Kin Kin Naturals: Natural Cleaning Products Made With Sustainability At Its Heart

If you’re an environmentally conscious person (and especially if you have kids), you’re probably on the lookout for good natural cleaning products. Children can be the highlight of your life, but there’s no denying that they’re messy. You want products that do the job, but don’t contain anything that might harm your children, your own health, or the environment.

The natural beauty of Kin Kin on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast inspired the range natural cleaning products.

How Kin Kin Naturals began

Kin Kin Naturals was founded by Felix and Sandy van der Kooij, who live in the tiny town of Kin Kin in South East Queensland. Felix used to work as a PhD-qualified formulator for the laundry detergent giant OMO, but the gorgeous unspoiled environment of Kin Kin inspired him to make a green change in his lifestyle. He decided to dedicate his life to making natural cleaning products that work just as well as the big ‘nasties’.

The business started to take off in 2008, and now the biggest problem they have is keeping up with demand.

What’s so good about Kin Kin Naturals?

Kin Kin naturals contains no ingredients that might be harmful to human health or the environment – no sulphates, phosphates, palm oil or alcohol ethoxylate. Instead, they make their natural cleaning products with simple ingredients like coconut soap, bicarbonate of soda, oxygenated soda, and citrate. They use essential oils for fragrance.

Felix keeps his formulations low in sodium salts as well, substituting eco-friendly potassium instead (which is actually good for the soil). All their products are easily biodegradable, even in low-oxygen environments, making them safe for septic and grey water systems.

This company takes the concept of sustainability to heart. They source their ingredients locally as much as possible, and their highly concentrated products use the minimum of resources for packaging and shipping. Kin Kin naturals likes to keep their carbon footprint small – their factory is only 200 metres away from their home.

Kin Kin Naturals – Natural Cleaning Products

They keep their product range small so they don’t get overwhelmed. Felix likes to tweak the formulations until they’re just right, with the correct balance of ingredients.

Dishwashing detergents

Kin Kin Naturals makes both liquid and powder dishwashing soaps. The Eco dishwashing liquid was tested and recommended by CHOICE. The formulation is so pure and gentle that Kin Kin Naturals has received feedback from people with sensitive skin that they no longer need to use gloves when washing dishes.

  • Liquid detergentsLime & Eucalypt; and Tangerine and Mandarin (coming soon).
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium citrate, glycerine and essential oils
    • Only a few drops will take care of an entire load of dishes
  • Dishwasher powderLemon Myrtle & Lime
    • Contains coconut and sugar based surfactants, cleansing minerals, enzymes and essential oils
    • Use 15 ml (one half dispenser) for a full load of dishes

Laundry soaps

This range has laundry liquids for regular and delicate clothes, as well as a soaking powder to remove stubborn stains. They’re all suitable for both front and top loading machines.

  • Regular laundry liquid – Eucalypt & Lemon Myrtle; Lavender & Ylang Ylang
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium coconut soap, potassium citrate, enzymes and essential oils
    • You only need 35 ml (a little over 2 tablespoons) for a full load
  • Wool and delicates liquidEucalypt & Rose Geranium
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium citrate and essential oils
    • Use 20 ml (a little over 1 tablespoon) per load and 5–10 ml (1/3–2/3 tablespoon) per tub for hand washing
  • Laundry soaker & stain removerLime & Eucalypt
    • Contains sodium carbonate (washing soda), sodium percarbonate (oxygen releasing soda), sodium citrate (water softener based on citrus), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), anionic surfactant and essential oils
    • Use 2 tablespoons per load or bucket full of water for soaking

Kin Kin natural cleaning products really are that concentrated (yes you can wash a whole load of laundry with only 1 tablespoon of laundry soap). That tiny bit will leave your clothes smelling amazing – fresh and clean, with no strong chemical fragrances. The dishwashing soaps cut grease without drying or irritating your hands (and also smell wonderful).

You can browse the whole range here at Hello Charlie.

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Main image credit: Kin Kin Naturals

Products We Love: Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Here at Hello Charlie, we’re all about discovering and sharing the best and freshest innovations in the world of eco living. But there’s also something to be said about the old school products that have been low key “green” long before green living was even a thing.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser is one of these.

You see, Bon Ami has been a household cleaning staple for more than 150 years, but it can still compete with its more modern counterparts in eco friendly cleaning. This green cleaner isn’t exactly exciting or flashy, nor is it knocking you over the head with words like “nontoxic” or “eco friendly.” It’s just a simple cleaning product that gets the job done while helping you minimise your eco footprint.

Bon Ami natural powder cleanser

What can the Bon Ami cleaning powder do?

Since 1886, people have been using Bon Ami Powder Cleanser on their tubs, sinks, toilets, tiles, stoves, ovens, cookware, bakeware, dishes, and wood furniture.

It effectively removes grease splatters, baked on food, soap scum, water stains, deep seated grout stains, mould, smudges on woodwork, scratch marks on china, rust stains, and other messes.

Bon Ami gets food residue off most countertops without scratching the material. It absorbs odours from pots and pans. It’s tough on soil and smudge marks on outdoor furniture. It removes scuff marks from floors. And because there’s no dye, you can even use it to get crayon marks and fingerprints off your white walls.

What’s in Bon Ami cleaning powder?

From the beginning, Bon Ami has stayed true to their name, choosing their commitment to people and the environment instead of caving to the pressure to use chemical additives — even when everyone else was. To this day, the original formula still has just 5 simple ingredients: limestone, feldspar, biodegradable cleaning agents (alkyl polyglucoside), soda ash, and sodium bicarbonate.

Unlike most mainstream powder cleaners, there’s absolutely no nasties in Bon Ami. No perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleach, and anything that can make you, your family, or Nature sick.

Bon Ami is biodegradable (great for the planet) and hypoallergenic (great for people with allergies). It’s safe enough for children to use, especially if yours have started taking on some of the chores. All Bon Ami packaging comes from recycled paper and bottles.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser has an A+ rating from EWG, which means it’s “of lowest concern” and has “good ingredient disclosure” with “few or zero known and suspected health and environmental hazards.”

How to use Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser

Lightly wet the surface you want to clean. Next, sprinkle Bon Ami powder and rub it in with a wet cloth or sponge. Rinse off a couple of times. Don’t use hot water when rinsing, as this will only separate the powder and create more residue to rinse off.

Bon Ami is not intended for glass, mirrors, brushed stainless steel appliances, and lacquered surfaces. So if you’re unsure if the powder is too abrasive for a particular surface, test first on an inconspicuous area.

Lastly, don’t use too much powder. A little gets a lot done!

If you’ve sworn off bleach and other harsh chemical cleaning products, as we have, we highly recommend Bon Ami. You can get it right here at Hello Charlie. This is really good stuff that perfectly balances effectiveness, affordability, and safety. Give it a go!

What do you think of Bon Ami cleaning powder? Any other old fashioned household cleaners you think we should feature? Share below!

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Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Images: Bon Ami

Why You Shouldn’t Clean with Bleach

People have been using chlorine bleach to clean their homes and clothing since the 1950s. For many, the smell of bleach is the smell of clean. But is it really clean? Today we’re discussing why you shouldn’t clean with bleach.

New research conducted on over 9,000 European children, ages 6–12, found that this popular cleaning solution was actually associated with a higher chance of illness. Children from bleach-using households were found to have 20% greater incidence of influenza, a 35% increase in tonsillitis and 18% increase in general infections.

Why You Shouldn't Clean with Bleach

Chlorine bleach fumes can be enormously irritating to the respiratory system. Children are at particular risk because of their underdeveloped lungs and lower size and weight. To make matters worse, mixing bleach with other common household chemicals, such as vinegar and ammonia, can produce deadly – even explosive – results.

Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritated eyes, nose and throat
  • Chest pain
  • Fluid in the lungs and pneumonia
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Vomiting
  • Permanent damage to the lungs and air passages

The poison can also be absorbed through the skin, causing pain, inflammation and blisters.

Why you shouldn’t clean with bleach

Bleach might not even be as effective a cleaner as some think. Most people don’t know that it loses its effectiveness over time and when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Even if stored undiluted in a cool, dark place, it only has a shelf life of about six months. A bleach solution loses its disinfecting power after one day.

Bleach can be a useful cleaning agent. You need a fresh, potent bleach solution (about one part bleach to nine parts water). Spray it on and leave it in contact with the surface you’re cleaning for 30 seconds to 10 minutes to kill all the bacteria. If you have small children you know 10 minutes is plenty of time for the worst to happen. Children are curious and get into everything. They’re fascinated with whatever the grownups are doing (especially when they’ve been told not to touch).

Be careful when cleaning with bleach, even if you’re not mixing cleaning solutions. For example, don’t use a bleach-based product to clean your cat’s litter box. It can mix with ammonia from the cat’s urine and give off toxic fumes. Other cleaners can be just as powerful and deodorising, without the risk.

Safe alternatives to bleach

Luckily, there are non-toxic cleaning options. Rubbing alcohol will kill germs, and hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect household surfaces, too. Baking soda and white vinegar are cheap, non toxic and easy to use. Use essential oils to add nice smells and an extra antibacterial kick.

If you’re not a do-it-yourself type, Hello Charlie stocks a full range of safer cleaning products for your household, for laundry, dishes, floors and surface cleaning.

  • Abode is an Australian brand with an extensive natural cleaning range.
  • Ecostore is a New Zealand brand that has a full range of natural cleaning products and personal care products. If you’re looking for a product that will whiten clothes, check out their Laundry Soaker & Stain Remover.
  • Ecover is a Belgian brand with a full range of cleaning products. I love their Stain Remover – it’s so popular we have trouble keeping it in stock!
  • Organic Clean is an Australian brand that is ACO certified organic, with a small range that will still cover your household cleaning.
  • Resparkle is another Australian brand, with a good range of natural cleaning products. I love the Nursery & Toy Cleaner – what a great idea!
  • And if you’re looking to get rid of mould, try the Vrindavan Mould Solution Surface Spray. It’s naturally antifungal and antiseptic, and uses clove essential oil to kill mould spores.

Check out the full range of bleach free, natural cleaning products here at Hello Charlie.

Image: BigStock

The many uses of castile soap

The Many Uses of Castile Soap

The Many Uses of Castile Soap

Castile soap is one of the multi-functional heroes of my house. I love it because it contains all natural ingredients that I recognize and that are good for the environment and for my skin, but I also love it because you can use it for so many things!

Uses for castile soap

You can use castile soap for so many things! Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

1. Wash your car

Add it to some warm soapy water to use for getting the dirt of your car, then rinse your car as normal with fresh water.

2. Use castile soap to bath your pets

Just wet your dog with warm water, then use a couple of squirts of castile soap (peppermint would be good) to make a lather. Keep the soap out of their eyes and ears, then rinse your dog off.

If you’re going to wash your cat, use the unscented baby version, as cats can be allergic to essential oils.

3. Use castile soap to wash your baby

Just use a little bit on a soft facewasher or cloth and gently wash baby’s body. This will help control where the soap goes, and means you won’t get it in baby’s eyes. Although a good castile soap is all natural, it doesn’t mean it’s tear free, so keep it away from baby’s face.

4. Use castile soap to clean your toilet

Yep, you read that right. Just make up a spray from 2 cups of water, 1/8th cup of castile soap, and ½ teaspoon of tea tree oil.

Spray the inside of the bowl (and the outside if you want!). Put some baking soda on your toilet brush and use that to scrub the inside of the bowl. Wipe down the outside of the toilet bowl with a cloth, flush the toilet and away you go!

There’s a more detailed post here from Lisa Bronner: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=1606

5. Use it as hand soap

I have an old liquid soap pump that I leave on the kitchen bench, and every few weeks I fill it three quarters full with water, and one quarter full with citrus castile soap (my favourite for the kitchen). Diluting your soap like this does mean that it has a shorter life span, but as our kitchen sink is where we all wash hands after feeding dogs, cats, preparing dinners, coming in from outside, etc, we go through hand soap in the kitchen pretty quickly.

This way, I cut down on the amount of soap the kids use (they sure do love to squirt soap, although I’m not sure what they actually do with it as their hands always seem just as dirty afterwards!), but you still get a good lather up.

6. Use it in the shower

It’s so mild on skin (even the tingly peppermint soap) that my notoriously dry skin is completely fine. I love the thick, creamy lather you get up, too.

My husband uses it for shampoo, too, although I find that it doesn’t seem to work so well for my hair.

7. Use castile soap to wash clothes

You can use castile soap to make a laundry liquid. You can do 64 washes with just one cup of soap, according to this useful recipe: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/make-your-own-dr-…

8. Wash fruit and vegetables with castile soap

Just add one tablespoon of unscented castile soap to 2 cups of water, and keep it in a squirt or spray bottle near where you wash your fruit and veg.

9. Scrub your stovetop with castile soap

Make up a solution of 1/3 castile soap to 2/3 water. Sprinkle some baking soda on your stove top, spray the castile soap solution on it, leave for ten minutes or so and then give it a scrub. You can also use this method on the bathtub or bathroom tiles.

You can use the diluted soap mix as a general purpose cleaner around the house, or for mopping floors, too.

10. Get rid of garden pests

Put a teaspoon of castile soap into a litre of water, and spray it on your plants. Works a treat!

What is castile soap made from?

Castile soap is made from vegetable oils, not animal fats and petrochemicals. The name comes from where the soap was made, in the Castile region of Spain, although there are records showing that it was made even earlier in Aleppo, in Syria, thousands of years ago.

The basis of castile soap is olive oil, but you’ll find that other vegetable oils are used, such as coconut oil, hemp oil, palm oil and jojoba oil.

Okay, time to put the nerd hat on! The oil is mixed with an alkali: sodium hydroxide for solid soap, and potassium hydroxide for liquid soap. Although these are harsh chemicals, the magic of saponification (the chemical reaction that takes place between the oils and the acids during the soap making process) means that these disappear and become glycerin and potassium or sodium salt.

If you’re still feeling nerdy, and want more information about how this process works, check out a couple of links I’ve included at the bottom of the article.

You can also add essential oils to make it smell nice, and some Vitamin E and citric acid to keep the soaps fresh. And that’s it – that’s all you’ll find in a good quality castile soap. That’s why they’re biodegradable, and so much better for your skin and the environment than other soaps which can be a complex chemical mashup of detergents.

Castile soap is:

  • Kind to the environment, as it is non toxic and biodegradable
  • Gentle enough to use for the whole family (although it is best to choose unscented versions for babies and young children)
  • Cheap! It can be diluted and used for many purposes

Like any other product that you buy, make sure that you check the ingredients on the back rather than the greenwash on the front of the pack. Here at Hello Charlie, we stock Dr Bronner’s range of liquid castile soaps, and also the Acure range. We use them at home and at work, and we can highly recommend them!

Further reading:

Saponification: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem03/chem03011.htm

Soap making: https://www.drbronner.com/our-story/legacy/quality-soaps-explained/

Lisa Bronner blog: http://lisa.drbronner.com/

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