Perhaps most known for the plastic-free Laundry Powder, Meliora proves that sustainable cleaning products made from safe ingredients for both people and the planet really can replace harsh and toxic chemical cleaners in households across the country. 

While their brand ethos is impressive, what’s most important is whether Meliora cleaning products truly work, if they’re really non-toxic, and if it’s worth making the switch.

I sat down with the Meliora team at their headquarters in Chicago to talk about all of these things. I’ve been using Meliora products for years so I’m really excited to share not only how our conversation went but how I feel after really paying attention to these sustainable cleaning products for a few weeks. 

[P.S. Our Editor, Abbie, has been using Meliora’s cleaning products for years too! You can check out some of her thoughts on their laundry detergent and other cleaners.] 

In a Nutshell: My Honest Thoughts and Experiences on Meliora Cleaning Products

  • Every single product at Meliora meets The Filtery-approved standards for non-toxic and effective products.

  • I reviewed the Laundry Powder detergent, Oxygen Brightener, Bath and Body Bar Soap, Dish Soap bar, Soap Stick (stain remover), Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub, and All-Purpose Home Cleaner. 

  • Meliora truly is a brand committed to doing better for both people and the planet. They not only hold themselves and their products to the highest standards but they back that up with third party certifications and advocating for better policies for the industry.

  • If you decide to give Meliora Cleaning Products a try, you can use the code THEFILTERY10 for 10% off your order.

This guide contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As always, we only make recommendations that are genuine.


Overall Thoughts on Meliora Cleaning Products: It’s a Filtery-Approved Brand!

All Meliora Products Horizontal 2

I have been using Meliora (pronounced Meh-lee-OR-uh) products for years, ever since I found the brand at one of my local refill stores. 

My repeats are the laundry detergent, dish soap bar, and all-purpose cleaner. laundry detergent, dish soap bar, and all-purpose cleaner. I’ve actually had the all-purpose cleaner so long they’ve upgraded from soap flakes to concentrated tablets and no longer carry the flakes! While I have purchased years of products with my own money, the Meliora team gifted me with a sample box when I visited their Chicago HQ. 

No brand is perfect… Some things I don’t love about Meliora:

  • The gentle scrub can be a little messy to work with and difficult for vertical surfaces. 

  • The all-purpose cleaner concentrate takes longer than expected to dissolve. The instructions are correct on the label but this is for my fellow non-readers. 

  • There is some possible trial and error needed to find the right dosage of detergent (unlike with conventional detergents).

  • All dish soap bars are like this, but it can be messy due to splash and difficulty sticking to a soap dish. But the eco-friendliness and effectiveness outweigh this in my opinion. 

While Meliora certainly comes close, no brand is perfect! That being said, these are all minor inconveniences that I easily got used to after the first couple of times using the product. I don’t think any of these are deal breakers and I will be purchasing each of these products again!

Meliora laundry powder at Unwaste refill shop in Chicago vertical
My local Chicago refill shop (Unwaste) carries Meliora cleaning products!

The Best Things About Meliora In A Nutshell: 

“We’re asking you to bring a product into your home. We need to ensure it’s good, effective, and as safe as possible.” — Kate Jakubas, Founder

Effectiveness

  • I found all products I reviewed to be easy and effective. Meliora products are super effective, safe cleaning products that remove germs, dirt, and impurities. 

  • Unless someone in your household is sick, regular cleaning products like these (not disinfectants) are sufficient to remove most harmful viruses or bacteria. 

Scent

  • All scented Meliora products are scented using organic essential oils which creates a light, pleasant scent that doesn’t linger (and I’m kind of sensitive to strong smells).

  • Not all their products are scented, and each of them is offered in a fragrance-free version. 

Variety

  • Almost all of their products are multi-purpose but there is enough variety that you’ll find exactly what you need to do any job. 

Plastic-Free

  • All products are single-use plastic-free and many are totally plastic-free. Most are packaged in recyclable (or compostable) packaging, some of which is also reusable with the refill products they offer (like the Laundry Powder canister). 

Availability

  • I get my Meliora from two local refill shops! You can purchase directly from their site (with The Filtery discount code: THEFILTERY10!) or check to see if they’re sold at one of ~500 locations near you. 

Certifications

  • All Meliora products are MADE-SAFE certified, which is the only 3rd party certification based on human and ecosystem health with a screening process of over 6,500 banned/restricted substances. 

  • All of their products are also certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program.

  • Meliora is also a 1% for the Planet member, a certified B corp, and a certified woman-owned business by WBENC. 

Ingredient Transparency

Ethical & Local Production 

  • Meliora Cleaning Products manufactures all of their products at their own factory in Chicago, which is pretty rare!. Manufacturing from their own factory helps them make sure that the ingredients on the label are the same as what’s in every product they sell. This also lets them bring living-wage manufacturing jobs to the city.

Advocacy

Ingredients 

  • Meliora products are not edible and not free from hard to pronounce ingredients. They are entirely free from phthalates, BPA, PFAS, palm oil, bleach, PVA, VOCs, synthetic fragrances and so much more. The exact list of ingredients can be found on every label and explained on the website, but are primarily from plant-based soap, baking soda, washing soda, sodium percarbonate, and organic essential oils.

Meliora Product Breakdown & Reviews

Even though I’ve been using Meliora Cleaning products for years, I’ve used them exclusively over the past 3 weeks, paying close attention to smell, performance, usability and more! I’m excited to share my thoughts and feelings after intense concentration on cleaning my house.

The products I tested were: 

  • Laundry Powder (lemon lavender)
  • Oxygen Brightener Bleach Alternative
  • Bath & Body Soap Bar (unscented)
  • Bath & Body Soap Bar (lemongrass)
  • Dish Soap Bar for Hand Washing (lemon)
  • Soap Stick (laundry stain remover)
  • Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub (peppermint tea tree)
  • All Purpose Home Cleaner + refill tablets (unscented)

I also received a bath & body soap (unscented) and a foaming hand refill tablet (lavender) that I haven’t tested. 

Thoughts on the Meliora Laundry Powder (Lemon Lavender Clove)

I have been using the Laundry Powder for years through several different types of washers and dryers and I always come back for it. The detergent comes in Unscented, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Lavender Clove, and Peppermint, which is the only one I haven’t tried. (I love them all but I always come back to Lemon, Lavender, and Lemon Lavender Clove). 

  • Smell: Light and pleasant. I personally don’t like cloves but this is surprisingly my favorite scent! It’s strong enough that you smell it but not strong enough that you need to move it away from your face or feel like you need to sneeze. 

  • Texture: Powdery, looks like baking soda (because it is!).

  • Ease of use overall: Simple! It comes with a stainless steel scoop that measures to a tablespoon. You’ll need to use anywhere between ½ scoop to 1ish tablespoon depending on your machine. It works in cold water but you might need to do some experimenting to find the right amount.  

  • Ease of application: Very simple! You drop it right into your drum before the clothes.

Laundry Tips I Learned from Meliora

I told founders Kate and Mike that I was finding powder in my dryer after doing laundry. They explained residual powder meant it wasn’t dissolving for a few reasons:

  • Too much detergent
  • Overstuffing my washing machine
  • Not using enough water
  • Or not using cold water that was at least 60 degrees F.  

My problem turned out to be twofold: I wasn’t using enough water and I was putting too much detergent in! Now I use just a little less than a tablespoon, I make sure there’s a visible gap between the detergent and the top of the scoop and it’s been fine ever since. 

Additional tips I learned about how to do laundry with Meliora powder: 

  • The cold wash on most machines is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But not all. If the water is really cold, like unheated Chicago winter water, it may not dissolve in the cold cycle. However, warm or semi-warm should do the trick. 

  • You can dissolve the powder in a little bit of hot water first, then add the clothes.

  • Do not expect the scent of the detergent to linger on your clothes. It’s not designed for that. 

  • Scents and dirt are two different things. If you use an extremely scented product like a deodorant or even a perfume, it’s likely the smell will linger even after you’ve washed it. That’s not because it’s not clean, but because these fragrances are designed to be like a cockroach — indestructible. (This is one reason why phthalates are used in fragrance products—to make the scent “stick” to the fabric for longer!) Other detergents just cover up the scent with their own scents which is why it might be more noticeable with a natural detergent like Meliora. 

Meliora also provides full usage instructions on each product page and bonus material in their blog.


Thoughts on the Oxygen Brightener (Unscented)

Laundy powder and oxygen brightener vertical

I had never used the Oxygen Brightener prior to this but I’m down for anything that’s a bleach alternative. 

  • Smell: Unscented but trust me and don’t stick your face in the canister to smell it. 

  • Texture: The same as the laundry powder, very similar to baking soda.

  • Ease of use overall: Very simple! The use for laundry is the same as detergent.

  • Although it can be used for home cleaning (like as a tile or bathtub scrub) I only used it for laundry.  

  • Ease of application: Very simple! 

If you’re looking for something that will literally change the color of your whites like bleach, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a little non-toxic boost to reinvigorate your fabrics, this is it! 

The Oxygen Brightener can also be used as a leave-in stain remover for extra stubborn stains like a green juice splash that I let sit for a week+ (see the soap stick review).  It can also be used around the house to help clean tile, grout, and other things which I have plans to use it for.


Thoughts on the Bath & Body Soap (Lemongrass)

I love a good bar of soap but I’ve found not all bar soaps are equal. This soap suds really nicely and doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped but rather hydrated and clean. 

  • Smell: Lemongrass is so hit or miss for me, especially with essential oils. Sometimes it can almost feel like the citrus is burning your nose but I’ve honestly had to do 5 double takes to make sure this scent is Lemongrass. It’s really light and pleasant and doesn’t linger too long after you wash. 

  • Texture: Lovely! It gets sudsy really easily but you can also feel the soap on your hands and then feel when it’s rinsed off. It’s really soft and hydrating. 

  • Ease of use overall: Very easy just like any bar of soap! 

  • Ease of application: Very easy, I even tried it with a finger or two (instead of picking up the whole bar) and you get all the same experiences but miniature. 

  • Removal: Easy! You can feel the soap on your hands but in a cleaning and hydrating kind of way. You can feel it rinsing off and aren’t left with any lingering textures or films.  

Because of this hand soap, I’ve abandoned my liquid soap in the bathroom. With liquid soap you sometimes have to get the ratios right if it’s a concentrate or you have to have the right dispenser. I prefer the texture and experience with this soap to my other liquid (non-foaming) soap. 


Thoughts on the Dish Soap Bar (Lemon)

Meliora dish soap and gentle cleaning scrub on kitchen sink vertical

I have been using the Meliora dish soap bar for years and it is still one of my absolute favorites out there. If you’re looking for just one sustainable switch to make, non-toxic dish soap is it. 

  • Smell: Delightful! The Lemon scent is enough that you can smell it while you’re doing dishes but it’s not a noticeable factor. It’s almost like an enhancement to the dishwashing process. 

  • Texture: Great! The bar is kind of in the shape of a tin can of food. It’s pretty sturdy when it’s sitting there and when it’s dry it stays in place very well. It gets sudsy really easily and a lot if you want it.  

  • Ease of use overall: Very simple! You can rub whatever wet scrubber you’re using directly on the bar of soap. You can pick it up and hold it while you rub your scrubber on it, or you can even use your hands to get it really sudsy and ‘drop’ in some dishes. 

  • Ease of application: This is one of the best dish zero waste dish soaps for application. The suds don’t disappear when you put them on your dishes like some other brands do. It stays sudsy and does really well to remove grease and dirt. 

  • Removal: Easy! It rinses off in a regular amount of rinsing time and hasn’t left a film on any of my dishes. 

When it gets to the end it gets kind of soggy and difficult to use so I put it in water to melt it down and keep using or make one large greasy load of dishes to finish it off. It can be added right on top of the next dish soap or stuck to a loofah sponge to use for extra greasy dishes. 


Thoughts on the Soap Stick (Laundry Stain Remover)

I avoid stain remover because I hate plastic bottles. But I’ll be keeping this soap stick around especially as these three weeks made me realize how prone to stains I am! 

  • Smell: unscented 

  • Texture: Nice! You have to hold the stain stick directly but it doesn’t feel weird and doesn’t leave a film on your hand. 

  • Ease of use overall: Very easy! I found the stick very easy to hold and easy to scrub with. You can kind of see it coming off on the fabric so you’ll get a good idea of how much you’re using.

  • Ease of application: Very easy! You just need to make sure you wet the stain first. 

  • Removal: Easy! It washes off the clothes and I actually forgot to wash my hands after treating the stain because I couldn’t feel any residue. 

Here’s what I tested

  • Coffee stains on a cotton t-shirt (1-4 days old)
  • Green juice stain on a cotton t-shirt (7+ days old)
  • Pasta sauce splash on a white cotton t-shirt (2-4 days old)
  • Ketchup stain on a coat (6+ months old)
  • Ice cream stain on my cross body bag (2-4 days old) 
  • Pasta stain on my sweatshirt sleeve (1 hour old)

Everything came out on the first wash except for the pasta sauce on the white t-shirt and the green juice stain which I soap sticked and washed twice. 

I’d like to note: 

  • The stain remover worked best when I used an old (bamboo) toothbrush to help work it into the stain. The three stains I tested this way came out almost instantly.

  • User error is definitely possible. I let the green juice and the pasta sauce on the white t-shirt sit for over a week without any kind of pre or instant treatment. Let that be a lesson to you.

  • After two tries with the soap stick on the pasta sauce and green juice, I used the Oxygen Brightener to make a paste and let it sit and that removed the stain to usable levels.

Hot tip: There’s a reason it’s called a soap stick, not a stain stick — it can also be used as laundry detergent in a sticky situation (like doing laundry without detergent sheets while traveling).

From Meliora: “Fill a bucket or sink with warm water. Submerge your dirty clothes in the water and rub them with the stick, focusing on any dirty or sweaty areas that need extra attention. The water should get sudsy from the soap. Let the clothes soak for a bit, then remove and rinse them thoroughly. Let clothes air dry.”


Thoughts on the Gentle Home Cleaning Scrub (Peppermint Tea Tree)

Gentle home cleaning scrub open vertical

I was really happy with this cleaner. I’m sure you know how effective baking soda can be as a non-toxic cleaner, but it also finds its way into every crack where it’s impossible to wash off. Not with this cleaning scrub! 

  • Smell: Pleasant and mild. It’s scented just enough that you’ll smell it while you’re cleaning but when you’re done cleaning you won’t smell it at all.

  • Texture: Very good! It has a fine grain like baking soda but feels a little sturdier than just plain baking soda. 

  • Ease of use overall: Good! I sprinkled the scrub then used a wet Swedish dish cloth to take a couple of swipes over the counter and stove. I then rinsed out the cloth and did another few swipes to pick up any remaining cleaner. 

  • Ease of application: Good. This does take a bit of getting used to. Because it’s just a jar with the scrub in it, I would recommend transferring what you think you’ll need to a different container so you’re not double dipping. I used a tablespoon to sprinkle it on my stove and countertop instead of dumping it out and I liked this method.

  • Removal: Easy! Using the method I described above, I didn’t see any baking soda lingering in any unwanted places when I was done cleaning. There was also no film or anything lingering. 

I went a little crazy and used this on the hard water stains on my glass shower door. It worked but it took a little scrubbing power and was awkward to get the powder on the vertical glass. I would recommend it if you have some tough hard water stains but I’ll stick to my castile soap + sponge mixture.


Thoughts on the All Purpose Cleaner + Refill tabs (Unscented)

action shot of wiping down sink with gentle scrub vertical

I love an all-purpose cleaner I can use everywhere and this did not disappoint. 

  • Smell: Unscented! But I’d like to mention that while I loved the old all-purpose cleaner from Meliora it did make me sneeze every time I sprayed it. I didn’t find that with this newer version! 

  • Texture: Nice! I was gifted the spray bottle with a tablet already inside of it plus 3 additional tablets. They have a similar texture to the laundry stick which is a little waxy but it dissolves into a regular all-purpose spray without a gritty texture. 

  • Ease of use overall: Nice! Give the tablet plenty of time to dissolve. I timed it and mine took about 35 minutes to fully dissolve (although I could have added warmer water). It’s just like any other cleaning spray, very easy to use and clean with.

  • Ease of application: Very simple! If you purchase the refillable glass spray bottle, the cap is made out of plastic (it’s practically impossible for it not to be) but the bottle is sturdy and can be reused over and over. 

  • Removal: I always wipe whatever I’m cleaning with a damp towel at the end. I didn’t see any areas that needed to be re-wiped and it left everything visible clean with no streaks or film.

Why Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Products Matter

Cleaning products are supposed to help us stay safe from dirt, viruses, and bacteria but when companies aren’t required to list their full ingredients, hidden chemicals in household products become worse than dirt, viruses, and bacteria combined. 

It’s because of this lack of ingredient transparency that Meliora exists. Founder (& COO) Kate Jakubas had a “What, like it’s hard?” moment that served as the beginning of Meliora. 

She was studying environmental engineering with the goal to work in sustainable product development when she looked to see what the ingredients were in standard laundry detergent.

To her shock (and horror) there were no ingredients listed which she would go on to find out was because there are no ingredient transparency requirements in the industry. 

She immediately thought, “I bet I could make a better product with better ingredients…” and she did! 

(P.S. In recent years, some state-based legislation has changed requirements to improve ingredient transparency in home cleaning products—thanks in large part to the advocacy of activists and small businesses like Meliora!. There’s more progress to be made, but we’re on the right track!)

Beyond Natural: Meliora’s Commitment To Non-Toxic Cleaning 

Kate and Mike Meliora
Kate and Mike Meliora in their Chicago headquarters

Kate told me she thinks of sustainability as a spectrum; she said, “We often get asked about our ‘competitors’ in the green cleaning space, but we don’t view other companies that way. Meliora Cleaning Products tends to be a great fit for folks that have already been on a journey of finding better products and have probably tried a few other better-for-you brands. When they are ready to eliminate single-use plastic instead of just buying concentrate, we are there! Or when someone decides that ‘natural fragrance’ in their everyday cleaner is still bothering them, our unscented and essential-oil-based scent provides that option.”

Meliora is on a mission to prove to everyone that non-toxic, sustainable, and effective cleaning products are possible

This is evident in the way Kate & Mike are unwilling to compromise when developing a new product. Every product must answer yes to these 3 questions: 

  • Does it work? 
  • Is it people friendly? (non-toxic)
  • Is it planet-friendly? (sustainable)

If the answer is no to any one of the questions, it doesn’t get developed. 

Mike told me, “Selling products that don’t work to our high quality standards just because it has the “right” list of ingredients and packaging is the worst thing we can do in terms of sustainability. Products, first and foremost, have to work great, otherwise it’s just more trash. That’s the biggest product development challenge we face, and one we enjoy – making great products that still meet our expectations and those of our partners and the people who use our stuff every day.”

Take for instance, laundry sheets or laundry pods. You might be surprised Meliora doesn’t carry them but it is for this reason. While both are extremely popular, they are heavily greenwashed because every product available contains PVA, a petroleum-based plastic that we are unsure of the environmental effects of. 

A product can only be as good as its ingredients and the Meliora team is committed to knowing the faces behind their suppliers. 

Here are some pics from my visit to the Meliora warehouse in Chicago!


Summing It Up: My Thoughts on Meliora Cleaning Products

After thoroughly researching the approved list of Meliora ingredients, every one of their products has a spot on the Filtery-approved non-toxic household products list. But after talking with Kate & Mike in their Chicago HQ, I’m even more impressed with their commitment to authenticity, transparency, people, planet, and effectiveness. I think we could use a few more companies like Meliora that are committed to making a high-quality quality product that people want to keep using. 

P.S. Don’t forget to use the code THEFILTERY10 for 10% off your order!



About Lauren

Lauren Plug is a sustainable copywriter and SEO. As the founder of Copy by LP, she’s on a mission to help every conscious consumer connect with sustainable brands and products. She does that through copy and content that’s honest, ethical, sustainable, and only slightly braggadocious.


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