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Casa de Suna was founded on the principle that nothing brings more joy than keeping a beautiful home.

We love sharing insights, tips, and traditions we’ve gleaned from generations of entertaining with you–but sometimes, we also think it’s important to bring in the experts. That’s why, today, we’re thrilled to welcome Melissa Lush, Chief Marketing Officer at one of our favorite, home cleaning brands, Force of Nature Clean (we promise their cleaning solution will change the way you look at household chores), to talk us through her sustainability journey–and why you should be cleaning sustainably, too.

What was the first sustainable swap you made in your kitchen?

All-purpose cleaner when my son was a baby. He put everything into his mouth, and with me being kind of obsessive about cleaning, I was constantly cleaning and rinsing, cleaning and rinsing. As we all know, babies make messes faster than we can clean them! I did some research to figure out what ingredients to avoid in cleaning products, thinking there might be a handful that would be easy to avoid. I was wrong – there were so many and some so ubiquitous they were just impossible to avoid. A great example is fragrances – the one word “fragrance” on a label doesn’t mean just 1 ingredient. It can be a cocktail of ingredients that brands don’t disclose including phthalates, which are chemicals used to make scents last. They’re known hormone-disruptors and when I learned that, there was no way I was going to use any fragranced products around my son. Since I couldn’t find any un-fragranced cleaners, I made my own with vinegar. I didn’t like the smell though, and I still had to use the toxic disinfectants when I needed to kill germs.

Why is it important to use sustainable home cleaning products?

It’s about the health of our families and our planet. A lot of people don’t know that cleaning products are not required to be tested for their impact on health, even though we’re exposed to them day after day for years. Manufacturers don’t want to do these studies, of course, but independent researchers are on the case. Recent research has shown that chronic exposure to the 3 most common categories of cleaning chemicals (bleach, quaternary ammonia compounds and fragrances) over the long term can cause lung damage equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, increase the risk of COPD by up to 45%, and increase the risk that pregnant women will have children with asthma by up to 70%.

And this research was on adults – for children, whose body systems are still developing, the risks are even more profound. For example, young children frequently exposed to cleaning products can be up to 50% more likely to have asthma.

From an environmental standpoint, all those single-use plastic bottles are terrible and not necessary. You know that bottle of cleaner your parents used to clean up around you when you were a kid? It’s still in a landfill somewhere! And the toxic chemicals flowing into our water systems from the cleaners that go down our drains are sticking around longer than anyone ever guessed. An example is that one of the most common antimicrobials – quaternary ammonia compounds – has been found in our water systems and found to be toxic to aquatic life. Thymol is another one that’s toxic to aquatic life.

What is something you can use Force of Nature for that people might not expect?

Because it’s so effective at killing bacteria and fungus, it’s great for keeping fresh cut flowers fresh. You just pour a few ounces into your vase with water, and it makes your blooms last longer. Another one is odor – bacteria and fungus are the culprits there too. So if you have sneakers or hockey gloves or any other noxious sports gear, it’s your BFF.

Do you use all non-toxic cleaning products in your home, in addition to FoN? If so, what do you opt for when it comes to dishwasher and dish soap?

It’s easier with some products than others – I found it nearly impossible to find fragrance-free dish soap and dishwasher soap, for example. I use Force of Nature for dishes I hand wash that need germ-killing – like anything I used in cooking chicken or eggs. For things that go into the dishwasher, I use Defunkify Dishwasher Detergent packets – it’s fragrance-free and super effective.

Any plans for FoN to expand beyond the main cleaning solution?

Oh yes! Our hero ingredient, hypochlorous acid, has lots of applications in different categories because it’s such a safe and effective way to kill germs. For example, there are lots of applications in the medical field already. If you imagine adapting some of those applications to the consumer space, we can meet consumers’ needs a lot better than existing products can. And there are lots of product categories that need to be cleaned up from an ingredient and environmental standpoint. Think about all the single-use plastic bottles sitting in your cabinets – none of them should be there. We have lots of innovations in the works!


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Casa de Suna.


If you’ve made any of Melissa’s sustainable swaps, let us know on social media using #casadesuna.

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