Green Cleaning in Schools

ELI Policy Brief


Cleaning products are important for maintaining a sanitary environment in schools. However, chemicals in cleaning products may be hazardous to the environment and to the health of students, maintenance workers, and other school staff. "Green cleaning” reduces environmental and health risks by selecting alternative, environmentally-sensitive products, by applying these products properly, and by implementing maintenance practices that minimize exposure to cleaning products. 

Following are summaries of policies in 10 states and the District of Columbia that address green cleaning products and practices in schools. These policies vary considerably. Most require schools to use green cleaning products, but they differ in the criteria established for meeting the requirement. Laws in New York and Illinois, for example, direct the state to adopt guidelines and specifications that schools must use in purchasing green cleaning products. In Connecticut and Iowa, schools must use products that meet third-party certification standards approved by the state. Maryland law, in contrast, leaves it to each school district to adopt its own specifications for purchasing green cleaning products, within the terms set out by the law. Missouri and Montana do not mandate green cleaning; Missouri law directs the state to develop voluntary green cleaning guidelines that school districts may elect to use, while Montana school health rules encourage green cleaning.



District of Columbia








New York



Policies last updated: May 2021

Copyright © Environmental Law Institute