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First published on The Natural Parent Magazine.

As parents, we want to keep our homes safe, clean and free from nasty chemicals. The use of environmentally friendly cleaners that are effective, but gentle on the earth too is even better. Have you ever wondered how plant-powered, environmentally gentle cleaners can be so tough on dirt and grime without the use of nasties and chlorinated bleach?

Earthwise‘s Lead Environmental Chemist, Dr Gillian Worth sheds some light on the cleaning power of plants and why they are naturally effective:


“The Earthwise philosophy of creating products that are effective on germs, bacteria and dirt but gentle for you, your family and the environment, leads our ingredient decisions when creating household cleaning products. We take great care to choose plant-based components that are tough on dirt and germs but safe for use in grey water and septic tank systems. And of course, all our products are biodegradable, breaking down over time to carbon dioxide and water.”

It’s reassuring to hear that Earthwise household cleaning products get a consistently good rap from householders all over New Zealand, and don’t cost the earth -backed up by NZ Consumer magazine recommending  Earthwise Tea Tree & Pine Toilet Cleaner 500ml and Earthwise Multi-Surface Spray Citrus & Mint Spray Cleaner 500ml products, above other brands such as Toilet Duck, Mr Muscle, Ajax and other eco-friendly brands. Consumer NZ tested 22 multi-purpose cleaners to see which products best cleaned surfaces – Earthwise Multi-Surface Spray Citrus & Mint Spray Cleaner 500ml came 2nd behind Dettol and was the top performing eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner. Earthwise’s safe, plant-powered, anti-bacterial Toilet CleanerKitchen SprayTea Tree & Thyme Multi-Surface Cleaning SprayDisinfectant and Shower Cleaner all wipe out 99.99% of bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus and pseudomonas. A natural and effective alternative to harsh bleach-based products that we would prefer not to have in our homes and around our children.

At Earthwise, they are just as proud of what they don’t include in their household cleaning products, with no phosphates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, or chlorinated bleach.


So what makes these gentle products so effective? Earthwise multi-surface, kitchen and bathroom cleaning products contain plant-based, biodegradable surfactants, making them gentler for families and the environment. Surfactants actually help make cleaning easier! Dr Gillian Worth explains what they are and what they do:

“Surfactants basically make water ‘wetter’ by breaking the surface tension on water molecules, causing them to spread further. Surfactants also get under dirt and grime on surfaces and lift it up, so that it’s much easier to wipe off. The surfactant we use in Earthwise products is glucose-based and it works in combination with soap and alcohol to tackle dirt and grime as well as disinfecting cleaning surfaces.”


Essential oils have powerful cleaning and deodorising properties too. Tea tree, pine and eucalyptus oils all have antiseptic, antifungal, disinfectant properties and are used in combination with other essential oils in Earthwise Multi-Surface Spray, Shower and Bathroom CleanerDisinfectant and Toilet Cleaner. Tea tree oil can also help to slow the growth of bacteria, so it’s particularly good for cleaning smelly bins and other grimy corners of our homes, as well as acting against mildew.

Pine oil and tea tree oil combine powerfully in their Toilet Cleaner and one of Earthwise‘s best kept secrets is their Disinfectant.It combines eucalyptus with thyme oil, creating a pleasant, stimulating smell that insects and bugs hate, along with great deodorant and cleaning properties.

Earthwise has been pioneering eco-friendly cleaning in New Zealand for over 50 years and is now one of New Zealand’s most trusted natural brands, keeping homes clean and families safe. They are working hard as a New Zealand manufacturer to make sure Kiwis continue to have access to essential household items, such as household cleaning, laundry and personal care products during New Zealand’s COVID-19 defence. With all their products made right here on home soil, you’ll continue to see Earthwise stocked on supermarket shelves.

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