In 2013, Kate was trying to figure out what ingredients were used to make the laundry detergent and cleaning products in her home. She was inspired in part by a report published by Women’s Voices for the Earth called Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in your Cleaning Products.
The report called on Congress to pass federal legislation to require companies to disclose all the ingredients used in home cleaning products. Kate saw an opportunity to go one step further and make cleaning products that not only listed every ingredient but were made without ingredients known to harm people and the planet. Meliora Cleaning Products was born!
10 years later, we’re still staying true to that original mission of making people- and planet-friendly products. We’ve moved out of Kate’s house into a 12,000-square-foot production facility. Our name and branding have changed, our team has grown, and we’ve added new products. Our products have been vetted by leading third-party certifications. We have seen some states enact legislation to regulate the ingredients in cleaning products. Unfortunately, there are still no federal laws requiring manufacturers to disclose ingredients in home cleaning products. We’ve come a long way, but there’s a lot left to make cleaning better for everyone
Perhaps most importantly, we’ve been embraced by a community of amazing supporters! We’re grateful for everyone who has purchased our products, recommended them to friends, asked us important questions, followed our journey, and partnered with us on critical causes like the fight against plastic pollution. We wouldn’t be here without you!
In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we’ve put together a timeline of milestones from each of the last 10 years:
- Kate thought “This will be fun” and launched Meliora K!
- Continuing to show her excellent judgment, Kate brought her then-fiancé on as CEO. 10 years later, they’re still married, and enjoying every minute!
- Laundry Powder was the first product launched under the name Right Hand Laundry Powder because you could count the ingredients on one hand. It was originally only available unscented.
- Really Grate Soap Flakes and No Frills Soap Bar were launched. These products would eventually become our All-Purpose Home Cleaner and Soap Stick.
- We became a 1% for the Planet business member, pledging to donate 2% of our annual revenue to nonprofit partners, including Women’s Voices for the Earth.
Image credit: The Dill Pickle Food Co-op
- We got into our first two brick-and-mortar stores: The Dill Pickle Food Co-op and Green Grocer, both located in Chicago.
- Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee started carrying our products shortly after.
- We became a Certified B Corporation, demonstrating that we meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency
- The first Laundry Powder scents — lemon, lavender, and lemon-lavender-clove — were launched.
- We rebranded from Meliora K to Meliora Cleaning Products.
- We moved out of at-home production and into our first dedicated production space, a 1,500-square-foot facility at the ICNC manufacturing incubator on Chicago’s Near West Side.
- We were named a Best for the World - Community honoree by B the Change Media for our Community Impact score on the B Impact Assessment.
- We had our entire product line certified by MADE SAFE®, America’s first comprehensive human health-focused certification for nontoxic products
- The first seasonal Bath & Body Soap Bars were launched, starting with lavender in the spring.
- Soap Stick was launched after Kate’s mom used the No Frills Soap Bar to remove stains.
- We became certified by Leaping Bunny, the highest standard for companies that are committed to making cruelty-free products and eliminating animal testing.
- Our products were graded A for ingredient safety and transparency in the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
- California passed the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act (SB 258), requiring companies to disclose the ingredients used in cleaning products on their website by 2020 and on their packaging by 2021.
- Peppermint Laundry Powder made its first seasonal appearance!
- We hired our first full-time team members, including our current Production Coordinator!
- The first zero-waste bulk buckets were sold to Sugar Beet Food Co-op in Oak Park, IL. They helped us validate that returnable buckets are an amazing waste-reducing option for our grocery and package-free wholesale partners.
- We expanded production and moved to our current 12,000-square-foot production facility at the ICNC manufacturing incubator in Chicago.
- Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub was launched.
- We were named a Best for the World honoree by B Lab for our Community Impact score on the B Impact Assessment.
- Kate wrote a book, Maker to Manufacturer, sharing lessons to help other small businesses grow.
- Kate and Mike taught Sustainable Entrepreneurship to graduate students at the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago.
- Dish Soap was launched.
- During the great hand sanitizer shortage of spring 2020, we launched a new Hand Sanitizer with our friends at FEW Spirits of Evanston, IL. In an effort to offset the price gouging of many parties, we sold our hand sanitizer at cost to get the product into the hands of more people.
- Our single-use plastic-free products prevented the production, use, and disposal of over 1 million plastic bottles!
- We made our retail Laundry collection completely plastic-free by introducing a stainless steel scoop.
- California’s Cleaning Products Right to Know Act (SB 258) took effect, requiring companies to disclose the ingredients used in cleaning products on their website
- We got certified by The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which offers the most recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses
- The reformulated All-Purpose Home Cleaner Refill Tablets were launched, simplifying and making home cleaning better!
- Despite supply chain shortages, we only went out of stock on sprayers for our All-Purpose Home Cleaner.
- The final stage of California’s Cleaning Products Right to Know Act (SB 258) went into effect, requiring product labels to include ingredients for home cleaning products directly on the packaging.
- Oxygen Brightener was launched.
- Our single-use plastic-free products prevented the production, use, and disposal of over 2 million plastic bottles!
- New York legislation to limit the amount of 1,4-dioxane in home cleaning, personal care, and cosmetic products sold in the state went into effect in December.
- Kate joined the faculty at the Loyola University Chicago’s Baumhart Scholars MBA program, teaching Sustainable Operations to students working to make the world a better place.
- Foaming Hand Soap Refill Tablets were launched.
- Meliora Cleaning Products turns 10!
- Our current team is 12 employees in our Chicago factory, making and selling products that ship directly to peoples’ homes as well as hundreds of wholesale partners.
- Our Laundry Powder was featured on Good Morning America in a segment on saving money while reducing waste.
- More than one person has referred to Meliora Cleaning Products as a ‘veteran’ sustainable company, much to our shock and awe!