Being a Green Business in the Age of COVID-19

Colorful Spray Bottles COVID-19 CoronavirusAuthor: Shawn Orgel-Olson, Director of Marketing and Performance Standards, California Green Business Network

Being a Green Business in the Age of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

One thing is clear: We are entering a public health crisis and it is  time to do our part to minimize the risk to the most vulnerable in society. Cleaning and disinfecting are part of the toolkit that is required to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak. Frequently touched surfaces throughout our houses and places of work are a great place to introduce best practices. There are ways to manage proper cleaning and disinfection without compromising our health and Green Business Practices by using safer, less toxic products. Many of our Certified Green Businesses asked for guidance on this and the California Green Business Network is happy to share it broadly.

Now might be the perfect time to get Certified as a Green Business with the California Green Business Network. We can do the work with your business virtually. Find out how at


1. Cleaning

Start by cleaning high touch surfaces with soap and water. Wear reusable gloves while cleaning and make sure they are only used for cleaning against COVID-19. After cleaning with gloves, wash your hands with soap and water immediately. See the full guidance from the CDC here. The California Green Business Network (CAGBN) always recommends that our businesses use cleaning chemicals (including soap) that are GreenSeal, EPA Safer Choice, or EWG ‘B’ rated or higher to make sure they’re the best for human health.


2. Disinfecting

Let’s clear the air on sanitizers: CAGBN regularly recommends using the least toxic disinfectants possible for the job. We are pleased that many of the products we regularly recommend are on the “EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus…” list, and want to share those with you as well. Our friends at Green Seal also put out a guide to disinfection.

Hydrogen Peroxide-based Cleaners

• Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant (Ecolab)

• Peroxide Disinfectant and Glass Cleaner RTU (Ecolab)

• Clorox Commercial Solutions® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant – Spray (Clorox)• Clorox Commercial Solutions® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant – Wipes (Clorox)

• OXIVIR WIPES (Diversey, Inc.)


• OXIVIR Tb (Diversey, Inc.)

• OXIVIR 1 (Diversey, Inc.)

• Oxivir 1 Wipes (Diversey, Inc.)

Ethyl Alcohol-based Cleaners


• PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes (GOJO Industries, Inc.)


How to Make a DIY Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner, from Consumer Reports:

According to the CDC, household (3 percent) hydrogen peroxide is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinovirus is more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time. Pour it undiluted into a spray bottle and spray it on the surface to be cleaned, but let it sit on the surface for several minutes.” Note it may discolor fabrics.


Good surface cleaning and sanitizers won’t be enough to slow the pandemic. Make sure to follow the CDC’s full set of recommendations to prevent COVID-19 illness:

  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water, count to 20 and get the backs of hands, between fingers, etc.!o If no water around is hand sanitizers with 60+ alcohol
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Work from home (if possible) and offer this option to your employees. This helps slow the spread and has proven to reduce air pollution which is helpful when dealing with respiratory illnesses.
  • Expand paid sick leave.
  • Cancel in-person meetings and events.
  • Keep your distance from others (six feet+), COVID-19 can be spread through the air just by breathing.

If you’re at all sick:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others – review CDC isolation recommendations.
  • Cover your cough, sneeze into a tissue then throw away and wash your hands immediately.
  • Wear a face mask when you’re around anyone else.
  • Contact a medical professional if your symptoms match those of COVID-19, and ask for instructions on what to do next.