Keep Dangerous Chemicals Out Of Your Household And Out Of You!


This week’s blog post won’t be about exercise or nutrition but will still be health oriented.  I’d like to showcase a brand that has started here in Shanghai in 2013 and improves your health not directly.  I’m not talking about any health supplements or juices here – I’m talking about cleaning products!

That’s right, you heard me – cleaning products.


Soapnut Republic.

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Having recently won the Best New Natural Living Product Award at the exclusive Natural & Organics Products Asia 2015 Awards in Hong Kong back in August, the founders Australian Kim Gilliland and New Zealander Bobby Mitchell were busy ramping up manufacturing to meet their demand for their products.  I had the pleasure of meeting up with them to learn more about their invention, their products, and their lifestyles.

It’s not everyday that you find a small business that you truly believe in their mission and product integrity, so I’m happy to share with you all that Soapnut Republic is definitely one of them.

If you’re keen on improving your overall health and well-being, then you need to not only look under the hood in your body, but also in your bathroom cupboards.

As a consumer, you need to know that a lot of conventional product cleaners on the supermarket shelves are not safe for chronic use.  Cadmium, chrome, and other synthetic chemicals easily make their way inside your bloodstream through your skin.  This has numerous risk hazards to your health!

Even those that proclaim to be sustainable and safe are sometimes not what they say they are.

Though some brands may say they are ’green’ or are safe to use, they are far from being safe.  They may even contain words in their ingredients list like ’plant-based’ or ’natural ingredients’ but may not necessarily mean they are better for your health because it is still a largely unregulated industry.

This is why I have done a Q&A session with Kim and Bobby to uncover the ingredients behind their highly successful and safe products.  Below is a summary of what was discussed.


How is the Soapnut Republic line of products safer than your conventional cleaning products?

Most conventional cleaning products contain a ton of synthetic chemicals to act as the surfactant (the cleaning agent) or perfuming agent to make it smell nice.  But those very chemicals can leech into your skin and enter your bloodstream.  Soapnut Republic’s product uses a much higher proportion of all-natural ingredients especially because of the surfactant they use to clean which is derived from the locally-grown soapnut crop.

To gain a better appreciation for Soapnut Republic’s product, you have to understand how soap works.



Surfactant molecules forming a micelle.

To keep things simple, know that soap is basically surfactant molecules.  They work because their chemical structure is amphiphilic, meaning one end sticks to water, while the other end sticks to fats (oil, grease, dirt, bacteria).  Since fats do not dissolve (mix) in water, rinsing a dirty item with water does not get rid of the dirt.  But once you add the soap, the surfactant molecules with the end that sticks to the grease all surround it and forms a micelle (a bubble that completely  surrounds the fat molecule) while the other end of the surfactant sticks to water so it can mix freely within the water.  After all the micelles have been formed, you rinse it off, and the water carries the micelle down the drain.  And this is how dirt is removed using soap (in a nutshell).

The fruit of the soapnut shrub is a native crop of China and India (sapindus) and its pulp is used to make soap by native peoples in Asia and Native Americans for thousands of years.

Soapnut Republic’s surfactant is 100% composed of Zhejiang-farmed soapnut.

This makes them not only natural and good for the environment but also supportive of local farms.

They are so effective in their natural state that in the past, a half dozen of soapnut berries would just be tossed in to a laundry basket and scrubbed!

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For people with sensitive skin, eczema and other skin conditions, using commercial soaps and detergents, can exacerbate the problem, but the soapnut saponin (plant surfactant) appears to be hypoallergenic and mild on the skin.

Other natural ingredients are added to round out the product like coconut saponins, and citric acid to modify the pH (the acidic level).

But is it as effective as commercial cleaning products?

Again, the answer is YES!  Bobby, being a chemical engineer himself, used the ATP testing method to measure the level of bacterial activity of a bench that had a slab of raw chicken sitting on it.  He then applied the Soapnut Republic Fruit and Vegetable Wash on the bench and measured it again.  Soapnut Republic was the clear winner and this testing process (which went on for 1.5 years) was used to eventually come up with his highly effective formula for the product.  I have to say, I like the man’s thoroughness.

Does this mean costs are higher?

Unfortunately, yes.  Because the whole process is more time consuming and the ingredients are more expensive, the manufacturing of the products are not as cheap as commercial cleaning products.  Bobby himself goes to the factory to oversea the whole manufacturing process and Kim handles all the business side.


All this tender-loving-care, results in a product that you know you can trust.  In fact, Kim and Bobby came up with this business idea because of their own genuine concern for their own babies’ health and well-being.  Not knowing the safety of their previous cleaning products, they took it upon themselves to invent a product that is not only safe but environmentally sustainable as well.

So if you’re trying to find ways to best protect your health and the health of your loved ones, give Soapnut Republic a go!  We need more entrepreneurs like these, so go and support them!

If you are interesting in purchasing Soapnut Republic cleaning products, you can buy them at, the Avocado Lady, and Casa Mart at Wuding Road.  Better yet, just add Kim’s WeChat and tell her what you want.  She can deliver the products to your doorstep.

Kim’s WeChat ID: kimshanghai

Delivery fees are: 1) Free for all orders over 250rmb; and 2) 20rmb for orders less than 250rmb.

Full product listing can be found here:

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And if you made it all the way to the bottom, congratulations!  You are rewarded a 5% discount on all Soapnut Republic purchases!

Make sure you add Kim’s WeChat (mentioned above) and give her the passcode: OLIVEBRANCH.

This discount only applies for a limited time!


Have a great week!

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