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The (r)evolution of laundry detergents and softeners: proven skin compatibility

When developing laundry detergents and fabric softeners, the focus is usually on cleaning performance and the effect on the fibres and shaping of textiles. For some years now, environmental properties have additionally gained in importance, as this topic increasingly concerns the public and more and more people are interested in reducing their ecological footprint.

The ideal product, however, should master another challenge: it should be skin-compatible and cause neither skin irritations nor allergic reactions. The cooperation with Dermatest GmbH, an independent dermatological institute for testing the safety and skin compatibility of industrial products, marks Tana-Chemie’s pioneering role. The sustainable detergents and fabric softeners of the Green Care Professional brand have been successfully tested and have been awarded the Dermatest seal for proven skin compatibility.

The Dermetest seal of approval is a scientific label for independently tested products which come into contact with the skin. Products which are labelled with this seal have proven their safety in terms of exposure time and site of application in patch tests. Exceptional safety when it comes to your skin!

Our skin is only a few millimetres thick. And yet it protects us from many dangerous environmental influences and performs vital functions for the body. It prevents the penetration of pathogens, fungi and moisture, houses nerve fibres, immune defence cells, touch receptors, blood and lymph vessels, stores energy and serves as a heat insulator. It also plays a significant role in our well-being. Daily contact with hundreds of substances, liquids and surfaces poses a great challenge and danger to the skin. Textiles, and thus also the detergents and fabric softeners used, are in particularly long-term and extensive contact with our skin on a daily basis. Additional friction can also irritate the skin. Therefore, the skin compatibility of these products is particularly important. 

In order to meet this demand for its products, Tana-Chemie had the skin compatibility and safety of the Green Care Professional detergents and fabric softeners tested by Dermatest GmbH. Epicutaneous tests of the use concentrations according to the application instructions were carried out on volunteers under dermatological control. These tests follow internationally recognised guidelines*: 

  • At least 30 test persons are selected for each test 
  • Male and female test subjects are included regardless of the subsequent target group of the product 
  • All test persons are older than 18 years 
  • By selecting certain skin types, e.g. sensitive or atopic skin, the tolerance for certain products and skin types can be tested 
  • The one-time contact in the context of a test is intensified in comparison to the later application in order to achieve a meaningful result 

For testing, the test products are applied in a suitable concentration to a self-adhesive patch and stuck on under occlusive (closed) conditions for 24h. The occlusive conditions under the patch intensify the contact of the skin with the product, which increases the significance of the result. The assessment of possible skin reactions is carried out according to the recommendations of ISO 10993-23:2021 (Section 8, Annex E). 

Since the course of the reactions provides information about the type of reaction (allergic or irritant), three readings are the quality standard at Dermatest. The first assessment takes place 30 to 60 minutes after removal of the patch, a second and third reading takes place 24 and 48 hours after the first reading. 

Only when the product has successfully passed this test is the Dermatest seal and the rating “dermatologically tested” awarded. 

The detergents and fabric softeners in the Green Care Professional line have successfully passed the tests and have thus been awarded the Dermatest seal and are thus proven to be skin-friendly and safe to use. 

* (10993-23:2021, Section 8 and Annex E (Irritation testing of medical devices on human skin), the guideline of the German Dermatological Society (DDG) and the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) on “Performance of the epicutaneous test with contact allergens” (AWMF guideline register). 

Detergents and fabric softeners from Green Care Professional have been awarded the Dermatest seal and are therefore
dermatologically tested in accordance with the instructions for use and demonstrably skin-friendly when the concentrations
for use are observed.  © Tana-Chemie GmbH

About the Dermatest GmbH

Dermatest protects your skin. Since 1978. The independent dermatological institute tests all substances and items that come into contact with the skin for safety and skin compatibility and awards safe products with the Dermatest seal. The effectiveness of cosmetics is also independently checked at Dermatest. A large team of scientists from dermatology, allergology, food chemistry and biology ensures scientific competence and accuracy. Many tests are carried out with the help of volunteers, some of whom have been working with Dermatest for years. All tests take place under medical supervision and in accordance with international guidelines. Since 2009, Dermatest’s quality management system has been certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001 and audited by TÜV Rheinland. 

Clean down textiles to feel good

Down textiles – light as a feather, providing cozy warmth – like duvets, pillows as well as jackets, e.g., of residents in retirement and nursing homes are a real challenge for professional laundry. How can cozy natural products made of real feathers and down stay fresh, clean, and fluffy in the cold season?

“With a few tricks and the right detergent, you will keep feathers and down fresh for a long time and also ensure the necessary hygiene,” explains Angelika Büttner, expert for professional detergents at Tana-Chemie.

Cleaning even sensitive materials in a safe way for people and the environment requires compliance with certain properties. Besides a high material compatibility, the absence of bleaching agents and optical brighteners, as well as EU Ecolabel certification, other sustainability aspects should also be taken into account.

Thus, the sustainable ACTIV delicat fine and wool detergent by Green Care Professional fulfils these properties and is mainly based on renewable raw materials. The mild detergent protects textiles and cares for fine and sensitive fibres with almond oil, thus ensuring clean down textiles. Its formulation is biodegradable and harmless to the health of the users of the textiles. ACTIV delicat is dermatologically tested and as it contains neither dyes nor phosphates, it is also ideal for hand washing.  

The appropriate washing method increases the effectiveness and durability of the materials. Always read the washing instructions before washing. © Tana-Chemie GmbH.

Green and Clean: Sustainable washing powders by Green Care Professional

In in-house laundries with only few wash cycles per day, the question arises as to whether washing powders can meet laundry hygiene requirements. Can this be done without sacrificing optimized energy, water and chemical efficiency? Is the use of washing powders with manual dosing sustainable?

The answer is provided by Tana-Chemie’s Green Care Professional brand washing powder range. Sustainable solutions for all types of soiling and textiles guarantee outstanding washing results. And with the freshly revised formulations for even more sustainability! The concentrated powders are characterized by high performance, which not only saves transport energy. The reduced dosage also minimizes costs per wash load. The smaller packaging is user-friendly and saves storage capacity. A key part of the revision is, of course, the biodegradable ingredients and EU Ecolabel certification. The formulations are free of microplastics and complexing agents such as EDTA, NDA, phosphates and chlorine-containing compounds.

Less Powder. More Performance. Complete green.

ACTIV intense: High performing laundry detergent with long-lasting fragrance, perfectly suitable for old people’s and nursing homes

ACTIV performa: High performing laundry detergent for bleaching and degreasing, perfectly suitable for use in hotels, restaurants and cafés

ACTIV bicompact, Ultra concentrated laundry detergent for short washing cycles and particularly energy-saving, can be used from 20°C

Green Transformation: The “Go Green” Year at Werner & Mertz Professional

Our Green Care Professional family is still growing

For the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz, 2022 promises to be a thoroughly green year. In the “Go Green“ project, the Mainz specialists for professional cleaning are hard at work, enlarging the product portfolio of their sustainable Green Care Professional brand. In the process, the formulas and packaging of several Tana Professional brand products are being reworked and optimized for a sustainable circular economy and their inclusion in the Green Care Professional portfolio. Thus, the recyclable solutions for professional building cleaning will be significantly expanded again.   

“With our choice of ingredients for Green Care Professional, we are setting standards today for ecological products that often deliver better cleaning performance,” said Dr. Paula Barreleiro, Head of Formula Development at Tana-Chemie GmbH. “We are steadfastly following this path with “Go Green”. In pursuit of our goals, we are tapping the experience and technology of our closed loop sustainability concept for the Green Care Professional brand.”

In the future many of the reworked products will bear the respected eco credentials such as the Cradle-to-Cradle certificate, EU Ecolabel and the Austrian Ecolabel. “These certifications are a visible sign that we are raising the sustainability of our customers to a new level with our product conversions. We see this as the most promising way to a circular future,“ says Xiaoming Bai, Head of International Product Management and Marketing.

The next big step

The ecological products for cleaning professionals developed by Tana-Chemie GmbH since 1987 were brought together under the eco brand Green Care Professional in 2011. In recent years the company has been steadily modifying its Tana Professional products for the circular economy. The next big step is coming up in 2022. “This will definitely be our ‘Go Green’ year,” says Bai. “By the end of the year, we will have incorporated the major share of the planned Tana products into our Green Care portfolio.”   

The large-scale transformation involves many products from the areas of Building Cleaning, Kitchen, Laundry and Personal Hygiene. Their formulas and packaging adhere even more closely to the principles of the holistic circular economy. In addition, formulas contain a greater share of plant-based raw materials which are biologically degradable and thus suitable for a return to the biological cycle. After usage, the packaging made of high-quality recycled plastic and based on Design for Recycling specifications is held in a closed technical cycle.

“You can see in the example of our sanitary cleaner SANET lavocid,“ says Barreleiro, “how we are reworking our Tana Professional products for their integration in the Green-Care portfolio. Since its transformation, the product has been EU Ecolabel certified. Now free of preservatives, the formula contains surfactants based on renewable plants and natural citric acid. Furthermore, the packaging is made of 100 percent recyclate and is kept in a closed loop with proper recycling.”

More information about the “Go Green” project can be found at

Werner & Mertz Professional at Interclean 2022: Crowds rush toward the circular economy

Tana-Chemie GmbH auf der Interclean 2022. Copyright: Tana-Chemie GmbH

Interest in sustainability and the circular economy is growing by leaps and bounds in the professional building cleaning sector. That’s the take-away for Tana-Chemie, the Professional Divison of Werner & Mertz, from this year’s Interclean trade show in Amsterdam. Several hundred companies presented their latest solutions and concepts for professional cleaning from 10 to 13 May in the Netherlands capital.

At the Werner & Mertz Professional booth at Interclean, visitors from all over the world got a good look at the newest products, services and digital tools from the eco pioneer. As usual, the company’s fair presence revolved around the key concept of a sustainable circular economy. “It was fantastic that after a purely digital interlude in 2020, we could finally talk face-to-face with customers,“ says Thomas Ulbricht, CEO of Werner & Mertz Professional. “The atmosphere among the fair visitors was very positive and the interest in our products and topics was enormous.” 

Compared to the last live fair in 2018, it was easy to see that sustainability has become the focus of all companies at Interclean, according to Mr. Ulbricht. “As a long-time pioneer of the circular economy and ecological product design, we obviously benefit from this new eco awareness. Which, not least of all, could be seen in the large crowds at our booth.” 

The transition to the circular economy

A highlight at the Werner & Mertz Professional booth was a three-dimensional installation that demonstrated the two recycling loops for Green Care Professional brand cleaning products. In one, plant-based raw materials that go into the cleaning products from Green Care are biologically degraded in nature and returned to the biological cycle. The packaging made of high-quality recycled plastic and designed for recycling is kept in a closed technical cycle.

“In this eye-catching model, our customers can see how our products support them in speeding up their transition to the circular economy,“ Mr. Ulbricht says. “It was quickly clear to many visitors that our cleaning solutions also raise customers‘ sustainable use to a whole new level. And that’s made possible without any extra effort from the user. Our Green Care portfolio is a sure way for our customers to become heroes of the circular economy.”

One of the products and digital tools available to users pushing the green transformation in their own companies is the Green Care Academy, an innovative continuing education program for cleaning professionals. On this newly developed eLearning platform, professional cleaning staff have access to practical instructional videos with easily understood information about daily work routines.

Using the free online tool Green Care Performance Calculator, visitors at the booth could find out how many tons of plastic waste, crude oil and greenhouse gases they could avoid by switching to sustainable cleaning products from Green Care Professional. With KLIKS – Pouch, the company introduced a sustainable innovation for its KLIKS dosing system. Now Green Care concentrated cleaners are available in space-saving plastic pouches whose design purposely eliminates all unnecessary packaging material.

Guest speaker at INPACS GmbH

Werner & Mertz Professional went outside its own booth to share the message of the innovative power of a sustainable circular economy. Xiaoming Bai, International Marketing Director at Werner & Mertz Professional, was invited to speak at the INPACS GmbH booth. In his keynote address, Bai led the audience step by step through the transitional process to a successful circular economy and spoke about what the European Green Deal means for the professional cleaning sector.

EcoVadis Platinum awarded to Tana-Chemie GmbH

Tana-Chemie GmbH receives highest award from EcoVadis

Founded in 1971 under the brand names Green Care Professional and Tana Professional, the Professional Division of the Werner & Mertz Group has since then offered high-performance hygiene solutions for use in professional cleaning in different sectors. Applications include building cleaning, healthcare facilities and food processing operations. With the focus on integrally sustainable cleaning, the company works toward establishing a functioning circular economy. Through the manufacturing of environmentally compatible and biologically degradable ingredients for cleaning products and the use of innovative, recyclable packaging, the Werner & Mertz Group pursues an approach that has earned it a pioneering position in resource conservation.

Tana-Chemie GmbH has received many awards in recent years for its sustainability efforts and accomplishments. They include certificates of compliance with criteria for EMAS, the world’s most demanding environmental management system;the sustainable building standard LEED Platinum for the Mainz administration building; and Gold certification of several professional products from the renowned Cradle to Cradle® NGO. In June of this year, Tana-Chemie lived up to its excellent reputation once again. The highly respected CSR rating agency EcoVadis recognized the company for the second time—this time with Platinum, the top rating for sustainable business and a special honor that goes to just one percent of all companies audited.  

Since 2007 EcoVadis has evaluated companies’ environmental protection and social practices. More than 75,000 businesses in 200 industries around the world have had themselves and their supply chains objectively assessed and placed into one of the four rating classes of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The demanding audit covers corporate performance in 21 categories, divided into the four areas of Labor and Human Rights, Ethics, Environment and Sustainable Procurement. The last two subjects were particularly  decisive for Tana-Chemie. Special mention was made of the company’s use of recyclable packaging and renewable energy, the reduction in water consumption for production through innovative methods such as the re-use of water from operational processes. With its elevation from the previous Silver status to Platinum, Tana-Chemie is recognized as one of the most sustainable companies in the world. 

Thomas Ulbricht, Head of the Werner & Mertz Professional Division, is proud of the best rating award. The result, he says, reflects the company’s years of effort in sustainable management. The EcoVadis platinum award brings obvious benefits to the environment and, not least of all, to the business partners of Tana-Chemie. For one thing, the entire supply chain is made more transparent and for another, the envisioned continuous improvement of performance in key indicators is for the good of everyone involved. All of that creates lasting mutual trust.

Vergabe-Insider: New online trade journal about green public procurement

There’s no doubt that public procurement must and will become more sustainable. The changes present great challenges to purchasing agents because, despite sustainability’s relevance, the issue has thus far been neglected in public procurement. Consequently, the agents lack clarification on one hand and concrete assistance with practical implementation on the other. In order to change that, the Professional Division of the Mainz-based cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz, is working with the Forschungsgruppe für Recht und Management öffentlicher Beschaffung (FoRMöB) at the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich. Together they have founded the VERGABE INSIDER, an online trade journal for everyone who deals with green public procurement. Another important partner in the magazine is NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union).

Patented stand-up pouch of monomaterial: The ecological all-rounder

Within the scope of its Recyclate Initiative, Werner & Mertz has reached another milestone on the way to a genuine circular economy. The company has brought to market the world’s first completely recyclable pouch of a monomaterial (polyethylene) with removable label, whose development followed Cradle to Cradle® principles. The innovative and patented pouch concept is the result of a four-year joint development project conducted by Werner & Mertz and the global packaging and paper firm Mondi. The concept solves the problem of recycling printed plastic. About 85 percent of the packaging material is not printed and therefore can be recycled with no loss of quality as it is not contaminated by ink. The remaining 15 percent, the printed label, is completely recyclable and, because no adhesives or bonding agents are used, the material can flow back into new applications. Certification recently was conferred by the independent Institut cyclos-HTP and Interseroh, which stated that the stand-up pouch has “very good recyclability that cannot be optimized any further.”

German Environmental Award 2019 for Reinhard Schneider

Shared pleasure over the German Environmental Award (from left): Moderator Judith Rakers, DBU General Secretary Alexander Bonde, award winner Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, award winner Reinhard Schneider, DBU Chair of the Board of Trustees Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and Baden-Wurttemberg Environment Minister Franz Untersteller © DBU/Peter Himsel

Make bold decisions today for positive interactions tomorrow

Mannheim. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on citizens to “make bold decisions today” in environmental and climate protection to trigger “positive interactions for tomorrow”. “The future is not predestined. It’s up to us what we make of it,” he said at the presentation of the German Environmental Award of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) in Mannheim. “The plastic bottle that is recycled today or not even produced will not end up in the oceans tomorrow. It will be back in the raw material cycle the day after tomorrow. The soil, which is protected from erosion today, binds carbon. And it can still be used tomorrow as farmland to feed people.” Steinmeier presented the highest endowed independent environmental award in Europe with a total of 500,000 EUR to the soil scientist Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner from the Technical University of Munich and Werner & Mertz CEO Reinhard Schneider.

Ecological transformation presents opportunities to Germany

With an audience of around 1,200 guests, including Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Environment Minister Franz Untersteller, Steinmeier said that the award winners encouraged others by providing solutions and promoting ecological transformation as an opportunity for Germany. As inventors and engineers, as scientists or entrepreneurs, they would find new solutions. Award winner Kögel-Knabner is a role model for future generations of researchers. She adds the puzzle piece of soil use to a much larger picture of the global climate and its “truly alarming change”. Factories and power plants alone are not responsible for climate change; another contributor is how the world’s people manage soil, the planet’s major carbon sinks. Depending on its use, soil accelerates or slows down climate change. Months of droughts, torrential floods, and destructive storms can be observed in countries in the southern hemisphere. In Europe, too, heat waves are on the rise. The environmental award winner’s research is so important because soil science can help people adapt their agriculture to such extremes.

Products and production designed for sustainability

According to the Federal President, award winner Schneider was a responsible business leader before many others took any action at all. He showed with true pioneering achievements that environmental awareness and profitable business are not mutually exclusive and made the combination his recipe for success. Schneider “designed products and production for sustainability”. Examples include surfactants with a high degradation rate and packaging made of recycled plastic. If more people looked more critically at products on supermarket shelves, they might put pressure on manufacturers to be more environmentally friendly. Consumer activism, however, does not relieve politicians of their responsibility to intervene with regulations when the market does too little or nothing at all to benefit environmental and climate protection. Authorities can use instruments such as transparency, consumer protection with seals of quality, prices that reflect the true costs to the environment and, if necessary, bans on ingredients.

Hundreds of thousands of young people have already made a difference

The head of state went on to say that protection of the environment, climate and biodiversity has rarely been as important to society as it is today. The remarkable civil commitment of hundreds of thousands of young people has had a decisive impact and has “given a tremendous push” to climate and environmental policy. It has reminded Germans of the vigor and ambition that can be found in this country, the social and technological forces that have been built up in the area of environment and climate, and “the contribution that Germany owes the world”. We also are reminded of the ambitious goals the international community has committed to under international law. Young people are justified in saying that what counts now is courage and political will to achieve the goals that have been set. Steinmeier: “Climate policy has to be measured against that yardstick.” Public awareness of this extraordinary social movement has created previously unimagined opportunities that politicians are now called on to utilize.

Trust in democracy’s ability to act should not be underestimated

Federal President Steinmeier said he was aware of the criticism of the climate package. Nevertheless, he added, there is no reason to lose confidence in democracy’s ability to act just because the challenges are so great. Above all, he warned against playing off the participants in this debate against each other: the passion and determination of the young people on the street against the supposed sobriety and sluggishness of political procedure. The democratic process, which is now entering a decisive phase of negotiation, requires passion and determination, a willingness to communicate and fervent rationalism.

“No self-proclaimed strong man will ever be able to match the strength of democracy.”

Steinmeier challenged those who want to sow doubts about democracy to name another form of government that possesses such power of renewal. He stated, “No lone warrior, no autocrat, no self-proclaimed strong man will ever be able to match the strength of democracy!” No cabinet of experts and scientists, no group of climate researchers – despite all their irrefutable findings – can free society from having to deal with the conflicting goals, painful considerations and negotiations it now faces. An ecological transformation that is based on accepted climate science is, of course, necessary. As with every far-reaching structural change, some people will be affected more than others. They might be people who are worried about losing their jobs or about their children not finding jobs if their homes are in regions touched by the changes. Those in power should neither ignore their concerns nor use them as an excuse for not taking required action to protect the climate. Protection of the environment and the climate should not lead to a split between auto industry laborers and blockers of road building, between farmers and nature conservationists, between those who can afford to pay extra and those who cannot. After all, climate protection is an ecological and social issue that concerns everyone and climate policy is much more effective when a lot of people get involved.

Jury praises award winners’ commitment

As members of the jury of the German Environmental Award, on whose recommendation the Board of Trustees selects the winner of the year, Prof. Dr. med. Heidi Foth, Director of the Institute for Environmental Toxicology at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and Katharina Reuter, founder and managing director of UnternehmensGrün, spoke about the achievements of the 2019 winners. Foth paid tribute to the outstanding research work of the award winner Kögel-Knabner. With new research methods and unquestionably solid data, the soil scientist, she said, showed how important soil protection is. Reuter praised Schneider for his consistent focus on the topic of sustainable management. The jury was impressed specifically by his Recyclate Initiative, the creation of environmentally friendly products for the mass market, early European Union EMAS certification of his company, the steadily increasing proportion of used plastics in product packaging, and the company’s early entry to the “”Entrepreneurs for Future”” initiative.

Kögel-Knabner: the organisms in a handful of soil outnumber the world’s population

The award winners made their positions clear once again in films that were screened during the ceremony and in conversations with moderator Judith Rakers. Kögel-Knabner said that one way soils counteract climate change is by storing carbon. Moreover, she said, soils have to be fertile in order to meet global food requirements of a growing world population. The general public has not yet grasped how important soils are for climate protection, Kögel-Knabner said. The organisms found in a handful of soil outnumber the people on Earth. Climate-related problems that look regional – like the thawing of permafrost soils in Siberia – are in fact global because they result from the release of greenhouse gases.

Schneider: Plastic could be one of the most ecological materials of our time

Award winner Schneider said that companies should commit themselves to sustainability and accept the responsibility for making attractive offers to consumers without pushing them to do without expected quality and features. That cannot yet be reasonably expected of many, but it is possible to do so without compromising on ecology. Schneider said it is important in the development phase to make sure products will be recyclable. Different types of plastics should not be bonded in such a way that they cannot be separated. The paradox is that plastic could be one of the most ecological materials of our time “if we learn to handle it properly,” he said. With a minimum of energy and practically no material loss, plastic can be put into a closed cycle. Then no more waste is produced.

Expansion of the KLIKS System: KLIKS Pouch for Building Cleaning and Kitchen Hygiene

Kliks was the first professional Cradle-to-Cradle® certified assortment launched for machine dishwashing and laundry processes. The highly concentrated products offer compact efficiency and top cleaning performance. Now we have expanded the Kliks System with Kliks-Pouch, a closed dosing system that offers a controlled and precise dose of cleaning products for kitchen hygiene and building cleaning.