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Independent health store advice on eco-friendly cleaning products

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to Lara Holmes, manager of Seasons health food store in Exeter, Devon

We find that a lot of our customers are interested in buying eco-friendly cleaning products and we now stock a wide range of natural, biodegradable household products that are also ethically sound. We’ve discovered that a lot of customers are becoming increasingly interested in natural cleaning products because they have suffered problems with skin irritation when using chemical-based products and of course many customers have concerns about the environmental impact of their products too.

It’s an issue that we feel strongly about as, every day, huge amounts of toxic chemicals from our toiletries and cleaning products are transported from our sinks, showers and toilets into the sewerage system. But sewerage systems are not designed to remove these chemicals, meaning that a great deal of them end up in our water courses, affecting our wildlife. There are therefore many reasons why natural alternatives are a better choice for our health and the environment.

Making an informed choice

We would recommend that anyone wanting to buy eco-friendly cleaning products takes a look at the ingredients list on their products before they buy. Chemical nasties to be avoided include sodium laurel sulphate, which is a foaming agent that can cause skin irritation. Phthalates should also be avoided – these are most commonly used in the manufacture of plastics and they are known to be endocrine disruptors and suspected carcinogens. Others to steer clear of include petrochemicals, phosphates, enzymes and organotin compounds. There are many useful resources on the internet that can help with advice on chemicals to avoid, which enables consumers to make a more informed choice. Your local independent health store can also help with tips and advice on product selection and we also provide leaflets giving advice on these topics.

Recyclable materials

We stock a wide range of eco-friendly cleaning products from brands such as Ecover, Bio D and Greenscents, which is a locally-based supplier. Another good brand is Michael’s Original, which stocks a range of washing-up pads and scourers made from renewable plant fibres, which are free from plastic and biodegradable.

Customers can choose from a wide range of natural cleaning products from laundry liquids and fabric conditioners to washing-up liquid, toilet cleaners and dishwasher tablets. Many of these products are made from plant-based materials such as aloe vera, essential oils and wood fibres as opposed to synthetic chemicals. Often these materials are renewable, meaning that there is no danger of depleting the world’s resources.

When choosing eco-friendly cleaning products, it’s a good idea to check whether the packaging is recyclable as this helps to reduce waste, and also check whether a refill service is available as this is both kinder to the planet and your pocket.

We are delighted to be able to give customers the option of a wide range of natural alternatives to chemical-based cleaning products and are more than happy to offer help and advice in their product choices.


Seasons is based at 8 Well Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 6QR. The store first opened in 1978 and husband and wife team Rob and Rachel Barker took over the ownership of the store five years ago.

Seasons stocks a wide range of organic fruit and veg, quality wholefoods, healthy snacks, raw foods, superfoods, natural and organic toiletries, vitamins, minerals and supplements and of course eco-friendly cleaning products.

Customers can enjoy a range of healthy takeaway products including vegetarian sausage rolls, flapjacks and cookies as well as handmade veggie samosas and spring rolls. The owners are dedicated to supporting local businesses and, as a result, the store stocks products from over 30 different local suppliers.

To find out more, visit, call 01392 201282 or send an email to

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