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A more sustainable way to clean: An interview with a sustainable cleaning business owner

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Elisha Henry interviews an owner of a sustainable cleaning business and gets some tips on how you can make your cleaning more eco-friendly.

Most conventional cleaning products contain toxic chemicals which are harmful to people and our environment. Chemicals found in common household cleaning products like phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia are continuously rinsed down our drains. Even after passing through water treatment plants, small amounts of these chemicals can enter the UK’s rivers, ponds and lakes and have adverse effects on our aquatic life.

As society has started to recognise these harms, we have started to see more refillable and non-toxic cleaning products on our supermarket shelves, which is a positive for our precious aquatic life. Yet Gina, a sustainable cleaning business owner, proves having a clean home and being environmentally-conscious can be even simpler and more affordable than that. We interviewed her to find out what her secrets are and what motivated her to start eco-friendly cleaning.

Caption: Photo of the bottom of a staircase (Photo from author)

Could you introduce your business?

Soap & Broom is an eco-conscious, sustainable and non-toxic, domestic cleaning business I started in 2021.

Could you provide a brief introduction about yourself and what inspired you to start and eco-friendly cleaning business?

I am a 32-year-old wife and mum. I started Soap & Broom during maternity leave as I was looking for a career change. It was important to me to be sustainable and eco conscious mainly because of fears for my son’s future and what kind of environmental issues his generation will inherit from us. I also knew that eco cleaning products clean much more effectively than conventional ones and are generally cheaper and so it was a no-brainer!

What do you think is the key to cleaning sustainably?

Keep it simple – you don’t need 101 different products. If you use the correct equipment, you can clean an entire house with washing up liquid! Also, avoid bleach at all costs! It really isn’t good for anything, particularly your respiratory health and our precious ocean life!

What do you enjoy most about what you do? (This doesn’t have to be related to sustainability)

As a creative person, I find a lot of joy in turning something dirty or neglected into something beautiful, through cleaning. My favourite things to clean are shower screens that are thick with limescale and water marks. With a bit of soap and scrubbing I can make them look brand new again.

Are there any challenges to running an eco-friendly cleaning business?

Occasionally, new clients can be a little unsure whether eco cleaning products will be as effective as harsher ones. But are usually quickly swayed after I’ve finished their clean!

What are the eco-friendly must-haves in your cleaning kit?

Washing up liquid, white vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda is really all you need to clean the average house. My favourite eco cleaning brand is Miniml, who operate a closed loop system for their packaging. I buy cleaning products in 5 litre Jerry cans which I can return to them once empty to be washed and refilled.

Thank you for your time and sharing those insights with us!

You’re welcome!

Caption: Photo of bottle of ‘Ecover’ all purpose cleaner (photo taken by author)

It is impressive that small business owners are taking the initiative to make their business sustainable! If you are unsure on how to get started with the conscious cleaning trio: washing up liquid, white vinegar and citric acid, and there are some good resources online. Why not try them out next time you want to freshen up your home?

About the Author: Elisha Henry is a contributor for WILD and a Human Geography and Environment student at the University of York. A self-proclaimed ‘materialistic environmentalist’ trying to navigate an ethical existence while satisfying her Gen Z urge to live her ‘best life’, buy shiny new things and indulge in cheese and seafood.

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