Environmental Safety: Are There Different Types of Cleaning Solvents?

Companies that have industrial grade cleaning needs have hundreds of different cleaning solvents to choose from, depending on the type of cleaning that must be performed. These cleaning solutions can be differentiated in several ways. Since the green movement began and solvent users became more environmentally conscious, one of the most popular ways of distinguishing solvents is categorizing them based on their effect on the natural environment.

In terms of environmental safety, cleaning solvents are often placed in the following categories by the companies that supply them: toxic solvents, environmentally preferred solvents, and environmentally safe solvents. Below, we take a look at each classification regarding its general safety profile for the environment as a whole.

Toxic Solvents
In most cases, toxic solvents are cleaning solutions that have at least one ingredient that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers hazardous due to the substance’s negative effects on human health and the environment. Thankfully, there is no guesswork in choosing cleaning solvents whose ingredients are not regulated by the EPA. Cleaning solvent ingredients that are regulated by the EPA are posted in the organization’s List of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) that was originally created in 1990 as an extension of the Clean Air Act.

Environmentally Preferred Solvents
Environmentally preferred solvents are considered non-toxic to the environment, but they often contain some ingredients that workers should watch out for, particularly volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that instantaneously evaporate at room temperature. More often than not, these solvents contain a low percentage of VOCs per volume (e.g., 5%) if they contain VOCs at all. Due to the reasonably safe formulation of the cleaners, many companies and organizations have the opportunity to use environmentally preferred solvents in large volume.

Environmentally Safe Solvents
In terms of how they impact the environment, environmentally safe solvents are a step above environmentally preferred solvents. Whereas the latter type of solvents often contain a small percentage of potentially dangerous ingredients that are included strictly for cleaning purposes, the former type of solvents contain no such ingredients and are environmentally safe to use when they are applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Need Eco Friendly Cleaning Solvents?
If so, Ecolink is one of the best places to find them. We offer a wide array of cleaners that are environmentally preferred or environmentally safe. These solutions are ideal for companies that must carefully manage emissions, reduce or eliminate the presence of hazardous chemicals and/or volatile organic compounds in the work environment, and replace cleaners whose ingredients have been regulated by the EPA with cleaners whose ingredients are safer.

In addition to providing stock cleaners, we can formulate cleaning solvents that are tailored to unique cleaning requirements — and all of our industrial cleaners are competitively priced. To inquire about which of our environmentally prefered solvents and environmentally safe solvents are a good fit for your company or organization’s cleaning needs, please give us a call today at (800) 563-1305, or refer to our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!