Naturally cleanEthical Home & Garden News & Features
This article first appeared in our spring ’18 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Conscious Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 04 May 2018. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Waste plastic and harmful chemicals are as unwanted in our homes as they are dangerous to the planet; they clog up our biological systems as much as they pollute our streets, air and oceans. Non-toxic, plant-based, natural and biodegradable cleaning products are the obvious solution – but do they really work?
Sussex-based Joni Graham King tried various natural DIY cleaning recipes with different degrees of success before she created Green Goddess, her own brand of green cleaning products.
‘Green is the new black and we are bringing sexy back to green cleaning!’
JONI GRAHAM KING
Founder of Green Goddess
The switch to green cleaning was part of Joni’s wider goal to achieve a toxic-free lifestyle. ‘It started in 2013 following a bout of ill health’, she tells us. ‘I wanted to heal myself naturally and became aware of all the carcinogens and endocrine disrupters in personal and household products.’
Out went the harmful household products – and ‘green’ alternatives containing synthetic solvents and fragrances were also given the boot. ‘I wanted to find a truly effective, easy to use and nice-smelling eco cleaning product’, Joni tells us, ‘but I couldn’t find anything on the market that was both effective and truly free from synthetic ingredients.’
Does speed trump health?
For Joni, natural products can be just as effective as mainstream products – but she acknowledges the need for ‘a certain amount of relearning’ in the way we use them. Equally important is the need for greater awareness of what’s in the everyday cleaning products we use in our homes.
‘I feel we’re sold fast and effective action at the peril of our health’, she says. ‘All-purpose cleaners can contain a synthetic solvent and grease cutter called Butyl Cellosolve, a petroleum-based chemical that can irritate the skin and eyes and, over time, cause liver and kidney damage. Bleach can irritate or burn the skin and respiratory tract – and if it’s combined with acidic toilet bowl cleansers or ammonia it will create toxic fumes.’
As well as helping others to lead less toxic lifestyles, Joni is driven by the urge to add a good dash of luxury to the green cleaning market. ‘I think that cleaning products are generally bland’, she says. ‘They either smell synthetic and artificial or they smell of nothing. To me, luxury is associated with a feeling: of contentment, elation, ease and that all is well. Green Goddess products smell lovely and are a joy to use; they make cleaning easy and lift your mood. If that’s not luxurious for cleaning, I don’t know what is!’
Click here to find out why Green Goddess Multipurpose Spray is a MyGreenPod Hero
Key to the mood-enhancing properties of Green Goddess cleaning products is the use of essential oils. ‘Any fragrance or perfume is an unknown quantity to me so it would not go into my product’, Joni says. When creating the range, Joni instead chose to work with Nature and harness the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of essential oils.
‘Essential oils have a range of known therapeutic benefits’, Joni tells us, ‘and that’s why we believe that using Green Goddess products creates a holistic sense of wellbeing. While cleaning your home, our products also encourage feelings of harmony! The wellbeing element of the products is truly amazing, and of course the smells are divine. Our customers say that they feel good cleaning their homes, that the smell lasts for hours, their homes are left shiny and they have done all of that without harming themselves or the planet! What’s not to love?!’
The use of essential oils is just one of the easy switches that will help to detoxify your home. Another is to find natural dishwasher tablets or liquid; the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has listed chloroform as a probable human carcinogen, yet it can be created when chlorine from your water reacts with triclosan, an ingredient found in some dishwasher tablets or liquid.
Joni is also a keen advocate of using citric acid in place of bleach to clean limescale from the toilet. ‘Simply pour some citric acid into the toilet bowl and let it sit for a good 20 minutes’, Joni says. ‘You’ll see bits of limescale floating up in the water. Using a rubber glove and stainless steel scourer as well will deliver even better results.’
The natural cleaning products in the Green Goddess range are so reasonably priced that you don’t need to take the risk if you’re not confident about mixing your own concoctions. The Multipurpose Spray (£3.80, Lime & Lemongrass, Rosemary & Eucalyptus, Lavender or Fragrance-free) can be used on everything from worktops to fridge cavities and lunch boxes. You just spray it on and wipe clean without having to rinse; it’s a favourite with customers because it’s so diverse and easy to use.
A less obvious – though more fun – product is the Polite No2 Spray: the Green Goddess twist on the common aerosol fragrance bathroom spray. You simply spray it directly into the toilet, where it forms an oily barrier to support the reduction of any smell.
‘Knowledge is power’
Joni admits that this journey ‘is not always an easy one’, and says at times she has felt ‘extremely overwhelmed’ by all the information and research out there. ‘Trying to decide what to avoid and decipher the ingredients is at times difficult’, she tells us. ‘But knowledge is power, and I urge people not to be put off but simply to stop expecting perfection. My message around non-toxic living is simple: reduction is key. Reduce your toxicity levels where you can, grow produce if you can, buy organic when you can and choose ethical brands when you can.’