Living in China, there are many things that are out of your control, especially when it comes to environmental health. It’s no secret that Shanghai’s air, water, and overall environmental quality is less than favorable. But the degree to which it is detrimental to your health is astounding. Here we take a look at the best natural cleaning products to use so your home can be healthier for your family.
When making the transition to live clean and green, most people eliminate processed foods and turn to organic produce. However, your stomach is equipped with natural defense mechanism, so your diet is the last thing you should worry about. In reality, the quickest way for toxins and chemicals to invade the body is through the skin as pores directly absorb fumes, carcinogens and other toxic substances.
Chemical cleaning products leave gaseous residues called VOC, or volatile organic compounds, which when breathed in, can cause irreversible brain damage. Human bodies are naturally built to fight off germs and bacteria, but chemicals are a whole new problem. This is especially bad for children since their immune systems are not fully developed.
A good solution to this produce is to opt for natural cleaning products. We interviewed four different eco aficionados to tell us their story, as well as their expert tips on living clean in Shanghai.
Produced and certified organic in Australia, Resparkle offers a range of cleaning products. (This is a big deal because products must be 100 percent organic in order to be certified, compared to the American standard of 60 percent.) What’s special about their packaging is that the bottles come empty, with a covered lid of concentrated cleaning solution. Then, all you have you have to do is fill the bottle with water. Taking water out of the equation makes Resparkle products easier to transport, hence reducing its carbon footprint. Plus, their cleaning solutions are 100 percent plant-based, which ensure cleaner water waste.
Normal cleaning products contain loads of chemicals, preservatives and artificial fragrances, but the ones from Resparkle all contain chemicals that aren’t harmful in small amounts. Studies have linked these chemicals to causing cancer, allergies, and even damage to brain lining, but we come in contact with them everyday, especially for women who wear makeup. It’s these imminent and long-term health scares that drive Resparkle to be 100 percent natural and convenient so people can easily adopt an organic and natural lifestyle.
Avoid preservatives, artificial fragrance, and artificial colors.
Be wary and always check the list of ingredients because even some ‘eco’ brands can be very misleading. These are three red flags that you should always look out for.
Eco & More is driven by sustainability and its philosophy is all about creating a lifestyle that benefits both people and the environment. Their products are all plant-based and they also emphasize on the use of essential oils since fragrance is a major water pollutant, and essential oils are the cleanest alternative. Another highlight of Eco & More’s products is that they are all made in China with ingredients sourced from local farms.
So why should consumers give up having a product that works or smell really good just because it’s green? This is the question that drives Eco & More to make products that work just as well, if not better than, their standard counterparts, with the added benefit of remaining environmentally friendly.
Get children to use less and think consequently about where things end up.
Teach your kids about the life-cycle of a plastic water bottle and why a reusable water bottle is better for the environment. Say that plastic bottles end up in the ocean and are harmful to the sea animals that they come in contact with.
Eco Max is a Canadian brand committed to using natural ingredients to make a wide variety of products from dish soap to detergents. All of their products have natural and eco certification in North America, and is one of the first eco-friendly brands that China imported.
Rudi Messner, current director of Eco Max, started to bringing in the Canadian green products to China six years ago when he noticed there was great potential in the local market. Back then, there were actually more green companies than there are now. Since China’s market for green products is very small and the entry barrier is high, many companies threw in their biodegradable towels. However, having previously worked at a chemical company, Rudi and his colleagues decided to carry on. He credits Eco-Max’s success to its wide product range, which fills the gaps of China’s sporadic demands for green products. They predominantly sell to Chinese consumers, and you can find Eco-Max products at City Super outlets.
Eliminate indoor air pollution
People think that hiding out indoors saves you from the poor air quality outside, but the air quality indoors is actually a concentrated version of what is outside. Besides getting an air purifier, eliminating all fragrances and chemical products can help reduce indoor air pollution.
Soapnut Republic is helping to make the safe and clean home you want easier. Their cleaning products are non-toxic, biodegradable, allergen free and never tested on animals. The company is owned and operated by Bobby Mitchell from New Zealand and Kim Gilliland from Australia. The couple resides in Shanghai with their two young daughters, so they understand the importance of having family friendly products.
What makes their products special is the use of sapindus mukorossi or soapnut berry extract. Soapnut berries have been used for cleaning purposes for centuries by Chinese and Native American societies. The 100 percent natural extract is used in all of their cleaners along with plant based ingredients, minerals and essential oils to add natural smells. Soapnut Republic’s products have scents such as tea tree, lavender and mint.
Planet Pure is Eco Max’s one hundred percent organic sister brand. All organic products are natural, but not all natural products are organic – the main difference being an organic product requires legitimate certification.
At the time that Eco-Max was taking off, there were no real suitable organic channels in China. Planet Pure’s products are made from soap nuts, which is a plant that naturally behaves like soap (or rather soaps that behave like soap nuts). Planet Pure is striving to create a space for organic markets to grow and develop in China. Right now, most convenience stores and supermarkets only highlight imported products and organic and natural products are not separated into their own category, which can be confusing for consumers.
There’s a lot of fraud in the organic industry, so make sure you check the ingredients and read labels.