When you think of products that last a lifetime, you probably don’t think of hand soap. This attitude is precisely what Neat is trying to change.

With their aluminium bottles, easy liquid refills and grownup scents, Neat is giving the cleaning industry a sorely-needed shakeup.

This is a new kind of product for Buy Me Once - so to better explain why we launched Neat, we’ve caught up with cofounder Ryan to hear more about this brilliant B Corp.

Read on to learn about Ryan’s frustrations with the industry, his favourite long-lived treasure and those gorgeous Neat fragrances.

Neat refills

Please introduce yourself and your role at Neat.

Hi, I’m Ryan, one of Neat's founders. These days I’m mostly responsible for innovation and developing new products.

What was the driving force behind setting up Neat?

Most cleaning products are about 90% water and delivered in single-use packaging. Neat was born from one question: if we removed the unnecessary water, how could we reimagine this entire system?

We saw the opportunity to deliver plastic-free, concentrated products that you dilute at home, with reusable bottles that deliver a better product experience than the disposable products on the market. 

Tell us a bit about your materials and production methods.

Neat refills

We always wanted our products to work for a wide variety of people. We didn’t want them to be a niche idea for a select few. Accessibility was key - we wanted them to be a real option for people to switch to from the products they currently use.

In the world of cleaning, efficacy and convenience is everything. For most of us, cleaning is a chore, so we needed to develop products that are as good - if not better than - what exists. That’s why we landed on a liquid concentrate. It gave us the ability to deliver products that perform brilliantly, smell incredible and can be mixed instantly.

We chose a glass bottle with an aluminium lid for our refills, as all the materials are widely recyclable. Our refills currently have at least 30% PCR (post-consumer recycled) content, and we are working towards getting this to 100% as soon as we can. Our spray bottles and hand wash bottles are made of 100% PCR aluminium.

Tell us a bit about the design of your products.

Neat cleaning sprays

Our products have been designed to delight the person using them. We don’t believe that you should have to compromise on the product experience to be more sustainable. Because our products are designed to be reused, we knew we had to create a different relationship between the user and the product.

Instead of being thrown in the bin, our bottles will live in people’s homes for many many years. Therefore, we have ensured they deliver on functionality, but also that they look beautiful in our homes. We wanted people to feel so good about them, that they would take care of them - even be proud to leave them sitting on their countertop, rather than hidden under their sink. 

Is there anything that frustrates you about the household cleaning industry?

One major frustration is the perception that sustainable or ‘eco’ cleaning products do not work. It is something we must try and overcome time and time again. Our products are developed using powerful plant-based ingredients which work as well as many of the harsher products on the market. 

What makes Neat different from other refillable cleaning products?

Neat cleaning spray

I think the design of our products stands out in the market, however, the most engagement and positive feedback we get is around our scents. We wanted the products to be a joy to use so people would feel good using them and want to continue doing so.

We developed fragrances that feel more like room scents than your standard ‘citrus’ cleaning product. They still smell fresh and make you feel like the space has been cleaned, but with a more modern feel. People love our Mango and Fig scent so much we now have it across 3 of our products, and there are more to come. 

Which is your favourite piece in the collection and why?

That’s hard to say. They’re all like my children, so it’s hard to pick a favourite! I think I would have to say the range of foaming hand washes. I love how they look by the sink, but I also just love a foaming hand wash.

I was always frustrated by how much of a gel hand wash gets washed down the sink. With the foam, you have lathering soap from the get-go - you don’t even need to run the tap to wet your hands. A better experience, and you don’t waste so much water. I also love how much kids enjoy this format. They struggle to use gel soap, but this is fun for them and engages them in sustainable products from a young age. 

Neat foaming hand wash

Tell us about a product in your life that has lasted a really long time.

This is random, but I have a pair of nail clippers that I bought in Tokyo about 15 years ago. I’ve used them every couple of weeks and they’re still working as well as the day I bought them. I would be so sad if I lost them. 

Tell us about a frustrating time a product of yours broke.

So many water bottles. I just got the new Chilly’s water bottle for Christmas and I have to say it is amazing. Planning to make this one last for as long as I can. 

Any exciting plans for Neat this year?

We have a lot of exciting plans for the next year! I can’t say too much at this stage, but let's just say we are leaning into all things foam, and have some really exciting innovations designed to modernise how we do the washing up.

Ready to break up with harsh, wasteful chemical cleaners? Join the refill revolution and make the switch to Neat, for good.

March 20, 2024 — Jasmine Vorley