The Top 15 Plants (That You May Have Never Heard of!) for Removing Indoor Air Toxins


Numerous scientific studies (including the Clean Air Study by NASA) have proven that certain plants act as air filters and can absorb up to 85% of harmful toxins and gases in indoor spaces and office buildings. From benzene (a carcinogen found in common cleaning products, cigarette smoke, paint and varnishes, and rubber) to ammonia (also found in cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and even in computer parts), to formaldehyde (furniture, carpets, natural gas, plastics…) and trichloroethylene (printer ink, carpet cleaners, paint and varnishes…), our indoor air contains a ton of compounds that can cause illness and serious health issues.

With summertime finally here, indoor plants aren’t just a great way to decorate your desk and brighten up your workplace – plants make the air cleaner, enhancing productivity and protecting the health of your employees. Here are 15 beautiful plants (so you may have never heard of before!) that have advanced air-cleaning powers:

  1. Flamingo Flower
  2. Barberton Daisy
  3. Lady Palm
  4. Chinese Evergreen
  5. Spider Plant
  6. Golden Pothos (or Money Plant)
  7. Ficus
  8. Aloe Vera
  9. Snake Plant
  10. Philodendron
  11. Boston Fern
  12. Peace Lily
  13. Bamboo Palm
  14. Dendrobium Orchids
  15. Chrysanthemum

For more information on air-purifying plants, check out our articles The Power of Plants in the Workplace, The Health Benefits of Indoor Office Plants, and Indoor Plants: A Breath of Fresh Air!

The Toxic Truth Behind Chemical Cleaning Products

 Spring is in full swing and it’s really time to start thinking about how you will responsibly maintain your facility, office, or place of business this year. The movement to employ green cleaning practices in commercial facilities, office buildings, and in businesses has never been more popular and crucial. Cleaning green is nontoxic, environmentally safe, and ultimately protects the health and wellbeing of hard-working employees (a successful business depends on healthy employees).

Below, we’ve gathered the most compelling chemical cleaning facts from that will surely inspire (if not convince) you and your facility or business to make the switch to green cleaning. Click here for more info about how to choose a green commercial cleaning team.

Chemical Cleaning Products – The Deadly Truth

• 1 out of every 3 chemical cleaning products contains ingredients known to cause human health or environmental problems1

• Commercial cleaning companies are under no legal obligation to research how their products might harm human health.

• The EPA ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health. Interestingly, five out of 10 Americans are not aware of this fact.*

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher (and sometimes even 100 times higher) than outdoor levels.*

• An EPA study concluded that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air.2

•  A study comparing women who work ouside the home with women who work at home , found a 54% higher risk of developing cancer in women who work at home. The study concluded that this is a direct result of the chemicals in household products.3

• On average, poison centers handle one poison call every 1.5 seconds4

• 89% of all poison exposures occur in the home4

• 92% of exposures involve only one poisonous substance4

• 2,403,539 human exposures to poisons were reported in 20064

• 8.9% of the human exposures involved household cleaning substances4

• Cleaning substances are the 3rd most common reason for exposure to poison in adults4

• 51% of the human exposures to poison in 2006 involved children under 6 years old4

• Household cleaning substances are the second most common reason for pediatric exposure to poison4

• Unintentional ingestion of toxic household chemicals is associated with an annual average of 39 deaths to children under age 5, and an estimated 87,700 children treated in hospital emergency rooms. These poisoning incidents resulted in an estimated societal cost of almost $2.3 billion.5

• Americans generate over 38 million tons of hazardous waste per year 6

• Chemical manufacturing accounts for 21 million tons (55%) of the hazardous waste 6

• Cleaning Compounds and soap account for 30,948 tons annually 6, “Purcasers Buy Safer, Effective, and Affordable Commercial Cleaning Chemicals,” no date.

*The American Lung Association “Airing the Truth About Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution”

2Consumer Product Safety Commission and Environmental Protection Agency, “The Inside Story A Guide to Indoor Air Quality” CPSC Document #450
no date, available at:

3International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Proceedings, 5th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate: Indoor Air ’90,
Toronto (Canada) 1990.

4Bronstein, Alvin C., Spyker, Daniel A., Cantilena Jr, Louis R. Green, Jody, Rumack, Barry H. and Heard, Stuart E. (2007) ‘2006 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS)’, Clinical Toxicology, 45:8, 815 – 917 available in pdf here

5U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION “2007 Performance and Accountability Report” 2007, available at:

6United States EPA “The National Biennial RCRA Hazardous Waste Report” 2005, available at:

What If All Offices Went GREEN? [Infographic]

Just imagine if we added biking to work AND green commercial cleaning to this infographic! If all offices adopted greener practices like these ones, we’d have a cleaner earth and environment, healthier employees, more successful businesses, and a lot more money and resources saved at the end of the day. To learn more about going green at your place of business, contact us for a free estimate and consultation.


How to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day: “Green is the New Red” [Infographic]

We know the signature color of Valentine’s Day is red, but what if we all went a little greener instead? From cards to candy wrappers, the amount of waste that’s left over after we’ve spoiled our loved ones can really add up fast. Follow our tips for celebrating Valentine’s Day sustainably and check out the infographic below to learn more about why “Green is the New Red!”
Is Green The New Red This Valentine

 From Visually.

Germiest Places in the Office [Infographic]

Just because your desk looks clean doesn’t mean it’s actually germ-free. From your computer keyboard to the company’s communal coffee pot, keeping your office clean from head to toe is necessary when it comes to protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and maintaining a productive workplace.

Check out the infographic below from CMF Business Supplies and find out where the most germs are hiding at your workplace. Questions about hiring a commercial cleaning service? Contact us at GBS to learn more about what we can do to help you keep it clean while keeping it green!


Winter is Coming! Why is it Important to Keep a Clean Facility?

We’ve always said that a clean (and green) workplace is a healthy one. With the cold weather coming our way – and with it lots of moisture, freezing temperatures, and flu season – maintaining a clean facility this time of year is more important than ever. Hiring a commercial cleaning service not only prevents illness for your employees, but it also promotes productivity while ensuring your facility is both safe and welcoming to visitors and customers alike. Check out the blog post below from Maintenance One and learn more about why hiring a commercial cleaning service this winter is such a beneficial business move.


Get In Front of Employee Illness This Winter


Productivity takes a massive hit when winter hits. There’s the decreased amount of daylight – that definitely doesn’t help, nor does the colder weather, both of which together lowers morale and generally makes your employees more sluggish. It’s natural, and there are plenty of documented ways to combat this kind of seasonal behavior. One thing you can’t fight through positive thinking, however, are the germs and flus that become more quite common during winter. For that, you need a professional cleaning service.

Winter illness is a huge problem for companies seeking to maintain productivity throughout the season. The CDC estimates that approximately 17 million workdays are lost every year to influenza-related illnesses, many of which could have been prevented. Vaccination is the usual countermeasure, and definitely one you should encourage among your employees. However, you can take additional steps to prevent illness by keeping your work environment clean during the colder months.


What Winter Cleaning Looks Like

Professional cleaning companies offer a number of services based on the type of office and your particular cleaning needs. At a bare minimum, basic janitorial services are something you should have for your office on a monthly basis, if not weekly or even daily. Your janitorial services should include restroom sanitation, carpet care, floor care, waste removal, and recycling services – the basics of cleaning, in other words, all of which can contribute to prevent the spread of illness among your staff.

More comprehensive commercial cleaning services can include upholstery cleaning, hard floor surface care, window cleaning, computer room cleaning, and carpet cleaning. This is the kind of cleaning that can do a lot to prevent the spread of influenza, as germs have a tendency to build up in chairs, on windows, and in carpets, making them dangerous repositories of disease that are best cared for often.

Professional office cleaning services can be engaged for additional cleaning services, such as cubicle and workstation cleaning, dusting and wood furniture polishing, and the cleaning of your lobby or reception area. This thorough attention to the details of an office, and where germs are most likely to build up in that office (i.e., wherever employees spend most of their time), is vital to ensuring that your employees’ health is safeguarded, along with your company’s productivity and therefore its bottom line.


Healthy Habits Make Healthy Employees

Your employees can do a lot to make sure that they are preventing the spread of disease themselves. First and foremost, it’s important that they wash their hands in the restroom. Sometimes people forget, or are in a rush, or who knows what; but this where many illnesses end up getting passed on to others, and so your employees can do a lot of good just by washing their hands. Putting up a sign as a reminder can, in itself, do a lot of good; the occasional intra-office PSA may help as well.

Your employees should also not be afraid to call off if they are sick. Yes, you don’t want to lose productivity, but your employees will hardly be productive while they are in the grip of the flu. You stand to lose very little if an ill employee stays home, but if they come to work, they are very likely going to spread their illness to your other employees. This either means they will have to call off as well, or they will come in ill, get next to no work done, and then call off themselves.


Look Out For Your Employees and They’ll Look Out For You

It pays to be reasonable about illness among your employees and take precautionary measures whenever possible. Cleaning services are a great way to do take such measures, and they are surprisingly affordable as well. When you consider how much productivity, and therefore profit, you are likely to lose if you are not cautious regarding employee illness this winter, it is obvious that the economic choice is to invest in cleaning services, and therefore in your employees’ continued health and wellbeing.

Consider also that your employees will work more efficiently and generally be more satisfied when they are working in a cleaner, more organized environment. It’s a proven fact that people are just more productive when their workspace is clean! Between their improved attitudes and their reduced number of sick days, this winter could be the best quarter yet for your business.



For more information about how GBS Commercial Cleaning can serve your facility’s maintenance needs, contact us today!

10 Tips for a Green Halloween!

From costumes to candy wrappers, Halloween can add up to be a very wasteful holiday. Go green this Halloween and add some sustainability to your spooky celebration by following these tips below shared by the World Wildlife Fund!

For more eco-friendly inspiration, check out our favorite tips.



10 Green Halloween Tips


  1. Decorations. Instead of buying materials for decorations, gather supplies, arts and crafts throughout the year. Examples include:
    • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
    • Paint foam peanuts (packing materials) and turn them into worms
    • Clean Styrofoam and make Halloween masks
    • Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones
    • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves and branches from the yard, etc
    • Reuse your decorations from the previous year
  2. Costumes. Make your own!
    • Keep old clothes that can be used as good pieces or parts of costumes, like worn t-shirts, black pants/shorts, etc.
    • If necessary, shop at thrift shops, consignment stores and yard sales, instead of buying retail
    • Let your kids’ imaginations run wild! Make a game of turning old clothes into costumes
    • Thinking of dressing up as an animal this Halloween? Find out how you can Wear It Wild with WWF.
  3. Parties. When having a party, cut down on waste by avoiding disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Use regular dishes or buy biodegradable ones, and use a marker (or apply cute labels) to identify cups so party-goers can keep track of theirs.
  4. Treats. Buy locally produced foods, candies and treats. Look for goodies with minimal packaging and/or those made packaged in recycled materials.
    • Check labels to see that chocolate and sugar are from sustainable sources.
  5. Trick-or-Treat Bags. Use (and decorate) household items to collect candy in. A bucket, pillowcase, or old even an old bag can be decorated inexpensively at home – and reused year after year.
  6. Pumpkins. Buy pumpkins from local farms or farmers’ markets. Better yet, grow your own — kids love to watch them grow!
  7. Jack-o-lanterns. Don’t throw away all the goodies from inside your pumpkin. Toast the seeds for tasty treats. Make pumpkin pie or muffins with the fruit – or compost it.
  8. Transportation. Trick or Treat by walking around your neighborhood instead of driving to another destination. Get to know your neighbors, reduce your carbon emissions and help keep the streets safe for other walkers.
  9. Compost and Recycle. From party food to treats to pumpkins, consider composting all organic matter and recycling other items.
  10. Reuse! Reuse as much as you can from year to year. Instead of throwing away an old box or bag, use it to gather all your decorations and keep for next year. Plus, you can surprise your family and friends by quickly pulling out your box and throwing an impromptu Halloween party any time of year!



How to Bike to Work

Bike commuting does not have to be a chore. Follow these tips from and learn the tricks of the trade, from cargo-carrying to waging war against dreaded work shirt wrinkles! Help your community be more sustainable and reduce your workplace’s carbon footprint— get biking.




7 Essential Bike Commuting Tips


Whether you want to go car-free or just ride carefree, follow this advice to carry larger loads, find a safe route, and arrive looking (and feeling) fresh.

Get Organized
To save time—and avoid forgetting a spare tube, again—stow all your gear and accessories in an easily accessible place, such as a wicker basket. Place small items like blinky lights and tire levers in a zippered bag you can hang from the doorknob. Clip your bike-lock key to the bag using a small carabiner.Arrive Wrinkle Free
Toting a suit to work, or bringing a sport jacket to a dinner date? Hang them in a dry-cleaning bag, then roll it up gently before placing it in a basket or pannier.

Boost Cargo Capacity
Expand from carrying a six-pack to full bags of groceries by attaching an elastic cargo net to your rack or basket.

Go Easy is a clearinghouse of safe bike routes. Get There By Bike, an iPhone app, allows you to map, record and, share routes in 23 cities (and counting). New to riding? Portland, New York, San Francisco, and other major metropolitan areas have organized group commutes.

Hang in There
There If you need to store your bike in your home or office but are short on floor space, think vertically. Several manufacturers offer ceiling racksthat use pulley systems to hoist bikes. Or hang your ride from hooks beneath an open staircase. Lighter bikes can even be perched atop credenzas or bookcases.

Protect Your Assets
In most areas, you only need a U-lock. Double up on protection in high-theft zones by adding a cable lock: Start by parking your bike next to a rack, signpost or other immovable object. Run the U-lock between the rear wheel and seat tube, but keep it open. Then take one end of a cable and run it through your frame and front wheel, looping it through the cable’s other end to form a lasso. Finally, attach the free end of the cable to the U-lock and clamp the lock around the immovable object. Locking skewers prevent your wheels, saddle, and other components from getting jacked.


Toxic Cleaning Chemicals to Watch Out For

Due to rising awareness of the all of the toxic (and potentially carcinogenic) chemicals that are in household cleaning products, green cleaning has become increasingly more popular over the last several years. Many have adopted green cleaning practices at home to protect the health and wellbeing of their kids and pets, which has caused an explosion in the residential green cleaning industry. Nowadays, you can buy eco-friendly cleaning products right off the shelf at your local supermarket, or easily hire a home cleaning service that only uses natural cleaning solutions. Our homes are becoming safer and greener, which is a positive trend that we are very proud of.

But what about the cleaning products and practices that are used at your office building, workplace, or place of business? It’s just as important to go green at work as it is to go green at home. The health and wellbeing of employees is something everyone should value, not to mention engaging in sustainable and environmentally responsible business practices.

The list below includes some of the most common toxic chemicals that are found in both household and commercial cleaning products:

– Phenol/Carbolic Acid (most commonly found in disinfectants): Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a hazardous air pollutant. It can also severely irritate the eyes and burn skin upon contact. When inhaled, phenol is highly corrosive and attacks the central nervous system, heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

– Formaldehyde (most commonly found in mold and mildew cleaners): Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic chemical, air pollutant, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. Household cleaners that contain formaldehyde contaminate our “ambient air” and cause symptoms such as severe nausea and headaches, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, and memory loss. Inhaling formaldehyde can also increase your risk for nasopharyngeal and lung cancers. 

– Ammonia (most commonly found in glass cleaning products): Ammonia can cause severe irritation to the eyes and skin upon contact and can also cause damage to the respiratory and digestive tracts upon inhalation. Ammonia is especially poisonous to aquatic animals (including fish, marine mammals, and amphibians), and has fatal consequences when it is released into our waters and ecosystem.

– Phosphates (found in most general cleaning products): One of the largest culprits behind ocean pollution is phosphates, which are responsible for algae overgrowth and the subsequent depletion of oxygen in our oceans, rivers, and streams. Ultimately, high phosphate levels are fatal and create an unlivable environment for both aquatic wildlife and plant life. When it comes to human exposure to phosphates in cleaning products, symptoms such as nasal and throat irritation as well as skin rashes are not unusual.

We know it is intense and a bit frightening to learn of what’s really in that smelly cleaning solution that is used to wipe down your desk each week, or what dangerous VOCs you are breathing in at the office all day… Yikes! But knowing these facts about toxic chemical exposure is necessary in order to protect our health, reduce our overall environmental impact, and make our facilities and professional workplaces healthier, safer, and better places for all!

For more information on how to integrate green cleaning practices into your office’s, business’, or facility’s professional cleaning routine, contact GBS today!





5 Ways to Make the Workplace More Eco-Friendly

Besides cleaning green and sticking to sustainable janitorial practices (which not only is better for the air and environment, but also better for the health of employees and the overall success of a business), there are many other ways you can create an eco-friendly workplace. Whether it’s bringing in plants to green up the office or choosing to ride your bike to work, even small changes can make a huge impact.

Check out the tips below from The Economic Times and find out what you can do to help make your business greener.





Five ways to make the workplace eco-friendly

From: The Economic Times

With environmental consciousness on the rise, companies are going the extra mile to reduce their collective carbon footprint — by installing solar panels, using eco-friendly appliances and organizing tree-planting initiatives. They are also encouraging employees to take individual steps towards a better environment. ET tells you how to move towards a cleaner and greener workplace.

1. Go Digital

Going paperless is the first step towards making a workplace environmentally friendly, says Mohan VC, general manager of corporate occupational health, safety and environmental protection at Bosch India. “Use electronic forms whenever possible, and email letters and documents rather than sending printed copies,” he says. “Compact flash drives can also be used to efficiently transport and share documents.”

2. Encourage Sustainability

Measures should be taken to make office campuses cleaner and greener. Recycling waste paper, using shared transportation and having a no-smoking work environment can make a huge difference, says Vikas Goswami, head of Good & Green, GILAC. Sensitising and involving employees in environmental activities is also a requisite.

3. Keep Plants

Having small potted plants inside the office helps to improve the quality of air, feels Mohan VC. “What’s more, plants always brighten up a place.” Added benefits? Having plants around your work-area can also significantly reduce stress and boost your productivity.

4. Save Energy

“Put computers on ‘standby’ or on ‘hibernation mode’ when they haven’t been accessed for more than 10 minutes; turn them off when you’re done for the day,” says Mohan VC.

5. Build Awareness

Company measures to go green will be half-hearted without employee participation and proactiveness. Awareness is important, says Goswami. Sensitize employees towards a greener workplace, and generate interest towards a cleaner and greener office environment.


Source: The Economic Times