When Briana Jenkins, 25, was looking for a job in Brisbane while studying naturopathy, she simply created her own to tap into her interest in sustainability. Her green cleaning company Eco House was born in 2013, which centres around home made products so natural you could eat them.
Wellspring spoke with the sustainable warrior to find out how her services are resonating with Australian consumers.
Can you tell us about Eco House and why you created it?
I had previously worked in the cleaning industry in Brisbane using conventional cleaning products as I had heard they were the most effective products available. After cleaning my first two houses I noticed that my body responded badly to the chemicals, and started to study some of the harmful ingredients contained in many store bought products. I looked for alternatives and found after trialling a few products they can work very effectively. I then created my own organic cleaning products using essential oils and decided to launch a cleaning business using my products.
Why should we be worried about conventional cleaning products?
On one end of the scale, they can cause minor health concerns such as allergies, skin irritation and headaches. However, studies are showing some chemicals used in many detergents like Phthalates, have been linked to cancers and tumours with long-term use. At the end of the day, if people need to wear a mask when using their oven cleaner, it is worthwhile considering the health implications of using that product. These products can impact not only the people using them, but pets and children in the home. They also end up in our waterways.
What has been a high point since launching Eco House?
I love continually proving that natural cleaning products can work even better than traditional ones. I recently had a client tell me she had never been able to get rid of the mould in her bathroom using bleach, and she was amazed to report that my bathroom cleaner got rid of it and substantially reduced its regrowth.
If people aren’t able to make their own, where can they look to buy safe cleaning products?
It is great to see more natural products on the market as more people embrace safer cleaning products. ecostore is a great chemical free brand – it is sustainable, healthy for the customer and the environment and available at the major supermarkets.
Are there any ingredients in particular that people should watch out for when picking a cleaning product?
A few common harmful ingredients I avoid are perchloroethylene (spot removing products), phenols (disinfectant), butyl cellsolve (all-purpose products) and diethlene glycol (window cleaners). Warning labels or a huge list of confusing ingredients is a clear sign that the product is toxic.
1. A review conducted by the Environmental Working Group estimated more than 50% of US cleaning products it reviewed contained lung harming ingredients. It also found just 7 per cent of cleaning products adequately disclosed their contents.
2. When it comes to damaging ingredients in traditional cleaning products, volatile organic compounds (VOC) top the list, releasing fumes which can trigger allergies, asthma and headaches.
3. It is important to find out whether a cleaning product contains palm oil or palm kernel oil. If it foams and suds, it is usually a sign it does. The production of this ingredient can cause deforestation when harvested unsustainably and has devastated orangutan populations and displaced entire communities.
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