Cleaning and disinfecting resources for public health – U.S. consumer guidance on how to read cleaning and disinfecting product labels


American Cleaning Institute, Washington, DC, USA


The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. With a continued effort in promoting public health and safety, its experts have developed guides on how to effectively read and identify key information on cleaning and disinfecting product labels.
Cleaning product manufacturers are providing more information than ever about what’s in their products. In the wake of high usage of cleaners and disinfectants during the pandemic, it’s equally important that consumers know how to use these products safely and effectively. Product labels contain explicit instructions on how to use a product, but consumers often don’t pay close attention to these use instructions. In this article, we build upon recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and cleaning product manufacturers to help guide consumers and workers on how to identify safety information on a label and appropriately clean and disinfect, whether they be at home, work, school or beyond.

The global pandemic has served as a reminder of just how important our health is. People are focused on how best to stay healthy while surrounded by infectious disease. While frequent handwashing is one of the first lines of defense against many illnesses, is it also beneficial to clean and disinfectant surfaces. Ensuring surfaces that you come into frequent contact with are free of germs can stop the spread of germs or pathogens (disease-causing bacteria, viruses or fungi). As consumers are using cleaning and disinfecting products more than ever, there is an opportunity to expand on the understanding of the information that can be found on products labels.


An important part of protecting oneself is understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning entails removing dirt from a surface. It’s usually what you’re doing when washing with soap and water. It may not kill bacteria or viruses, but it sends them down the drain, or removes them from a surface when wiped off on a paper towel or cloth that gets thrown away or ...