Cleaning up the World of Cleaning Products

Unhappy with the ingredients in many cleaning products, one dad decided to create his own line of kid-friendly cleaning products.

Adam McCarthy and Family

Adam McCarthy was playing on the floor with his two-year-old son when he noticed the sleepy toddler rubbing his eyes. In that instant, the father of three began to wonder about the ingredients in the cleaning products that the McCarthy family used to clean the floors.

“I actually scooted over to the cabinet. Like most families, we probably had twenty different cleaning products. And I just started pulling them all out and looking at the labels.”

Adam immediately noticed skin and eye irritants and even suspected carcinogens in some of his family’s household products.

“But what really bothered me was what wasn’t being disclosed,” Adam explains. The U.S. government does not require full disclosure of ingredients on cleaning products. Although he’s not a chemist, Adam has a background in manufacturing, and he knew enough to understand that vague terms such as “surfactants” on cleaning product labels were very generic. “That could mean any of 100 things.”

Thus the idea for GreenShield Organic cleaning products was born just before bedtime on Adam’s kitchen floor.

GreenShield Cleaning Products

In his quest for clarity, Adam recognized that there were no government-regulated standards for “natural” or “green” products, so he decided to go for the “gold standard” and start a certified organic cleaning products line. To be certified organic by the USDA, GreenShield products must meet the National Organic Program standards for 95% or higher organic ingredient content.

What followed was a period of researching organic, plant-based ingredients that had been used as cleaning products for hundreds of years. Adam found that glass cleaner made from organic vinegar and organic essential oils performed just as well as ammonia-based cleaners. Similarly, organic citrus acid and malic acid from wine grapes could form the basis of a powerful and effective toilet cleaner, and organic soap nuts could yield a rich laundry detergent.

“I knew we would disclose every single ingredient on our product label, because that really bugged me,” Adam remembers.

Adam’s commitment to transparency made GreenShield products a great fit for Whole Foods Market, because our Eco-Scale® Rating System for cleaning products requires full listing of all ingredients on the packaging. In fact, Adam’s creations earned a “green” rating, which is the highest tier in the Eco-Scale Rating System.

Have you made changes to your cleaning routine since becoming a parent? Share your journey in the comments.

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