Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by The Filtery
We recently looked into whether or not 9 Elements’ cleaning products were actually as “non-toxic” as they say they are. But the other important question is: do these products actually work?
I tried a variety of products across 9 Elements’ line and I’m giving you the rundown on my thoughts in terms of smell, effectiveness, and some other things you may want to consider before deciding whether you want to try them out for yourself!
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IN A NUTSHELL:
- I tried out several of 9 Elements products, including the laundry detergent, multi-purpose spray, and dish spray.
- In general, I found that 9 Elements cleaning products were just fine. They got the job done, but there was nothing overtly impressive about them.
- Whether or not you like the smell of the products will probably depend on your preferences. Some of the prodicts have a more “vinegar-y” smell than others. (They do not have any fragrance-free products.)
- 9 Elements products use a lot of plastic and don’t offer any concentrated options.
- If I’m in a bind and need to grab some cleaning products from the store, I will feel fine buying 9 Elements. But I won’t be buying or using it regularly.
Now let’s take a look at some specifics for each product category:
The Laundry Detergent
Smell: I bought the Eucalyptus scent for the laundry detergent. It doesn’t really smell like vinegar, but it doesn’t smell very good… It has a very slight Eucalyptus scent, but it other than that it just kind of has a generic ‘cleaning chemicals’ smell to it. (It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it smells like!) I will say that the laundry smells better coming out of the washing machine than the liquid detergent smells by itself.
The laundry detergent is available in Eucalyptus or Lemon, and they also offer fabric softener in those two scents as well. The Lavender scent is not available for laundry (yet?). It’s also worth noting that some reviewers on the internet have said they thought the Lemon scented laundry detergent smells like urine(!).
Effectiveness: It gets the job done. I used it to do all of my normal laundry, including delicates and extra sweaty workout clothes. It doesn’t seem to be any more or less effective than the other natural and non-toxic laundry detergents I’ve tested.
Some other users have said that it doesn’t do as adequate of a job for toughter jobs like pet stinkiness.
One potential downside to 9 Elements Laundry Detergent is that it’s not meant to be used with rayon fabrics (including things like bamboo and TENCEL), since vinegar can weaken rayon fibers. This is will likley be an inconvenience for some people (myself included) who don’t want to wash their rayon garments separately from everything else.
The 9 Elements laundry detergent isn’t likely to damage your rayon clothing if you use it a few times (I actually washed a few rayon pieces in the detergent before I realized you weren’t supposed to), but it could lead to your rayon fabrics not lasting as long over time.
You also should not use the detergent with bleach since mixing bleach with vinegar can create toxic chlorine.
The Multi-Purpose Cleaning Spray
Smell: The Lemon Multi-Purpose spray does have a moderate vinegar scent to it. It’s not overpowering, but people who don’t prefer the scent of vinegar probably won’t like it.
The Multi-Purpose Spray is available in Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Lavender. (This is the only 9 Elements product that’s currently available in Lavender scent.) It seems like the general consensus from reviewers on the internet is that the Lavender is the best scent of the three.
I personally prefer to stick with unscented all-purpose cleaners most of the time because the smells can just be too much for me at times. It depends on your preferences!
Effectiveness: Again, it’s nothing special, but it gets the job done. However, it does leave streaks, so it’s not suitable for things like windows or mirrors. This wasn’t a problem for me when cleaning my table and countertops, but here you can see the streaks on the front of my dishwasher:
What’s the difference between the multi-purpose spray and the bathroom spray?
Not much. The Multi-Purpose Spray and the Bathroom Cleaner actually have the same ingredient lists, so the difference likely lies in the specific ingredient ratios used for each product.
The Dish Soap
Smell: In my opinion, the Foaming Dish Spray in Lemon has the most ‘lemon-y’ and least ‘vinegar-y’ smell of all of the products I tried. It also has the strongest smell in general—which may be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences.
The Dish Spray is currently only available in Lemon, but they do offer regular liquid dish soap in both Lemon and Eucalyptus.
Effectiveness: In my experience, it works fine but doesn’t do anything “extra” to get rid of dried up or caked-on food. Other reviewers say it works just as well as Dawn Powerwash, which I personally haven’t tried. (Both 9 Elements and Dawn are made by P&G so they both use the same spray bottle technology. The 9 Elements formulation is less toxic than Dawn’s, though.)
I personally don’t like how the dish spray sent scented particles wafting into the air and then into my nose while I was doing dishes. I kind of felt like I was inhaling soap while I cleaned. I prefer to stick with my Branch Basics in my foaming soap dispenser. You still get the foam without having to lather with water, but without all the little scented particles flying up into my nose and irritating me. I just squirt it either right onto the dish I’m cleaning or onto my dishwashing brush. Again, this comes down to your own personal preference and sensitivities!
But What About All That Plastic…
The other main thing that bothers me about 9 Elements products is the sheer amount of plastic involved. I don’t live a zero waste lifestlye, but I do try to use refillables and concentrates when possible to at least decrease the amount of plastic that comes into my home.
9 Elements doesn’t offer any concentrates at this time. The only kind-of refillable option is for their Dish Spray, which allows you to keep the spray head of your original bottle and put it on a new bottle. (And you have to throw away a smaller plastic cap in order to do so.) All in all, I’m not that impressed.
Pros & Cons Summary of 9 Elements Cleaning Products
- Generally effective for everyday cleaning
- Short ingredient list that’s free from many of the worst toxicants like phthalates
- Available in big box stores like Target and Walmart
- No fragrance-free options
- Uses a lot of plastic
- Laundry should not be used on rayon fabrics
- Multi-purpose spray can leave streaks
More 9 Elements Answers:
Where can you buy 9 Elements Products?
You can buy 9 Elements from many major retailers, including:
Who makes 9 Elements products?
9 Elements is owned by P&G.
Can 9 Elements laundry detergent be used in He (High Efficiency) washing machines?
Yes. 9 Elements says their laundry detergents are “formulated to work in all types of washing machines.”
Does 9 Elements restore color?
9 Elements says their laundry detergent can help restore the colors on faded fabrics by getting rid of the minerals that might build up on your clothing from hard water. Click here for their directions on how to do a 20-minute soak with the detergent and softener.
Can you soak clothes in 9 Elements?
Yes, you can soak most fabrics in 9 Elements (with the exception of rayon).
Why can’t you use 9 Elements on rayon?
The vinegar in 9 Elements laundry detergent can weaken rayon fibers. It’s not likely to cause any immediate and noticeable damage to your rayon garments, but it could result in your rayon clothing not lasting as long if you use the detergent over a longer period of time.
On which surfaces can you use 9 Elements Multi-Purpose Spray?
9 Elements says you can use the Multi-Purpose spray on ceramic, tile, porcelain, stainless steel, granite, hardwood, but NOT on stone like limestone or marble. When in doubt, always do a spot test the first time.