Homemade Cleaning Products That Don’t Cost The Earth

Your Home, Naturally

Michelle Byrne is on a mission to share her knowledge of getting back to basics with natural cleaning ingredients to create a safe and healthy home. Having spent the last few years looking for suitable products for her family, and researching the unnecessary toxic cleaning chemicals that we are buying, she launched Your Home, Naturally, to empower others to create natural cleaning products using a handful of simple and affordable ingredients. Your Home, Naturally offers workshops so you can DIY for a more sustainable and healthier way of living, as well as ready-to-buy products. Here Michelle talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

Kia Ora. I’m Michelle and I live with my whanau in Inglewood, Taranaki. I have been on a sustainable journey for a few years, searching for safe and natural cleaning products for my whanau. My curiosity really began when I was pregnant with my son, cleaning the shower with Jif and thinking this can’t be good for me or the baby. I have since developed sensitive skin and psoriasis and found that the toxic cleaning chemicals that I was buying irritated my sensitive skin. I also began reading the labels on food and discovered that I didn’t want to eat a lot of the unhealthy ingredients and also waste unnecessary packaging. Then I decided to start reading the labels on cleaning products that I had known and trusted for a long time. I was shocked at what I read!

I’ve discovered many cleaning products have fillers: strong, unnecessary chemicals. Many cleaning products are simply unnecessary and are the result of commercialism. As my sustainable journey has progressed, I found that the supermarket cleaning aisle smells are now too strong because I am not used to them.

On my journey, I have been inspired by Wendyl Nissen, a New Zealand author of The Natural Home, a book of sustainable practices in the home, and the original creator of the company The Green Goddess. Through reading her book, I began my journey to using more natural products in my home, as well as buying bulk organic foods. I have been inspired by Be Natural Soap, a local company that makes their own Castile soap. I have been inspired by Pigs Tits and Parsley Sauce, a woman that promotes the use of baking soda and vinegar in the home for a cheaper and environmentally friendly way to clean your home. I needed more than just Baking Soda and Cleaning Grade Vinegar 9.9% to transition from the toxic cleaners that I was using. The discovery of Castile Cleaning Soap, locally made in Inglewood, was key to the development of Your Home, Naturally.

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?

6 months development of products, research, logo design, labels, website, and workshops before website launch.

I have researched a lot about the unnecessary toxic cleaning chemicals that we are buying. We are buying poison. Why are we being sold a product that has an 0800 number for emergencies?! Also, they are so commercialised. We are told that we need a different product for each part of our home. This isn’t true. We are exposing our skin, our bodies, and our pets to these toxic chemicals that are causing harm over time.

I struggled to buy bulk baking soda and vinegar locally, which has led to the idea to buy in large bulk amounts, repackage it and sell it myself through my small business, Your Home, Naturally. Buying in bulk is more sustainable and better for the environment long term.

I have learned and researched various quality recipes for making natural cleaning products and come up with ones that I have used myself but can also be adapted to each person’s individual liking.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?

One of my biggest breakthroughs has been the development of my Natural Cleaning Recipe Booklet (eBook). It took over a year to create, change, add to and a lot of time and thought has gone into making it just right. I really wanted to reach people with my natural cleaning recipes in the most cost-effective way, aside from presenting workshops. The Natural Cleaning Recipe Booklet has been an absolute game changer for people wanting to DIY at home!

My biggest challenge is changing people’s minds about natural cleaning products, one person at a time. My purpose is to share my knowledge of getting back to basics with natural cleaning ingredients to create a safe and healthy home. We have lost the knowledge and understanding of Natural Cleaning Products as they have been replaced with toxic, synthetic cleaning chemicals.

My greatest achievement has been the development of my business and combining my passion for teaching (I am a qualified Early Childhood Teacher) with my passion for becoming naturally holistic in all areas of my life. Teaching people Do It Yourself skills is so important. It saves money and helps to support the journey to a more sustainable lifestyle.

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