a precious resource: water.

Now, we fast forward to the 21st century and household cleaning, overall, has become much easier and faster. However, the one problem that I see with these “practical” methods is that many of the new tools tend to be disposable. Disposable wipes for use everywhere—countertops, cabinets, and floors—even disposable toilet bowl cleaners. While we recommend as a green cleaning method to use reusable wipes and rags to minimize waste, it’s hard to believe that many consumers don’t succumb to temptation and use the more practical methods even if they generate waste.

So, I decided to look further into the issue of disposable wipes. While they definitely fulfill the practical requirement, are they green? On the plus side, they clean while minimizing the use of water. On the negative side, they just end up in the landfill after use. Well, in this case, technology has once again saved the day! Some companies have developed compostable wipes made largely of material such as bamboo fibers which are biodegradable and compostable, so we can allay the fears of our green conscience. For a full listing, visit our Design for the Environment website.

So what are your thoughts on the issue? Would love to hear from you!

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.