It comes as no surprise that the sale of household cleaners has skyrocketed since the pandemic, with P&G reporting a 30% increase in the sale of home cleaning and dishwashing products in the early days of the pandemic, for instance. 
What’s surprising, however, is the rise of green household cleaners.
In a 2022 report by Research and Markets, the US household green cleaning products market size was estimated at US$52.86 billion in 2021, US$59.58 billion in 2022, and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.18% to reach a staggering US$89.57 billion by 2027. 
So why are more consumers seeking greener cleaning alternatives despite their heftier price tags?
It’s about being green—not just clean
As a result of panic buying, supermarket shelves were wiped clean of cleaning products in the first few months of the pandemic. As such, consumers opted for whatever cleaning products they could get their hands on—including green products.
According to a senior analyst at market intelligence agency Mintel, these consumers who may have been more familiar with mainstream brands “gained exposure to natural products when their regular brands were out of stock.”  Although they may have discovered these natural cleaners by chance, many have continued to purchase them.
As the pandemic wore on, consumers became more aware of the harsh chemicals emitted by traditional household cleaners and sought out products that were “free of toxins and chemicals that can harm surroundings while protecting individuals from germs and infections,” said another study investigating the rise of eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaning products globally. 
Celebrities also played a role in encouraging consumers to purchase eco-friendly cleaning supplies. In March 2021, reality TV star Kris Jenner and entrepreneur Emma Grede launched a line of green household cleaners, Safely.
“Our goal is to help rid American homes of harsh chemical cleaners by providing them with a better alternative that’s truly luxurious, plant-powered, and doesn’t cost the world,” Jenner said.  From its dish soaps to laundry detergents, Safely uses plant-based ingredients such as coconut surfactants and mineral salt.
Major brands ride the green wave
Mainstream brands are taking notice. Arm & Hammer’s Clean & Simple laundry detergent, for example, features only six ingredients, “free of unnecessary chemicals, preservatives, dyes, phosphates, or parabens.” Meanwhile, P&G’s 9 Elements collection features vinegar- and plant-based household cleaning products made with nine ingredients or less.
Besides a shorter, greener ingredient list, brands are cutting down on plastic use when it comes to packaging. P&G first introduced its Eco-Box initiative in January 2019 for customers who purchase its Tide laundry detergents online.
The detergents come in sealed, cardboard boxes, using 60% less plastic and 30% less water compared to traditional packaging. And as e-commerce surged during the pandemic, P&G rolled out the Eco-Box initiative to its other detergent brands including Downy and Gain in May 2020.
Another eco-conscious move brands are making is the introduction of laundry detergent sheets. Kimberly Clark partnered with Sheets Laundry Club to produce waterless, plastic-free detergent sheets that dissolve and release their cleaning ingredients during the wash cycle.
P&G took nearly a decade to develop a similar technology before launching EC30, a sustainable personal and household care line which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 50% compared to traditional liquids.
Clean fragrance is a key differentiator among eco-friendly household products
Many green household cleaning brands tout the use of non-synthetic, non-toxic fragrances. But not all eco-friendly cleaners are made the same, as some industry players may resort to greenwashing to draw the eco-conscious crowd.
In 2020, researchers tested fragranced pandemic products in the market (such as air sprays and multipurpose cleaners) for potentially hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Of the 26 products tested, 13 were “regular” and 13 were “green”. 
Surprisingly, the study found that “fragranced pandemic products of all types, including both regular and green versions, emit numerous volatile chemicals, some of which are classified as hazardous, and few of which are disclosed to the public.”
As such, it is crucial to partner with a fragrance house with rigorous regulatory standards & oversight that ensures measures for hazardous VOC emissions are met and not exceeded, and that will take proactive steps to limit them during the product development stage. It fosters consumer trust by ensuring your health- and that eco-conscious products are truly just that.
Looking to formulate eco-friendly household products? OnScent will be announcing our clean fragrance initiative soon. Contact us to learn more.
 LeClair, Catherine, “Sales of cleaning products are skyrocketing during the pandemic, but Procter & Gamble is having to educate shoppers who don’t know what actually works”, Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/cleaning-product-sales-surge-procter-gamble-pandemic-2020-7
 Research and Markets, “Household Green Cleaning Products Market Research Report by Forms (Liquids, Powders, and Sprays), Type, Distribution Channel, State – United States Forecast to 2027 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19”, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5455793/household-green-cleaning-products-market-research
 Mintel, “US Natural Household Consumer Market Report 2021”, https://store.mintel.com/report/us-natural-household-consumer-market-report
 ReportLinker, “Global Eco friendly Multi Purpose Cleaning Products Market, By Type, By Application, By Distribution Channel, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2017-2027”, https://www.reportlinker.com/p06267889/Global-Eco-friendly-Multi-Purpose-Cleaning-Products-Market-By-Type-By-Application-By-Distribution-Channel-By-Region-Competition-Forecast-and-Opportunities.html
 Leffler, Samantha, “Chrissy Teigen and Kris Jenner Launch Cleaning Line, Safely. But Is It Sustainable?”, Live Kindly, https://www.livekindly.co/chrissy-teigen-kris-jenner-safely-cleaning-line/
 Steinemann, Anne, et al., “Pandemic products and volatile chemical emissions”, Air Qual Atmos Health 14, 47–53 (2021), https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-020-00912-9