Chronic disease has become more common than ever before. Even millennials and children have not been spared from the onslaught of lifelong disease, including asthma, eczema, psoriasis, respiratory issues, allergies, and so much more.
Nine years ago, a study found that over 54% of children in the United States had a chronic condition. That number has only risen in recent years.
Conventional medicine tells us that these diseases are incurable and only treatable with medication. Alternative and holistic practitioners, however, have found that these conditions are often the result of synergistic toxicity. When this toxicity is reduced and proper nutrition is provided, however, they have found that the body can often restore homeostasis and eliminate or reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.
Toxicity in Our Homes
The challenging part, though, is reducing the toxicity load. We are surrounded by toxicants, including heavy metals and chemical residues. These toxicants are found in the foods we eat, vaccines, pharmaceutical medications, water, air, and more. One of the largest culprits, however, is the cleaning products we use daily in our homes.
Toxic cleaning products can contain a number of poisonous chemicals and fragrance. Examples include ammonia, sodium lauryl sulfate, chlorine bleach, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, 2-butoxyethanol, and more. These chemicals can irritate the skin, eyes, mouth, kidneys, and respiratory system. They can also cause DNA damage, endocrine changes, nervous system disorders, and gut dysbiosis, ultimately leading to chronic disease.
For children with neurological disorders, the results can be even more devastating. Gut health is key to neurological health, and children exposed to many of these chemicals via inhalation or skin application can be further put at risk.
Checking for Toxicity
Taking the time to check the toxicity levels of all cosmetics, including lotions and sunscreens, along with everyday household cleaners can help you reduce this load and allow for healing and restoration of the body. One of my favorite resources for this is the Environmental Work Group. (For more information on cosmetics, click here.)
On the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, they have the toxicity levels of over two-thousand household cleaners and products. You can also search for individual ingredients in the search bar in order to check the rating of the ingredient. A rating of a green “A” means that the toxicity level is low, and the product or ingredient is not a big threat to human health. An “F”, however, means that this product or ingredient is extremely harmful to human health and can lead to a number of health conditions.
The Problem with Fragrance
“Fragrance” or “parfum” is one ingredient to be leery of as it can contain thousands of undisclosed synthetic chemicals that have never been tested for safety. Sadly, “fragrance” is also found in the vast majority of products in stores across the country. A quick walk down the “cleaning” aisle screams of toxic fragrance.
On the EWG website, “fragrance” scored a “D” because of its link to skin allergies and respiratory symptoms. Fragrance can also contain phthalates that have been linked to hormone disruption, breast cancer, ADHD, autism, diabetes, obesity, liver cancer, and asthma. Fragrance can also include petrochemicals, known to cause cancer, nervous system disorders, asthma, birth defects, and allergies.
The Problem with Some “Natural” Cleaning Products
The more intentional you are about selecting products with less toxicity, the better chance you and your family will have at health and wellness. The challenge is in finding products that are safe and actually work.
I’ve come to find that just because a product claims to be “natural,” doesn’t mean that it actually is. For example, Mrs. Meyers cleaning products are sold in our local supermarkets, but each and every one contains “fragrance.” On the EWG Healthy Cleaning Guide website, these products range from a “B” rating to an “F”!
The same can be said of Seventh Generation. Some of the Seventh Generation products received an “A” rating according to the EWG rating system, but the majority of the products ranged in the “C” and “D” categories!
When you consider how many products you use in your home, you can see how challenging it can be to find something that is safe and works for each of your household needs. From bathroom cleaners, window cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners to floor cleaners, laundry detergents, and stain removers, it’s can easily become overwhelming.
Finding Natural Solutions that Work
I used to make lists of all the safe products, only to find that some products by the same companies had similar uses with different formulations. Some of the formulations were toxic, while others were safe. Some of the formulations changed over time, moving from “safe” ratings to “hazardous” ones.
I also came to find that some products were only available at certain grocery stores, some at others, and some had to be purchased online. It became more and more difficult to keep track of it all, and I began to compromise more times than I could count.
Until I discovered Branch Basics.
Branch Basics is a simple concentrate that can be used in different dilutions in order to take care of the majority of your household cleaning needs. It can be used as a bathroom cleaner, stain remover, window and mirror cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner. It can also be used as a laundry detergent and floor cleaner, a dish cleaner, and even as a hand soap!
I scoured the Branch Basics website and was blown away by all of the amazing uses for the product. I also came to discover the heart behind the company. The founders had all experienced chronic disease or illness and had found healing after reducing their toxicity load significantly. Their passion and purpose came from a place of personal experience and the desire to do what was best for others.
I immediately contacted the company and asked to find out more. In full disclosure, I was sent a Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost free of charge in exchange for a review. What I am sharing below, however, is my honest opinion and experience. I sincerely fell in love with the product, and after trying it in multiple ways in my home over the course of the past three months, I just couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!
How to Prepare Branch Basics Cleaners
The Branch Basics Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost sells for $69 (with free shipping) and comes with a 33 oz bottle of concentrate, along with three empty spray bottles, a foaming wash bottle, a laundry bottle, and an Oxygen Boost. This one bottle of concentrate alone can be used to fill 3 all-purpose bottles, 3 streak-free bottles, 3 bathroom-cleaner bottles, 3 foaming wash bottles, and 1 laundry bottle (64 loads)!
The bottles in the kit make it extremely easy to prepare appropriately. Simply fill the bottle with water to the water line, then add the concentrate to the fill line, and top off slowly with more water. And that’s it!
Cleaning with Branch Basics
In my home, I used the All-Purpose cleaner for my kitchen counters, stove and oven, carpet stains, and even for washing dishes.
I used the Bathroom cleaner for the sinks, tubs, and toilets and added on the Oxygen Boost for the tough grout in my shower. I also used this concentration with the Oxygen Boost for tough laundry stains as well.
The Streak-Free cleaner came in handy on our mirrors, windows, screens, and on our hardwood floors. It was the first all-natural floor cleaner I have used that didn’t leave a sticky residue all over my floors. Instead, our floors were shiny and smooth.
We used the Foaming Hand Soap in our guest bathroom and also loved the laundry detergent. We’ve used all-natural laundry detergents for years but have often found that the clothing had a musty smell to it. I would use essential oils on dryer balls in order to take out the smell but found that even this didn’t work when it came to cleaning the dog’s bed or blankets.
I was happy to find that the Branch Basics laundry detergent and Oxygen Boost left the clothes smelling fresh and clean right out of the washer—without toxic fragrances. It also did an excellent job of removing oily stains and mud stains. I cannot tell you how many shirts I have had to trash when our old natural detergents didn’t do the job. Even conventional stain treatments that I have purchased didn’t hold up to the Oxygen Boost.
Why I Love Branch Basics
I have been EXTREMELY happy with our new cleaners, and I love that I can hand them to our children without the need for face masks or open windows. I also love that I am not compromising my family’s health in order to maintain a clean home.
There’s no toxic fragrance to worry about or multiple cleaners to purchase. I also don’t have to worry about looking up each and every ingredient or going all over town in order to keep up with my house. Overall, it’s been the perfect solution for our family.
If you’d like to find out more, I encourage you to click on this link for access to a comprehensive user guide that includes tips and specific ways to easily clean any area of your home—including pets, litter boxes, and cars! Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils can also help you personalize your cleaners for your home. Find out plenty more on the Branch Basics blog.
Keeping a clean and healthy home is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It is also necessary for recovery and overall wellness. I hope that you, too, will make it a priority. . . #forthechildren.