I’ve been using Branch Basics non toxic household cleaner for over a couple years now after slowly tossing our chemical cleaners out! I figured it’s time to let you know how it actually cleans in a detailed Branch Basics Review.
If you’re skeptical it works (as you should be!), scroll down to see what it’s made of, how one concentrate becomes many different cleaners, and how we use Branch Basics for most every cleaning job in our home.
I don’t use it for our laundry however. Not because it doesn’t work, but because I just love the other laundry products we use that are pre-measured out. Feel free to read more about what we use in my Dropps Review and also Earth Breeze Laundry Sheets Review.
I’ll show you my pros and cons using Branch Basics and explain how it all works. If you are feeling a bit paranoid about the amount of chemicals in your home, then read on! This is a way that you can simplify your cleaning routine AND use less chemical cleaners.
If you are specifically looking for a non toxic cleaner and disinfectant, Branch Basics isn’t going to kill germs. Instead, read why I use Force Of Nature for some chores like cleaning toilets and deodorizing stinky coffee mug lids.
Branch Basics originally gifted me their starter kit to try, without obligation to post anything. I like it so much that I have since reordered many times and use this as the primary cleaner in my home. If you know me personally, you’ve probably heard me recommend it to you too.
While this is not a sponsored post, I do receive a small commission through affiliate links if you decide to try it.
What is Branch Basics?
If you’re new to Branch Basics, it’s a non toxic, biodegradable, plant and mineral based cleaner.
There is also a second product called Oxygen Boost which I’ll share in detail in a minute. It’s a bleach free brightener and cleaning booster for tougher jobs.
From one bottle of concentrate, you create up to 5 different cleaners for anything and everything in your home.
If one concentrate does it all, why all the bottles?
One thing that makes Branch Basics unique is that you just order 1 bottle of concentrate, but then create different cleaners based on their concentrate to water ratio. So each of the 5 cleaners you can create tailors to the type of job you are tackling.
The starter kit comes with a bottle of concentrate, oxygen boost powder, AND empty bottles you’ll turn into:
- bathroom cleaner
- all purpose cleaner
- streak free cleaner
- foaming hand wash
- laundry cleaner
Their empty bottles in the starter kit have instructions on the label, with a water fill line and concentrate fill line to make it easy.
How much does it cost to use Branch Basics?
Here’s the cost of each product. It seemed high to me at first, but then I realize I’m NOT repurchasing most of my old chemical cleaners (dare I say at least 10 others…)
- Starter kit $75 (concentrate, oxygen boost, plus 5 empty bottles)
- Laundry kit $69
- Concentrate refill $55 (or $49 if you subscribe and save)
- Oxygen boost refill $22 (or $19 if you subscribe and save)
- Trial kit $5 (mini 2 oz concentrate plus empty full size all purpose cleaner bottle)
- Travel kit $20 (mini 2 oz concentrate plus pre filled mini 2 oz all purpose and mini pre filled foaming wash)
- Glass bottle kit $40 for 3 beautiful 16 oz glass spray bottles
Be sure to use code BLUEANDHAZEL for 15% off the starter kit or the laundry kit!
And just so you know, the “starter kit” comes with everything in the “laundry kit” PLUS the empty spray bottles to make the different cleaners.
So you wouldn’t ever need the starter kit AND the laundry kit.
How long does a bottle of Branch Basics concentrate last?
My first bottle lasted around 7 months, but I didn’t use it as often as I do now. I’ll probably need a new bottle of concentrate every 4 months or so now.
Other people who use it for everything from laundry to general household cleaning go through a bottle around every 3 months. If you use less of one bottle type, you’ll have more concentrate for the other cleaner refills.
Here’s a visual of how many times you could refill each cleaner with 1 bottle of concentrate.
Branch Basics Coupon Code for 15% off
Be sure to use code BLUEANDHAZEL for 15% off any of their starter kits except the $5 trial kit.
My cleaning journey
Growing up, I didn’t really learn how to clean a home or do laundry. I think being the last of 5 kids had me a bit spoiled and beyond doing dishes, sweeping, and tidying my room…I just wasn’t expected to clean much.
Plus, my mom used products from a company called Amway which was not sold in stores. So after I got married, I found myself clueless as to what products to use.
I ended up collecting a cupboard FULL of strong cleaners. Some but not all I owned:
- A stove top cleaner
- Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Tilex shower cleaner
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
- Comet powder for the metal sink
- Scrubbing Bubbles
- 409 spray
- Tide laundry detergent
- Mrs. Meyers for counters
- Cascade dish pods
You name it, I probably owned it.
While the strong smell of these cleaners reassured me every dang germ was being killed and scrubbed off the surface, I’m pretty sure I lost a few brain cells too.
You can’t always open a window in freezing cold temperatures and bathroom fans only do so much!
Consider what affect chemicals may have on your lungs, brain, skin, and overall health
Just read the danger warnings on any label…you know what I mean!
Instinct kicked in when I was pregnant and thinking, “This stuff probably isn’t good to be around”. I’d ask my husband to clean things like the shower that just got too strong for me.
If it gives you a headache and makes you want to run into the other room for a fresh breath of air…listen to your body.
Why I switched out *most* of the toxic cleaners in our house for Branch Basics
While I wish I would have used safer cleaners years sooner, it was having little kids around that really got me thinking differently about our cleaners.
We keep all of our cleaners up high, but I was always paranoid about forgetting to put something away or my toddler somehow finding a mystery bottle somewhere.
Plus, the smells were just too strong for me and I hated cleaning while trying to hold my breath. Maybe I’m sensitive, but it made me ask myself how necessary these cleaners really are for daily or weekly chores.
Can Branch Basics kill mold, viruses, or bacteria?
Branch Basics does NOT kill mold, viruses, or bacteria. It physically removes them, similar to how you remove germs from your hands when you wash with soap.
This is actually a good thing if you are wanting to avoid antibacterial resistance from overuse of chemical cleaners.
Branch Basics is a cleaner…not a disinfectant.
But one of the first questions you may want to ask yourself before joining the cultish group of Branch Basics users (join the club) is how important is it to you do clean vs disinfect?
Here’s an awesome article on the definitions of cleaning vs disinfecting vs sanitizing if you’ve never read that before. I’ll summarize below.
Cleaning is going to remove dirt, grease, and grime from surfaces. You’ll likely use a soap or detergent with water to remove most of the germs, but it won’t kill them. Germs get washed down the drain or wiped up on a towel.
Disinfecting (think bleach or certain concentrations or hydrogen peroxide) will kill germs but won’t necessarily remove them from surfaces. Make sense?
Dwell time: Most people don’t know the dwell time their disinfectant has to sit in order to kill the germs. This varies by product from 10 seconds to minutes! Spraying and instantly wiping (as I had often done in the past) won’t let it kill the germs anyway.
You can also read: Is Branch Basics A Sanitizer Or Disinfectant? This article also shows you what to use to safely disinfect if you want to after cleaning with Branch Basics.
Can you really clean everything with Branch Basics?
The short answer is yes!
The longer answer is that some things you’ll have to choose between the all purpose spray, steak free spray, OR bathroom spray (the only difference being the concentrate to water ratio).
Also, some jobs you’ll want to sprinkle on oxygen boost too for extra heavy cleaning.
Here’s the BIG giant Branch Basics User Guide.
How I clean my kitchen using Branch Basics:
I clean all surfaces with Branch Basics all purpose spray, including my:
- Glass stovetop
- Fridge shelves
- Tile floors
- Wooden table
- Dishes cleaned by hand (I spray with the all purpose spray if washing by hand, or fill the sink with water and add 1 tsp of concentrate to let your dishes soak)
- Stainless steel appliances (use the streak free to avoid smudges)
The all purpose cleaner + oxygen boost combo works SO well for getting burnt pans clean. You’ll have to soak for a few hours, or possibly overnight but it works.
Dawn dish soap overnight couldn’t even do that for me!
How I clean my bathrooms with Branch Basics:
At first, I was just so worried my bathroom would be gross, germy, and stink using a feel good “natural” cleaner. But it doesn’t! It’s clean, smells like…well nothing, which I guess is good!
For a typical clean, I use all 3 cleaners in the starter kit in my bathroom plus the oxygen boost for soap scum or toilet rings! I’ll explain what I use for each area in a minute.
What about when you just need to disinfect something smelly?
Confession, I do still like to use Force Of Nature (which is a disinfectant and kills viruses and bacteria) on my toilet and the floors where my boys pee from time to time. On occasion there’s just urine smell that needs some extra help!
If someone has diarrhea or the pukes, I also use this.
So you can see, I’m not a Branch Basics purist.
Up until finding out about Force Of Nature I used bleach to disinfect and kill germs in our bathroom. But I’m so glad to have found a much safer yet still effective disinfectant to be used in preschools and even some hospitals.
It’s in the chlorine family, so a little different than bleach and completely kills any bad smells coming from our bathroom.
Branch Basics Bathroom Spray
I use the bathroom spray (more concentrated than all purpose) for areas with more grime. Think:
- Soap scum
- Shower liners
How I clean our toilet bowl
First I spray down the toilet bowl inside and out with bathroom cleaner bottle.
Then I put a scoop of Oxygen Boost in the toilet water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes while I clean the outside toilet and floor around the toilet.
It foams a little and when I scrub, any orange toilet ring is gone. We do have to use a pumice stone once or twice a year to remove some hard water spots further down in the bowl.
If there’s any lingering stinky smell of old pee or what not, I’ll get out my Force Of Nature bottle and use that around the toilet only. But that’s not every time.
How I clean grout around the tile
I was 100% inspired by Branch Basic’s “testimony Tuesday” on Instagram when they showed how to clean grout! I thought, I gotta try it because our rental home had some nasty brown grout in it’s old 1960’s bathroom.
Guess what?! It worked! I was beyond shocked. Just scroll to see the progress in my photos!
Step 1: I sprayed the whole floor with bathroom cleaner. Then I sprinkled Oxygen Boost on and wet it with more bathroom cleaner. Like I went for it. Be generous, you don’t want to do this twice!
Step 2: I gave it a little scrub by hand to just make sure every area was covered, and let it sit for 30 minutes. This is way longer than they say is necessary…but again…it was bad and I didn’t want to do this twice.
Step 3: I used my husband’s power tool attachment to do the hard scrubbing of the grout. I could see white grout appearing for the 1st time!
Step 4: Be amazed. And wipe up the messy floor. Scroll to see the process!
I still can’t believe I let the bathroom just sit for 3 years without trying this. You gotta try cleaning your grout with this!
I will say, the power tool attachment was clutch though…because I also tried a toothbrush in some areas and it just didn’t do the trick as well.
How I clean our walls:
We have white walls and lots of little dirty hands and feet that climb on them. I love the all purpose spray to wipe walls! Spray, let sit for 1 minute or so and wipe!
How I clean our windows and mirrors:
I use the streak free cleaner for all my windows and mirrors, in combo with a microfiber cloth! The results are just as good as Windex.
This mix is almost 100% water, fyi. The only concentrate in there is what you get by dipping the straw part into the concentrate bottle and then screwing it back onto the spray bottle. So almost none.
I once added more concentrate because I though that seemed dumb to use so little…but it then left streaky smudges on my mirrors.
Just this week my kiddos helped me get smudges off the inside of our car windows that had been staring at me for over a year. Worked like a charm and I didn’t worry about chemicals on them.
How I clean our tile floors:
I spot clean my floors using the all purpose cleaner. Spray, sit for half a minute or so, and wipe.
I have tried the bathroom cleaner before and it was way TOO concentrated for my tile…leaving it a tiny bit…sticky? Or oily feeling? The all purpose works way better (less concentrate in it).
Pro tip: microfiber cloths do the best job cleaning/getting off all the soap spray.
How I clean our minivan with Branch Basics:
If your minivan gets as bad as mine, (ahem 3 small kids and MAYBE a twice a year clean)…then your going to love this trick to clean your nasty carpets.
1st vacuum, then spray with the bathroom cleaner, then scrub, and last either hose off or use a shop-vac to vacuum it up. Ta-da!
My husband loves using power tools to clean, so he used these scrub brush tools that connect to his drill 🙂 Apparently lots of people love these too because they have over 40K 4.5 star reviews on Amazon! It’s also how he cleans our bathtub! 🙂
Downsides of Branch Basics
There are a few downsides depending on the job.
- Dwell time is longer
I feel like you do have to let it sit longer than chemical cleaners to loosen dirt and grime. Maybe a few seconds longer for counters, a few minutes longer for a toilet, but possibly hours or overnight for some fabric stains.
For example if I’m cleaning my butter dish in the sink with all purpose spray…the grease doesn’t come off right away like with Dawn dish soap. I have to be generous with spray, wait a quick second or 4, and then wash.
Buuut…you get results…safely. So to me, it’s worth it.
2. It takes some time to learn how to clean different items
Their website has directions to clean pretty much anything and how much oxygen boost to use if needed…but until you’re familiar you’ll have to look it up. Things like:
- stripping towels
- cleaning a burnt pot
- getting stains out of a fabric couch
3. The cost
It’s not actually more expensive per bottle! But, it feels harder to fork over $49 for a Branch Basics refill than it is to go buy one bottle of something at the store for $4.
What I don’t use Branch Basics for…
To be fair, SO many people say it works great! However, I just love the ease of using my Dropps Pods. Plus my laundry smells SO good with Dropps (I use the orange blossom fabric softener pod scented with essential oils). I also stopped using dryer sheets and learned how to use wool dryer balls instead.
While there are instructions on how to clean wood floors with Branch Basics, I prefer not to use any soap on my wood floors. Just occasional water mop and towel dry.
Lazy/don’t care…probably both.
This stuff is so safe you can use it as a vegetable or fruit wash. Buuut, just between me and you, I just rinse my fruits and veggies in water without any “soap soak”.
Foaming Hand Wash
I keep this by a sink and my kids LOVE the foam…but truth be told I don’t love the feel of it. It doesn’t have that slippery soap feel I’m accustomed to liking.
Plus, I just LOVE my Raw Sugar Living hand soap from Target. The scents are all SO amazing I just look forward to using every. single. time.
Again, a Dropps dish pod is so much easier to me. No measuring or mixing that way. But you CAN use Branch Basics concentrate if you want to.
Update Nov 2022: My newest favorite dishwasher tablet is currently the Eco Friendly Power Pebbles by Earth Breeze. You can see my before and after pics in this post.
Yep, some people use this to remove their makeup or wash their face. Not my jam, but it’s safe to use it for that if you want to try!
You can actually use the foaming soap (or spray) to bathe your dirty pets. No need to buy other special soaps, and you’ll know it’s safe to use.
What does Branch Basics smell like?
The scent is very, very light. It’s technically “fragrance free” but you’ll notice a tiny bit of natural scent.
That’s one reason I just add a few drops of this lemon essential oil to mine, because I get the “clean” lemony scent I like. Someday I’ll probably get a higher quality one, but this one does the trick for me for now!
What ingredients are in Branch Basics concentrate?
These are plant and mineral based ingredients, all clearly listed with no secrets. No, I don’t know what everything is. I’m no chemist.
But I do know this company is committed to being transparent, and helping others swap out harmful chemicals from their home.
- Purified Water
- Decyl Glucoside
- Chamomile Extract
- Sodium Citrate
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Phytate
Why does the color of Branch Basics concentrate vary?
It’s also important to note that different batches can vary slightly in color. This I learned is due to the chamomile extract! It darkens with age, and also can vary in color by batch and season. Either way, Branch Basics reassures that the color variance does not effect performance.
What’s in the Oxygen Boost?
No bleach, no ammonia, no fragrance or dyes. Safe for septic tanks even.
- Sodium Percarbonate
- Sodium Bicarbonate
Ways to use Branch Basics Oxygen Boost
Think of this as your oxiclean replacement. It whitens and brightens tough stains, messes, and works on fabric too.
Burnt pots and pans. Spray with all purpose Branch Basics, sprinkle Oxygen Boost, fill with HOT water and let soak overnight.
Laundry. Add 1/2 or 1 scoop into your laundry drum with the clothes in addition to your detergent. (Again, I use Dropps oxi pods instead for this)
Tile & grout. Spray with bathroom cleaner. Sprinkle Oxygen Boost. Use a brush till soapy looking and let sit for 20 minutes.
Stained carpet or couch. Spray with bathroom cleaner, sprinkle oxygen boost on and let sit 5-10 minutes. Wipe off. I did this with some yellow pillow cases I stained with a marker. It worked beautifully! Many people have also reported doing this to red wine spills with great success.
My before and after photos using oxygen boost to whiten stains
I saw this before and after post on Instagram of stained towels that inspired me to try soaking and whitening some laundry!
I tried my:
- hard water stained white shower curtain
- old brownish rags that used to be white
- daughter’s white shirt with chocolate smoothie stain.
Scroll down to see my before and after pics! The curtain looked brand new when I finished, the rags were MUCH better but not totally new looking, and the shirt got cleaned but also wiped out some of the gold polka dots on it.
How I pre soaked using Branch Basics
Using their instructions for stripping laundry:
Step 1: I filled HOT water in my laundry drum. (I set the load to small which still covered the clothes, though they do float to the top of the water level).
Step 2: I added 1 Tablespoon of Branch Basics concentrate and 2 scoops oxygen boost, added clothes, and let soak overnight. The clothes still looked a bit dingy after this. They had just been soaking… not agitated or scrubbed which is an important step.
Step 3: Next morning I ran a HOT load using my regular laundry cycle. I did use my usual Dropps laundry pods (1 unscented detergent pod + 1 oxi-pod).
I had a few gross colored rags that got A LOT whiter. Not back to their original store bought color, but these are probably 2 years old and used for cleaning.
My shower curtain looked new after the hot soak and hot wash! I was just going to buy a new one if this didn’t work so I’m glad it did!
The shirt stain was completely removed, although you can see some of the gold polka dots are faded if not gone too. I should have soaked the shirt for less time! Also, I did pre sprinkle it with the oxygen boost, spray with all purpose, and scrub with the brush. So perhaps the brush was too harsh for the fabric.
Safe cleaning products to use during pregnancy
I can’t tell you how nice it is to feel like I can safely clean my home while pregnant! We are expecting baby #4, and I never worry about harmful chemicals getting on my skin, eyes, or in my lungs now that we use Branch Basics.
And the best part is that this stuff really CLEANS. It’s not just another “ok” eco friendly cleaning product. Far from it!
I even let my kids help clean now! Before choosing non toxic cleaners, I was scared to give them free reign with a spray bottle of any kind. Here’s a list of chores my 7 year helps out with. And 15 chores for 5 year olds that are actually helpful.
Ready to try it for yourself?
I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I do! Try the starter kit here, which comes with the concentrate, oxygen boost, and all the empty reusable bottles you’ll need to clean your home. Plus, free shipping since it’s over $39.
Use code BLUEANDHAZEL for 15% off any of the starter kits except the $5 trial kit.
If you love it enough to reorder on a subscription, you can get 10% off all future subscription orders.
They also have a “mini” concentrate that comes with a full size all purpose spray bottle you could order for $5 plus $5 shipping if you want to try the most popular and versatile version of their cleaner.
Let me know if you have any questions below, and be sure to check out my other cleaning and motherhood posts!
- How to use wool dryer balls
- Daily & room by room cleaning schedule plus printable
- Old Classic Family Movie List (Pin for Family Movie Nights!)
- Declutter piles of papers: our system for sorting and filing
- How to stop peeing while sneezing after kids
- 8 Things I’ve stopped doing to be less busy as a mom
- 17 Time saving hacks for moms with young kids