Collection: Eco Friendly Cleaning Products for Childcare and Schools

8 products

Why do I want to use sustainable cleaning products in my childcare centre?

There is more than one reason to ‘go sustainable’ if you can. Environmental Sustainability is a concept that applies most usefully to manufactured products. It is, primarily, about making things in such a way that you minimise damage to the environment. Manufactured products damage the environment as they are made, and this damage continues as the product is used and then again when it is disposed of.

Environmentally preferable products minimise the environmental damage done by a product at all stages of a product’s life. That's great for childcare for a number of reasons.

Non toxic and non-hazardous

Green cleaning products are usually non-toxic and non-hazardous. There are some eco friendly products that are hazardous - but they are likely to be less hazardous than the traditional version. Whatever you do, cleaning products end up in the environment. Some end up in our waterways after some level of treatment while passing through the sewage system. Still more end up in the environment without any treatment at all, having been used outdoors and run off into the stormwater system, or evaporated off hard surfaces like footpaths, windows and windscreens.

The cleaning products we  use also end up in the air we breathe. This is particularly significant in indoor environments.

Sustainable manufacturers ensure that their products are not harmful to the creatures that live in our waterways and broader environment. And if they won’t poison fish and mosquitos, they won’t poison people. They are an important part of creating a safe environment.

Using cleaning products that do not contain high levels of toxic chemicals removes a layer of risk from your child care centre operations. 

Shows how you care for the environment

Using sustainable cleaning products helps demonstrate that your service cares for the environment and takes your responsibility to support children to become environmentally responsible seriously.

If you use a commercial cleaning company, requiring them to use environmentally preferable cleaning products when they clean at the end of the day makes this even clearer.

Better value for money

The product in the bottle will last a lot longer than you expect. This is because sustainable cleaning products are often highly concentrated. Supplying cleaning products as concentrates reduces packaging, reduces the distance product travels from the factory and reduces the number of trips purchasers make to the shops. For users, this reduces the number of times you need to restock and ensures you are likely to always have product at hand. It should also reduce the amount you spend on cleaning  products.

Less packaging, less plastic

You are likely to receive less packaging, and the packaging you do receive is more likely to be recyclable, compostable, reusable and / or made from recycled product.

How do I avoid 'greenwashing'?

The easiest way to check if a product that claims to be sustainable really is sustainable is to check to see if it carries an eco label. There are a few around, but the best Australian label looks like this:


Products that carry this logo have been assessed by independent auditors and found to meet Good Environmental Choice Australia's environmental standard for their product category. Good Environmental Choice Australia is our only independent, not for profit environmental standards organisation. Their whole of life standards are based on world best practice. 

 Looking for products that meet GECA's cleaning product standards is the single most useful action you can take to ensure you are using cleaning products that really are one of the best choices you can make for you, your centre and the environment.
The easiest way to identify greenwashing is to look at the words used to describe the product you are considering. If it is described by the manufacturer as 'eco', 'phosphate free', 'natural' or 'organic' and has not been certified by GECA, then the odds are that the product you are looking  at is not as harmless as the manufacturer would like you to believe.
There is no guarantee that even a certified organic product is an environmentally desirable one, as the organic standards concentrate more on the 'naturalness' of chemicals used to grow or manufacture a product, and not the toxicity of those products.

Are there sustainable cleaning products that work for Childcare?

Yes there are. We (Clara Green) carry a range of brands so that we can mix and match to help you find products that suit your particular situation. There are sustainable cleaning products designed for kitchens, for general cleaning, for laundries and for healthcare. Somewhere in this range you will be able to find products that make it easy to keep your centre clean, reduce hazards and use sustainable practices.

What impact will using these products have on my operations?

If you are already using commercial cleaning products supplied in bulk, you will not experience much disruption changing over to GECA certified commercial cleaning products. Most commercial products are supplied in 5 litre or 15 litre quantities, just as many GECA certified products are.

If you are currently using supermarket cleaning products, you may find you have an adjustment period. Some products will need to be diluted into spray bottles and you may want to use a dilution system to make this easier to do. Dispensing systems range from a bottle top dosage pump to a plumbed in dilution system, so you will have to think about how you use your cleaning products or if there are any changes you would like to make.

One of the great benefits of using GECA certified, concentrated commercial cleaning products is  the reduced purchase frequency. This makes running out of product a rare event!

You still need to store your cleaning products safely - they are cleaning products, after all. And you may need to store your empty containers, if your supplier offers a refill service.

Using these products will make your operations more sustainable and helps embed sustainable practices into your centre.

How can I meet the NQF 3.2.3 Environmentally Responsible Element?

ACECQA (Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority) includes an Environmentally Responsible Element:


Childcare and preschool services help children develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural world and the interdependence among people, plants, animals, and the land.

They learn to be respectful of the natural environment through observing adults around them model these behaviours and they learn to appreciate nature through participating in activities that promote sustainability. They learn to value the natural environment through working together with educators to show care and appreciation for the environment.

Your service should be able to show children:

  • being supported to appreciate nature and care for constructed environments
  • interacting with nature and its elements, including insects and animals in their habitats to develop their understanding of biodiversity
  • participating in environmentally sustainable practices that are meaningful and connect service operations with learning

And your service should be able to show educators:

  • creating an environmental awareness that serves as a platform for learning
  • using different ways to integrate animals and plants into the curriculum to help students understand ecology and the environment
  • fostering children’s successful development by helping them respect the environment and the interdependence among people, plants, animals, and the land
  • sharing information and supporting children to access resources about the environment and the impact of human activities on environments

And you should be able to show

  • how your service implements its environmental strategy
  • policies that encourage children to take an active role in caring for the environment and developing life skills.
  • Photographs and displays highlighting children‘s understanding and learning of nature and environmental practices, including their own contributions

I've decided to go green in my centre. What products are available to me?

Here is a list of the top five GECA certified cleaning products that work well in childcare settings. These are products that Clara Green supplies. This list is not comprehensive, but does address the categories of product suggested by  NHMRC document 'Staying Healthy in Childcare"

  1. Healtheclean pH Neutral All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate.
    This is a general purpose detergent most commonly used as a spray and wipe cleaner for surfaces and toys and added to a mop bucket for floors. Unscented.
  2. Healtheclean Aloe Hand and Body Wash.
    This is a gentle, aloe based liquid hand soap. It can be used as is, or diluted into foam dispensers. Unscented.
  3. Nanocyn Disinfectant and Sanitiser.
    A TGA registered hospital grade disinfectant / sanitiser. Registered by the TGA as effective against SARS-Cov 2 and Norovirus. This is a bleach replacement that is ready to use, does not degrade over time, is not hazardous or toxic, not corrosive, is food safe and has a 30 sec kill time.
  4. Elyptol Hand Sanitiser.
    TGA registered hand sanitiser designed for frequent use. 
  5. Healtheclean Window Cleaner Concentrate.
    This is a glass cleaner concentrate that is a non-toxic alternative to conventional products like Windex. It is unfragranced and diluted into a spray bottle for use.

You could also refer to our commercial kitchen collection for other product suggestions.