Natural Insect Repellent

Being a tropical country, with rain and sun in a day, mosquitos are common in Singapore. There are the dengue spreading mosquitos that strike fear in us but most of the times, bites from mosquitos are quite harmless, except for the itch. For adults, we can easily resist the urge to scratch. However, when the kids get bitten, it can spell trouble for the parents. Children usually cannot control the urge to scratch. They can unknowingly scratch too hard and cause bleeding to take place. There are few types of insect repellent available in Singapore, for instance chemical repellents or natural repellents.

Chemical Repellents

For chemical repellents, most of them contain the chemical DEET (Deet (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Some may contain the chemical Picaridin or Permethrin. Of the three, DEET and Picaridin are the most effective in repelling mosquitos.

However, it has been well documented that DEET , while effective against mosquito, can cause rashes and is not suitable for babies younger than 2 months. Canada Health actually advised against the use of DEET products on babies under 6 months of age! Picaridin, is also not suitable for babies below 2 months of age. Lastly, Permethrin is an insecticide and should not be applied onto the skin. Repellent with this chemical is designed for use on clothing only. (Source from NEA website)

Whichever chemical repellent you use, if you develop a rash from using the repellent, wash off the repellent off with mild soap and water. Consult a doctor, taking the repellent with you to show the doctor.

Natural Repellents

Those who do not like chemical repellents or have young kids at home, you may prefer repellent made from natural products, such as lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint or cedar. Of all, lemon eucalyptus is tested to be the most effective, but it should not be used on children less than 3 years old. This is advised by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

The other effective option is citronella. As with all other natural repellents, the effect is short-lived compared to chemical repellents and would require more frequent reapplication, generally, every couple of hours.

In Singapore, a popular choice of natural insect repellent comes in the form of the mosquito patch. However, after trying them for a while, we soon discover that the patch has its limitations.

mosquito-repellent-patch

One thing we found was that the reach of the citronella smell is not adequate to cover the while body, which means, we need at least two pieces at one time (no wonder they come in pack of two). And when we thought we had stuck enough to have full coverage, our son still managed to get bitten after a day out at the zoo.

We started to explore other natural and chemical-free options and came across the Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion. It is a lotion type insect repellent that contains citronella oil to repel insects, and Portulaca extract and Aloe Vera to hydrate the skin. It is 100% organic and made from natural products. We opt away from the spray type repellent as we read that they can contain nano particles which can be harmful to young children.

The Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion feels light, non-greasy, and the citronella smell is mild and gentle, unlike some other natural repellents that have overpowering smell and give you a headache from the smell.  Ever since we started using the Buds Mozzie Clear Lotion, there has been no more bite. It is easy to apply and is suitable for the whole family, including babies. We have been using it on our 7 month old when we head to the parks. Here is how the lotion looks like.

Mozzie Clear Lotion, $14

Mozzie Clear Lotion, $14

 

Stinky, Sweaty Feet Rave

Does anyone have sweaty feet here? *looks around awkwardly & raises hand* 

Okay, second rave of the week goes to Bio Shield Foot Protection Cream, $19.90

Bio Shield Feet Protection Cream, $19.90

Bio Shield Feet Protection Cream, $19.90



Seriously. I tried it. The husband tried it. A friend tried it. I have a thing about wearing enclosed shoes. I love wearing different kinds of shoes. But when you are walking ALOT with two kids, walking around uncomfortably is the last thing you want to do, so I end up in slippers all the time.

Sweaty toes. Damp footprints in the house after you take off your shoes. Blisters. Sometimes, even the smell. Urgh. Yup, you know it.

Well, with this Foot Cream (it is a spray, more liquid than cream), you just spray it on the soles of your feet, rub it in, dry it a little and you’re good to go for the next 4-6 hours. My longest stretch was 6 hours with one spray, even though the recommended reapplication is every 4 hours.

This is not only good for those with sweaty feet, but it serves as a protective layer especially for those of you who use gym showers and changing room barefooted. It protects your feet from Athlete’s Foot, bacteria & fungus. Because our feet are usually kept warm and slightly damp, it sets the perfect condition for bacteria and fungus infection to grow.

Give it a shot and have happy feet! Now I can wear fabric shoes! Wheee! (no more cracked heels too! hehe)

Hack, Cough, Hack

urgh, cough bug is in the house today. Ollie’s hacking his lungs out. Little Innoscents’ Vapour Balm is out in full force, and it has eased his coughing. It’s so nice to keep smelling him haha. It’s not as pungent as the other vapour rubs on the market. The smell eases the discomfort and yet is gentle in the sinuses!
Little Innoscents Winter Blues Vapour Balm, $13

Little Innoscents Winter Blues Vapour Balm, $13

Mozzies, mozzies everywhere!

Okay, I have to actually rave about this product, especially if you are in the market looking out for a mozzie repellent for kids or your baby. We took the kids on an impromptu trip to the zoo today, and I basically slathered the kids and myself with Buds Organics Mozzie Clear Lotion. It went on the skin really easy, it was non greasy and the citronella smell wasn’t too pungent.

Post-zoo trip, all three of us are bite free, still non-greasy (you know how sweat and some thick creams just ends up in one greasy mess), skin feels hydrated despite being under the hot sun. (Excuse my terrible eczema scarred skin haha)

Brilliant stuff. No nano-particles to worry about, DEET free and totally organic. Trust me on this one.

Mozzie Clear Lotion, $14

Mozzie Clear Lotion, $14

Glass and Window Cleaner

Glass is something that is found commonly in every household; mirrors, windows, table top, display cabinets, shower doors, etc. While it looks nice, cleaning it can be a pain. You have both sides of the glass to clean, make sure that there are no streaks and no film, and that you have done a good enough job to get rid of the fingerprints, marks, and spots.

Most glass cleaners have ammonia as one of the active ingredients. We all remember the pungent smell of ammonia and how it can be harmful to us. It is not a chemical I would like my children to get in contact with. To cover up the smell, some manufacturers may use chemical fragrance which could be potentially harmful as well.

There are cheap and easy way to clean the glass you have at home. Try mixing vinegar, water, and soap, and use crumbled newspaper. Yes, it’s cheap and safe, but it can be quite a mess with the wet newspaper leaving you with black handprints.

Try the Bio+ Green glass cleaner. It is made from natural plant extracts, safe for children and pets, and leaves absolutely no smell. Interesting fact about Bio+ Green cleaning products, each cleaning product is colour coded!

 

BGCGW-1

Bio+Green Crystals Glass & Window Cleaner, $10.50

Best Sunscreen for Face

The sun is great but we cannot stress enough the importance of having proper sun protection to prevent premature aging and uneven pigmentation when in the outdoors, especially on our face, arms and neck.

When you are choosing the best or most suitable sunscreen for the face, there are usually a few considerations: will it be sticky and heavy, will it irritate or dry my skin, is the sun protection (SPF) sufficient?

Let’s start with the easy question. Generally, any protection below SPF15 is insufficient in Singapore’s sun. Therefore, if you really want protection from the sun rays, pick one that is at least SPF25.

Next consideration, would the sun block irritate or dry my skin? Do you have sensitive skin that flares up easily when the wrong product is applied? If so, I would strongly urge you to do a test spot before applying any cream or lotion to your face. For sunscreens, there are 2 main types, chemical block or physical block. For chemical block, the active ingredients, usually octolcrylene, octinoxate and avobenzone, counteract with the harmful UVA and UVB rays when they reach your skin, reducing the sun damage. Chemical sunscreen will usually require user to apply the lotion at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun for maximum effect. Because there is a chemical reaction that happens when the active ingredient neutralise the harmful rays, it can cause allergic reactions on and irritate sensitive skin.

For physical blocks, the sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These two minerals act as a physical barrier to block out the harmful rays. If you must know, titanium oxide protects your skin against UVB and some UVA rays, while zinc oxide deflects the full spectrum of UVB and UVA rays. These are the ones that will leave a tone of whitish hue on your body.

The last consideration would be your personal preference: fragrance or non-fragrance, with moisturising qualities or without, spray on or rub one, compatibility with make-up, and the list goes on. It is also common for the sunblock to feel light and gentle on the face and is non-greasy.

Here are two organic sunscreen I would recommend you:

1) The Sun Lotion from Little Innoscents. SPF30. It is fragrant free, non-greasy, uses zinc oxide as an active ingredient and is suitable for face and babies.

Sun Lotion, $20

2) The SolarCare Lotion by Buds Organics. SPF25. It uses titanium dioxide to reflect UVA and UVB rays. It is another light sunscreen that is created for babies’ use and suitable for the face and sensitive skin. Natural emollients like sunflower, olive and jojoba oils and shea butter offer deep moisturisation, while aloe vera, rich olive leaf extract and natural vitamin E offer additional protections against free radicals.

Buds Solarcare

Pet Safe Cleaner

Pet ownership is on the rise in Singapore. Pets are also quite sensitive to chemicals found in domestic household cleaners. Therefore, your pets could be poisoned unknowingly due to contact with cleaners such as bleaches, detergents or polishes. This is something which the manufacturer knows and in certain brands, they even state that pets should be kept out of the area until the area has been dried thoroughly to prevent any poisoning of pets. The mixing of water with the cleaning product is also important to maintain the balance as too much of the cleaning product can sometimes be harmful to the occupants in the house.

 

Corrosive cleaners (bleaches and oven cleaners) can have high levels of acidity and alkaline contents. When these products come in contact with your pet’s skin, they can cause skin irritation. Some can also irritate the animal’s respiratory system. Cats, for instance, are sensitive to the presence of phenols. Therefore, if this chemical is found in your household cleaner or disinfectant, it is recommended that you do a thorough wipe down after use to remove any chemical residue.

 

Fortunately, there are plenty of safer and eco-friendly cleaning products out there that are safe for your pets. There is a growing demand for pet safe cleaning products and these products are usually made from natural and non-toxic ingredients. Opting for an organic cleaner may be the solution to a clean home without having to sacrifice the health of your pets.

Non Toxic Bathroom Cleaner

Cleaning bathrooms mean getting rid of the soap scum and mildew. In Singapore’s hot and humid weather, mould also quickly becomes stubborn stain on the wall and floor tiles. To get the job done, bathroom cleaners are usually used.

 

Some bathroom cleaners, while smell good and refreshing, contain corrosive chemicals that can cause irritation to your skin and respiratory system. For example, some contain sulfates, which is a potential trigger for asthma. Chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite (or common bleach), sodium hydroxide, or phosphoric acid are found in most bathroom cleaners and can irritate skin and lungs. Some cleaners, when mixed together, can even result in a chemical reaction which gives off toxic fumes like chlorine gas.

 

One safer alternative may be to go natural with cleaning your bathroom by using baking soda, white vinegar and lemon juice. However, for those who find this too much of a hassle, you can try to opt for an organic bathroom cleaner. It is made from natural and bio-degradable ingredients, is safe for people with sensitive skin and is safe for pets and children.

Kitchen Degreaser

Does your kitchen feel oily and greasy? Do the cabinets feel sticky and you could see a build-up of grime on the cabinet doors? And no matter how many times you clean using soap and water, the stain remains and the area is still sticky or oily?

Especially during the Lunar New Year in Singapore, where families are busy with their ‘spring cleaning’, it is easy and convenient for us to pick up a kitchen cleaner or degreaser from the supermarket and start using them to get rid of the stains, grime and stickiness.But not all kitchen cleaners or degreasers are the same. Some may have toxic chemicals in them, gives off funny smell when doing the job, or may even be unsafe to be used near food preparation area!

When it comes to cleaning products, it is important that they are safe to use indoors and do not leave any toxic chemicals behind after use. This is especially so for cleaning products in the kitchen, where it is most likely to contaminate the food.

To remove the layer of grime and dirt accumulated over the months, and even years, it doesn’t mean that you have to use toxic chemicals. Child safe and food safe organic cleaners are in the market. Made from natural and eco-friendly ingredients, the organic kitchen cleaner and kitchen degreaser will be a great way forward to get rid of the more stubborn and entrenched dirt and oil. Your kitchen will be sparkling clean and you can rest assured that the surfaces in the kitchen do not contain any harmful or toxic chemicals.

What about cleaning the cooker hood and the oil filter?

Looking for a solution to clean your cooker hood and oil filter? We would recommend the Bio+Green Crystal stainless steel cleaner and degreaser! See how easy and simple it is to clean the kitchen hood.