By Family Clean, July 12, 2019 5:28 pm
There is one problem we constantly face: green-washing. And if you’ve ever tried to buy eco-friendly cleaning products before, chances are you’ve experienced it too…
There is nothing more disappointing than discovering an amazing product that claims to be natural or organic, only to find there is just one natural ingredient hidden among a whole heap of nasties.
It’s really important not to get fooled by false claims and fancy labels, because we know our customers trust our cleaners to clean their homes with the most natural products available. These are just some of the comments we regularly hear from customers…
- I want to avoid toxins that could harm my baby or pets, especially on the floors.
- I didn’t think eco products worked very well, so I was really excited to see just how clean my home was after my first service!
- I suffer from contact dermatitis and can’t have synthetic fragrances used in my home.
- I just don’t know what I am looking for when I read the labels of ‘eco’ cleaning products…
Even though we had already tested every natural product out there and found a selection of Australian and New Zealand brands that we trust, we were starting to run into supply issues. So we asked ourselves: ‘could we make our own range of professional eco cleaning products?’
With our experiences of using other products and listening to what our customers like and don’t like, we had a lot of intel on hand. But it turns out we couldn’t do it alone …
So we brought in Pedro (below). He’s a chemical engineer whose research has included how to transform waste cooking oil into fuel. When he told us this, we knew he was onboard with our eco mission, and it was all systems go!
Here is how the range came together.
1. We bombarded Pedro with ideas and information
Since we have been at this since 1994, we had so much information to share with Pedro. This includes what fragrances our customers prefer, and which products on the market we like best (and those we don’t like).
Using all this information, we asked Pedro to create 5 products for us:
- Floor cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Multipurpose spray
- Cleaning paste
- Toilet cleaner
The products had to be completely natural, they had to smell great and – most importantly – they had to work really well. We also knew that certain ingredients can trigger allergies and dermatitis, so there was a big list of no-gos, including really sweet and floral fragrances.
The final criteria was this: you don’t need a science degree to read the ingredients list.
So Pedro did some initial research and come back to us with these golden words: it was *all* possible.
2. Test, refine, test again
It took a lot of batches to perfect each formula! Take the paste as an example, which took the longest to develop. At first it was too gritty and wasn’t leaving surfaces as shiny as we get from other pastes. Then when we finally got the consistency and shine power right, we ran into issues getting the fragrance from the grapefruit essential oil to come through.
This process was repeated for the four other products, so you get the idea of how many hoops Pedro had to jump through. He had to constantly refine the ingredient ratios and formulation process until it got the ‘oh so good’ tick of approval from all of our Mother Ducks.
Picking fragrances was definitely the most fun part of the process! In the end we settled on rosemary, spearmint, grapefruit, lemon myrtle, lime and mandarin. They each have their own beneficial properties (like lime, which is a natural disinfectant) and they smell delightful without being overpowering.
3. Bring in the cleaners
Once we had the products to a point we were happy with, it was time to bring in our most trusted testers: the cleaners. They’re out cleaning homes all day every day, and their feedback has been crucial to getting these products to a point we’re happy with.
Now they can choose to drop into HQ once a week to refill their products, which has drastically reduced our plastic use. We were thrilled to have the first batch of these products ready just in time for Plastic Free July, so we could take part! (More on that soon…)
So why did we go to all this effort when there are already eco products on the market?
There is a sign in our office that says this: Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s the mantra we live by and we’re always looking for ways to do just that for our customers.
That is why we wanted our own range, because there aren’t many local eco brands that can provide us with a consistent supply, and we weren’t willing to compromise by using sub-par products.
Now we can endorse our own products with full confidence that they …
- Are natural, which means they’re safe for children, pets and your health
- Reduce the plastic consumption of our business
- Do not contain fragrances and ingredients known to trigger common allergic reactions
Plus, Pedro’s also a great baker, so we got to enjoy his sweets along the way!
Now when you ask us what our cleaners are cleaning your home with, we can tell you every ingredient (think bicarb soda, vinegar, essential oils and organic liquid soap).
For a long time we have experimented with making our own cleaning products, but to have arrived at this point with the assistance of a chemical engineer who has professionally formulated, emulsified and batched them for us is such an exciting milestone!
We hope to make these products available for purchase soon! But if you want to get your hands on some, here is how…