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Branch Basics Review: How We Use It To Clean The Whole House

I’ve been using Branch Basics non toxic household cleaner for over a year 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’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.

Branch Basic concentrate bottle next to a green leafy plant.

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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 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.

Branch Basics Starter Kit Contents including their concentrate, oxygen boost, and empty bottles

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 strength 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.

Branch Basics bathroom cleaner label zoomed in to show water fill line and soap fill line.

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…)

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 bottle of concentrate with examples of how many times you can refill the cleaners.

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:

  • Windex
  • A stove top cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Tilex shower cleaner
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Comet powder for the metal sink
  • Oxyclean
  • 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

Bottle of Branch Basics Concentrate held by a smiling mom.

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?

Branch Basics all purpose cleaner, bottle of concentrate, and oxygen boost with a blue rag.

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:

Branch basics all purpose cleaner being sprayed onto a wooden table by a pregnant woman.

I clean all surfaces with Branch Basics all purpose spray, including my:

  • Glass stovetop
  • Fridge shelves
  • Cabinets
  • Counters
  • 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 1tsp 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!

Glass stovetop before and after getting cleaned.
Glass stovetop cleaned using Branch Basics

How I clean my bathrooms with Branch Basics:

a white tile floor half cleaned using branch basics oxygen boost and bathroom spray. One side is dirty, the other side is white again.

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.

Confession, I do still like to use an occasional good bleach and water spray bottle on my toilet and the floors where my toddler pees from time to time. On occasion there’s just urine smell that needs some extra help!

If someone has diarrhea, I’ll also be using the bleach bottle.

So you can see, I’m not a Branch Basics purist. But I do try to only use bleach if I still sense a urine smell or if we have had someone sick and I REALLY want to disinfect.

Branch Basics Bathroom Spray

I use the bathroom spray (more concentrated than all purpose) for areas with more grime. Think:

  • Sink
  • Soap scum
  • Shower liners
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Toilet

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 a bleach water spray 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!

Branch Basics Oxygen Boost and bathroom cleaner used to clean a green 1960's style tile floor.
Green tile floor half dirty and half cleaned using branch basics concentrate and oxygen boost.
A green 1960's bathroom with white grout just cleaned using Branch Basics non toxic cleaner and oxygen boost.

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.

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! 🙂

Car carpets cleaned with Branch Basics.

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.

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

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…

Laundry

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.

Read my full Dropps review for our non toxic laundry and dishwasher pods.

Wood Floors

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.

Produce

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.

Dishwasher detergent

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.

Branch Basics Dishwashing 101: From hand washing to dishwasher

Face wash

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!

I personally love my gentle, unscented Vanicream face wash recommended by my dermatologist…aka my husband. Its SO gentle, fragrance free, and has an excellent EWG rating of a 2.

Bathing Animals

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
  • Coco-Glucoside
  • 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.

close up of branch basics bottle of concentrate with a pregnant woman standing behind.

What’s in the Oxygen Boost?

No bleach, no ammonia, no fragrance or dyes. Safe for septic tanks even.

  • Sodium Percarbonate
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
one scoop of branch basics oxygen boost .

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).

Stained white clothes soaking overnight in a washing machine with Branch Basics oxygen boost and branch basics concentrate.
a stack of stained wash cloths before and after using Branch Basics oxygen boost to whiten them.

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.

A stained shower curtain before cleaning with Branch Basics oxygen boost
A white shower curtain after having stains removed with Branch Basics.
A stained shower curtain before and after soaking with branch basics oxygen boost and concentrate in a hot wash cycle.

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!

Chocolate smoothie stain on a white shirt with branch basics oxygen boost sprinkled on top.
A white shirt after removing a chocolate smoothie stain with branch basics.

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

A pregnant woman cleaning a sink using Branch Basics all purpose cleaner.

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!

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Hannah Maxwell

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

You should do a skincare blog post of the recommended products from your dermatologist ;)

Liz

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Haha, maybe he will do a guest post! I can definitely do a roundup of some of the things though! ;-) Also look up "The Frugal Derm" on Instagram and Facebook! He's a friend of ours that talks all about affordable skin care options that work and what goes into a good skin care routine! His stuff is great!