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What to do when you don't want to make your own homemade cleaners |

We've talked a lot this month about spring cleaning and decluttering (some of those conversations have happened in our weekly newsletter, so sign up for our updates if you don't get them already!).

We've also published or pointed to a whole lot of recipes for homemade cleaners, including the free e-book of the cleaners I make and use in my own home that's now free for subscribers (yet another great reason to sign up for updates!)

But what if you don't want to make your own cleaners?

And what if you don't know where to start?

Make using essential oils EASY with our at-a-glance cheatsheets.

Be confident in using essential oils safely AND effectively! Simply click the button to download these two popular cheatsheets and see just how easy using essential oils SAFELY can be.

Is there an option for being toxin-free with your cleaners, while still making your home shine, without having to resort to DIY options?

The answer is a resounding YES, and while there are a number of options, today I'm going to focus on just one – for a few really excellent reasons, so read on. 🙂

When I sat down at the beginning of the year to plan out the general topics we would cover here at Nourishing Joy through 2014, I had pegged May to be the month we focused on cleaning – frugal cleaning, non-toxic cleaning, decluttering our lives and minds, you name it. May was “spring cleaning month.”

So about a month ago when MightyNest, a widely-known-and-respected online shop for green living products, contacted me about a new program they've launched and asked if I would like to host a giveaway for some of their cleaning products, I was ecstatic, not only because it would supply the perfect capstone to this month of discussions about cleaning AND provide worthy store-bought options for non-toxic cleaning, but also because MightyNest's new program provides a win-win-win for everyone involved.

But I'll tell you more about that in a minute. First, let's talk cleaners…..


Branch Basics: The New Standard in Non-Toxic Cleaning


Branch Basics: A New Standard in Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly Cleaners

Note: I'm including a personal review here because I feel it's important. What follows is 100% my own opinion and has not been provided by MightyNest or the makers of Branch Basics.

As someone with my ear very closely to the ground in the natural living cybersphere, I've been hearing about Branch Basics for the last year or so, but had never actually tried their product.

And yes, they only have one product – and that's because the makers of it tout that this cleaner has HUNDREDS of cleaning uses in your house, and not just the oven or your bookshelves, but your babies and your face as well.

So, naturally, when my review supply arrived in the mail, I gave it my most difficult jobs, like the caked on grease and grime on the floor underneath the oven, the permanent marker spots on the side of a bookshelf where my 2-year-old decided to write a “poem” last week, and my daughter's stage make-up after her year-end ballet performance.

And wouldn't you know – it actually lived up to its promise? I used only a modicum of elbow grease to remove the caked-on grime, the permanent marker marks are now no more, and taking off make-up was like using a make-up eraser. (It was kind of fun! And weird, to be using an all-purpose cleaner on skin…. but it worked without irritation!)

Even better, I had no hesitation whatsoever about handing a bottle of Branch Basics over to my kiddos with the instruction to go wash the walls and the windows. When typically I keep our few remnant store-bought cleaners very carefully out of reach, it was mightily refreshing to happily hand a spray bottle over to each child and just let them do their work at their own pace.

A side note here – the reason I feel safe handing this over to my kiddos is one of the most intriguing things about Branch Basics. While Branch Basics is made with similar ingredients to a few other cleaners, Branch Basics is made with PHARMACEUTICAL-GRADE ingredients (meaning, they're meant to be ingested) rather than industrial-grade ones, and it's created without heat, so like good fermentation or eating raw, the enzymes they use are left intact and are ready and potent to work whenever you are.

(This kind of blows my mind – in a really good way, of course!)

It also occurred to me as I was putting everything away that Branch Basics is also a very effective way to minimize the number of cleaners cluttering your cupboards. You only have the bottle of Branch Basics concentrate and whatever spray bottles you've filled for cleaning around the house. Period. That's a serious plus.

And I will admit – the only downside I have found with Branch Basics cleaner is that it has ZERO scent or odor. For many, this might be a huge plus, but I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed because I LOVE the smell of a freshly scrubbed kitchen or bathroom when my cleaners are saturated with lovely essential oil blends. But perhaps I'm alone in that psychological pairing of associating scent with a sense of quiet satisfaction… 😉

Lastly, I have yet to try it as a laundry stain remover, but I'm eager to try that application especially. I suspect the enzymes will do a fabulous job on the underarm stains on my favorite work blouse, but I'll be certain to update this review when I actually have feedback to report.

So, bottom line? Would this be a product I myself would actually purchase over and over again to use in my home?

Yes, absolutely. I have no qualms whatsoever recommending Branch Basics as a cleaner of choice. When I make my next cleaners purchase, I'll be purchasing a full gallon of Branch Basics concentrate, as it will meet a number of needs we have right now, and I enthusiastically recommend it at least be tried in every home.

So, now for the fun stuff!

Win $70 worth of Green Cleaning Supplies + $1000 for your school in the MightyNest Get Fresh Challenge!

Win $70 worth of Green Cleaning Supplies + $1000 for your school in the MightyNest Get Fresh Challenge! When I started changing my cleaners, I did it one bottle at a time – and that's all it takes to enter the Green Cleaning giveaway from MightyNest!

Pledge to get back to basics with your cleaners and take a small but mighty step in a healthier direction.

Once you click the “I Pledge!” button in the widget below, you'll automatically be entered to win $70 worth of green cleaning supplies from MightyNest (see below for what you'll get).

And because MightyNest is all about inspiring and rewarding simple changes for mighty living, you'll also earn points to help your local school win up to $1000 this month in the Get Fresh Challenge!

What is “back to basics”?

“Back to basics” is whatever meaningful small step you can do to be mindful about what cleaners are in your home. Here are just a few ideas:

  • pledge to read the labels on any cleaning product that enters your home
  • toss out one old toxic cleaner
  • make one cleaning product in the next month
  • pledge to have no more than six cleaning products in your home, since most eco-friendly cleaners will do multiple jobs
  • …whatever small step is mighty for YOU! You decide!

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

1. Pledge to go back to basics with your cleaning supplies by registering your pledge in the widget below. (No purchase necessary.) The giveaway closes on May 28. UPDATE: Unbeknownst to me, the giveaway was extended until May 31! Yay! Extra days to enter!

2. Support your local school by choosing them to win up to $1000 in the MightyNest for Schools Get Fresh Challenge. All you have to do is  select a school (based on zip code) when you pledge. The school with the most points on May 31st will win $1000… The other top ten schools will share another $3000!

The giveaway includes seven mighty, eco-friendly items:

  1. 8 quart stainless steel pail  (LOVE, love, love this pail)
  2. 32-ounce Branch Basics concentrate
  3. Branch Basics empty spray bottle
  4. Tidy dish cloths (set of 3)
  5. Naked sponge (set of 2)
  6. Twist scouring pads (set of 2)
  7. Grunge buster grout and tile brush (with a bamboo handle!)

And don't forget: when you purchase any green cleaning supplies, 15% will be donated to your school!


This giveaway is sponsored by MightyNest. Thank you for supporting companies that make a difference!

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  1. I LOVE Branch Basics but I have to disagree. It does have an odor. You just don’t notice it unless you get right up into it which is the case when using it for face soap (which I do) or even when washing our hands (we use it in our foaming pumps) and you really get the lather going. I find the smell off-putting so I add essential oils to ours for those applications. Tea tree oil for my face bottle in the shower and citrus oils for our hand soap. But the smell would never prevent me for using it. It really is multi-purpose!


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