I receive so many emails and comments asking what types of household products we use, that I thought it is a good time to expand our Spotlight series from just blogs I enjoy to products that we trust and use at home. Along with our own personal insight into these products we will offer you, our readers, special discounts and exclusive deals while we are featuring products in this section.
Long before Beard and Bonnet began I set out on a mission to provide a healthier home for my family. To me that meant opting for locally grown organic produce, cutting out processed foods from our diet, and eliminating chemicals whenever I could. The path to a healthier home wasn't always an easy one and at times I was met by my own resistance more than that of my husband and kids. Eating organic produce and deciding to stop purchasing processed foods was the easiest part of our transition and once our family was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance those decisions became even easier than before because we simply couldn't allow any of those foods in our diets anymore due to them making us sick.
For me personally, the hardest part of the transformation was cleaning products. I am a self-professed clean freak and I am sure Todd will back me up on this when I say that I can be a little over the top sometimes. So much so that before this transition I thought that if the house wasn't cleaned with some type of bleach or hard core abrasive it wasn't really clean. Four years ago my cleaning day wardrobe consisted of heavy duty protective gloves, bleached out cleaning rags, and sometimes a little cotton mask because the smell was so strong it would give me a headache. I would clean when Eliza and Todd were out of the house so that I could air out the harsh smells before they came home. I think that the need for protective gear to clean my home should have set my alarm bells ringing, but I was just trying to do what I thought was right for my family.
After a lot of research I learned that my approach to cleaning was all wrong, and that actually we would have been a lot "safer" in our own environment without the use of my trusted toxic cleaners. Admittedly, I felt defeated and frustrated. After all of my research my conclusion was that I had to make all of our cleaners myself or allocate a big chunk of my monthly grocery budget to "non-toxic" environmentally friendly cleaning products that are readily available on the market. The first few months I splurged and invested in few "non-toxic" cleaners; honestly, I was NOT impressed. It took twice as long for me to clean with three times as much product as before and when I read further into these "safe" products I realized that they were still made with synthetic ingredients and chemicals that I didn't want my family to have anything to do with. After that I transitioned into making my own cleaners at home, boy was that an interesting experience. I have made so many jars of citrus peel spiked vinegar to clean with that I cannot even count. Don't let anyone tell you that the vinegar smell goes away, it really doesn't, it just smells like orange vinegar. Stinky orange vinegar seemed like a better alternative than chemical laden cleaners so I kept with the program and forged through until recently when I discovered Branch Basics.
Branch Basics is a human-safe soap concentrate (not harmful if absorbed, inhaled, or accidentally ingested) made with food-grade ingredients that replaces and in my opinion, outperforms virtually all home and body cleaning products. The Branch Basics ingredient list actually reads a little like my grocery list with items like purified water, coconut oil, and edible & seed-bearing plants. I was immediately intrigued when I realized that essentially Branch Basics is one product that replaces the need for virtually every other cleaning product in my home, both for hygiene and general cleaning. I found myself pouring through their website to learn more about the company itself, the product, and the founders' philosophies. I don't know how else to explain what an impact reading Marilee, Allison, and Kelly's personal stories had on me other than to say I was completely captivated. The history of how Branch Basics came to be truly is inspiring and dare I say made me cry tears of joy for Allison and Marilee as I realized that this product came from years of suffering from chronic pain and illness that the medical community just couldn't seem to find answers for. As a mother whose son was born with chronic health problems that medical professionals were baffled by I could totally relate. Their process of eliminating chemicals and processed foods sounded a lot like our own and I found myself completely enamored with these ladies and their wonderful product.
Any initial skeptical thoughts I had about how well this product would work were immediately put to rest upon receiving my first shipment. Over the past few weeks I have used their one product on virtually EVERY surface in my home as well as myself, the kids, and our dog. I have washed clothes, cleaned windows, and even removed Halloween makeup!
Sweet little Kash's skin is so sensitive that even the slightest little touch can sometimes turn him red and blotchy. Branch Basics 1:5 ratio (1 part concentrate to 5 parts water) was so gentle on his skin and really did a great job removing the makeup...twice! Twice because the lighting was so poor on Halloween night at 9 pm that he happily dressed up as The Cat in the Hat two days in a row and helped me to demonstrate how gentle, yet effective this product is. No burning, stinging, red skin, just one happy boy and an incredibly talented model, don't you think? It only took 4 slightly dampened cotton balls to remove all of the white powder and his kitty nose and whiskers. Pretty impressive, huh?!
As textile designers with a line of handmade rugs, Todd and I have never found a product that we felt we could suggest to our clients for spot cleaning their rugs, until now with Branch Basics. I actually removed stains left by our 17 year old cat with an overzealous appetite from one of our white rugs that I thought would NEVER come out!!! So as of last Friday I am officially declaring my house free of chemical cleaners. My one-time overflowing cleaning cabinet now only has one resident and instead of our home smelling like harsh cleaners, or chemical induced fields of lavender, it just smells like our home and that makes me overwhelmingly happy!
Still want to know more? Here is what Branch Basics has to say about the ingredients in their product and some of its uses:
Branch Basics is made with purified water, fatty acids, coconut oil, organic alcohol*, folic acid, minerals and enzymes derived from edible and seed-bearing plants.
*The alcohol is made from sugar cane and oats and is totally evaporated out in the process so that no alcohol remains in the final product.
NOTE: All the ingredients are food-grade (non-GMO) as opposed to industrial-grade and the minerals and enzymes are live and all derived from edible and seed-bearing plants.
Our facility uses no gluten, soy, corn, nuts, tree nuts or dairy so there is no possibility of cross contamination.
Branch Basics is a powerful, organic solvent made from the fatty acids of edible and seed-bearing plants. From household use and personal hygiene to commercial and industrial applications, again, this one formula can clean just about anything washable. Its powerful enzymatic action makes it tough enough to dissolve hard engine grease, while its 100% non-toxic ingredients are safe enough to bathe a baby. We are continually blown away by its range of uses and encourage people to “never put it in a box!”
Because I am such a huge believer in this product and because the ladies behind Branch Basics are so incredibly generous they are offering a host of special discounts to those of you that order their product through B & B during the month of November. Hooray for savings! When you order between November 12th and December 1st you will save 15% off of your entire order by entering the coupon code below. (Stay tuned later this month as we announce other coupon codes and even a giveaway!)
Disclaimer: Thanks for supporting companies I partner with, like Branch Basics who paid me and supplied me with products for my review. This allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. As always, all opinions are my own.