Do you ever wonder what’s in your cleaning products? Confused at how, exactly, bleach can get a wine stain out of a crisp white blouse? Curious why your kitchen wipes don’t biodegrade, and why peroxide just smells like it’s giving you cancer, like, right this second? Sure, the generic cleaning products on today’s grocery shelves work — they’ll get your counters smooth and your sparkles shiny — but really, how healthy are they?
As a physician, Gaurab Chakrabarti was constantly surrounded by cleaning materials. Ones he knew were not just harmful to the environment, but also dangerous to make, transport and use in general.
When he met Sean Hunt, who, at the time was completing his Ph.D. on the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide using nanoparticles, the two bonded over their shared love of science and soon were geeking out together, shooting crazy ideas back and forth — ultimately ending on something Gaurab had discovered in his oncologist training: an enzyme that made hydrogen peroxide extremely efficient when mixed with sugar sources.
In layman’s terms: they invented a formula that would make cleaning products actually safe to use.
After the two discovered how to properly produce the enzymes, they set up shop in Gaurab’s kitchen, dropping $7,000 at Home Depot on materials to create their own reactor so that they could scale and create their key ingredient in mass amounts.
The two coined the term, bioperoxide, which today is the hero ingredient in their line of eco-friendly disposable wipes (currently the safest and greenest cleaning product on the market) called Ode to Clean. Bioperoxide is made solely from air, water and plant starch — and is safe enough to consume, not to mention, clean with. Gaurab breaks it down simply: “When bioperoxide cleans a surface, it transforms into just water and oxygen to give you the safest clean.”
In fact, for every ton of bioperoxide that they produce, six tons of CO2 from the environment is removed, so this little scientific invention of theirs is not just keeping our homes cleaner and bodies safer — it’s actually helping the planet.
“For consumers,” adds the scientist, “bioperoxide represents an easy way to support a big shift without sacrificing convenience and effectiveness, while still making a change in our environment.”
Which is something that drastically needs to be addressed, he says. “If all wipes currently on the market were to make the switch to Ode to Clean wipes we would decrease the number of barrels of oil used in the US by 5 million. The amount of household cleaning wipes thrown away are made with enough petroleum to power 18,000 trips from the Earth to the Moon and back.”
The process for creating cleaning products and hydrogen peroxide is so dangerous to our communities and our health that Gaurab and Sean are determined to continue pursuing their plan to make household cleaning products greener and more eco-friendly.
Ode to Clean has plans to expand their product line to include travel sized wipes, “Swiffer” wipes and baby wipes, and has made leaps and bounds since their kitchen days, currently operating out of a factory in Houston.
For their name, they were inspired by the poet, Pablo Neruda and his “Ode to…” poems. “‘Ode to’ is the praise or elevation of a person or thing,” explains Gaurab. “When we say ‘Ode to Clean,’ we are thinking of what cleaning should be.
And so, on that note, from our kitchen surfaces to our planet, we say, “Ode to you, Ode to Clean!”