The Wonders of Clean Chemistry
What if some of the most amazing discoveries in green science were yet to be made? It’s that notion that motivates our green chemists to constantly search for what can come next – from improving our formulas to discovering brand new ones. And more importantly, we believe in sharing that cutting-edge research with you every step of the way.
Sustainable chemistry is circular chemistry.
Sustainable chemistry takes into account the entire lifecycle of a product or formula, from design and manufacturing to use and disposal. It’s a holistic approach to product design that seeks to maximize both human and environmental health, and we’ve been pioneering the field for over 50 years. Our green chemists are constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainable chemistry because we believe in the power of science to improve human life and save the world.
What we stand for sets us apart. From how we approach innovation to our Nasties list, these are the values that make ECOS a leader in clean science.
Clean, essentialist chemistry.
It’s not rocket science; it’s soap science. And sustainable chemistry shouldn’t be over-engineered. Every ingredient in every product is carefully selected and optimized, which means we never add unnecessary ingredients like dyes, optical brighteners or fillers.
If it touches your skin, it’s likely in your body.
Laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap…If it’s on your skin, it’s likely to enter your body. Our hypoallergenic formulas are dermatologist tested and use only the safest ingredients. That means our detergents and cleaners won't harm you if left on your skin.
No Nasties, no exceptions.
Clean shouldn’t mean spreading toxins all over your home.
Let nature do the hard work.
Our living ecosystem is miraculously full of regenerative processes and cycles. From photosynthesis to the carbon cycle, nature already knows how to clean. We harness this power by using plant-derived ingredients as our active cleaners.
We rigorously study the environmental impact of each ingredient and product through a detailed lifecycle analysis. All our formulas are readily biodegradable, and we never use ingredients that bioaccumulate. Our plant-powered cleaners are made from renewable resources.
Pencils never down, because science never stands still.
We believe it’s our responsibility to push green chemistry forward, and our work is never done. We research, prototype, test, iterate, optimize, then rinse & repeat. We are tinkerers, boundary-breakers and innovators. Sustainable chemistry is constantly evolving, and we’re at the forefront of that progress.
Transparency is our way of life.
We're proud of the ingredients we use and the products we make. You have the right to see and understand the products you bring into your home. That’s why we use transparent bottles and fully list all our ingredients.
No Nasties: See our Never-Ever list
No Nasties: See our Never-Ever list
There are 500+ human and environmental toxins we promise to never use in our products, and the more we discover, the more our list evolves. Learn more about these chemicals and why we’ve banned them.
Our founder, Van Vlahakis, sourcing lavender.
We believe that a sustainable supply chain should support local farmers and preserve the history and traditions of the generations before ours. That’s why we source our ingredients globally to ensure plant-based ingredients come from where they are indigenously grown.
Our Foundational Ingredients
Get to know some of nature’s best and brightest. These key ingredients are the foundation of many of our products.
Coconut oil is pressed from the inside meat (copra) of the coconut and is the raw material used to make many of our surfactants. The hard outer shell of a coconut preserves the copra and keeps it especially pure. The resulting surfactants have excellent cleaning properties and are exceptionally gentle. You can find surfactants that are made from coconuts usually by the “coco” in their name, such as “Sodium Coco Sulfate.” Coconuts are also highly renewable—a single coconut tree can produce over 50 coconuts annually and will produce fruit for up to 80 years.
This superfood is packed with antioxidants and also makes for an excellent source of cleaning power. Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, and this sugar is used to create surfactants. Alkylpolyglucosides, or APGs, are surfactants made from sugars, and you can find them with names that include “glucoside,”such as decyl glucoside.
Made from fermented natural sources, vinegar has been used for cleaning since ancient times. We use vinegar for its powerful ability to cut through grease and stains in our household cleaners. In our window cleaner, vinegar helps to make sure nothing but a streak-free shine is left behind.
Minerals are naturally occurring materials from the earth’s core. From calcium chloride to sodium carbonate, we use minerals for the awesome boosting effect they have on performance. Minerals can help lift stains, remove hard water scale, and help both surfactants and enzymes work better.
Vitamin E can be found in many fruits and nuts, such as avocados, sunflower seeds and almonds. It’s a powerful antioxidant that calms skin and reduces inflammation. It also makes our hand soap distinctly soothing; you’ll feel the difference each time you wash.
Good, Clean Chemicals
Sometimes chemicals get a bad rap. The truth is, not all chemicals are cut from the same cloth. Here are some of the good, clean chemicals we use.
Solvents are chemicals that break down solutes and allow them to become part of a homogeneous solution, effectively stabilizing our formulas. They also can assist in breaking down the oils contained in the soils you’re trying to clean up.
Water softeners bond to and hold onto metal ions, preventing everything from discoloration to hard water build-up.
We use pH adjusters so that all our products are pH balanced in a range that is safer for you and your family.
Surfactants are the active agents that do the heavy lifting of soil and stain removal. Surfactants bust through water’s strong surface tension, ensuring that soils can be carried away.
Our natural fragrances include a mixture of essential oils and chemicals that are all naturally derived and sourced to improve your sensory experience.
Preservatives are used in our formulas to ensure that our products stay fresh and free of bacteria. In the absence of refrigeration or preservatives, water promotes bacterial growth. So, the more water we have in a formula, the higher the “water activity” and the more important preservatives become. Preservative chemistry has seen a lot of innovation in the last decade, and we’re constantly working to find the best and safest preservatives to use.
Enzymes can provide a deeper fiber-level clean than most surfactants are able to do alone. We use enzymes to effectively break down protein stains, fats and starches.
Safer Ingredients lead to EPA Safer Choice
You’ll find the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice seal on over 90 of our products. When you see the Safer Choice seal on a product, it means it passes the EPA’s rigorous standards for performance, safety and innovation.
We’ve been named the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Partner of the Year four times, including most recently in 2022. Learn more about the Safer Choice seal here.
Research and Development
By the time you bring an ECOS product home, we’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to testing and perfecting it. Every product formula undergoes rigorous efficacy, performance and safety testing in our state-of-the-art research and development labs as well as with trusted third-party testing labs.
Meet the Chemists
Still curious? We could talk chemistry all day. Send a question directly to our Innovation team at email@example.com