Nuts about soap
Chemical names used on the labels of cleaning products can be long, unpronounceable, and even sound like long lost sea creatures. Being aware empowers you to make the right decision for you and your family. Here I like to share the ingredients that typically make up natural cleaning products, including those of Soapnut Republic. Hopefully by demystifying these ingredients, you will be equipped to make a better choice the next time you buy home cleaning products.
You will note that most of the ingredients in cleaning agents are to help create foam/bubbly, or to thicken up the liquid to give it texture.
Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside (or Lauryl Glucoside)
EWG rating: 1
To create the nice bubbly effect of soap, what you would call foam.
This is a surfactant or foaming agent, to generate foam in cleaning products, and is derived from vegetables and coconut.
Sodium Coco Amphoacetate
EWG rating: 1
Another surfactant / foaming agent and thickening agent, that is is biodegradable and made from fatty acids from coconut oil.
EWG rating: 1
Gooey, slimy substance that is formed during the fermentation of sugar from soy, wheat, diary, or corn.
This slimy substance helps to thicken and emulsify cleaning formulas, to provide the texture and consistency of the liquid, i.e. think of the texture of cream cleanser.
EWG rating: 1
Clear amber or pale yellow liquid, naturally occurring in oils and fats.
Used to form emulsions and also can be used as a skin conditioning agent (emollient). Also called Glyceryl Monooleate.
EWG rating: 1
This is a biodegradable condensation polymer based on the amino acid aspartic acid (what a mouthful!), a sodium salt of polyaspartic acid. This ingredient is a corrosion inhibitor, i.e. protects metal surfaces from rusting, corroding, etc.
EWG rating: 1
This helps to thicken liquids and make it gel.
From cellulose, which are organic compound from plants.
EWG rating: 1
Similar to baking soda, but the non-edible form, which is typically used for cleaning. Commonly known as washing soda, and used in laundry detergent.
Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose
EWG rating: 1
Use mostly as a stablizer, to give liquids viscosity (i.e. thicken). It is derived from natural cellulose, treated with chloracetic acid. It is often used in food, i.e. ice creams, and gluten free, reduced fat foods.
EWG rating: 2
Use as an emulsifying agent in soap. It is derived from fatty acids that occur naturally in many natural oils, i.e. Olive oil, canola oil, etc.
EWG rating: 1
It is a compound which contain sodium, aluminium, silicon and oxygen, and which may also contain water. It is used as a viscosity agent, to add texture to the cleaning products. Also used in food as an anti caking agent.
Information above have been sourced from EWG and Wikipedia, do refer back to EWG for regular updates.
More about EWG rating
EWG provides information on personal care product ingredients from the published scientific literature, to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government. The ratings indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product - not the product itself - compared to other product formulations. The ratings reflect potential health hazards but do not account for the level of exposure or individual susceptibility, factors which determine actual health risks, if any.
More information can be found here: https://www.ewg.org
Childhood allergies (asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema) are on the rise. 1 in 3 have allergies in Singapore, and children up to 44.5%. Besides, dust mites and outdoor pollution, research points to other “environmental factors” that causes allergies, the often overlooked areas of our lives - our homes.
Our children today can easily spend 8+ hours a day (like any adult) in a closed, indoor air-conditioned environment (i.e. childcare, school, home and our shopping malls). Did you know that your everyday household cleaning products contain chemicals that are known to cause allergies, disrupt hormones and etc? I did not too, until I became a parent. My boy aged 2 has mild eczema and prone to nasal allergies, my girl 4 suffers from regular internal nose bleeding due to allergic reaction to substances in the air.
Our "parents' generation" cleaning products, which we thought were safe and continue to use today, are in fact, laden with chemicals. Chemicals that are causing the “environmental issues” or “indoor pollution" closely link to development of childhood allergies.
For example, household cleaning products that contain ammonia, bleach, sodium hydroxide, amines, colophony (pine resin) and limonene (lemon scent) should be avoided, as these chemicals are known asthma triggers.
I started looking for a natural cleaning alternative and stumbled upon Soapnut berries (Sapindus). Soapnut berries are the fruit of the soapnut shrub, a native crop of China and India. It is used to make soap by native peoples in Asia (especially India) and Native Americans for thousands of years. In addition, Soapnut Berries have medicinal benefits for people with sensitive skin, eczema and other skin conditions, as the soapnut saponin (plant surfactant) appears to be hypoallergenic and mild on the skin.
I first experimented by throwing soapnuts into my laundry. It does generate soap but was not as effective in cleaning. Further research for natural household cleaning products let me to discover Soapnut Republic - a company founded by a New Zealand couple in China with 3 beautiful children. The company uses a very high content of Soapnut berries extracts (in replacement of toxic chemical as cleaning surfactants / foamers ) in their entire range of cleaning products, ranging from multi-purpose cleaner, foaming hand wash, laundry detergent, toilet cleaners, etc. Soapnut Republic products are now available online here (www.soapnutrepublicsg.com)
At the end of the day, I asked myself this: "Is my family’s health really not worth me spending a little more money on soap and floor cleaners? Is my peace of mind really not worth my time spent ensuring our bathroom at home isn’t a zone of toxic chemicals?" While we cannot control all the chemicals in the malls or schools, but we are the gatekeepers of our own home where our children eat, play and sleep. As a wife and mother, feels good to know I am eliminating chemicals and toxic chemicals from my house that carry detrimental short term or long term side effects.
Lemongrass is very popular in South East Asia, typically used as an essential oil to diffuse around the home to give a sense of peace, balance and harmony. Also used as a massage oil to soothe those aching muscles.
Do you know that lemongrass has much more benefits?
Let me share with you & also let you in on why lemongrass essential oil has been infused into Soapnut Republic Liquid Laundry.
Benefits of lemongrass
- Large source of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C) and minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron), hence, has high nutritional value
- Contains antioxidants - you know what that means :)
- Possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties, which means its great for reducing cholesterol.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties which helps in stomach disorders
- Great for flu and nasal blockages, since it is rich with Vit C (proven, my Husband takes lemongrass tea whenever a cold strikes)
- Main component is lemonal or citrate which has anti-fungal and antimicrobial qualities, so great for treating infections (yeast, athlete's foot, etc)
The list actually goes on, but let's turn our attention to why lemongrass is suitable and is great in laundry cleaning?
Gets rid of bacteria naturally, yes, naturally. Don't use chemical anti-septic as these are harmful to your body.
Singapore is hot, but it is also damp and humid, so clothing is also prone to mould and fungus. Lemongrass is anti fungal and will keep your clothing fresh.
Fresh scent of lemonal (lemongrass) on your clothing can lift spirits and calm nerves. Feel good every time you put on your clothes. :)
Finally, we all wear clothes all (most) of the time, so we cannot stress the importance of not using harmful chemicals on our clothes as it is in constant contact with our skin. Traditional laundry liquid are filled with chemicals that are harmful to breathe in and also harmful to the skin. Soapnut Republic Laundry Liquid is made of 100% natural soapnut berry extracts, infused with pure lemongrass essential oil. It is as natural as it gets, non toxic, allergen free and biodegradable.
A multi purpose spray is the most versatile cleaning agent for your home. Tough on stains, yet soft on your skin. It is suitable for a wide variety of cleaning. In this post, we share the top 10 ways to clean with a multi purpose spray.
- Clean hard surfaces throughout the home, such as living room furniture, kitchen tables and bench tops, and bathroom surfaces. Spray on surface and wipe clean with damp cloth
- Get rid of dirty marks off walls. Spray on wall, wipe away with damp cloth
- Remove mould. Spray onto surface and wipe
- Clean fabric furniture. Removes surface marks such as food & drink stains, including wine and crayons. Spray onto surface, blot out mark with wet cloth.
- Clean carpets. Removes food & drink stains. Spray onto carpet, blot out mark with wet cloth.
- Clean children's toys. Spray on cloth and wipe toys down. Non toxic and allergen free keeps childrens safe.
- Clean air conditioning unit. Wash out the dust, then spray on filter and wipe.
- Clean pet equipment. Wash and spray on surfaces and wipe clean. Vegan and cruelty free by PETA to keep furry friends safe.
- Clean shoes and sandals (mainly water proof materials, i.e. crocs, or cloth material, i.e. canvas). Spray on surface and wipe with wet cloth.
- Clean door knobs and handles. Spray and wipe with damp cloth. (We touch these so often, but fail to clean it often enough.)
Treat yourself with soapnut republic, as featured in City Weekend
Soapnut Republic WON the Business Excellence Award for Start-Up Enterprises at the AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards.
Check out founders, Kim and Bobby, at the gala dinner held in April 2016
Soapnut Republic products have always been Cruelty Free and Vegan and they are accredited by the leading American animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
An interview with Soapnut Republic co-founder Kim Gilliland in The Hai Flyer, Nov 2015
Find out more about how founders Kim and Bobby, husband and wife team does it all.
"Fortunately we’re in complete agreement on our overall strategy. But it can sometimes be hard work running a business day-to-day with your partner, particularly while raising two small children."
This is a #throwback post.
Soapnut Republic founder Bobby Mitchell and his gorgeous daughters Tara (then-3) and Jade (then-1) grace the cover of Shanghai Family's December issue. Stay tuned to see how the 2 lovely daughters have grown up.