Making the UK greener, one house at a time
Mentioned in
The Guardian logoHarvard University logoIndependent logoForbes logo
Last updated: 26 March 2024

Is Zoflora Bad for the Environment? Statistics and Facts

Zoflora a popular household disinfectant but how save is it to environment.

Zoflora has been a staple for household cleaning for its disinfectant properties and range of fragrances. But is Zoflora environmentally friendly? This question has gained traction, especially as Zoflora's popularity soared, primarily due to endorsements. 

Developed in 1922 by the Linthwaite-based pharmaceutical company Thornton & Ross, this range of disinfectants, cleaners, and wipes has been a household staple for its germ-killing and odour-eliminating properties. 

However, with growing environmental concerns, examining the impact of chemical products like Zoflora is crucial.

As we delve into an in-depth analysis, we'll explore Zoflora's ingredients and environmental impact, address concerns regarding its toxicity, and consider whether Zoflora can be part of an eco-friendly lifestyle. The discussion will also extend to sustainable alternatives to traditional disinfectants, helping you make informed choices about cleaning products.

What Do We Mean By Zoflora Exactly?

Zoflora, a famous UK-based disinfectant brand, is a concentrated disinfectant brand that has been around since 1922. It's known for its variety of fragrances and ability to kill germs and eliminate odours. 

Zoflora products are used in households to clean various surfaces and are praised for their pleasant scents and antibacterial properties.

Zoflora's Ingredients and Their Environmental Impact

Zoflora has recently been scrutinised for its environmental impact. With the rise of eco-conscious consumers, it's crucial to understand how products like Zoflora affect the environment.

Zoflora's products contain chemicals such as Benzalkonium Chloride, Linalool, and Limonene. 

These substances have raised concerns due to their potential environmental hazards. When improperly disposed of, some of their product content is highly toxic to certain freshwater species.

Here's a closer look at the key components and their potential impacts:

  • Primary Ingredients of Concern in Zoflora:
    • Linalool: In 60% of Zoflora's fragrances, linalool can cause skin irritation, dizziness, and drowsiness when inhaled. It's also toxic to freshwater amphipods, potentially harming aquatic ecosystems.
    • Limonene is found in about 40% of Zoflora's fragrances and is highly toxic to aquatic life. It can cause fatal outcomes if swallowed and lead to skin irritation and allergic reactions.
    • Butylbenzyl Propionaldehyde (Lilial): An irritant found in some Zoflora fragrances, Lilial is banned in Europe due to its toxic properties, including potential fertility damage and estrogenic activity.
  • Hazardous Substance Classification: Zoflora is classified under several hazard categories, including Flammable Liquid, Eye Irritant, Skin Irritant, and Hazardous to Aquatic Environment. It contains benzalkonium chloride, which is acutely toxic and can cause skin corrosion/irritation, germ cell mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, and aspiration hazard. Ethanol and methanol, also present in Zoflora, are highly flammable and harmful if swallowed or in contact with the skin.
  • Environmental Precautions and Ecological Information:
    • Environmental precautions include preventing non-dilute material from entering drains and watercourses. In case of spillage entering watercourses or sewers, it is advised to inform local authorities. Waste and residues should be disposed of as hazardous waste.
    • Ecological information reveals that benzalkonium chloride has a 96-hour LC50 (fish) of 1-10mg/l and a 48-hour LC50 (daphnia) of <1mg/l, indicating its harmful potential to aquatic life.

Including ingredients such as linalool, limonene, and Lilial in Zoflora's composition, alongside its classification as a hazardous substance, underscores the necessity for caution in its use and disposal to mitigate environmental harm.

What is so bad about Zoflora for the Environment

Zoflora contains chemicals potentially harmful to the environment and living organisms. Zoflora contains hazardous chemicals such as Linalool and Limonene, which can cause long-lasting effects if released into the environment. These substances are toxic to freshwater species and can lead to bioaccumulation and ecological damage.

The environmental concerns associated with Zoflora include:

  • Toxicity to Aquatic Life: Zoflora has long-lasting effects and is very toxic to aquatic life. Limonene, for instance, is highly toxic to several freshwater amphipods.
  • Skin and Eye Irritation: When oxidised, Linalool can become a skin irritant and cause dizziness and drowsiness upon inhalation.
  • Flammability: Zoflora products are classified as flammable liquids, posing a fire risk.
  • Perfume Allergens and Hazardous Fumes: They contain various perfume compounds known to produce allergic reactions in some individuals. It highlights the need for awareness among users of sensitivities. 

What is the Impact of Zoflora

Zoflora's chemical composition significantly impacts the environment. When improperly disposed of, it can contribute to water pollution and harm aquatic ecosystems. The production process and packaging also contribute to environmental concerns.

Aspect of ImpactDescriptionChemicals InvolvedPotential Effects
Aquatic ToxicityHarmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effectsLinalool, LimoneneBiodiversity loss, ecosystem disruption
Air QualityVolatile organic compounds contributing to air pollutionLinalool, LimoneneRespiratory issues, environmental degradation
Waste GenerationPlastic packaging contributing to landfill and ocean pollutionLinalool, Limonene, Butylbenzyl Propionaldehyde (Lilial)Wildlife harm, microplastic contamination
Carbon FootprintEmissions from production and transportationN/AClimate change acceleration

Is Zoflora toxic?

Zoflora is classified as toxic, with most products labelled as hazardous. It is flammable and can cause skin and eye irritation. It is also dangerous to aquatic environments, posing a severe threat to marine life. 

The multipurpose disinfectant is designed to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on surfaces, eliminating odours and leaving a long-lasting fragrance. The product is marketed for use on floors, baths, tiles, taps, worktops, drains, dishcloths, toilets, and potties and is safe for use on hard surface pet areas when diluted correctly.

Can we Get rid of It?

When considering the disposal of Zoflora, it is crucial to adhere to guidelines that mitigate environmental harm. The brand has issued safety warnings regarding the proper use of its products. The company advises against mixing Zoflora with boiling water, a practice popularised on social media for enhancing the fragrance of rooms. 

This method of use has not been tested and could negatively impact the ingredients within Zoflora and the vapour they release.

The following points outline the recommended practices for handling and disposing of Zoflora safely:

  • Handling Precautions:
    • Avoid high temperatures, static discharge, and ignition sources to prevent accidents.
    • Store Zoflora in a cool place away from ignition sources to ensure safety.
  • Disposal Guidelines:
    • In case of spillage, prevent Zoflora from entering drains and watercourses. Instead, it is absorbed into inert material and transferred to suitable containers for disposal by a licensed waste contractor.
    • Zoflora should be disposed of as hazardous waste by local authority requirements, even though it is not regulated by specific legislation.
    • Recycling is encouraged for empty containers where possible. Contact your local council for recycling options.
  • Manufacturer’s Advice vs. Environmental Concerns:
    • While the manufacturer, Thornton & Ross Ltd., suggests disposing of Zoflora products by pouring them down the drain with plenty of water, this practice raises environmental concerns.
    • Most cleaning products, including Zoflora, come in plastic containers that are often difficult to recycle, contributing to plastic pollution.
    • Cleaning wipes, frequently used with disinfectants, contain plastics and harsh chemicals, exacerbating issues like fatbergs and marine pollution.

Safety Warnings and Recommendations

The brand emphasises that its products should not be inhaled or left out on a counter all night for the sole purpose of fragrance. 

For those looking to freshen up their rooms, the company suggests soaking dishcloths and sponges in a sink or bowl with Zoflora diluted 1 in 40 in warm water, which will eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses while filling the room with fragrance for up to 24 hours.

Here are a few tips:

  1. General: Always store Zoflora in a cool, dry place and keep the container out of sight and reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion or contact.
  2. In Case of Contact: If Zoflora comes into contact with skin or eyes, it is crucial to rinse thoroughly with water. In the event of skin contact, washing hands after use is recommended.
  3. If Swallowed: Do not induce vomiting; instead, wash out the mouth with water, drink plenty of water, and seek medical attention immediately, showing the label for reference.

Usage Around Animals and Children:

  1. When using Zoflora around animals, ensure pets are kept off treated areas until they are dry and rinse thoroughly before allowing them back on surfaces. Zoflora should not be used where reptiles are kept, as it can be toxic to them.
  2. Zoflora can be safely used around children when correctly diluted. However, undiluted Zoflora poses risks if it comes into contact with the skin or is swallowed, highlighting the need for careful handling and storage.

Is Zoflora Products Biodegradable?

The disposal of Zoflora is a critical aspect of its environmental impact. Zoflora has introduced biodegradable wipes made from 100% plant-based fibres.

These wipes are designed to biodegrade more than 90% within 15 days in landfill conditions, according to the ASTM D5511 standard. The range of biodegradable wipes includes various fragrances such as Lemon Zing, Midnight Blooms, and Rhubarb & Cassis, available in different pack sizes.

However, it's important to note that while the wipes themselves are biodegradable, the packaging for Zoflora's antibacterial floor wipes is currently not biodegradable or recyclable. The packaging is a mix of plastics required to ensure a good seal and moisture barrier to keep the wipes fresh. In addition, the chemical components may not break down easily in the environment.

Can the Zoflora Package be recycled?

Zoflora packaging can be recycled, and the company has made efforts to encourage the recycling of its bottles and boxes. The brand encourages its customers to recycle their empty Zoflora bottles and containers, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable product packaging and disposal practices.

The product's packaging is accepted in most recycling programs. However, it's always best to check with local recycling guidelines, as recycling capabilities vary by region.

In addition to traditional recycling, Zoflora encourages its customers to get creative with their empty packaging. The brand's website and social media platforms offer tips and ideas for repurposing Zoflora boxes and bottles. For example, Zoflora boxes can be transformed into planters, pencil holders, or decorative items, while bottle tops can create bag seals.

Is Zoflora Products Sustainable?

Understanding manufacturers' critical role in environmental conservation, Zoflora launched concentrated Pod, designed to reduce plastic waste. Additionally, Zoflora's debut in cleaning wipes with a plastic-free trio indicates a move towards more environmentally friendly products. 

This effort reflects the company's dedication to reducing its carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future by implementing eco-friendly packaging solutions and innovating product formulations. 

Is Zoflora Products Eco-friendly?

A package of Zoflora concentrated disinfectant pods, featuring a variety of fragrances, with each pod designed for single-use application to ensure precise dosing and ease of use.

With a surge in demand for eco-friendly products, consumers are increasingly questioning the sustainability of their favourite brands.  Zoflora has taken significant strides toward eco-friendliness, mainly through the development and introduction of products designed. 

While the outer packaging of Zoflora's new cleaning wipes is currently made of plastic, the brand acknowledges the need for sustainable alternatives and actively seeks them. This transparency indicates a commitment to reducing environmental impact. 

Here's a breakdown of its eco-friendly initiatives:

AspectEco-friendly initiatives
Chemical CompositionZoflora's products contain chemicals like Linalool and Limonene, which have been flagged for their potential environmental impact. However, Zoflora argues that their products are safe and effective when used as directed.
PackagingZoflora has introduced concentrated pods to reduce plastic waste, claiming a 99% reduction in plastic waste per pack. However, not all packaging is recyclable, as noted with their Antibacterial Floor Wipes.
BiodegradabilitySome Zoflora products, like their Mountain Air Antibacterial Floor Wipes, are biodegradable, making them a more eco-friendly option for consumers.
Animal TestingZoflora products are vegan-friendly and not tested on animals, aligning with ethical consumer values.

What are the Alternatives to Zoflora?

Given the concerns associated with Zoflora, exploring safer and more eco-friendly alternatives is prudent. 

Here are some options:

  • Vinegar and Water Solution: A simple mixture of vinegar and water can be an effective natural disinfectant for many surfaces. While it may not kill as broad a spectrum of bacteria and viruses as Zoflora, it is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
  • Essential Oil Blends: Essential oils like tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus have natural antibacterial properties. Mixing a few drops with water can create a fragrant, natural disinfectant spray.
  • Eco-Friendly Commercial Disinfectants: Several eco-friendly disinfectants on the market use natural ingredients to kill germs without harming the environment or posing health risks.
  • Steam Cleaning: For those looking to avoid chemicals altogether, steam cleaning is an effective method for sanitising surfaces, using only water.

Zoflora vs Alternatives Brands

ProductEco-FriendlyCruelty-FreeLong-Lasting FragranceConcentrated
Method Antibacterial All-Purpose CleanerYesYesYesNo
The Pink StuffYesYesYesNo

Beyond specific products, it's crucial to recognise the importance of avoiding greenwashing, a deceptive practice where products are marketed as eco-friendly without substantial efforts to minimise environmental damage. 

To identify potential greenwashing, look for:

  • Lack of ingredients list or fragrance information
  • There is no policy on palm oil usage
  • Green claims with no supporting evidence
  • Products priced too cheaply, suggesting corners have been cut in production
  • Lack of transparency around manufacturing and supply chain
  • Absence of third-party certifications

Is Zoflora Better Than Its Alternatives?

The alternatives offer similar cleaning capabilities and additional benefits, such as eco-friendliness and natural ingredients. Additionally, some products are made with biodegradable, plant-based ingredients and packaged in recycled or recyclable materials. 

These alternatives not only ensure effective cleaning but also contribute to a healthier planet by reducing the use of harmful chemicals and minimising waste.

Environmental Impact Compared to Everyday Things

Zoflora, like many household disinfectants, is made from chemicals that have their environmental footprints. The production, packaging, and transportation of Zoflora contribute to its carbon emissions. 

To put Zoflora's environmental impact into perspective, let's compare it with the carbon footprints of other everyday items and activities based on data available for household products and activities.

Carbon Footprint Comparison

Item/ActivityCO2 Emissions (g)
Zoflora Disinfectant (Estimated for household cleaners)600 - 1,500
Mobile Phone Use (195 minutes per day)189
Washing Machine (0.63 kWh)275
Electric Oven (1.56 kWh)675
Tumble Dryer (2.5 kWh)1,000
Hot Shower (10 mins)2,000
Daily Commute (one hour by car)3,360
Average Daily Food Consumption4,500
This table illustrates that while Zoflora contributes to household carbon emissions, its impact is relatively small compared to daily activities like commuting or taking a hot shower. However, every bit counts when it comes to reducing our environmental footprint.

Statistics, Facts and Figures About Zoflora

With the rise of environmental consciousness, questions have been raised about its impact on the environment and its production statistics. 

Here are some key statistics and facts: 

  • ​​As of recent reports, Zoflora is found in one in five households in the UK, with over 40 different fragrances available.
  • Zoflora has seen a significant increase in demand, particularly in 2018, when sales grew by 28%, cementing its position as the UK's number-one liquid disinfectant with a 41% market share. 
  • The brand has also invested in a multi-million-pound manufacturing and packing facility in West Yorkshire to meet customer demand. 
  • Increased global demand and presence in over 130 countries, including South Africa, marketed as an eco-friendly range of disinfectants.
  • The brand now produces almost 1 million bottles a week
  • The concentrated nature of Zoflora disinfectants requires dilution, specifically a 1 to 40 ratio with water, before use.
  • Zoflora, the product should be stored below 25°C, away from light and heat.
  • Zoflora contains chemicals such as Linalool and Limonene, with Limonene considered a Category 1 hazard for acute and chronic aquatic toxicity.
  • Zoflora's commitment to reducing single-use plastic is evident in its concentrated multipurpose disinfectant, which, in a 250ml bottle, can make 10 x 500ml trigger refills.
  • The brand's disinfectants are proven to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.

Throughout this comprehensive examination, we have delved deep into Zoflora's components, assessing its environmental carbon footprint, potential health risks, and strides towards sustainability. Zoflora's idyllic blend of germ-fighting efficiency and aromatic fragrances is shadowed by concerns about its toxicological impact and the challenge it poses to aquatic ecosystems. 

However, we have also seen Zoflora's earnest efforts to tread a more eco-friendly path by introducing biodegradable wipes and a commitment to reducing plastic in packaging. This marks significant steps towards aligning with contemporary environmental expectations.

In light of these findings, consumers are encouraged to use Zoflora responsibly. You should Keep in mind the delicate balance between hygiene and environmental stewardship.

As we navigate towards a more eco-conscious future, the dialogue surrounding the ecological footprint of household cleaning products grows ever pertinent, urging manufacturers and users alike to prioritise the health of our planet in their choices.

Zoflora: FAQs

How It Works
Answer a few simple questions
Describe your requirements by answering some super quick and easy questions
Talk to installers
Up to 4 installers will get in touch with you directly
Receive up to 4 quotes
Compare quotes and select the best option for you
Become a Partner
Become a Partner We strive to connect our customers with the right product and supplier. Would you like to be part of GreenMatch?