Product Swap: Cleaning and Laundry

                                                    This:                                                           
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for That:
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When I began my household’s journey to clean up and green up our overall health, cleaning products were on the list to look at. My criteria were fairly basic:

  • a solid mission statement
  • made in the USA
  • ingredients that I can pronounce
  • does the job
  • value
  • multi-purpose
  • I do not need to smell these products to trust that they are working; I want to see it with the results. The only added fragrance I am interested in would be one that I choose to add using essential oils.

The multi-purpose household cleaner that fits this criteria, and we use to clean kitchen countertops, appliances, bar stool upholstery and kitchen chair upholstery, bathrooms, and toilets is Branch Basics: “Our soap formula was created with the most sensitive individuals in mind. It works to powerfully clean with only the highest quality, natural ingredients. Join us as we get back to basics, ditch synthetics, and discover the power of pure!”

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Their story begins with three women:

“Branch Basics is rooted in personal experiences and stemmed out of the passion of three women. Nearly 25 years ago, Marilee Nelson was dedicated and willing to do whatever it took to help her son, then ten years old, recover from a severe chemical exposure. She refused to accept the bleak medical prognosis that he would not recover and began to explore alternative options that focused on creating healing environments and using food as medicine. Through her son’s long road to recovery she gained experiential wisdom and knowledge far beyond the four walls of a classroom or the pages in a textbook. It did not take long for others to seek out Marilee for their own health concerns, and in 1992 she began consulting full-time and established The House Doctors.

In 2007 her niece, Allison, called desperately seeking relief from chronic pain that over a dozen doctors could not explain. Marilee linked Allison’s physical breakdown to several factors – the main one being chemical exposure to new building materials when she moved into a newly-constructed apartment. Allison’s best friend and roommate, Kelly, was there to soak up the priceless information Marilee had to offer. Soon, a special bond between the three women formed and only grew stronger as the two college graduates moved out to the Texas Hill Country to live with Marilee for a summer. After realizing the extent of her knowledge, Allison and Kelly were determined to find a way to share it with the rest of the world. Thus, they created Three Branches Healthy Living, a website that provided a plethora of health information as well as sold the highest quality products for creating both a healthy home and body.

Among those products was a non-toxic soap formula that Marilee, Allison and Kelly produced and branded as Branch Basics after working with a bio-chemist to get the best formula. After many hours of mixing, bottling, labeling and shipping, it became a huge hit and eventually became hard not to play favorites. They believe that switching to Branch Basics is the easiest and perhaps most important step toward reducing daily chemical exposures. Using just this one versatile product would enable people to get rid of dozens of potentially toxic products, reducing daily harmful chemical exposures from the elimination of conventional cleaners, personal care products, pesticides and more.

So here they are today, cleaning up the world one spray at a time!”

Branch Basics arrives in a concentrated formula. You follow simple steps for adding a mixture of concentrate and water depending on the cleaning solution’s use. For example, the suggested bathroom cleaner mixture is more concentrated than the all-purpose cleaner. I love that the company provides visual instructions both online and with your products. The product can also be used in a streak-free formula. However, I have not had great success with this amazing product when cleaning windows and mirrors.

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The laundry detergent that fits my criteria is Molly’s Suds: “Our company uses the purest of ingredients to formulate products without carcinogens or known human toxins. We strive to be good stewards of the Earth and give back to our community and those in need.” The company’s story is touching, and I share it from their words:

“Our company came about in a very unexpected way. Our daughter Molly was born in 2005 but she never took a breath. As a pediatric nurse and mother to three other healthy children, this was not just a tragedy, it was a shock. We knew Molly was serving our mighty God, but the nurse in me yearned to know what could have caused her stillbirth. I began to read everything I could about stillbirths and uncovered a disturbing fact that would change our lives. In the United States alone 80,000 chemicals were approved for use by the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) and yet only 200 of the toxins were tested for human safety. Each year the list of chemicals change. There was a European study done that proves mothers pass chemicals to their babies via pregnancy and breast milk. Newborn baby cord blood and amniotic fluid had multiple non-natural toxins detected in it, as many as 240 chemicals in cord blood have been found! More than 120 of the chemicals were from toxins in food, personal care, household and environmental products. I knew right then, we had a responsibility to teach others about these toxins, and to make a difference.

As consumers, we think about what we eat, but not about what we allow to touch our skin and how the ingredients can and do leach into our bloodstream! For example, detergent ingredients like ionic surfactants, are the most persistent in the environment and change the sex of our fish and Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE’s), which have been banned in Canada and Europe, imitate the hormone estrogen in our bodies which effect our health and fetal development. These chemicals are found in our drinking water because they are not completely biodegradable. So the decision was made to create Laundry Powder and other household products that are truly safe for humans. Molly’s little footprints are on our website and all of our packaging to remind you that our products are safe for even your tiniest family member.

From our family to yours, thank you for choosing Molly’s Suds!”

It works for our family, and I feel good about using this laundry detergent. We have a front-load HE washing machine, and you actually place a tablespoon (blue scoop comes in the bag) of the powder directly in the washing tub. Molly’s Suds has additional products as well. My tried and true are the concentrated Laundry Detergent and the Wool Dryer Balls. Using the Wool Dryer Balls is an easy and inexpensive replacement for dryer sheets.

The 70:30 rule is at work. I like this slightly adjusted rule because it takes the invisible, pre-fabricated notion that anything has to be perfect. It gives a calculated plan to leave room for a splurge, a cheat, a mistake, a chosen path that may not be ideal but fits for you in this moment. This is where I see my laundry room cabinets filled with cleaning supplies. For roughly 70% of my cleaning, I meet my personal goal of cleaning with greener, healthier products. For the remaining 30%, I still use what smells like toxic chemical products, but I will keep looking and trying out other products. I just haven’t found them yet. I would like to get closer to 80:20, but I am not there. So for now, I settle for 70:30.