So, you’ve purchased your organic cotton clothes from The Fableists and are keen to make them last as long as possible. You’re ready to wash in cold water, hang dry, shake and fold. But what can you use to wash them? The last thing you want to do is put toxins in to your chemical-free kids clothes!
Most commercial cleaning products today are laden with chemicals and in order to cover up the toxic odours these produce, further chemicals are added to provide the ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ scents we’ve become addicted to. Shouldn’t something that is clean just have no smell? Clean jeans certainly shouldn’t smell like fresh pine, or waterfalls – whatever they smell like! It’s no wonder that we’ve seen a huge increase in children with asthma and eczema.
We were delighted to discover Mangle and Wringer http://www.mangleandwringer.co.uk/, a British brand that uses traditional methods to create their products and recipes passed down from a time before the advent of multi-national chemical conglomerates. Not only are the products fabulous to use, the branding and packaging is also so beautiful that you will be proud to display them on your counter tops. You can’t say that about many cleaning products!
Spray and Go – an all-purpose, multi-surface spray cleaner
Kitchen Cleanser – a cream cleaner safe for use on most surfaces
Bathroom Balm – a cream cleaner specific to bathroom use
Good for Glass – a spray cleaner for glass
Pure Laundry – for colours and whites, an all-purpose laundry powder
Natural Bleach – for removing stains in your washing and brightening whites
All of the ingredients used are safe, non-toxic, effective and completely biodegradable. They also come from renewable and sustainable sources. A full list of ingredients and directions for use are available on the Mangle and Wringer web site http://www.mangleandwringer.co.uk/shop.php.
We used the products around the house, in the garden and on the ultimate greasy testing ground: bank holiday weekend camping. With eight kids in tow, ranging from 8 months to 17 years, there was ample opportunity to put the Spray and Go to the test, cleaning greasy cooking appliances, filthy surfaces and – because of the non-toxic ingredients – even dirty hands.
Upon our return, we did all of the washing using Pure Laundry and Natural Bleach. The Fableists clothes remain toxin-free and have come out clean and pure, with colours still in-tact while sleeping bags and other camping essentials are packed up clean, and ready for the next outing. In short, we are delighted to have discovered a new and chemical free range of products. (favourite product? The Natural Beach. It’s amazing on all our washing!)
Owner of Mangle and Wringer, Vanessa Willes took the time to answer some of our questions about her company and products.
You didn’t begin your working life making traditional cleaning products! What led you down this path?
I spent 20 years working as an architect and interior designer, but in 2004 I was diagnosed with ME or chronic fatigue syndrome and I was forced to stop.
At the same time I met an amazing lady called Bette who, at the age of 84, had come to help at a local mother and toddler group. She offered to help me around the house and she was also keen to aid my recovery. Instead of recommending bed rest, she suggested gentle physical therapy and taught me how to make traditional soap, as her mother had shown her more than 70 years earlier. As we got to know one another she told me of her extraordinary life ‘below stairs’:
She went into service at the age of 14 where she recreated her family soap recipe and, with it, made cleaning products that were safe and effective. When she married and moved back to the country, Bette set up a local laundry and used her own soap based washing powder and stain removers to great effect.
Can you tell us where the name Mangle and Wringer came from?
Our name Mangle & Wringer comes from those days when Bette ran the laundry. She was known locally as ‘Mrs Mangle’ – long before the character in Australian soap Neighbours! – and her eldest daughter, Margaret, became known as ‘Little Miss Wringer’. We were keen to honour Bette in our brand and Mangle & Wringer seemed to fit.
Your branding is lovely, who did it for you?
I created the branding myself, with the help of a friend who is a graphic designer. I was keen to convey the traditional nature of the products, but also create packaging that would look good enough to be left out.
Is your packaging recyclable?
All packaging is recyclable although we hope customers might find a second use for the tins and the Pure Laundry Powder and Natural Bleach bags are completely compostable.
Are your products tested on animals?
None of our products, or the ingredients we use, have ever been tested on animals.
Do you have any new products in the pipeline?
We’ve had a lot of requests for the pure liquid soap we use in the products so we will launch that next. It can be used for washing dishes, floors, as an all purpose cleaner and is very safe and gentle on skin – containing just organic coconut and sunflower oils and nothing else! We are also add ‘Bette’s Bar’, the original bar of traditional soap. Again, it’s a fantastic multi purpose soap that’s great for cleaning anything, but is particularly gentle on skin being made using 100% organic coconut oil.
Other products in the pipeline include a beeswax furniture polish and a soap based spray especially for marble and granite. Bette’s books contain hundreds of wonderful recipes so you can expect lots of wonderful products in the future too.
You can purchase your Mangle and Wringer products online via their own web site http://www.mangleandwringer.co.uk/index.php. Items are dispatched immediately for next day delivery in the UK. If you are interested in overseas delivery, please contact Mangle and Wringer directly in order to make arrangements.