CSIRO: Wash Wild Native Australian Oils Combatting Household Pathogens

With the onset of COVID-19 came an increased demand for household cleaning products, most of which contained harsh chemicals. Recognising the need for naturally anti-bacterial products, Wash Wild, founder, Belinda Everingham, embarked on a mission.

Wash Wild collaborated with the CSIRO Kick-Start program to develop W4C®, a unique blend of native Australian oils renowned for their powerful effectiveness against a wide range of bacteria and fungi.

W4C® stands out for its exceptional ability to combat germs and bacteria including E-coli, Staphylococcus, moulds and salmonella, all while remaining environmentally friendly.

The challenge

While developing products for their sister company, Bondi Wash, Wash Wild conducted independent lab tests on various naturally anti-bacterial products. These tests confirmed that Australian native oils possessed strong anti-bacterial properties, with varying levels of effectiveness against different household pathogens.

Recognising the potential in blending native oils, the Wash Wild team set out to develop a highly effective mixture that could combat a range of household pathogens across their entire product range.

“We wanted to develop this range to bring to life our vision to incorporate Australian native plants in products that people could use and love on a daily basis – both for their properties and their scent,” Belinda explained.

To achieve their goals, Wash Wild engaged with the CSIRO Kick-Start program to assess the antimicrobial activity of native Australian plant oils and blends against household bacteria and fungi. 

The solution

After testing various blends of native oils to enhance their potency, Wash Wild collaborated with Dr Parveen Sangwan from the CSIRO Manufacturing team to develop W4C®, a unique blend of native oils which are effective against a range of bacteria and fungi.

“We wanted to work with CSIRO due to the quality of research, but being a self-funded start-up, the cost involved was high. The CSIRO Kick-Start’s dollar-matched funding enabled us to afford the research. It made a huge difference,” Belinda emphasised.

The research revealed several key insights:

  1. Surfactants alone had limitations in effectively removing bacteria.
  2. Blending native oils was notably more effective than using single oils like tea tree or eucalyptus.
  3. W4C® was developed through an iterative process of refining the native oil blend.
  4. A W4C® concentration of 0.2% or higher was determined as sufficient for germ removal and preventing regrowth.


After completing the CSIRO Kick-Start project, Wash Wild streamlined its product range and officially launched in September 2021. In mid-2022, the Wash Wild range was rolled out in select Woolworths stores and is now available in over 250 stores across Australia.

Internationally, the brand is already distributed in Singapore, with plans for a launch in China.

Dr Sangwan reflected on this journey, commenting, “From a local SME to crossing borders globally, Wash Wild is a remarkable success story. Fostered by the CSIRO Kick-Start program, it’s an incredible feeling to see the achievement of local innovation on an international stage.”

“Parveen did a wonderful job helping us scope the project to be most effective, and then undertaking it and communicating with the team along the way. We were very happy with the end results, and it definitely helped ‘kick-start’ the business,” Belinda concluded.