Jasmine Pradhan interviews Samantha Kitchen, co-founder of We Are Probiotic about how friendly bacteria are the future of effective non-toxic cleaning…
Hi Samantha, you’re the co-founder of We Are Probiotic, an innovative new cleaning range that works with the power of probiotics rather than with harsh chemicals. What’s the problem with traditional household cleaners?
Putting it simply, traditional household cleaners are dangerous and ineffective. They cause more harm than good, but the worrying thing is a lot of people aren’t aware of these dangers. Traditional cleaners leave behind toxic gases which are detrimental to our health, we breathe them in, and it enters our bodies which can cause us significant long-term harm. Another problem is that they don’t work as well, chemical cleaners are only active when they are wet and so they stop working pretty much straight after application (so further pathogens can land straight back onto the surface). Not only that, they are a huge environmental burden, they cause damage to environment during production, use and disposal.
How is We Are Probiotic different?
We Are Probiotic is the complete opposite of chemical cleaners. We Are Probiotic are 100% organic and natural, meaning that it is completely safe for us, our families and our pets. This unique and sustainable cleaning range is carbon neutral to produce and uses refillable bottles and concentrated sachets of organic probiotics that you dilute at home with tap water. Whilst helping the planet, they also do an incredible job at cleaning, they carry on cleaning microscopically for 3 days after application by out-competing the bad bacteria living on your surfaces. This, in turn, helps boost you and your family’s immunity too. It’s a win-win all round!
Some people might squirm at the idea of purposefully spreading bacteria over their kitchens, can you explain a bit about the difference between good and bad bacteria?
If you saw your kitchen microscopically, you will see that everything everywhere is covered in bacteria, including you, we are always surrounded by bacteria whether we like it or not. The bacteria that we live among, can sometimes help us and sometimes harm us. However, most of the bacteria around us is neutral, meaning it is neither harmful nor beneficial to us, it won’t make us ill nor make us healthy.
Good bacteria are known as probiotics, which help our immunity and health, and bad bacteria are pathogens which can make us poorly. The neutral bacteria are there to support the most dominant population of good or bad bacteria. If beneficial bacteria (probiotics) are the dominant population, then the neutral bacteria allow them to thrive and reproduce, in turn, out-competing the bad bacteria/pathogens. It’s a constant battle of good vs bad. Probiotics help fight against the bad.
What are some of the health effects of using traditional chemical-heavy household cleaners?
Unknowingly to a lot of people, chemical cleaners can cause/hinder all kinds of respiratory problems, including asthma. Not to mention the skin and eye injuries that a lot of these chemicals can cause. There has been a lot of incorrect use of chemical cleaners, when innocently combined with other the wrong chemicals for example they can cause further irritation and chemical reactions. Many people get a tight chest/cough/sore eyes after using chemicals, and over-use can even cause damage to the skin if they aren’t wearing the right protective gear.
Where did your interest and passion for micro-organisms begin?
I’ve always been fascinated by the world through a microscope, but my passion came alive when I first met our brewing partners and realised how important probiotics are for our health. When I first realised how important they are, I started taking probiotics daily and cleaning with them also, and I was amazed at how effective they were for my overall health.
Are there other fields that we might begin to see the power of probiotics becoming more popular?
Yes. Probiotics for animals (including racehorses) to help maintain their health is growing. Gardening/eco-systems too. I’d love to see it used more in health care including mental health, it would be great to see probiotics prescribed for gut and other issues, to help improve our ability to fight off infection.
What’s next for the brand?
Getting it from a little-known start-up company to the next level – we want to help and educate more people across the UK and the world, finding even better ways to improve our impact. We want to be part of the bigger ‘refill evolution’, and selling to retailers. We would also like to break into the commercial cleaning market at some point in the future too – protecting public spaces/hospitals/hotels.
If you had one tip to help people be healthier and more eco-friendly at home what would it be?
Switching from chemicals to probiotics! One tip I do have, which is something that I do myself, and I would encourage other people to do it, is questioning everything that I buy… do I need this? Is it necessary? How will this impact the environment? How will it benefit my health, if at all? Everything you buy, question it. Look at labels/ingredients and ask yourself “do I need to use this?”. Taking small steps in changing your habits, will have huge health benefits and environmental benefits.