This Chicago-based company is on a mission to prove that cleaning supplies don't need to be 'dirty' from an environmental and health perspective.
When Kate Jakubas heard in 2012 that Proctor & Gamble was reformulating their Tide Free and Clear laundry detergent to be “free of harmful chemicals,” she was surprised and started to do some research.
Quickly she learned that this supposedly ‘safe’ detergent had contained 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic contaminant, and continues to appear in most conventional detergents. In fact, many of the products used to clean our clothes and homes contain dangerously toxic chemicals.
Jakubas took matters into her own hands, opening a business called Meliora K. Drawing on her education in Material Sciences and Engineering, she formulates pure, non-toxic household cleaning products with fully disclosed and very basic ingredient lists, non-plastic packaging, and a ‘Not Secret Soap Factory’ in Chicago that people are welcome to visit if they want to witness production firsthand.
The company’s name comes from the Latin word “meliora”, which means “better” or “better things” – a tribute to Meliora K’s sincere goal to create healthier, cleaner products for a better world. The labels on the cardboard containers are humorous cartoon depictions of naked people doing housework that are sure to make you chuckle while doing your umpteenth load of laundry.
The really impressive thing about the products (aside from how fabulously effective they are) is their total transparency when it comes to ingredients. You can find detailed explanations for what everything is on the website. In a blog post, Jakubas explains why Meliora K’s approach is superior to many other so-called green cleaning companies:
“We develop and manufacture all formulas ourselves. We fully understand the complete chemical makeup of each formula. We can’t accidentally use a surfactant or a synthetic detergent instead of soap, because we make the soap ourselves.
We insist on full ingredient disclosure from suppliers. We only buy from suppliers that tell us every ingredient they use. We’ve actually been slowed down because of this. For example, we’ve had trouble introducing an oxygen bleach product because many suppliers will only sell sodium percarbonate with a mysterious ‘coating’ that is claimed to be proprietary.
We provide an honest and accurate ingredient list. No vague ingredients like ‘plant based surfactants’ or ‘natural scents’. No listing cutesy non-ingredients like ‘love’ or ‘zen’ or ‘bliss’. Ingredient lists are important and are not the place to joke around or be unclear.”
Jakubas points out that ‘proprietary blends’ are usually meant to withhold information from the consumer, not from other businesses: “A bank account, some lab equipment, and a good chemist can tell anyone all they like.”
I have been using Meliora K’s award-winning laundry detergent, soap flakes (for household cleaning), and all-purpose soap bar for several weeks, with great success. The laundry detergent is impressive – a mere tablespoon in a full load washes my family’s clothes, even dirty cloth diapers, thoroughly. It works well in cold water, too. My shipment arrived with a convenient glass spray bottle with instructions for how to dissolve the soap flakes to create an all-purpose cleaning solution. It works miracles on bathroom scum. You can buy paper-bag refills for detergent, too, which I think is awesome.
Meliora K offers free shipping for all orders over $30 to the United States. You can also buy from certain stores; see list here.