CLEANING IS ALWAYS NECESSARY
Cleaning lady Ilona Parsch could no longer stand their aggressive cleaning products. That’s why she developed Beeta, the world’s only cleaning product made from beets.
“It’s a difficult time,” sighs Ilona Parsch, everywhere you see only wars, violence, problems and profound changes, my God! And when you first think about the grandchildren and what they will have to face in the future… Suddenly a mischievous smile appears on his face and then, almost singing, he recites his mantra of the last 32 years: “It is always necessary clean!”.
Parsch is now 68 years old and is 5 feet 6 inches tall with wild blonde curls. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he cleaned for the first time for a West German company that, among other things, cleaned thrift stores. There he was responsible for an entire cleaning team. When she first saved and then the cleaning company moved from Mecklenburg, this single mother of two children seized the opportunity and in 1995 she founded her own business. Parsch was able to hire former colleagues and gain some clients. At the request of the Chamber of Trades, she even obtained her teaching degree, for a year and a half, only on weekends, because the new business had to be ready in a week and the children had to be cared for at home. But Parsch doesn’t usually complain, and besides, everything seemed to be going well for the most part. Except for one thing that at some point she could no longer ignore: her health seemed to suffer from her work, her throat itched, her eyes watered and her skin itched. Her colleagues also seemed interested in the sharp and chemical agents she used every day. Giving up and starting over was not an option for Parsch. She asked everywhere about less aggressive alternatives, but everyone simply rejected them: “Without chemical maces, that is, without chemically produced acids or bases, everyone said you couldn’t remove the dirt.”
Ilona Parsch, who still lives in Teutendorf, a half-hour drive from Rostock, began to learn more about acid plants. She sought out organically produced oxalic acid without chlorine or other toxins. Extensive research revealed: Only rhubarb, sugar beet and beet can be a health and environmentally friendly cleaning miracle. She quickly rejected rhubarb because, according to a patent office investigation, a Henkel cleaner already contained it in trace amounts. She thought about the legal departments of large corporations and was scared. There were sugar beets and beets left. But the juice squeezed from the sugar beet oxidized and turned black. »A black liquid to clean? “It’s not for sale!” the little woman smiles, “so they left me the beet.”
But can a cleaning agent be made from beets, whose unpleasant stains are well known and respected? Yes, Parsch discovered it in the cozy little kitchen of his farm, which had since been converted into a testing laboratory. If beet juice is exposed to light for a long time, it loses its deep red color and remains slightly pink, but transparent and clear. And practical tests were also passed: greasy, hardened or calcified objects were cleaned again with a few drops of this mysterious substance diluted in water. Even the red spots on his skin that Parsch always had due to chemical agents did not appear.
“Back then, his hobby became retiring to the kitchen and working there,” says Thomas Parsch (45), the eldest son. His mother added some citric acid and essential oils to the hand-pressed beet substrate and the result was the world’s first beet cleaner. This was in 2003. At first only the employees of Ilona Parsch Building Cleaning used it.
While Ilona Parsch was practicing witchcraft in her kitchen, Thomas Parsch had already embarked on a different path. He studied industrial engineering with a specialty in cleaning and hygiene techniques in Mönchengladbach and completed an internship at Werner & Mertz GmbH (Frosch) . After receiving his diploma, he returned, as he puts it, “to take his mother’s work from his kitchen to the scientific laboratory.” He took charge of the improvement and optimization of the recipe under scientific control. For this he received the Exist Seed startup scholarship from the University of Rostock in the chemistry department. He then developed the brand and was responsible for product design. The company was founded in 2006 and the world’s first Beeta was launched on the market.
Does Beeta like Bete? “No!” explains Ilona Parsch: “After Ata comes Beeta!” To understand this idea you have to know that Ata was the universal cleaner in all homes in the former GDR, but its production stopped in 1991. .
»Beeta changed my life. I traveled a lot thanks to Beeta and met such nice people. I would never have done it without Beeta.« That’s why beets enjoy a high reputation in the Parsch family, even outside the produce industry. There is no recipe that has not been tried before, the beet liqueur and ice cream are especially delicious. “My Thermomix does it all.” By the way, yellow or white beets cannot match red ones.
Ilona Parsch also collects all objects that are shaped like turnips or at least decorated with them. Kitchen towels, coffee cups and all kinds of decoration. “She even has a necklace with an amber pendant in the shape of a turnip,” says Hannes Parsch (35), the other son. Beets in oil hang in the cleaning company’s shop in Rostock; painted by a former employee. Parsch has also adapted her personal dressing style to vegetables: she prefers to wear red and today she has also chosen a red sweater, a red leather jacket with studs and a red scarf she knitted herself. Ilona Parsch is very intelligent and occasionally interrupts her children. But that doesn’t matter much to the two of them, because they are obviously extremely proud of “their mom.”
Hannes Parsch also joined the company after completing his training as a wholesale trader. He initially took over the cleaning company with more than 30 employees and also became a teacher. A year ago both parts, the service company and the production of the Beeta , merged to form Gebrüder Parsch GmbH . The division of tasks persists. Hannes organizes the use of the cleaning service and Thomas produces around 50,000 liters of Beeta per year and handles sales. The latter, for example, is also done through manufactum. It is not surprising, because Beeta Even after 16 years it remains a true biological pearl: it does not contain synthetic fragrances or dyes, it does not contain substances derived from petroleum in general, it has not been subjected to genetic engineering or direct and indirect tests on animals. . This protects the skin, the environment and, last but not least, the surfaces to be cleaned. Goodbye to the poison cupboard that is still found in most homes! Beeta also has unpackaged products in its assortment. Customers from Rostock even bring their empty bottles and exchange them. Thomas and Hannes Parsch are quite satisfied. They would consciously pay attention to work-life balance and would not want to expand at the expense of their health and family. They both really radiate peace and unity and don’t seem to worry about their future together, because: “There’s always cleaning to do.”
This article first appeared in taz.FUTURZWEI, issue 23/2022.