CleanGredients Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do I do if my question wasn't answered?



What is GreenBlue®?

GreenBlue® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that equips business with the science and resources to make products more sustainable. GreenBlue currently works in three program areas: chemicals, packaging, and forest products. Our team of scientists, engineers, designers, and business strategists has decades of experience in sustainability and a proven track record in using that experience for the good of business. For more information about GreenBlue, visit: http://www.greenblue.org.

What is CleanGredients®?

CleanGredients, a project of GreenBlue, is an online database of cleaning product ingredients that meet established requirements for superior environmental and human health performance. GreenBlue develops these requirements through a consensus-based stakeholder process, in collaboration with the U.S. EPA's Design for the Environment Program (DfE).

CleanGredients provides up-to-date, scientifically credible information about ingredient chemicals, including general product and regulatory information, physical-chemical properties, human and environmental health attributes, and sustainability attributes. CleanGredients identifies preferable alternatives and provides supplier contact information, links to websites, material safety data sheets, technical fact sheets, and more.

CleanGredients helps formulators identify ingredients that have potential environmental and human health benefits, and helps suppliers to showcase their chemicals with potential environmental and human health benefits. Formulators also may use CleanGredients to participate in voluntary product recognition or certification programs. In particular, CleanGredients helps businesses identify cleaning product ingredients that support formulation to meet the U.S. EPA DfE's rigorous criteria in order to use the DfE ecolabel. Because key ingredient data are verified by an independent third-party, CleanGredients is recognized as a trusted source of chemical product information.

To use the database most effectively, a basic knowledge of chemistry and toxicology is recommended. For more information about CleanGredients, visit our About CleanGredients® pages.

Is CleanGredients a certification program?

No, CleanGredients is not a certification program. It is a database of chemicals suitable for use in cleaning products. While certification programs help consumers make better-informed choices, the goal of CleanGredients is to help chemical formulators and suppliers develop safer, more effective products. Because all the ingredients listed on CleanGredients have superior environmental and human health (i.e., "greener") characteristics, using CleanGredients to source ingredients is a good start on the path towards getting ecolabel recognition. In particular, all the ingredients in CleanGredients have been pre-screened against the U.S. EPA DfE Screens for Safer Chemicals. See "How can CleanGredients help me get an ecolabel for my product?" for more information.

What is GreenBlue's relationship with the U.S. EPA's Design for the Environment Program?

CleanGredients is a project of GreenBlue, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Charlottesville, VA. The U.S. EPA DfE Program provided seed funding for CleanGredients through a cooperative agreement, and DfE has provided supplementary funding for CleanGredients on an occasional basis.

GreenBlue and DfE collaborate to develop database attributes and screening criteria for different ingredient classes through consensus-based stakeholder Technical Advisory Committees (TACs). To learn more about this process see "How are attributes for the different ingredient classes selected?" The listing requirements for chemicals in CleanGredients are not necessarily identical to the criteria for the corresponding DfE Screen. Chemicals that pass the DfE Screen are clearly indicated in CleanGredients, making them easier to identify for formulators interested in DfE partnership and product recognition.

Despite GreenBlue's collaboration with DfE, GreenBlue is not directly involved in the DfE formula profiling or product recognition processes. To find out more about DfE's Formulator Program, including how to obtain DfE recognition for your product, please visit the DfE Formulator Program website.

What is GreenBlue's relationship with NSF International and ToxServices LLC?

NSF International is an independent nonprofit organization specializing in work on public health and safety as well as environmental protection. ToxServices LLC is an independent scientific consulting firm providing expert, professional services to industrial, commercial, and public sector clients. ToxServices LLC and NSF International are presently the only organizations authorized to offer third-party review of key ingredient attribute (Tier 1) data for ingredients listed in CleanGredients (as well as formula profiling for DfE). NSF's and ToxServices's confidential reviews provide verification and quality assurance of chemical test data submitted by suppliers for Tier 1 attributes listed in CleanGredients, without compromising proprietary formulations.

For more information about NSF International Review Services for CleanGredients, please contact Amy McDade at amcdade@nsf.org or 734-827-5660.

For more information about ToxServices LLC, please see the ToxServices website. For information regarding ToxServices's CleanGredients Data Verification and DfE Formulator Review services, please see ToxServices's DfE and CleanGredients Reviews page.

How can I contribute to CleanGredients?

CleanGredients would not exist without the generous contributions of time, expertise, and financial support from a large number of individuals, companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. If you'd like to help us grow CleanGredients, there are many ways you can contribute. For example: subscribe, join a Technical Advisory Committee, or make a tax-deductible contribution.

GreenBlue is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and financial contributions to CleanGredients are tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. You may make a gift by sending a check to:

GreenBlue
600 E WATER ST STE C
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA 22902-5361
434-817-1424

Please make sure to write "CleanGredients contribution" on your check.

How can I stay abreast of new developments?

Become a CleanGredients Project Associate, and we will send you monthly project updates by email.



How do I subscribe to CleanGredients?

To subscribe to CleanGredients, go to the Subscription page where you can subscribe online. The subscription page also provides information about the fee schedule and the kinds of subscriptions available.

Please note that your use of CleanGredients constitutes acceptance of the Public Access License Agreement and Subscriber License Agreement.

Where do I find the CleanGredients Subscriber License Agreement?

You will find both the Public Access License Agreement and the Subscriber License Agreement embedded within the Policy and Guidelines Statement.

How can I pay for my CleanGredients Subscription?

Your CleanGredients subscription can be paid for online using a credit card or PayPal account, or by check.

All online payments are processed through PayPal, but you have the option to use a personal or business credit card if you do not have a PayPal account.

If you are paying with a check please download your invoice to mail with your payment. Please make your check payable to GreenBlue. Payments by check must be drawn in U.S. funds from a U.S. bank. Checks drawn from non-U.S. banks will be returned. You may also pay for your subscription via wire transfer; however, GreenBlue will add approximately $25 to $50 to the cost of your subscription to cover bank fees.

Payment by mail should be addressed to:

GreenBlue
Attn: CleanGredients
600 E WATER ST STE C
CHARLOTTESVILLE VA 22902-5361

How can I tell if I'm eligible for the ISSA discount?

Unfortunately we are no longer able to offer a discount to ISSA members.

How many users can I have on my account?

The number of user accounts per subscription varies with the size of your organization, as follows (please refer to the Subscription page for more information):

Small organization subscriptionMaximum of three user accounts
Medium organization subscriptionMaximum of four user accounts
Large organization subscriptionMaximum of five user accounts

If, for example, your company is small, but you need four or five user accounts, you may subscribe as a medium or large organization.

How long will it take before my subscription is active?

Your subscription will become active as soon as you have completed the online subscription process and made your payment for the full amount due. If you choose to mail a check instead of paying with a credit card or PayPal account, your subscription will be made active once payment has been received.

What's the difference between a formulator and a supplier subscription?

In the context of CleanGredients, suppliers are companies that produce base chemicals (surfactants, solvents, chelants, fragrances, etc.) that are sold for blending in formulations. Formulators are companies interested in sourcing environmentally superior ingredients for inclusion in their formulated cleaning products. A "formulator" subscription allows one to search the database, whereas a "supplier" subscription allows one to list ingredients in the database.

I can't log in. What do I do?

There are several reasons why you might not be able to log in:

  • If you subscribed recently, your subscription may not have been processed yet.
  • If it has been over a year since you subscribed, you may need to renew your subscription. If you suspect this is the case, please contact us to find out whether your subscription is in arrears.

You might also try clearing your browser cache (precisely how to do this depends on which browser you're using). Please also note that CleanGredients requires cookies.

It's also possible that you're entering your email address or password incorrectly. If you think that may be the case, please reset your password (see "How do I reset my password?" )

How do I reset my password?

To reset your password, go to the Log in page, enter your email address in the "email" field at the bottom of the page, and click the "reset password" button. CleanGredients will email a new password to you. Please note that this is the only way to reset your password; we can't create a new password for you.

How do I get technical support?

If you have a question about CleanGredients specifically (about your subscription, your account status, the functioning of the website, the ingredient modules available, etc.) please contact us. Suggestions are always welcome too!

If you have questions about proper or recommended chemical testing protocols, the interpretation of chemical test results, or the submission of data for third-party review, please contact Amy McDade at NSF International (amcdade@nsf.org or 734-827-5660) or Margaret Whittaker at ToxServices LLC (mwhittaker@toxservices.com or 202-429-8787).

If you have questions about the U.S. EPA Design for the Environment Program, including the DfE Screens for safer chemical ingredients, obtaining DfE recognition for your formulated product, or DfE partnership, please contact DfE.

How are the ingredients listed in CleanGredients "greener" than conventional options?

All the ingredients listed in CleanGredients, even those that haven't passed the relevant DfE Screen, have superior environmental characteristics in comparison to conventional alternatives. A diverse panel of expert stakeholders has identified the areas of particular regulatory, environmental, and human health concern for each ingredient class. The CleanGredients listing requirements were designed with the goal of minimizing the hazards normally associated with each chemical class.

For example, one of the historical problems associated with surfactants was that they did not biodegrade in water treatment plants and often ended up in natural waterways. All surfactants listed in CleanGredients must be, at minimum, ultimately biodegradable.

For each ingredient class, ingredient data for attributes considered most critical to the environmental and human health performance of chemicals in that class (the Tier 1 attributes) must undergo third-party review. This provides additional assurance that the information reported in CleanGredients is accurate and trustworthy.

You can find out more about the characteristics required for the existing ingredient modules in CleanGredients on the following pages:

Surfactant Listing Requirements
Solvent Listing Requirements

What ingredient modules are currently available in CleanGredients?

CleanGredients is under active development. At present, the ingredient modules available in the database are surfactants, solvents, chelating agents, and fragrances. We are working with suppliers to expand the scope of the database.

To find out more about the characteristics of the existing ingredient modules, you can review the listing requirements for products in those classes:

Surfactant Listing Requirements
Solvent Listing Requirements

Other modules coming soon!

What ingredient modules are in development? When will they be available?

Progress continues on developing new modules for CleanGredients. We are currently developing modules for chelants & sequestrants and fragrances, and we will add other ingredient classes (e.g., builders, hydrotropes) as quickly as possible. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments about development of the fragrances or chelants modules or with suggestions for additional modules.

How are attributes for the different ingredient classes selected?

The attributes for different ingredient classes are selected through an open stakeholder process managed by GreenBlue. For each ingredient class, GreenBlue convenes a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). TAC membership is open to any interested party; members are expected to embody knowledge of and experience with chemistry, toxicology, and related disciplines and the cleaning product industry.

The TACs guide the selection of relevant attributes for each ingredient class and provide guidance on prioritization of the attributes, reporting formats, and data quality and verification requirements. TAC recommendations are subject to approval by the CleanGredients Steering Committee.

GreenBlue manages the CleanGredients development process to maximize stakeholder input in the design of CleanGredients. GreenBlue makes every effort to follow the recommendations of the TACs; however, committees serve in an advisory capacity, and GreenBlue may modify or deviate from recommendations of the committees. GreenBlue shall notify the appropriate committee(s) when implementing design decisions that are contrary to committee recommendations.

For more information, see the CleanGredients Policy and Guidelines Statement.

Where can I find out more about what the different attributes mean?

To find out more about what the different ingredient attributes mean as they are used in CleanGredients, you can either take a look at our glossary, which has short definitions of many of the terms, or peruse the ingredient attributes pages for a more in-depth look at what the attributes mean for each of the ingredient classes.

What is CleanGredients sponsorship?

CleanGredients sponsorship is an opportunity to demonstrate progressive company leadership by financially supporting GreenBlue's continued development of CleanGredients. Corporate sponsors receive a range of direct and indirect benefits that depend on the sponsorship level they choose. More information about the benefits of sponsorship, the fee schedule, and how to become a sponsor can be found on the CleanGredients Sponsorship page.

If your company is interested in sponsoring CleanGredients, please contact us.

Can I advertise that I subscribe to CleanGredients?

CleanGredients is not a certification program, nor is the CleanGredients logo mark an ecolabel. CleanGredients is a resource that assists formulators in identifying high-quality ingredients for developing superior products. As such, we cannot allow subscribers to use the CleanGredients logo mark (or the GreenBlue logo mark) to promote or advertise any chemical or formulated product. CleanGredients subscribers may state (in printed materials, online, etc.) that they are a "CleanGredients® subscriber" provided there is no indication of certification or endorsement of their product.

What is GreenBlue's logo use policy?

GreenBlue neither permits the use of its name, logo, or written materials or that of any of its projects — including CleanGredients — for commercial purposes, including advertising, nor allows the suggestion of any endorsement, affiliation, or sponsorship with any third party's product or service, without its prior written consent.



How do I list my products in CleanGredients?

In order to list your products in CleanGredients you will first need to subscribe as a supplier. Suppliers are responsible for submitting (entering) their own product information (except for the Tier 1 attribute data). Detailed instructions are available on our How to List page.

What benefits do I get for listing my products in CleanGredients?

CleanGredients offers a number of important benefits to suppliers. One is the increased, favorable customer exposure you will receive. Another is that formulators do not pay a per-ingredient review fee for listed ingredients when NSF or ToxServices reviews their formula(s) for DfE Partnership recognition, thereby giving formulators a significant financial incentive to choose your CleanGredients-listed chemicals.

CleanGredients also helps you communicate with your customers by providing reliable, up-to-date information about your products in a standard format that facilitates comparison and helps you clarify why your chemicals are better than your competitors'.

For more information on the benefits of listing your product in CleanGredients, visit our Benefits page.

How many formulators will see my products?

The number of formulators subscribed to CleanGredients has increased dramatically since its launch in 2006 and continues to grow. The list includes industry giants as well as small businesses, all of which recognize the value of the information CleanGredients provides. For an up-to-date list, visit our Subscribers page.

What happens if my product doesn't pass the DfE Screen?

Though similar, the criteria to list ingredients in CleanGredients are not necessarily identical to those for the corresponding DfE Screen. This means that, even if your product doesn't pass the relevant DfE Screen, you may still be able to list it in CleanGredients, provided it meets or exceeds the CleanGredients listing criteria for environmental and human health performance.

For this reason, the "DfE Screen" attribute in CleanGredients clearly indicates whether or not each ingredient passes the DfE Screen.

To see whether your product is eligible to be listed in CleanGredients, review the listing requirements for your product's ingredient category.

What if I have a product that doesn't clearly fall into any of the existing ingredient classes in CleanGredients?

The process for developing criteria for the different ingredient modules is labor intensive and time consuming (see "How are attributes for the different ingredient classes selected?" ). Though new ingredient modules for CleanGredients are under active development, it may take some time before you are able to list an ingredient that doesn't fall into one of the existing modules. Please review our news pages to see what modules are currently in development to get a sense of whether your product might be eligible for listing in CleanGredients in the near future. If you have a specific question or suggestion, please contact us.



Why should I subscribe to CleanGredients?

CleanGredients offers a number of important benefits to formulators. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of CleanGredients is that it will simplify your search for "greener" ingredients for your product formulations, thereby reducing research, development, and marketing costs.

In addition, CleanGredients is the only database of ingredients that have been pre-screened against the U.S. EPA's DfE criteria, streamlining participation in DfE's Formulator Initiative. Because you do not pay NSF's or ToxServices LLC's per-ingredient review fee for any CleanGredients-listed chemical in your formulation, selecting ingredients from CleanGredients can significantly reduce the cost of DfE Partnership and the right to use the DfE ecolabel on your product(s).

CleanGredients also helps you communicate with your suppliers by providing reliable, up-to-date information about "greener" ingredient chemicals in a standard format that facilitates comparison of candidate ingredients — whether from a single supplier or several competitors.

For more information on the benefits of listing your product in CleanGredients, visit our Benefits page.

How do I search for ingredients?

To search for ingredients in CleanGredients, you will first need to subscribe and create a formulator account. You can then access the search page for the ingredient class in which you are interested.

The search mechanism in CleanGredients assumes that you know which attributes are most important to you, in the context of the intended use. (For example, "I'm looking for an anionic surfactant with a hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) between x and y.") You can screen products by their manufacturer (supplier), their physical form, and by a wide range of ingredient attributes, including physical-chemical properties.

At present, you cannot enter the name or CAS RN of an ingredient you'd like to replace and get back a list of potential substitutes.

More information about searching can be found on our How to Search page.

How will CleanGredients help me find a replacement for my ingredient?

If you have an ingredient in your product that you're looking to replace, the first thing you need to do in order to find a suitable replacement is to identify the key performance characteristics that you would like to maintain. You may also note what general features are important to you (such as whether the product is available in liquid or powdered form). Once you have identified these features, you can screen the ingredients listed in the database by your characteristics of interest. Each ingredient class in CleanGredients has its own search page with drop-down menus containing the ingredient attributes for that class.

More information about searching can be found on our How to Search page.

How can CleanGredients help me get an ecolabel for my product?

CleanGredients is not an ecolabel or certification, but it can help you get an ecolabel for your product by helping you identify ingredients with superior environmental and human health performance characteristics. Products formulated with greener ingredients may be eligible for recognition through a number of national and international programs, including DfE, EcoLogo, and Green Seal.

Because all of the ingredients listed in CleanGredients are pre-screened against DfE criteria, finding your ingredients in CleanGredients simplifies the process of obtaining DfE recognition. Ingredients that meet the DfE Screen are ideal candidates for use in cleaning products recognized by DfE. Ingredients that do not meet the DfE Screen may still be considered by the DfE Formulator Program on a case-by-case basis.

Where can I find more information on DfE partnership and how to get my formulated product recognized by DfE?

General information about the DfE program can be found on the U.S. EPA's DfE Formulator Program homepage.

Because CleanGredients is not directly involved with the DfE partnership or product recognition process, you should contact DfE if you have more specific questions regarding DfE partnership and product recognition.

How do I identify DfE-approved ingredients for the categories that don't yet exist in CleanGredients?

Though CleanGredients doesn't yet contain ingredient categories other than surfactants and solvents, all the ingredients included in a DfE-recognized product must be approved by the EPA's Design for the Environment Program. To get more information on the criteria DfE uses to screen other chemical ingredient categories while additional DfE Screens are being developed, you should contact DfE directly.

More general information regarding the standards DfE currently uses for chemical classes without completed chemical screens can be found on the EPA website.

What do I do if my question wasn't answered?

If you have a question about CleanGredients specifically (about your subscription, your account status, the functioning of the website, the ingredient modules available, etc.) please contact us. Suggestions are always welcome too!

If you have questions about proper or recommended chemical testing protocols, the interpretation of chemical test results, or the submission of data for third-party review, please contact Amy McDade at NSF International (amcdade@nsf.org or 734-827-5660) or Margaret Whittaker at ToxServices LLC (mwhittaker@toxservices.com or 202-429-8787).

If you have questions about the U.S. EPA Design for the Environment Program, including the DfE Screens for Safer Chemical Ingredients, obtaining DfE recognition for your formulated product, and DfE partnership, please contact DfE.