Last Updated on November 19, 2022 by The Filtery
I’ve been using Branch Basics cleaning products since 2019 (before The Filtery existed!). I guess I just gave away the conclusion of this review—sorry for the spoiler!
But if you’re here, you probably have some questions about Branch Basics, like:
- Does it actually work?
- Is it truly non-toxic?
- Is it worth the price?
- and more.
So, in this article I’m going to tell you all about this non-toxic cleaner, including my honest thoughts after using it for several years, how it compares to other natural cleaners, and more.
This article is not sponsored. It does contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Psst… Here’s a Branch Basics Coupon Code For You!
If you want to try it out for yourself, you can use the Branch Basics promo code THEFILTERY for 15% off any Starter Kit.
A Quick Overview of Branch Basics
Branch Basics is a direct-to-consumer non-toxic cleaning product company. Their flagship product is “The Concentrate,” which is is a super-concentrated, all-purpose, sugar-based cleanser that you easily dilute into a few separate bottles to use for cleaning different parts of your house.
Branch Basics is owned by three women: Marilee Nelson, Allison Evans (Marilee’s niece), and Kelly Love (Allison’s bff). Each of these women have their own personal and professional experiences with chronic illness, and thus their own reasons for starting Branch Basics.
The Star Player: The Branch Basics Concentrate
The star player in Branch Basics’ product line is their all-purpose cleaning Concentrate.
All you have to do is dilute the Concentrate into various reusable bottles to make:
- An all-purpose spray for everyday use
- A more powerful bathroom spray
- A foaming hand soap
- A foaming dish soap
- A laundry detergent
- A streak-free glass & window cleaner
- A floor cleaner to mop with
- A stain remover for clothing and carpet
- A tough scrub for pots & pans, tile & grout, and soap scum in the bath & shower
- A gentle cleaner for fruits & veggies
- Cleaner for your car
- You could even use Branch Basics as a baby body wash and/or pet soap if you wanted to.
It can truly replace so many of your household cleaning supplies without the use of harsh chemicals.
Other Branch Basics Products
Other products in their collection include:
- Oxygen Boost (a multi-purpose cleaning powder)
- Dishwasher Tablets
- Scrub Brush
- Wool Dryer Balls
- Various different kinds of bottles (glass, plastic, travel-sized, etc.)
Branch Basics Ingredients
The simple Concentrate consists of only 7 ingredients:
Purified Water: You know this one.
Decyl Glucoside: This is a surfactant, which helps create lather and pull oil away from the surface you’re cleaning. This one is sourced from glucose and is a non-toxic alternative to SLS and SLES (two other commonly used surfactants).
Organic Chamomile Flower Extract: Not only does chamomile contain antioxidants and natural soothing properties, but it also has antibacterial & antimicrobial properties.
Coco-Glucoside: Another surfactant, which is derived from coconut oil.
Sodium Citrate: One of the salts naturally found in citric acid, this is a natural water softener that enhances cleaning.
Sodium Bicarbonate: AKA baking soda, it’s a mild alkali and can help dissolve dirt and grease.
Sodium Phytate: A safe synthetic salt that’s usually used for stabilizing the formula.
Branch Basics’ formulation is fragrance-free, vegan, non-GMO, and biodegradable. It’s completely free from harmful preservatives and toxic chemicals found in other cleaning products like sulfates, phthalates, phosphates, parabens, and chlorine/bleach.
It also comes with a MADE SAFE certification, which is one of my absolute favorite third-party labels when it comes to ingredient safety.
My Honest Branch Basics Review
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been using Branch Basics for years now. So you can probably guess that I do really like it and it does get the job done! But here is my honest Branch Basics review in more detail:
One of the Easiest Non-Toxic Swaps to Make!
First, one thing I really love about Branch Basics is that it is a low barrier to entry for people who are just starting the transition to a low-tox lifestyle. It’s a super easy switch to make; you just use ONE simple product to replace a lot of the different cleaning products in your home. You don’t have to go around researching the long lists of ingredients in your toilet bowl cleaner, your countertop cleaner, your hand soap, your windex, your floor cleaner, etc.
They make it super easy to make the correct ratios for the different kinds of cleaners, too. Each Branch Basics bottle (which are available in both plastic and glass) come with lines indicating how much water and soap to put in the bottle. For example, the laundry detergent ratio requires more soap than the all-purpose cleaner does.
You can always use your own bottles if you want to, and you can find the dilution ratios here. After you use Branch Basics for a while, you’ll get familiar with the ratios and you’ll be able to eye-ball it if you want to. (For example, I’m currently using an off-brand foaming hand soap dispenser and I honestly just estimate the ratio when I refill it!)
Yes, It Actually Works
Yes, Branch Basics really does a great job of cleaning your surfaces, whether we’re talking about countertops, toilet bowls, clothes, whatever. I use it for all of that.
It works for quick spot cleans but is also effective at removing stains from clothing and getting baked-on food off of cookware and dishes (although you do need to let it sit for a while for the tough stuff, just like with anything else).
The only thing I can think of that the cleaner alone did not work as well on is the grout in the bathtub/shower. But once I enlisted the help of the Branch Basics Oxygen Boost powder and let it sit for a little bit, I had no problem getting the grout clean with a light scrub.
As a Foaming Hand & Dish Soap
I actually love using Branch Basics as a foaming soap. I have one foaming dispenser that sits at my kitchen sink that I use for both hands and dishes.
Some prefer the gel kind of hand soap and/or a hand soap that is scented, which is fine. It just comes down to personal preference. (You can add your own essential oils to your soaps and cleaners if you want to add some scent, though!)
The only potential downside to the hand/dish soap (in my opinion) is the darn foaming dispensers. It seems like they all start sticking after a year or two (even the ones I’ve bought from Target). But Branch Basics actually has a quick instructional video for how to get them unstuck, which you can check out here. It’s not a big deal; just kind of annoying.
(On a related note, my reusable plastic bottles are still going strong, even after 3+ years. If I was going to get a Branch Basics Starter Kit today, I choose the glass bottles, but those weren’t available yet when I first bought my Kit.)
As a Floor Cleaner
Branch Basics doesn’t really advertise their Concentrate as a floor cleaner, but I’ve been using it to mop my floors for years! (BUT before you start using Branch Basics as a floor cleaner, do a spot test first! This cleaner is great for things like tile and synthetic materials, but may not be good for hardwood floors with certain types of finishes.)
I actually use an old Concentrate bottle with the squeezy top on it to squirt the solution over the floor. Then I use a mop to wipe it up with a mop. Super easy, convenient, and no mop buckets required.
Branch Basics doesn’t provide a ratio for a floor cleaner solution, so I just eyeball it, using roughly half the amount of concentrate that the All-Purpose Cleaner calls for. This bottle is actually the only one I personally add essential oils to. I usually add a few drops of peppermint (for a fresh smell) and tea tree (for mold prevention). It just makes my home smell extra fresh after a floor cleaning.
The only thing to note about using Branch Basics as a floor cleaner is that you can’t go overboard on the amount of concentrate you use. If your floor has any texture to it, it can become a little too “sudsy” than what you want for a floor cleaner and can leave a layer of soap on your floor afterward.
Here are even more tips for different ways to use Branch Basics to clean your floors.
How It Works in the Laundry
Branch Basics works effectively as a standard laundry detergent as well. Again, it’s unscented, so if you’re someone who likes your clothes to come out of the washing machine smelling like “Mountain Spring,” then this might not be your preference. (Remember you can add essential oils if you want to, though. Or alternatively, you can sprinkle some essential oils on your wool dryer balls or to add a scent during the dry cycle.)
To pre-treat stains, I just spray some of the all-purpose or bathroom cleaner on the stain and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before throwing it in the washing machine. For a really tough stain, I might take an extra step and sprinkle some the Oxygen Boost over the stain and then agitate it with a toothbrush and give it a good scrub before putting it through the washing machine.
You can also add the Oxygen Boost powder to the washing machine as often as you want. I personally don’t use it for every load, but you can if you want. I mostly just use it with smelly stuff or with white loads that need some extra TLC.
If you feel your clothing or bedding is in need of a deep clean, you can also use the detergent and Oxygen Boost for laundry stripping (directions are here).
Branch Basics is also perfectly safe for use on delicates and baby clothes as well.
You can also use Branch Basics laundry detergent with hard water, but you may need to use a little more of the solution.
Here are even more laundry tips from the Branch Basics team if you need them!
Here are some before and after photos of a pair of sneakers that were in need of a cleaning. I sprayed some Branch Basics on these (from the All-Purpose bottle), let them sit for about 15 minutes, gave them a little scrub with a toothbrush, then threw them in the washing machine (on cold, gentle cycle) for a rinse. Then I let them air-dry for about a day.
Using Branch Basics To Wash Produce
I often use baking soda to wash my fruits and vegetables when I bring them home from the grocery store, but when I’m feeling too lazy to lug the big Costco bag of baking soda out of the cabinet, I just use my Branch Basics instead! (The soap dispenser is sitting right there at the sink, so it’s so easy.)
I usually just dump the produce into a mixing bowl, fill it with water, and squirt several pumps of Branch Basics from the hand/dish soap dispenser into the bowl as it fills up. Then I let it sit for about ten minutes or so, rinse the produce, and let it air dry.
You can also spray your produce with your All-Purpose cleaner, let it sit, and then rinse it off and let it dry.
Can You Use Branch Basics in the Dishwasher?
One of the only things you cannot use the standard Branch Basics Concentrate for is as a dishwasher detergent. (You’ll end up with a big soapy mess!)
However, Branch Basics actually now offers Dishwasher Tablets! I haven’t tried these yet, but I will be trying them soon and will report back with my thoughts.
If you’re wondering how to use other Branch Basics products in specific situations, they have instructions and tips for just about everything on their website, so just search their FAQ page if you need to.
But Is Branch Basics Worth the Price?
If you’re used to grabbing a bottle of all-purpose cleaner at the store for $3-4, then there’s a chance you could face a bit of a sticker shock when looking at the bottle of Branch Basics Concentrate. (It’s $55 if you buy it once or $49.50 if you sign up for a subscription.)
But the Concentrate does last a really long time. Here’s a simple graphic that illustrates how far one bottle of the Concentrate goes:
To do a comparison, I summed up how much the same amount of cleaning products would cost if you used Everspring instead. (I chose Everspring because it’s one of the most affordable eco-friendly cleaning brands. It’s usually even cheaper than conventional cleaning brands like Lysol, Windex, etc.)
It added up to $50.37 for Everspring.
So as you can see, Branch Basics really isn’t any more expensive than the rest of the brands out there, and may even be slightly more affordable. It’s just that it costs more up-front.
How long does a bottle of Branch Basics last?
For me personally, a bottle of Concentrate lasts around 6 to 9 months. I do believe my Branch Basics lasts longer than it does for others because I live in a small space and I don’t have kids or pets. (I’m also frequently testing out other kinds of all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergents so that I can report back to you all about them, which also makes my Branch Basics last longer!)
Other people have reported that a bottle of Concentrate lasts them about 2-4 months. Two months seems like a really fast time frame to go through the whole bottle to me. Four seems more realistic, even if you have kids and/or pets. Everyone is going to be a little bit different.
Branch Basics Pros & Cons
Here are the pros and cons of Branch Basics summed up. Most of the potential “cons” really just depend on your preferences. (Like the fact that it’s unscented may be a pro for some and a con for others.)
- Truly an all-in-one multi-purpose product.
- Super easy to use for almost all household cleaning.
- Non-toxic & safe for babies & pets.
- Fragrance-free for the most chemically-sensitive.
- Just as affordable as other cleaning products (in the long run).
- Not a disinfectant.
- More expensive up front.
Where to Buy Branch Basics
You can only buy Branch Basics on their website. (It’s not sold in stores.) If you’re ready to try it out for yourself, use the code THEFILTERY to get 15% off the Starter Kit of your choice.
They currently ship to the United States, Canada, and APO for military.
How Branch Basics Compares to Other Brands
You may be wondering how Branch Basics compares to other non-toxic cleaners. Here are the main differences between BB and some other cleaners:
Which is Better: Blueland or Branch Basics?
Both Blueland and Branch Basics are safe and eco-friendly household cleaning solutions with refillable options. One of the major differences between Branch Basics and Blueland is that Blueland offers totally different products for various parts of the house, whereas Branch Basics is an all-in-one product.
Another major difference is that Branch Basics ingredient list is much simpler than what you’ll find on Blueland’s products.
Branch Basics is also completely free from ethoxylated ingredients, while Blueland’s products are not. (Although ethoxylated ingredients are not a huge concern, they can be potentially contaminated with two known toxins—ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane—because of the way they’re processed. It’s really difficult to completely avoid ethoxylated ingredients, but it’s not a bad idea to minimize them.)
Branch Basics is also completely fragrance-free, while some of Blueland’s products are scented.
At the end of the day, both of these brands are good options when it comes to effective and non-toxic cleaning products and it will really just come down to personal preference.
Branch Basics vs. Force of Nature
While Branch Basics and Force of Nature are both safe household cleaners, Force of Nature is a disinfectant, while Branch Basics is a soap. I personally use both in my home, for different reasons. Force of Nature can also be used for a variety of purposes, but it cannot be used as a hand/dish soap or laundry detergent the way Branch Basics can. You can read our full review of Force of Nature here.
Branch Basics vs. Thieves
Young Living’s Thieves household cleaner is another Branch Basics alternative. The biggest noticeable difference between these two brands is the scent factor. Thieves employs a handful of different essential oils which provides a relatively strong scent, while Branch Basics is unscented. Which one is best for you will ultimatley come down to preference!
Another main difference is that while Thieves household cleaner is a great all-purpose solution for cleaning countertops, toilets, floors, grout, etc., you have to buy the hand soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent separately.
Branch Basics vs. Mrs. Meyer’s
Mrs. Meyer’s also does not offer a truly all-in-one product like Branch Basics does. But more importantly, not all of Mrs. Meyer’s products are truly non-toxic. You can read more about this in our deep dive into Mrs. Meyer’s.
What’s the Deal With the Branch Basics Controversy?
Back in 2015, Branch Basics hit a major snag in their business when customers started asking questions about their ingredients and how exactly they were sourced.
To sum it up, the Branch Basics creators were originally sourcing their formulation from a supplier who turned out to be misleading them about how “natural” the solution really was. (It contained a surfactant that was actually considered “synthetic” because of the processing it had to go through, despite the fact that it was sourced from natural ingredients.)
The Branch Basics founders have said this info was “mind-blowing” to them because they too thought they were selling a truly 100% natural product. They debated about what to do and ended up closing up shop for a full 18 months while they basically reformulated, basically starting over from scratch.
When they relaunched, they actually owned their supply chain and could say for sure what was in their product because they sourced the ingredients themselves.
So, all of this has lead some consumers to the question: Should we really trust Branch Basics? After all, they broke their customers’ trust once, so why should we trust that their products are safe now?
I think that’s a great question. Transparency and trust is an essential part of choosing non-toxic products for your home, especially in a world where greenwashing is only getting worse.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to make the decision for yourself. But here’s what I personally think:
I actually think the fact that they completely shut down their entire business, re-did their formula, gained control of their supply chain, and then re-launched and worked to gain back the trust of their customers is a huge testament to their commitment to doing what’s right and what they believe in.
I mean, have you ever heard of another brand doing something like that?! I can’t imagine a company like P&G or Unlilever giving up 18+ months of profit and putting their entire company at risk in order to fix their products and operate with integrity for their customers.
I also think Branch Basics’ experience can be a great example for other companies. Even if/when there are problems with a product’s ingredients or materials, they can be fixed with effort, intention, and hard work.
Another reason I trust Branch Basics is because they are MADE SAFE certified, which is one of the strictest third-party certifications in terms of ingredient safety.
And as a last side note, if you’re wondering whether or not the Branch Basics team was forced to make these changes from a legal standpoint, the answer is no. Even though the team says they were threatened with lawsuits over this issue, it doesn’t appear that Branch Basics ever actually faced a lawsuit over issues of ingredient transparency or greenwashing.
Again, you’ll have to make the choice for yourself, but that’s my two cents!
A Bunch of FAQs About Branch Basics
Here are a bunch of specific questions about Branch Basics you might find yourself wondering about:
Is There Anything You Can’t Use Branch Basics On?
The short answer is that you can use Branch Basics on almost any kind of surface. It’s generally safe for synthetic surfaces, leather, marble, granite, and quartz. The exception is if the surface uses a sealer that requires a certain pH. (See more about that here.)
You also may not want to use Branch Basics on hardwood, as it may remove natural finishes. Always do a spot test in a conspicuous first if you’re not sure.
What kind of water do you use with Branch Basics?
You can use either tap or filtered water to make your Branch Basics cleaners. They recommend using distilled water for the streak-free cleaner.
Can you mix Branch Basics with vinegar?
Yes, you can mix the Concentrate with vinegar for an even more powerful cleaner / disinfectant. Branch Basics has a couple different guides to using vinegar here and here.
Is Branch Basics vegan?
Yes, Branch Basics is free from animal products and is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
Is Branch Basics a disinfectant?
No, Branch Basics is a soap, not a disinfectant. You can learn more about the difference here, but the essential difference is that disinfectants actually kill bacteria, while a soap/cleaner wipes the bacteria away. While you may want to use a safe disinfectant (such as Force of Nature) in certain circumstances (like when someone in your home has the flu), you may want to be careful to not overuse disinfectants as they may lead to “superbugs” and decrease immune function over time.
Is Branch Basics castile soap?
No, Branch Basics is not the same as castile soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s). Although both are great options for non-toxic cleaning, their ingredients differ (castile soap uses more saponified oils like coconut and olive). If you have hard water, Branch Basics is likely going to be a better option for you than castile soap.
Is Branch Basics septic safe?
Yep! Branch Basics can be safely used with septic systems.
How long does Branch Basics last? Does it expire?
The Concentrate lasts about two years. Once the Concentrate is mixed with water to make your solution, it lasts about one year.
Where is Branch Basics made?
Branch Basics states that their Concentrate and Oxygen Boost are made in the U.S, and all of their ingredients are sourced from the U.S. and Europe.
They also state that their bottles are made in the U.S., but the foaming wash bottles, spray triggers, silicone sleeves on the glass bottles, and scrub brushes are currently made in China.
Is Branch Basics an MLM?
Nope! Branch Basics is only sold directly through their website and is not available via independent sales consultants.
Don’t forget: if you want to try Branch Basics for yourself, use the code THEFILTERY for 15% off a Starter Kit of your choice.
I’ve only recently realized how careful we need to be in choosing everyday products. Thank you so much for this comprehensive review. It’s been overwhelming trying to gain all the knowledge necessary to make a quick switch for literally all of my products. This feels like a safe, manageable starting point. This was a wonderfully-written and helpful review. Thanks for what you do.
Thanks for sharing, Sarah! Glad to hear it was helpful for you. 🙂