It’s been a year since switching over to Branch Basics non toxic household cleaner. I’ve tossed a ton of chemicals out, and now aim to use this safe cleaner for as many cleaning jobs as possible. I figured it’s time to let you know how it actually cleans in a detailed Branch Basics 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.
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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.
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 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.
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 $69 (concentrate, oxygen boost, plus 5 empty bottles)
- Laundry kit $59
- Concentrate refill $49
- Oxygen boost refill $10
- 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.
What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting and which one does Branch Basics do?
So 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?
And do you know the difference?
Branch Basics is a cleaner…not a disinfectant.
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.
What gets cleaned in my home using Branch Basics
I clean all surfaces with Branch Basics all purpose spray, including:
- Fridge shelves
- Kitchen 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!
The bathroom spray (more concentrated than all purpose) gets used on areas with more grime.
- Soap scum
- Shower liners
How about inside the 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 other spots. It foams and when I scrub, the 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.
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!
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.
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!
I use the streak free cleaner for all my windows and mirrors, in combo with a microfiber cloth!
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.
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.
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.
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
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…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.
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’s the “magic” plant and mineral based concentrate made from?
- Purified Water
- Decyl Glucoside
- Chamomile Extract
- Sodium Citrate
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Phytate
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!
- Dropps laundry and dishwasher pod review: What we like and what we don’t
- How to use wool dryer balls
- Daily & room by room cleaning schedule plus printable
- 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