Date: Feb 27th 2014 2:36p.m.
Contributed by: jlevine13

If you have any tree-hugging hippies in your family, chances are you've heard of soapnuts. Throwing the shells of these saponin-releasing berries in with your wash is a common method for doing laundry in a non-toxic way, but it's often ineffective at getting your clothes clean.


Fortunately for the green-minded, partners Bobby Mitchell and Kim Gilliland have discovered a way to extract Chinese soapnut berry concentrate to use as the main ingredient in Soapnut Republic, their line of home cleaning products.


“Soapnuts are berries from the lychee family that have been around for thousands of years,” says Mitchell, who has a background in chemical manufacturing. “Asia is where they’re grown, and we deal directly with the farms that grow them.”


Soapnut Republic was born out of a need for an improvement in the safety of the couple's home, Mitchell explains. “When I was 2 or 3 years old, I had an accident with some chemicals in the house. We have a 1-year-old daughter, and we wanted to make sure she’s safe."


Soapnut Republic’s cleaning line—which includes nine home-care products ranging from all-purpose cleaner to hand soaps to laundry detergent—are manufactured at a certified pharmaceutical factory in Hangzhou, where the soapnut extract is combined with other non-toxic ingredients like vinegars, baking soda and essential oils.


Though competition in the “green” market is fierce, Mitchell asserts that Soapnut Republic is more authentically eco-friendly than other brands. “There are a lot of companies out there that say they’re environmentally friendly, but when you look at the formulations, that doesn’t really hold true,” he says.


“We can guarantee that our main surfactant ingredient is entirely natural. I wouldn’t advise it, but if you accidentally consumed one of our products, it wouldn’t cause ...

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