Little girl outside in bathing suit getting sprayed with insect repellent by parent

Behind the Brand: Meet the Founder of Aunt Fannie’s

Last Updated: August 10, 2022

Born out of a need to protect his family, and others like them, Mat Franken founded Aunt Fannie’s to make truly clean, green household products that were not only good for the earth – but also good for the people he loves most.

All images courtesy of Aunt Fannie's.

Who owns Aunt Fannie’s?

Image of white male with brown hair and facial scruff in grey shirt

Mat Franken had no intention of getting into the cleaning business. But, after his young son started developing a slew of health problems, including acid reflux, eczema, asthma, and host of other autoimmune issues that still persisted even after changing things like diet, the founder and CEO of Aunt Fannie’s — a health and wellness company that makes household cleaning solutions — began to look at the products he was using in his own home.

After discovering the supposedly natural products he was using could potentially be causing him and his family more harm than good, Franken took it upon himself to do some research. What he discovered was shocking.

“[These companies] take the plant molecule, break it, and add what they want, subtract what they want, and make something that’s evolutionarily completely unknown to the human body,” says Franken. “So, sure they’re eco-friendly because they’re coming from sustainable sources, but it doesn’t mean that they’re people-friendly, pet-friendly, or indoor-friendly.”

Not to mention that a bit of digging on Google revealed that the air in your home can be up to five times more polluted than the air outdoors as a result of the products you’re using in your most intimate spaces.

Image of person reaching down to get Aunt Fannie's floor cleaner bottle next to bucket and mop

Another shocking bit of information Franken discovered was that more than half of all kids these days have some form of chronic illness, most of which are autoimmune derived — and many can be attributed to household cleaning products.

So enough was enough. Franken headed into his garage to practice a little R&D, and, before long, the founder kicked his private finance career to the curb and Aunt Fannie’s was born — born out of the love for his son, family, and others experiencing similar health issues as well.

“When you feel you’re doing the right thing and making the purchases you believe are the best for the health and wellness of your family, then to learn maybe they’re not, it’s a pretty big kick in the teeth,” Franken says of the impetus of the brand. “For me, cleaning is really just a reflection of love for the people in your home.”

When was Aunt Fannie’s founded?

Aunt Fannie’s launched their very first product (FlyPunch!) in January 2015. Just two years later, the brand added 13 more products to their line. Today, the brand has 19 great-smelling items.

So who is Aunt Fannie?

Aunt Fannie’s is named after Franken’s grandmother: a no-nonsense, truth-teller who had a whole lot of love to give.

What makes Aunt Fannie’s different?

Image of person pumping Aunt Fannie's hand soap bottle sitting on counter next to lemons and lemon squeezer

At the most basic level, Franken says that Aunt Fannie’s is first and foremost a health and wellness company that just happens to make cleaning supplies and pest solutions that go beyond “natural.” This means that all Aunt Fannie’s products are hardworking, clean, plant-based, cruelty-free formulas that don't use fake fragrances or harsh chemicals; and they smell great too thanks to the use of functional essential oils.

Plus, Aunt Fannie's cleaning products are dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic, which means you can clean your entire home without wearing gloves. No itchy, irritated skin or the fear of harmful chemicals — just good, love-filled cleaning products with ingredients that are actually beneficial for your skin, like the use of beauty-grade vitamin E in the Mosquito Spray.

“Everyone just kind of expects their products to do a job. But they don't expect it to be good for them and they don't expect it to do them no harm,” says Franken. “We make products that can actually be good for you, do no harm, and are eco-friendly.”

“We're doing things that are really different in the [cleaning] category and challenging the category to think about ways that we can be good for ourselves and our loved ones,” because, ultimately, what self-care really comes down to is not just the action of cleaning, but “the comfortability in knowing that you’re using something that is not just better for the planet, but it’s actually better for you.”

Is Aunt Fannie’s safe for pets and kids?

Image of orange cat lying on chair above bottle of Aunt Fannie's carpet refresher on floor

Yep! All of Aunt Fannie’s products use cruelty-free, clean formulas and go through a rigorous R&D process, tapping on experts like the world’s foremost ethnobotanist, as well as food, beauty, cleaning, and pest formulators to make high-quality, family-friendly solutions that are safe for any home.

Are Aunt Fannie’s products antibacterial?

Aunt Fannie’s doesn’t use antibacterial ingredients. Instead, their cleaning products naturally break down dirt and other unwanted filth by using the power of vinegar.

Plus, Aunt Fannie's hand soaps with probiotics are a great way to naturally clean your hands (especially if you wash for 20 seconds), and they “are dermatologist- and allergy-tested and are designed to align with the pH balance of human skin,” as reported by GlobalNewswire.

What are the best Aunt Fannie’s products?

Though Franken is proud of all of Aunt Fannie’s cleaners, solutions, and soaps, he gave us the inside scoop on the brand’s top sellers, some of which are his own personal favorites!

Image of Aunt Fannie's Fly Punch bottle on counter next to produce

FlyPunch! Fruit Fly Trap

As Franken’s personal favorite, and the one that started it all, the FlyPunch! Fruit Fly Trap is the brand’s number one bestseller time and time again. And it’s easy to see why when all you have to do is pop open the lid and watch’em, well, die.

FlyPunch! is free of petrochemical oils, pyrethrins, formaldehyde, and harsh chemicals, so it can live safely in your home.

Image of Aunt Fannie's Carpet Refresher bottle on floor next to lemons

Carpet Refresher

This isn’t your mama’s shag carpet deodorizer of yesteryear. The Aunt Fannie’s Carpet Refresher neutralizes odors, freshens the air without heavy perfumes, and uses all-natural ingredients.

Perfect for homes with pets (or perhaps an extra stinky teen), sprinkle the refresher on your carpet, area rug, heck, even your sofa, let it sit ... and vacuum it away.

Image of person pulling wipe out of Aunt Fannie's Mosquito Wipe container

Mosquitos be gone

We’ve all weighed the risk of applying DEET-heavy repellants over more natural sprays (that only sometimes work) to ward off annoying mosquitos. But, with Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Repellent Spray and Mosquito Wipes you can get all the protection without the potentially harmful chemicals, and it actually works!

DEET-free and powered by essential oils, these anti-mosquito products go on more like body oil than a traditional spray and use beauty-grade ingredients that are actually good for your skin.

Image of Aunt Fannie's hardwood floor cleaner bottle on floor with mop

Squeaky clean hardwood floors

What leaves no residue behind, requires no rinsing, breaks up tough stuff naturally, and leaves floors sparkling clean? The Aunt Fannie’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner, of course!

Safe for kids, pets, and the five-second rule, this floor cleaner is formulated for every type of hardwood flooring (solid, engineered, bamboo, laminate, manufactured), and smells so good you may just want to eat off the floor.

Interested in more hardwood floor cleaning tips? Read on to get your best clean.

Health, wellness, and cleaning = self-care?

Health and wellness goes beyond just eating right and working out. It encompasses acts of love in the form of self-care. We asked Franken how he practices self-care, outside of cleaning his home for his family, and with these tips we are ready for a little R&R ourselves.

1. Treat yourself

Franken is all about using Cocokind chapstick — “Gents need soft lips too!” — and indulging in a few Red Plate Foods cookies. “Their cookies are insanely fresh (almost like right out of the oven), and made without the top eight food allergens. Great for us folks with food allergies.”

2. Leafy greens

An advocate for visiting or welcoming in (Open a window!) nature at least once a day, Franken likes a bit of fresh air and having houseplants in his home. “Additional lifeforms indoors help center our animal senses.”

3. Perch time

As a Pacific Northwest resident, Franken loves a good dose of birdwatching. “Be a bird nerd! My PNW feeder-filled backyard has hummingbirds, goldfinches, jays, and more; we even have a barred owl affably named Stephen that lives in our old forest hemlock.”

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