The One identifies the single product that in-the-know people, from editors to celebrities, swear by to make their lives better in a “must-tell-everyone” way. Below, Mackenzie Schmidt, People.com’s Home + Travel Editor, shares a crucial addition to her cleaning arsenal.
Buy It! Branch Basics Starter Kit, $59; branchbasics.com
Scrubbing down every surface of my apartment isn’t necessarily my idea of a thrilling Saturday afternoon activity, but when it does go down, I’ve always reached for those staple cleaning products that are likely under every sink in America. Recently, as I’ve been making an effort to make every area of my life a little more eco-friendly — finding a cute reusable coffee cup, discovering the weird satisfaction of composting — I’ve been second guessing the vibrant blue liquids and nose-wrinkling chemical smells of my go-to bottles.
Enter Branch Basics, whose philosophy is that one all-natural, “human-safe” solution can replace every cleaning product in your house. No small feat, and one I was reasonably skeptical of. Their product is a little bottle of plant– and mineral-based concentrate that you dilute with different amounts of water depending on its purpose: a little more for bathroom cleaner, a little less for all-purpose spray, just a drop for glass cleaner.
The starter kit ($59) includes the concentrate and a series of reusable plastic spray bottles. (I know. They promise they’re working on rolling out glass options.) And, in addition to those mentioned above, also includes bottles for laundry detergent and foaming hand wash.
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I don’t typically mess around with homespun natural remedies when it comes to scrubbing a tub or wiping down windows — sorry Pinterest DIYs, my vinegar is for salad dressing — but given the chance to test these out, I was pleasantly surprised. Shocked might be a better description. Reader, they clean! And in all fairness, I was fully prepared to ditch them if their crunchy promise of scent- and chemical-free power didn’t hold up.
The two toughest potential sells for me were the glass cleaner, which got the New York City grime off my windows and left them streak free, and the bathroom cleaner, which did the work of my typical tile solution without unintentionally fumigating my windowless WC.
The concentrate includes things you’ve heard of like “baking soda” and “chamomile,” and is especially helpful for those with allergies or sensitivities. The three women behind the brand break down every component on their website. (One of them even told me she uses the solution as a face wash, though i haven’t tried that one out just yet.)
Skeptics, I feel you. There’s a $5 trial kit that you owe it to yourself to test out.