The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Ingredient Communication

Woman checking the label on a product at the store

What’s in Your Cleaning Products?

Soap, detergent and cleaning product manufacturers are providing more information than ever before about what is in their products. 

You can find general information on product labels and more in-depth information on brand or company websites and through customer service telephone lines. 

Through SmartLabel®, a web-based app, you can easily find information about what’s in hundreds of cleaning and personal care products, in addition to thousands of other grocery store items. 

What Do We Believe?

ACI is an active and engaged thought leader in providing consumers, policymakers and stakeholders with cleaning product information that is scientific and accurate. Our advocacy is guided by Ingredient Communication Principles and a belief that consumers have the right to understand what is in their product. Consumers should have access to information necessary to make informed choices about product purchases. Since 2010, cleaning product manufacturers have voluntarily provided much of this information. Learn more about the Voluntary Initiative.  

ACI and its member companies and allied trades are working toward marketplace alignment or certainty on ingredient communication approaches. This includes substantive federal and (several) state advocacy engagements on communication and transparency approaches. Initiatives in California and New York have been at the forefront: In 2017 California enacted Senate Bill 258, the “Cleaning Product Right to Know Act” SB 258 Compliance Guidance is available to ACI members; and, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation released a “Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program” in 2018. Compliance Guidance regarding the New York program to date is available to ACI members.

Ingredient Communication Principles

Generally: ACI member companies who manufacture household, industrial and institutional cleaning products are committed to providing consumers with soaps, detergents and other chemically formulated cleaning products designed for fabric care, dish and other ware washing and/or surface cleaning products that improve their health and wellbeing; are safe for the environment; and, are committed to communicating information about products and ingredients so informed choices and decisions about products can be made 

ACI and its member companies are actively engaged with consumers, retailers, policymakers and other stakeholders to provide transparent, ingredient information that is widely available and presented in a manner that is easy and convenient for consumers to use  

ACI will support and promote risk-based labeling and ingredient communication based on sound science (e.g. LCSA P.L. 114-182) including consideration of exposure  

Confidential Business Information (CBI): CBI is fundamental to cleaning product innovation and speed to market -   

  • Companies make proactive decisions on CBI protection and will respond to lawfully or legally mandated governmental requests to justify or substantiate CBI;
  • CBI provisions should endorse the process and requirements of any and all federal trade secret provisions including but not limited to USTA and TSCA;
  • The use of chemical function or chemical class descriptors must be allowed to protect chemical identity and descriptive categories; and  
  • Mandated disclosure must protect CBI mixtures, formulations, and chemical identity 

What is to be communicated?

All ingredients in cleaning products are to be communicated -  
[non-functional ingredients] and/or [contaminants of concern] present in a product that appear on a specified list of chemicals should be assembled through notice and comment rulemaking or other recognized procedural or regulatory process

How should the communicated information be named?

ACI manufacturers seek maximum nomenclature naming flexibility for ingredient identification via: The International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) name, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name, Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) name, Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) Dictionary name, and/or the common chemical name.  Chemical function and/or chemical class descriptors may be used as an alternative to INCI, IUPAC, CAS, CSPA, or common chemical names where a name does not exist

How will the information be communicated?

Manufacturers communicate through one or more of the following including: product label; manufacturer’s website; manufacturer’s toll free number; or other non-electronic means 
Digital and electronic communication embraces the future and is the leading and primary method for information delivery and provides maximum flexibility  
On-label communication to the maximum extent practicable as limited by the federal and state health, safety environmental, packaging and commerce requirements  

Ingredient Communication Landscape Update

Manufacturers of cleaning products and their chemical suppliers will continue to face a "push and pull" of ingredient communication and transparency initiatives in federal and state landscapes, according to Douglas Troutman, ACI general counsel and vice president, government affairs. "While the trend toward ingredient transparency and communication is real and growing, continued challenges remain for consumer products industries to innovate, quickly get sustainable products to market, and protect intellectual capital," writes Troutman.

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