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Family Central: Cleaning, Mrs. Meyer’s Way

I was crunchy when crunchy wasn’t cool.

Back in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, being eco-friendly still usually meant you were bucking the mainstream. You probably wore Birkenstocks and had probably been to more than your fair share of Phish concerts. But stereotypes were always made to be broken. Birkenstocks make my feet look like Barney Rubble’s. And Phish? Put Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Little Hate Machine” on the turntable and I start to reminisce like a great-grandmother in a rocking chair. But I became worried at how strongly I could smell my laundry detergent when I laid my little head on my pillow at night and decided to make some changes. It was tough finding cleaners that used primarily natural ingredients where I was living at the time – a small Texas town crumbling around a defunct rail yard.

But I did a little internet detective work and came across what was then a new company – Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. It was named after the founder’s mother, Thelma Meyer. Thelma was a housewife and mother of nine in Iowa who believed that a little hard work was good for you. Her daughter, Monica, who started the company, wanted to create cleaning products that smelled like a garden, not stinky chemicals, but that still really worked.

I started with their laundry detergents and had two bottles shipped to me. I was soon a Mrs. Meyer’s believer and have been using the entire cleaning line for over a decade now.

For parents concerned about putting so many chemicals in their kids’ environment, Mrs. Meyer’s has a lot to offer.

  • None of their products have ammonia, chlorine, parabens, phosphates, artificial colorants, petroleum or other un-spellable compoundsand chemicals.
  • They are not antibacterial, because the company truly believes that for the average household, good soap and water and a little hard scrubbing is all that you need to keep things clean. (This is in keeping with recent studies that have shown some bacteria are developing resistance to anti-bacterial cleaners, because we are using them so much.)
  • And they use as many renewable resources as possible, things like coconut, soy, and olive. So the scents are light, derived from the essential oils of herbs and flowers. But for the truly sensitive, FRESH carries her unscented versions of all most cleaners.

And, OK, it shouldn’t matter but – the labels are so darn cute! When I open my cleaning cabinet and look at the pretty pale lavender bottles, I smile a little on the inside. The philosophy behind Mrs. Meyer’s products – making “straightforward, honest cleaners that smell good and work like the dickens on dirt”- actually makes me want to clean. I strap on my rick-rack trimmed apron and get after it!