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‘We’ve got it wrong’

Why the simple act of cleaning our homes is built on a myth, and how rethinking it could change everything
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
'We've got it wrong'

This article first appeared in our Consumer Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 06 March 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

If you listen to the big players behind mainstream cleaning products, you’d think cleaning your home is all about killing germs.

It logically follows that the most effective products for the job should sterilise your surfaces and leave no space for life.

Now a challenger brand has set out to question everything we think we know about cleaning – from the way we buy our products to the very goal we are trying to achieve.

Living in dead zones

‘We’ve got it wrong’, says Richard Greenwood, reiki master and founder of We Are Probiotic. ‘The 99.9999% kill rate of cleaning products creates dead zones for us to live in. Those few remaining pathogens multiply every 21 minutes, creating billions of pathogens within 24 hours.’

This would mean that while polluting our indoor air, poisoning the soil and sea and potentially triggering allergies, chemical cleaning products don’t even get the job done.

Nature’s cleaners

Instead of using chemicals to kill the bacteria and pathogens that build up in the home, Richard has created a range of natural and organic probiotic cleaning products that give a thorough and
long-lasting clean by filling your home with life.

Probiotics – or ‘good bacteria’ – are nature’s recyclers; they thrive on grime, pollen, mould,
dust mite waste, allergens and organic matter and leave no room for pathogens in your living space. They’ve long been used as food supplements to boost gut health and treat disorders that frustrate conventional medicine – and now you can also use them to improve the microbiome in your home.

Like living robots they continue microscopically cleaning for three days after just one application – and the more you use them, the more they will come to dominate your home.

Probiotic cleaners actively improve indoor air quality, boost the immune system and bring natural balance back to your home.

A breath of fresh air

Many standard cleaning products contain synthetic fragrances to make you feel as though they’ve given a thorough clean. In reality these are often nothing more than toxic gases that add yet another layer of unnecessary chemicals to the air in your home.

We Are Probiotic doesn’t use chemicals to scent its products – as far as the company’s concerned, if your home doesn’t smell then that’s a good thing. If you would like to introduce the fragrance and beneficial properties of essential oils, they can be added to the We Are Probiotic atomiser to create a healthy indoor environment that also has a natural fragrance that you love.

The atomiser mists probiotics, plus your chosen essential oil, into the air every few minutes. The essential oils provide the fragrance and the probiotics provide active air purification.

It’s great for people with asthma and allergies, and the probiotics settle on surfaces to improve hygiene.

Tackling plastic waste

For Richard the use of chemicals isn’t the only thing we’ve got wrong when we clean our homes – we also need to question the logic of buying a cleaning product in a plastic bottle that lasts a lifetime, only to throw it away and buy another when it runs out.

When you buy from We Are Probiotic, you get an empty plastic bottle that carries a lifetime guarantee; you can fill the bottle hundreds of times using concentrated 5ml refill sachets.

Makes sense – but why buy an empty bottle? Because shipping cleaning products that have been created as a concentrate and then topped up with 90% water requires more packaging and creates a much bigger carbon footprint. It makes far more sense to add the water at home.

The world’s happiest probiotics?

The efficacy of a probiotic clean is determined by the health of the probiotics, and We Are Probiotic has a unique approach when it comes to the way the living organisms are handled.

The company hand brews its probiotics ‘with love’ in the English countryside and feeds them organic malt. They are played music and surrounded by high-energy crystals; employees who are ‘in a bad mood’ are asked not to go into the brewing facilities in case negative energies are transferred.

The water that is used in the brewing process is treated with Effective Microbe Ceramics, which are also supplied in the We Are Probiotic Starter Packs. They create far-infrared signals in water, remove the pollution memory and restructure the water molecules into their healthiest, purest form. These could well be the world’s happiest probiotics.

The cost of going natural

There is one other thing that we’ve got completely wrong, and it comes down to money. Cost is often a barrier for people who want to make the switch to more ethical and sustainable products, but for Richard there is no reason why this should be the case.

We Are Probiotic has a subscription service that makes its products cheaper than mainstream rivals. Its Starter Pack contains everything you need – including three bottles, a funnel, bamboo cloths and the concentrated cleaning products – for just £14, and if you subscribe to the minimum of three refill sachets you’ll pay just £3 per month.

If you don’t want to be tied in, you can get a bottle of Air & Fabric Freshener, Multi Surface & Glass Cleaner, Power Cleaner – Floors & Bathrooms or Air & Fabric Freshener For Pets for £2.48, and a multipack of four refill sachets for £4.

Green clean or greenwash?

This range of cleaning products is carbon neutral to produce, and after disposal the solutions actually help to improve the health of waterways.

‘Eco friendly is a badge that lots of cleaning products are using’, Richard says, ‘but are those products actually environmentally friendly when they are manufactured or washed down the sink?’

It’s true that buying ethical cleaning products isn’t straightforward – shoppers are too often forced to compromise. The Waitrose ‘Unpacked’ trial provided exclusive in-store cleaning refills of Ecover, but those who want to cut down on plastic might not want to buy products from a company owned by SC Johnson, which openly tests on animals.

If you want to make a switch that’s good for people and planet – and that won’t leave you out of pocket or feeling that your ethics have been compromised – this probiotic cleaning range is win-win.

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