Laura Adrianna von Romanin, the sustainability advocate revolutionising car cleaning
At first glance, Kleen is an app for booking someone to clean your car. Order via the app and the cleaner will show up wherever and whenever you want, meaning there’s no more waiting in line at the car wash.
It’s a strong concept with a growing army of loyal customers.
But Kleen is more than that.
“Did you know that cleaning just one car uses 95 gallons of water?” asks Kleen co-founder Laura. “Which is ridiculous! It uses all sorts of chemicals, which pollute the water flowing back into the water supply. And there is a cost to health. A lot of private hire cars are cleaned several times a week, so the drivers inhale these chemicals each day which cause asthma, respiratory issues, and lead to cancer.”
So Kleen is pioneering a better method.
“We clean cars with a waterless system.”
“We clean cars with a waterless system. It’s a wipe on, wipe off system. It uses two microfibre cloths, one cleans the car, the other one buffs it.”
This eliminates water and nasty chemicals. It also means the car can be cleaned anywhere – at work, at the gym – without worrying about leaving a lake of foamy water, annoying the property owner.
Laura believes her company can make a real difference to the environment. And with 2.6 million cars in London alone, some of which are washed several times a week, the maths stacks up.
“One of the co-founders is my husband and the two are friends who are equally passionate about sustainability,” she explains “At a late dinner over a bottle of wine we talked about living in London and the pollution and we said, “Okay, let’s start something together.” So, the venture began as weekends, after work, late hours, long weekends, anytime that we could squeeze while we were working our day jobs.”
The ethical ethos of Kleen includes the cleaners themselves. “We are holding an appreciation day for 160 of them,” says Laura. “It will be super fun. We want them to feel part of a community, making a serious difference in the city they live in.”
Laura has become an environmental entrepreneur whilst becoming a parent. Not an easy combination. With a young daughter “time is a luxury”. Which is why she chose Tide to open the business bank account.
“I was looking for a tech savvy banking solution. I loved the fact that Tide is paperless”
“I was looking for a tech savvy banking solution. I loved the fact that Tide is paperless,” she says. “And it has exceeded all my expectations. Customer service is really great. There was one drama, where I left my card at a hotel desk abroad. I let Tide Member Support team know via the app, and by the time I was back in London I received a new card in the post. I was like, ‘This is amazing!’”
2019 looks like a busy year for the Kleen team. Targets include a contract to supply the Mayor of London’s fleet, launching on Android, and offering a round the clock service. Tide helps Kleen cut admin with time saving tools such as in app invoicing and accounting integrations, so Laura has more time to spend with her daughter.
With 31 million cars in the UK, almost all which are cleaned the traditional way, the potential market is vast.
And the environmental impact could be huge too.
“Stella McCartney got people thinking about what’s behind the labels of the clothes they wear. I believe we can do the same for one of the biggest industries polluting our environment. And make a real difference to this beautiful city.”
Find and download the Kleen app on the App Store.