Warm magazine feature CC May 05 2011, 0 Comments

 Back in 2005, Tracey Duggan was a fulltime firefighter – and then she developed a chemical sensitivity that led to rashes, nausea and other unpleasant side effects from coming into contact with a range of chemicals. Considering the job she was doing at the time, this sensitivity brought a few issues to light for Tracey in terms of some changes she needed to make to her lifestyle at home as well.  She was advised to reduce her chemical use, especially of cleaning products which are particularly harsh on the body.

It wasn’t all as simple as she’d hoped for either. Once Tracey began investigating, she discovered that it is hard to find truly natural products when you start actually reading the labels. She found issues with animal testing even in ‘natural products’, discovered that ‘plant derived’ means there are still chemicals in the process, and began to question where even the most natural ingredients were coming from. Tracey found that the majority of cleaners were made from palm oil – the production of which results in pollution and deforestation.  The more she investigated, the more disenchanted with ‘natural’ cleaning products she became.

From a health point of view, Tracey decided that the best way to be truly natural was to go back to Nanna’s ways: vinegar, water, soap, bi-carb – all ingredients that have been around for hundreds of years.

Once Tracey started cleaning with these traditional products, she began experimenting. One revelation Tracey had early on was that there was absolutely no need for new technology in cleaning. There have been products that do the job well for hundreds of years and it is only in recent times that companies have been trying to put a new spin on something that has worked very well on its own. Great from a marketing and sales perspective perhaps but not always beneficial to the consumer. 

Tracey explored the properties of essential oils, with a view to adding that little bit extra. They provided a tougher, grease cutting quality, as well as giving that nice fresh clean feeling.  All her products contain castile soap, which is a liquid made from oils that are 100% biodegradable. In fact, the only thing not biodegradable in all her products are those that contain bi-carb. Her laundry powder is made from India soap nut that she acquires through Fair Trade. It took a bit of investigation and effort but Tracey feels she’s achieved what she set out to do.

When Tracey developed these products she instantly got relief from her allergies. And at that point that was all she wanted – there was no intention of marketing them. But then a friend came to visit from the mainland with her daughter, who unfortunately had a terrible allergy to chemicals. Tracey shared her products with her friend, who was absolutely thrilled – and Clean Conscience was born.

The key message that Tracey wants to share is that natural cleaning products are just as effective as anything else. There is a perception that chemicals clean more but this isn’t necessarily true.

If you’d like to find out more about a local Tasmanian business born out of a real need visit theClean Conscience website (external link). You can  check the Clean Conscience range of cleaning products and find out who sells them in your area.