If food is medicine, safe cleaning products are the garnish. There is so much focus on what goes into our bodies but we don’t always take the time to think about what goes on or around them! This post will give a high level overview of the difference between non toxic, natural, and safe cleaning products as well as give an honest review of Branch Basics cleaning products. If you’re ready to switch to an eco-friendly home, this post is for you!
Over the last few years I have given significant thought to what goes into mine and my family’s bodies. (And subsequently, yours too!) Ironically, as much emphasis as I was putting on my internal choices, I wasn’t really thinking about my external choices, specifically related to my household cleaning products.
I think most people can relate that 2020 was a revelatory year. Personally, 2020 was the year I educated myself about the toxins in our environment and our household products. I was shocked to learn the harmful side effects of common cleaners, such as hand soap, Dawn dish soap, and even toothpaste. As a consumer, I always purchased organic or “higher end” products like Mrs. Meyers or Every Spring but truthfully, they’re no better than the rest! Marketing is a tricky trickster.
It was through this learning that I stumbled upon Branch Basics cleaning products. Before I go on, I should say that this review is not sponsored nor do I receive any commission on purchases you may make. I purchased everything I am going to cover with my hard earned money. The products have been put to the test and I feel confident in reviewing this product for you. So, let’s dig in to some common misconceptions about cleaning products and do a little comparison of safe cleaning products!
Why Are Most Household Products Not Considered Non-Toxic
Unfortunately, here in the USA, cleaning product ingredients are not heavily regulated. More than anything, the terms “non toxic” and “natural” are just marketing tactics. Theoretically, an ingredient is considered non toxic if it doesn’t cause toxic responses in the body (i.e. cancer). However, our standard cleaning products are so harsh that they actually have the ability to disrupt our endocrine system, mess up our auto-immune responses, and even interfere with our fertility (i.e. PCOS). So, even though your standard bleach or Dawn dish soap claims to kill 99.9% of viruses, it’s doing so at a big cost to your overall health! Here’s a good post by Force of Nature blog.
Safe Cleaning Products Should Never Have These Four Ingredients
By now most people know to avoid parabens, BPA, phalates, and sulfates. But have you ever heard of sodium laurel sulfate (sls) or sodium laureth sulfate? What about methylisothiazolinone? If you aren’t familiar, don’t feel bad. I had no idea what these things were until recently as well.
Sodium laureth and laurel sulfate are surfactants (emulsifiers) that are used in things like soap, shampoo, detergent, and toothpaste to create suds. They are marketed in products that are “degreasers” or products that claim to “foam up” more than others. What they don’t tell you is that this ingredient is linked to skin irritation, irritation if inhaled, and even “developmental, endocrine, or reproductive issues”.
Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is a preservative found in virtually every cleaning product, beauty product, and personal care product. MIT is even found in the “premium brands” that market themselves as organic, clean, etc. MIT often may cause allergies and neurotoxicity. Read more about it here. Canada has actually banned the use of MIT in beauty products!
Fragrance is also a generic term that is on every scented product on store shelves. Any time a product is scented, we’ll use vanilla as an example, it doesn’t mean it is naturally scented with vanilla beans. In fact, the term fragrance can be a Molotov cocktail of harmful ingredients that manufactures are not legally required to disclose! “Fragrance chemicals can pass through the skin and enter the blood stream. They are manufactured from petroleum and coal tar and are classified as carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, skin and respiratory irritants.” The scary truth is that we have no idea exactly what is in that “natural fragrance” on our Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender hand soap!
What Is A Safe Cleaning Product
Now you may be wondering what in the world is a cleaning product that is safe! I’ve been there too. Believe it or not, there are so many ways to clean and disinfect without these harmful additives. Vinegar, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and castille soap are just a few things that are perfectly safe for your hands and household chores. EWG lists these 16 products as the best options for disinfectants and also how to find the lowest toxicity products at stores.
What Is Branch Basics
As mentioned above, I stumbled upon Branch Basics through my search for safe cleaning products. Branch Basics is an unscented concentrate that is added to water (or distilled water) in various amounts to create laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner, window/glass cleaner, hand soap, stain remover, and bathroom cleaner. It is made up of six plant and mineral based ingredients that are safe for humans, pets, and the environments. Branch Basics also carries a MADE SAFE seal which certifies them as safe cleaning products.
I have been using the entire suite of Branch Basics products for several weeks now. Living with 4 kids, a dog, and a husband, these products have been put to the test! Whether I am cleaning a sticky child’s placemat, my stainless steel gas range, big picture windows, or 5 year old son’s toilet (iykyk), I have found that the Branch Basics’ formulas can tackle it all!
Here’s a list of things I am absolutely loving about BB:
- Degreases without surfactants
- Doesn’t leave streaks on my granite counters or windows
- Is safe to be used on my baby’s high chair
- Makes my glass shower doors sparkle (i.e. removes hard water and soap scum)
- Removes grass and mud stains from children’s cloths
- Removes food stains on baby’s clothes
- Removed a poop! stain! on a wool rug from baby’s diaper blow-out (for real, I know)
Other Reasons I Am a Fan of Branch Basics
Aside from all of the reasons I listed above, I also love that Branch Basics is an incredibly affordable safe cleaning product! Think about how much you spend on normal cleaning products. Tide Pods are somewhere around $20 for a container now! Then you’re probably buying dish soap, dish detergent, laundry softener, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, and hand soap. You easily spend $100 on cleaning supplies every 4 to 6 weeks don’t you? I know this because I did!
One bottle of Branch Basics concentrate, which costs $49, makes twelve (12) bottles of cleaner plus 64 loads of laundry! Read that again. Per their math, BB averages that one bottle of of their all purpose cleaner costs $2.90. I call that a bargain!
Aside from the monetary benefits, Branch Basics is committed to educating people about toxins and the importance of using safe cleaning products. They are a female owned business with a really unique story (read about that here). Additionally, they are certified non-GMO, fragrance free, and biodegradable.
How To Use Branch Basics’ Safe Cleaning Products
Using the BB concentrate to clean your home is incredibly easy. You simply mix the concentrate with water (tap or distilled). The bottles that come with your concentrate have fill lines so you know how much water and concentrate to add.
Branch Basics offers reusable and recyclable plastic bottles or premium glass bottles. I have both sets and am enjoying each. I prefer the glass bottles because I can add a few drops of essential oils to the cleaner for a safe scent.
To use, simply spray the product onto your area of concentration and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. For sticky or stubborn spots, let the product sit for a minute or two and then wipe away. So far, I have not found a stain or sticky spot that Branch Basics could not remove!
If you’re looking to start living a toxic free life in addition to fueling your body well, I highly recommend trying out Branch Basics! Did you enjoyed this post? Let me know in the comments below. If you decide to try Branch Basics, or any other eco-friendly cleaning product, tag me on Instagram with hashtag#ecofriendlyinpearls.
How To Use Branch Basics In Your Home
- 1. Use the all purpose cleaner on greasy stove tops and counter tops. Spray and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
- 2. Use the streak free cleaner on glass and windows. Spray and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
- 3. Use the bathroom cleaner in place of any standard bathroom cleaner. Clean as normal.