The Green Laundress wants to lead a clean living revolution that starts at home

Erica Ahmed’s journey into entrepreneurship began more than a decade ago with the birth of a new baby. Her daughter had sensitive skin that nothing could fix. “There was a paucity of resources available, and what was there just didn’t work,” she said.

Ms. Ahmed, who works in public health, set out to make something that would cure her daughter’s skin issues completely.

Like countless Black woman before her, she began in her kitchen. “I started researching and experimenting until I came up with the right combination of natural, non-toxic ingredients,” Ahmed told For Harriet.

The process wasn’t easy. The budding businesswoman wasn’t a trained chemist, so testing and trials took time. But once she succeeded, the first products, that would later become her natural cleaning brand The Green Laundress were born.

Ms. Ahmed’s ingenuity came right on time. The marketplace is now ripe for natural cleaning brands. We’re witnessing a societal shift toward personal wellness and environmental protection that makes the benefits of a greener lifestyle clear.

Most consumers have no idea how many toxins we encounter every day or how much harm they do to our bodies. Exposure to unsafe chemicals carries great risk to women and children, in particular.

 In 2015, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stated that “widespread exposure to toxic environmental chemicals threatens healthy human reproduction.”

The American Lung Association warns that a host of products; including aerosol sprays, ammonia, bleach, detergent, as well as kitchen and bathroom cleaners, can cause an array of respiratory illnesses and even cancer.

And according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization focused on raising awareness on environmental and public health, many of the most harmful products rarely list all their ingredients on their labels, thus denying consumers of the ability to make an informed purchasing decision. They tested cleaning products and found that 53% contained products that harm your lungs.

Green Laundress products aim to be safe and effective. They contain pure essential oils to scent scrubs and sprays instead of fragrances that are often the culprit of respiratory issues. Gone are the days of having to air out a freshly cleaned room because of overpowering fumes. “You can actually inhale deeply without choking or fainting,” Ms. Ahmed said.

Switching your cleaning products is an essential part of living a healthy life, according to her. “I think it’s important for people to understand the importance of comprehensive wellness. You want to eat well. You want to clean greener. Exercise. Take care of yourself. It all goes together.”

But even when we know better, the transition to using new products can be difficult, and not just because of how well the harsher ingredients work. Ms. Ahmed knows how effective their branding is “I remember what my parents cleaned with when I was a child and how those messages and (commercial) jingles are forever entrenched in my mind.”

Ultimately, it all comes down to if Green Laundress products get the job done. If you’re used to harsh cleaning agents like Comet and Pinesol, you’re probably skeptical of the effectiveness of natural products.  Ahmed insists that hers is a better way. “We have been conditioned to believe that the only way to clean is with harsh chemicals.”

Surely, our ancestors didn’t use what many of us use now, yet their homes and clothing were immaculate. Nor did they eat what we eat—Again, comprehensive health—It all goes together.”

Growing a company is almost always an uphill climb, but she’s dedicated to making sure our communities can live and breathe well.

“Cleaning greener isn’t super sexy or exciting, yet it is so critical to our health and overall quality of life.”

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