Have a question in mind? Here you'll find some of the common questions people ask, and more.
We understand that you use our products around the people, pets and things you love. So, we want you to have the information you need to make the best choices for your family.
It starts with a consumer need or an innovation that we think you might like. We get input from consumers, retailers, suppliers and more. Then we begin the process of creating the product, which includes considering how it will be used, how it should work, the potential product lifecycle and other factors. Using our Greenlist™ process, our scientists select the “best” or “better” potential ingredients for performance, the environment and human health. Then once the product is ready and has met performance and quality standards, our manufacturing team produces it according to the specifications, and it again goes through quality testing. At the end of the day, our goal is always to give you a product you can trust that lives up to our 125-year history of innovation and quality. To learn more about Greenlist™ click here.
It’s our internally developed environmental classification system that we use to help green the company’s chemistry. Created in 2001, the Greenlist™ process helps our scientists select better ingredients and phase out less desirable ones. When SC Johnson scientists create a new product or reformulation, they work to select raw materials with the highest possible ratings. Reformulations must use ingredients that have ratings equal to or better than the original formula. You can learn more about the Greenlist™ process here.
Potentially, yes, in our North America products. The EU list is a list of common fragrance components that can potentially cause a skin reaction in individuals who are already allergic to those materials. These ingredients are common components of many fragrances, especially those based on essential oils such as citrus, floral and pine fragrances. Depending on the particular fragrance, our formulas may contain some of these materials. Keep in mind that these 26 materials have been extensively studied. Safe levels that will not result in allergic effects have been identified and are the basis for the IFRA standards developed for all 26 materials. Our fragrances use these materials at the lowest concentrations possible in creating the fragrance, and always below the safe levels established by the IFRA standards. The EU 26 allergens include:
(2E)-2-benzylideneheptan-1-ol (commonly called Amyl Cinnamyl Alcohol)
(2E)-2-benzylideneoctanal (commonly called Hexyl Cinnamal)
(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dien-1-ol (commonly called Geraniol)
(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienal (commonly called Citral)
(2E,6E)-3,7,11-trimethyldodeca-2,6,10-trien-1-ol (commonly called Farnesol)
(2Z)-2-benzylideneheptanal (commonly called Amyl Cinnamal)
(4-methoxyphenyl)methanol (commonly called Anise Alcohol)
(4R)-1-methyl-4-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohexene (commonly called (d)-Limonene)
(E)-3-methyl-4-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl)but-3-en-2-one (commonly calledAlpha-Isomethyl Ionone)
(E)-3-phenylprop-2-en-1-ol (commonly called Cinnamyl Alcohol)
(E)-3-phenylprop-2-enal (commonly called Cinnamal)
2-methoxy-4-prop-2-enylphenol (commonly known as Eugenol)
2-methoxy-4-[(E)-prop-1-enyl]phenol (commonly known as Isoeugenol)
3,7-dimethyloct-6-en-1-ol (commonly called Citronellol)
3,7-dimethylocta-1,6-dien-3-ol (commonly called Linalool)
3-(4-tert-butylphenyl)-2-methylpropanal (commonly called Butylphenyl Methylpropional orLilial®)
4-(4-hydroxy-4-methylpentyl)cyclohex-3-ene-1-carbaldehyde (commonly called Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde (HICC) or Lyral)
7-hydroxy-3,7-dimethyloctanal (commonly called Hydroxycitronellal)
Benzyl (E)-3-phenylprop-2-enoate (commonly called Benzyl Cinnamate)
Benzyl 2-hydroxybenzoate (commonly called Benzyl Salicylate)
Chromen-2-one (commonly known as Coumarin)
Evernia furfuracea lichen extract (commonly called Tree Moss)
Evernia prunastri, ext (commonly known as Oak Moss)
Methyl oct-2-ynoate (commonly called Methyl 2-octynoate)
Phenylmethanol (commonly called Benzyl Alcohol)
MSDS are Material Safety Data Sheets and they are required by law for chemical products used in industry. Because industry use is different from home use, an MSDS provide details required when products are used at greater frequency, duration or concentration levels than you’d typically use at home – for example if used in large quantities by a business for commercial cleaning, or if being shipped in bulk in a 50-gallon container. MSDS are designed for businesses or emergency personnel who need to know how to handle, store or dispose of products in these situations. While they’re not completely applicable to normal household product use, we provide easy access on each product page of this site, for those who want an MSDS.
In some cases, unfortunately, we have to. We have to meet government, safety and environmental requirements for our products – and testing is required by law for certain products – but we’re working toward ways to meet these requirements while continually minimizing animal testing. We know some companies say they “don’t test on animals,” but we’re skeptical about that since it is often legally required. A company saying it doesn’t test doesn’t mean that the ingredients themselves haven’t been tested – the vast majority of ingredients used in products will have been tested for toxicity. But some companies skirt this issue because their raw materials were tested by the suppliers they purchase from, or from other suppliers that those suppliers use. At SC Johnson, we care about honesty and transparency in our claims. So, we won’t make broad, sweeping claims that imply more than is true. We know some people may choose not to buy SC Johnson products given their passion on this topic. But we hope you’ll give us a chance, as we continue to be one of the companies that’s working hard to drive advancements in this area. You can read more about our thoughts on this here.
Our products are regulated by many laws and regulations too numerous to list here. The major ones are:
Dyes, preservatives and fragrances provide valuable benefits. Dyes are an important visual cue that helps you know where you're spraying a product and, in fact, that it's the product you intended to use. Preservatives prevent the growth of microbes as products sit on store shelves or in the home, helping the products last longer and perform better, without becoming spoiled. Finally, many people associate a fresh fragrance with a clean and welcoming home, and they specifically seek out products that offer this added benefit.
Keep in mind that all materials are "chemicals" - chemicals are the basic building blocks of everything, including our food, clothing and the air we breathe. For example, water is a combination of the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen (H2O), and air is a mix of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases. Also, there are plenty of chemicals found in nature that are toxic, such as arsenic and cyanide. Importantly, sometimes a synthetic ingredient is a better choice for any number of reasons, including sustainability. For example, using a natural ingredient that's in short supply, such as sandalwood, could wipe out what's left of it. So, using a virtually limitless synthetic might be more responsible. SC Johnson does use ingredients found in nature, but only when they meet our own standards.
Not necessarily. "Natural" or home remedies are not necessarily safer, effective or lower in allergens. In fact, many natural products undergo limited or no scientific testing compared to the extensive toxicological evaluations that companies like SC Johnson require for their product formulations. In contrast, SC Johnson products must meet or surpass all relevant regulatory requirements in the United States, Europe and any country where the product will be sold.
While some chemicals, such as asbestos and arsenic are very dangerous, or “toxic,” just about every chemical has a degree of toxicity associated with it. Take table salt, or sodium chloride, for example. When used sparingly, table salt simply makes dinner taste better. But if you eat an excessive amount, table salt can be a factor in high blood pressure. So is it toxic? The answer is: Table salt CAN be toxic if used excessively, but when used in moderation, it’s NOT toxic. What matters is the amount used, or dose.
Both are important, but quantity is key. Think of it this way: Most everyone would agree that water is a harmless chemical. But even water can be deadly if you drink too much of it. The important thing in product development is to select the right chemical to achieve the goal, and to use only the amount that is proven to be safe and effective. At SC Johnson, we aim to use the smallest effective percentage of key ingredients.
This is a great question and you’ll sometimes hear about this debate as it relates to chemical laws and regulations. “Hazard” is a property of an ingredient. For example, the hazard from table salt is that it can contribute to high blood pressure. “Risk” is the LIKELIHOOD that the hazard will happen. Using the table salt example, the risk of high blood pressure is low if you don’t eat too much of it. So risk is about the degree of hazard with an ingredient AND the dose that a person receives – meaning the amount and the length of the exposure over time. Some people argue that ingredients with any hazard are harmful. But as with the table salt example, often hazards can be easily managed.
At SC Johnson, we take a risk-based approach. This means:
Want to know more? The U.S. EPA has a great resource on risk assessment here.
This is a question that’s best discussed with your doctor based on your personal situation. What we can tell you is that some allergies – such as to pollen, pet dander and mould – may be positively affected by the use of some of our cleaning products in the home. People with these types of allergies also should not experience allergic symptoms from our air care products. Additionally, our North American fragrances are formulated to not contain peanut or tree nut derived ingredients. However, some individuals may have allergies to certain fragrance ingredients. In these cases, we recommend that you contact our consumer help line prior to using SC Johnson products, and they can help you determine which ones would be best for you. You can reach them at 800-558-5252.
Not in all cases. Products made from natural materials may have more allergens than products made from synthetic materials. For example, fragrances made from natural fragrance materials may contain allergens at higher levels than fragrances made from primarily synthetic materials.
Consumers tell us they love fragrances, because they do so much to make a home special. They can freshen the air, eliminate odours or provide that just-cleaned ambiance that many want. We do make a few fragrance free products for people who prefer them, but most of our testing shows that the majority of people love fragranced household products.
Our exact fragrance formulas are kind of like an award-winning secret family recipe – we keep them in the family because that way no other company can mimic our great scents. But that said, we DO share our full fragrance palette, meaning you can review all the ingredients we might use in a fragrance to look for any that about which you might have a particular concern. And if we use an ingredient you’re concerned about, you can call us at 1-800-558-5252 for recommendations about specific products that might be best for you.
While SC Johnson’s exclusive fragrance palette has about 1,500 ingredients, it’s important to remember that we excluded another 1,500 commonly used ingredients because they didn’t meet our SC Johnson standards. A typical oil-based fragrance could have as many as 50 different ingredients; a complex fragrance might mix 50 to 200. Having a palette of 1,500 options gives our perfumers great room for creativity so they can develop the amazing fragrances you expect.
SC Johnson understands that you use our products around the people, pets and things you love. That’s why we work hard to evaluate our ingredients based, in part, on their impact on environment and human health, and communicate about them openly. All SC Johnson products that are labeled as “non-fragrance” or “fragrance free” do not contain fragrance or scent ingredients. In a limited number of products labeled as “unscented,” specifically formulated fragrance is used to neutralize any smell resulting the product’s ingredient makeup to result in a product that has no scent. For more information, please visit the Fragrance section of this site.
No, you can rest assured that we work closely with our fragrance suppliers to ensure that we have evaluated the ingredients in our fragrances, both for human health and the environment. We meet, and often surpass, the regulatory requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Safety Product Commission in the U.S. and Health Canada, as well as the standards specified by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).
Plus, at SC Johnson, we take the review of fragrance ingredients a step further. We evaluate them not only under the IFRA standards, but also under our own standards that may look at ingredients differently. We start with the IFRA list and then apply our own internal requirements. These internal requirements may look at the same criteria as IFRA, such as carcinogicity, mutagenicity or reproductive toxicity, but at SC Johnson, we may take a stricter or different view of an ingredient. In some instances, we may also consider additional factors such as consumer confidence with ingredients or other scientific viewpoints.
Yes, we believe that all our fragranced products can be used safely if used according to label directions. We meet, and often surpass, the regulatory requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Safety Product Commission in the U.S. and Health Canada, as well as the standards specified by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).
Ingredients that are part of SC Johnson’s exclusive fragrance palette must live up to the safety standards of the International Fragrance Association as well as our own SC Johnson standards.
In today’s world, we’re often told we should always use natural things. From food to clothing to other products, the notion is that natural ingredients may be healthier or help sustain resources and the environment. But surprising as it may seem, that isn’t always the case. In fact, natural fragrance materials may be more toxic than their synthetic counterparts. An example is d-Limonene, which is in many natural fragrance materials and is a component of citrus peels. D-Limonene can cause skin allergies and can potentially be toxic to organisms in waterways, depending on the dose. And many other natural fragrance ingredients have the same hazard. In fact, the amount of limonene in an orange peel is enough to warrant a “Harmful” classification as a skin allergy hazard in the European Union AND a “Dead Tree and Dead Fish” symbol for being dangerous to the environment!
So should the use of natural fragrance materials be avoided altogether? No. But neither should the use of synthetic ingredients with similar or better profiles. As long as a fragrance ingredient is used at an appropriate concentration in a product, there should be no problems with using it. And that goes for both natural and synthetic ingredients.
Phthalates are actually a large family of ingredients that have many uses. Our exclusive fragrance palette does not include phthalates. In 2008, we began requiring our suppliers to phase out phthalates from the fragrances they supply for SC Johnson products.
Parabens are a family of preservatives that are widely used in cosmetics. Some of our fragrances contain small amounts of parabens to preserve the fragrance and formula. While a small number of people have allergies to preservatives – just as some people have allergies to nuts or bees – preservatives play an important role. Without them, many products would not last more than a week or two before being contaminated by bacteria, mold or yeast. So, we believe adding preservatives in the smallest effective quantity makes sense. We only use parabens that live up to International Fragrance Association standards and our own SC Johnson standards.
Glycol ethers are a family of ingredients. While some glycol ethers have been demonstrated to cause reproductive harm, that’s not true of the whole ingredient family. SC Johnson ONLY allows fragrances with glycol ethers that live up to International Fragrance Association standards and our own SC Johnson standards.
d-Limonene is an essential fragrance material that is distilled from the oil extracted from citrus peels. Many of our fragrances do contain small amount of d-Limonene. There are some concerns about using d-Limonene because it can sometimes cause skin sensitivity or allergies on contact. d-Limonene is one the EU 26 allergens, which is a list of common fragrance components that can potentially cause a skin reaction in individuals who are already allergic to those materials.
However, consistent with the IFRA standards, we require that they only be used at concentrations that have not been shown to result in allergic responses in people who are not sensitive to these materials.
For many years, musk for fragrance was extracted from the glands of male musk deer. But in recent decades, synthetic musks have replaced natural musks for ethical and economic reasons. Polycyclic and nitromusks are two types of synthetic musks. SC Johnson fragrances do not use nitromusks, which have been linked to reproductive issues. We do use polycyclic musks, which are commonly used in household products and cosmetics and are not classified as either toxic or bioaccumulative, meaning they could build up in the environment.
That said, some recent studies have detected these polycyclic musks in blood and mother’s milk samples. When we see new information like that, we take extra care in our analysis of an ingredient, but we have not yet seen any scientific indication of adverse effects of polycyclic musks at the levels in our fragrances. As in the case with all our ingredients, if new scientific information emerges about polycyclic musks, we will evaluate the science and where appropriate make changes to our fragrance palette.
As in the case with all our ingredients, if new scientific information emerges about polycyclic musks, we will evaluate the science and where appropriate make changes to our fragrance palette.