From the Great Depression to a global fight against pandemics and superbugs

Whiteley has remained committed to delivering world class products to the cleaning sector throughout its almost 90-year history.

When the business that evolved into Whiteley started back in 1933, the world was still recovering from the Great Depression.

Global supply chains for cleaning products had been severely interrupted and there was a major need to develop local manufacturing.

Core product components evolved towards local ingredients, and the products of the time were used to clean and disinfect public venues such as movie theatres and other hospitality venues.

From the very beginning, Whiteley was established to serve the health and hygiene needs of Australia. Since then, health focused innovation has been at the heart of the ongoing growth and development of the business.

The move out of the original facility in downtown Sydney and into a world class production facility in Tomago in the Hunter Region was marked with further innovation.

Expansion into a broad range of personal care and hygiene technologies was supported by an array of collaborative research projects and local patenting.

Whiteley pioneered many of the major product developments in our sector over the past 50 years and has won the accolade of “Most Innovative Product’’ numerous times for innovative cleaning technology.

Fast forward to 2022 and Whiteley is the only family-run business in the cleaning and hygiene supply sector with a truly independent board of directors and governance-based on leading principles such as real sustainability.

When COVID-19 first made headlines in the media, Whiteley was well prepared to meet the challenges thrown at all Australians.

Industry leading innovation 

Dr Greg Whiteley led the way for the entire sector, in securing a crucial claim for Viraclean, for its ability to kill the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus.

This was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Viraclean became the first product to carry a COVID-19 kill claim in Australia.

Viraclean remains Australia’s leading hospital grade disinfectant for use in healthcare settings, but we have also seen a major increase in usage in the commercial and industrial cleaning industry based on the brands’ reputation and its well-known effectiveness against pathogens.

Whiteley didn’t need to ‘pivot’ into antibacterial hand sanitisers, because they were already a well-established essential supplier prior to the pandemic.

Healthcare, hospital and medical applications for more than a decade. Sanitol production was stepped up to help meet the needs of the professional cleaning and hospitality industries during this time.

Dr Greg Whiteley was invited onto the PPE taskforce for Hand Sanitisers established by the Department of Industry, Science Energy and Resources (DISER) due to the expertise of Whiteley in this area.

The first year of the pandemic was exceptionally disruptive to supply chains and impacted the availability of a broad range of hygiene products and components, especially those coming in from overseas manufacturers.

Whiteley, with their local manufacturing footprint was able to reorganise and continue manufacturing at a significantly increased output right through the most challenging times of the supply crisis.

With an increase in labour hire, an increase in shifts, and focused production the business produced more output in 2020 than was previously thought possible from the existing production facility. This allowed the supply of critical infection prevention products to keep flowing.

During the worst of the pandemic, despite various global supply shortages, Whiteley continued to support many of Australia’s Pacific neighbours by providing nearly half a million dollars’ worth of crucial Infection

Prevention products such as Surfex free of charge to hospital and healthcare workers in PNG, The Solomons and Fiji.

Pushing the boundaries of cleaning science

Having come through what we all hope is now the worst of this pandemic, Whiteley is again looking firmly to the future and the evolving needs of their customers throughout professional cleaning, and hospital and healthcare.

Increasing innovation, and higher production output is putting pressure on the existing production facility and expansion is now firmly on the radar.

The next phase of expansion will see the addition of a specialty Human Therapeutics Plant close to their head office in Tomago.

This will provide a safer, more economical and more flexible platform for manufacturing of highly flammable alcohol-based product technologies and won’t compromise any of the existing throughput from the existing production facilities on the Whiteley campus.

Driving product expansion requires ongoing investment in research. Collaborative ground-breaking research continues to evolve with existing partners and Whiteley is eagerly looking to establish several multi-million-dollar clinical research projects .

The Whiteley team is pushing the boundaries of cleaning science and aims to solve some of the big issues that still exist in the realm of cleaning, hygiene and infection prevention.

“Our work on bacterial biofilms continues to be a key focus, and several of our publications are recognised as seminal papers in the field, particularly with dry surface biofilms,” Dr Whiteley said.

In recognition of his ground-breaking work, Dr Greg Whiteley was recently appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney.

The future looks bright for Whiteley. With new products, new claims, new research, new facilities and many new product opportunities being investigated they look forward to delivering even more leading cleaning and disinfection technology to the market in the future.

This article first appeared in the May/June issue of INCLEAN magazine.

Read the original article here

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at

Sign up to INCLEAN’s newsletter.