General Purpose Cleaners

Industrial Consumer

General purpose cleaners should be effective for most purposes and can remove 99% of germs.


Sustainable Earth Multipurpose Cleaner 807727

Sustainable Earth by Staples
When to Use

Ready-to-use, multipurpose cleaner for small-scale uses.

Product/Service Type

Renown G-Force H202 General Purpose Cleaner (Concentrated) 5944502

SupplyWorks (formerly Clean Source)
Product/Service Type

Diversey Alpha HP Cleaner (RTD 3350727 & J-fill)

When to Use

Use on floors, walls, glass and other hard surfaces. Wool Safe® approved for use in carpet extraction, prespray and spotting.  

Product/Service Type


Oxivir Five 16 One-Step Disinfectant, All-Purpose & Bath Cleaner (Hospital Grade, RTD) 4963357

Santora Sales
When to Use

Use on floors, walls, glass and other hard surfaces.  Wool Safe® approved for use in carpet extraction, prespray and spotting. To use as a general purpose or floor cleaner, dilute 1:256 (otherwise it will make the surface sticky); as a sanitizer dilute 1:128; as a disinfectant, dilute 1:64 or 1:16 (depending on what germs you are trying to kill).  Like other disinfectants, in order to kill viruses and bacteria, it must remain wet on the surface for these number of minutes.  Detailed instructions.

Product/Service Type



Info on this product category: General Purpose Cleaners

Why Go Green

Green cleaners on this site:

  • Have safer ingredients. Cleaning products often contain a variety of hazardous ingredients, including quaternary ammonium compounds, alkylphenol ethoxylates, 2-butoxyethanol, glycol ethers, and ethanolamine. These pose health hazards to workers and building occupants, as well as environmental hazards downstream.
  • Reduce waste, by emphasizing recycled and/or recyclable packaging.
  • Are sold as concentrates whenever possible, which means that shipping weight is 1/64 – 1/256 that of ready to use products - dramatically reducing fuel requirements for shipping.
  • Often use dilution systems to prevent exposure to concentrated products.
  • Cost roughly equivalent to conventional products (see our report).

Criteria for General Purpose Cleaners

Use general purpose cleaners certified under Green Seal GS-37.

Last updated

Last updated: 
February 7, 2014


The Real Cost of Institutional Green Cleaning (2009) Report by SF Environment includes a cost survey of conventional vs. green cleaning products. Costs were roughly equivalent for most product categories.  Costs of ready-to-use products averaged 15 times higher than concentrates; aerosols averaged 27 times higher.

Guide for City Staff

City Custodians:

  1. Are required to buy these cleaners (if needed):
  2. Post the City department green cleaning checklist/poster.
  3. Post tips (for microfibers, disinfecting, dusting, polishing, floor care, kitchens, restrooms) and watch custodial green cleaning training videos in English, Cantonese, and Spanish made by SF Environment. 
  4. Disinfectants are only important for surfaces like doorknobs.
  5. Switch to microfiber mops and cloths, which can prevent injuries because there's no need for heavy mop buckets.
  6. Install closed-loop dilution systems (if possible) to prevent employee exposure to hazardous concentrates.

Non-custodial City Staff:

Recycling Instructions

It's illegal to trash cleaners (and other chemicals, electronics, lighting, metal, paints). So do one of the following:

  • Use what you already have. 
  • Give them to someone who needs them.
  • Legally and safely dispose them. Post this recycling poster above each trash bin. Then get a pick up.

Guide for Small Businesses & Homes

  • Try microfiber mops and cloths, which can get rid of 99% of bacteria with plain water.
  • Make your own cleaners from common materials like baking soda, castille soap, or lemon juice.
  • See consumer products on GoodGuide.
  • Use disinfectants sparingly. The most important surfaces are doorknobs.
  • Choose ready-to-use, peroxide- or citric acid-based disinfectants.  Avoid disinfectants that list hypochlorites or quaternary ammonium compounds as ingredients (e.g., ammonium chloride).
  • Small businesses can save money by switching to industrial/institutional cleaners.  Ready-to-use products are 15 times more expensive than concentrates.
  • Custodial companies that are SF Green Businesses should watch custodial green cleaning training videos in English, Cantonese, and Spanish and consider posting Custodial Green Cleaning Tips (available in Spanish and Chinese) by SF Environment.
  • Legally and safely dispose of cleaners (and other chemicals, electronics, lighting, metal, paints) in the San Francisco Bay Area or rest of the U.S

Guide for Large Organizations