1926: Founded as the Association of American Soap and Glycerine Producers
1927: Cleanliness Institute was created to teach the value of hygiene in schools
1931: Published 30 Valuable Uses for Glycerine in the Home and Handwashing in Schools
1940s: Industry significantly supported the war effort by managing the Fat Salvage Campaign for WWII
1950s: Begins work on environmental issues
1960s: Name changed to The Soap and Detergent Association to reflect the evolution of cleaning products from strictly soap based to include those based on synthetic surface active agents
Coins the term "Biodegradable" and published Clean and Neat is Hard to Beat used by Head Start Centers and the Glycerine Series
1970s: Published Houskeeping Directions used by USDA, HUD and Detergents in Depth series
1980s: Published Cleanliness and the Health Revolution
1990s: Environmental outreach became the educational focus
2000s: Work continues to protect future generations
2010: Organization rebranded as the American Cleaning Institute with a vision to enhance health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices
Read more about our history.
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry®, representing producers of household, industrial, and institutional cleaning products, their ingredients and finished packaging; oleochemical producers; and chemical distributors to the cleaning product industry.
Enhancing health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.
To support the sustainability of the cleaning product and oleochemical industries, through research, education, outreach and science-based advocacy.
Established in 1926, ACI is dedicated to advancing public understanding of the safety and benefits of cleaning products, and protecting the ability of its members to formulate products that best meet consumer needs. ACI serves both its members and the public by developing and sharing information about industry products with the technical community, policy makers, childcare and health professionals, educators, media and consumers. Read more about our history.
A 25-member Board of Directors consisting of elected representatives from member companies, both large and small, sets policy for the Association. Various committees, subcommittees, task forces and working groups carry out programs.
ACI programs address a variety of human health and environmental safety issues from several perspectives.
ACI technical programs provide the foundation for scientifically sound public, legislative and regulatory judgments about industry products and ingredients. Significant publications based on this work include:
- Reports summarizing data on the environmental fate and effects and human safety of major classes of surfactants.
- Peer-reviewed articles that describe an environmental risk assessment approach for cleaning product ingredients, and approaches to human risk assessment and risk management for evaluating cleaning products.
- Environmental risk assessments on ingredients.
- Guidance on safe enzyme handling practices in the workplace and safely formulating with enzyme in consumer products.
Other ACI environmental research is focused on surfactants sorbed to sediments and the implications of their presence in water re-use situations. Human health and safety technical work is directed at achieving appropriate regulation for antibacterial hand products; promoting safe practices in the use of enzyme technology; advancing the use of non-animal approaches in the safety assessment of cleaning products; improving the application of life cycle approaches for product assessments; and enhancing the industry’s tools for product stewardship.
Several ACI-managed consortia have carried out work associated with sponsorship of approximately 300 chemicals under the EPA Industry Challenge Program for high production volume chemicals.
International Chemical Management Policies
On the international front, ACI participates and often leads the development of input to the U.S. government and intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations programs promoting the sound management of chemicals. Programs to establish a harmonized system for the classification of hazards and labeling worldwide for physical, health and environmental effects of substances and mixtures and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management are a high priority.
ACI engages at the federal, state and local levels in legislative activities that may affect the material supply, formulation, marketing, packaging, distribution, use and disposal of the industry’s products.
Consumer Education and Outreach
ACI education efforts are directed at understanding the issues and needs of consumer communicators and educators, and addressing them by providing materials that encourage the safe, effective and responsible use of household cleaning products.
Recent ACI education programs have focused on:
- Lifestyle strategies and cleaning practices for preventing the spread of cold and flu germs at home, work or school. Informational materials have been developed for health professionals and educators and consumers.
- Joint industry/government programs to educate the public on proper handwashing, kitchen surface cleaning and other safe food handling practices.
- Inter-industry efforts to publicize the proper use of high efficiency laundry detergents and appliances.
ACI media outreach efforts communicate the benefits and safety of cleaning products, and expand awareness of ACI as an information resource for media and other key audiences about the industry and its products.
The ACI National Cleaning Surveys provide the media with newsworthy findings about consumer cleaning attitudes and behavior. ACI also releases cleaning tips and other information to the media on a regular basis.