Is Branch Basics Safe? Your Questions Answered
By Marilee Nelson |
One of the top questions we’re asked is, “Is Branch Basics safe?” The answer is: “Absolutely!” Branch Basics is one of the safest and most non-toxic options available in the cleaning and laundry space. It’s safe for pregnant women, the chemically sensitive, children, and pets.
However, the follow-up question we wish we got more often is, “Okay great, but why is Branch Basics safe?” In other words, can we prove what we claim regarding safety and purity?
The answer to that takes a little more explanation, and that’s what this article is all about.
Read on to learn why Branch Basics products are safe and non-toxic, including:
- Our Unique Position
- What is Branch Basics?
- Why ingredients matter
- What is Branch Basics made out of (and why)?
- Our EWG ratings and other third-party safety certifications
- The benefits of non-toxic cleaning products
- The top toxic ingredients to avoid in cleaning and laundry products.
- Your Branch Basics FAQs
Our Unique Back Story
I would never have imagined I’d one day be involved in the formulation of a cleaning product because of my ten-year-old son being catastrophically chemically injured. Doctors said he would never recover from the brain and immune system damage he had sustained. I was told that he would be a "bubble boy" for the rest of his life as he could no longer detoxify the harmful chemicals we are exposed to every day.
I refused to accept that diagnosis. I was in a desperate search to find a way to get my son back. Thankfully his experience opened my eyes to the power of removal and the importance of creating a truly healthy home. The severity of his case revealed just how much having products with harmful ingredients in the home impacts air quality, undermines health and potential, and hijacks the body’s ability to heal.
I started digging deeper to understand why even “non-toxic" products caused him to react. I discovered fragranced products were especially problematic as the single-word fragrance is a proprietary recipe made of hundreds of potent, harmful chemicals. In fact, fragrance is linked to skin issues, asthma, cancer, nerve damage, hormonal imbalance, and obesity. Even essential oils, processed with solvents, and surfactants in "safe" formulas could harm aquatic life, cause skin irritation and produce cancer-causing by-products like 1-4 dioxane.
It was clear there was a need for truly safe, fragrance-free products that did not cause reactions or irritate the skin, eyes, nose, or lungs. Just “non-toxic” on a label is not enough. After recovering my son and seeing client after client have their health issues improve and even resolve after removing foods and products with harmful chemicals from their homes, a mission-driven company was born – Branch Basics.
What is Branch Basics?
Branch Basics is a mission-based company dedicated to sharing life-changing information. Branch Basics products are a vehicle for our commitment to educate and inspire people to Toss the Toxins and Create a Healthy Home. One of our goals was to create an effective, versatile, fragrance-free, human-safe cleaning concentrate that didn’t irritate the eyes, skin, or lungs and could replace every toxic cleaning and laundry product in the home.
Our flagship product, Branch Basics Concentrate, can be diluted to create:
Branch Basics Concentrate can also be customized for use on floors, in carpet cleaners, as a stain remover, to wash cloth diapers, as a bubble bath, eye makeup remover, and much more.
Other Branch Basics products include:
- Oxygen Boost: A mineral-based laundry booster, multi-purpose stain remover, and non-scratch scouring agent.
- Dishwasher Tablets: These plant, mineral, and enzyme-based plastic-free non-toxic dishwasher tablets power through dirty dishes without causing harm to humans, dishwashers, or the environment.
Unlike other cleaning companies, our goal is to improve your home’s air quality by the simple removal of harmful products and simplify non-toxic cleaning and laundering. Our one Concentrate can do just about any job.
Why Ingredients Matter
Our criterion for ingredient choice is the human laboratory of experience. We based decisions on my thirty years of research and work. The emerging science of epigenetics that states that exposure to even small amounts of one harmful chemical can alter DNA and gene expression, impact behavior, mood, and physical well-being, and can even turn cancer genes on and off substantiates the experience of my son and clients with chronic health issues.
Unfortunately, the cleaning and personal care industry working on non-toxic formulas are rooted in the outdated toxicology model that states - the dose makes the poison - and continues to claim that low-dose exposure to hundreds of chemicals simultaneously is safe. Their encouragement to use just a little bit of “this” because it would not matter, does not work for us. We adhere to “first, do no harm” as our guiding principle.
Our goal is to create powerful, effective products that are completely safe without compromise. Human health is our top priority.
What is Branch Basics Made Out Of?
It is so important to know exactly what goes into the products you’re using in your home. Especially cleaning and laundry products that we use, touch, and inhale on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, the cleaning and laundry industries are not required to disclose ingredients on labels. And greenwashing is rampant within the "green" cleaning space.
In other words, just because a cleaning product says it is non-toxic, it doesn’t necessarily make it so.
The ingredient list on any product should be evaluated. In this article, 3 Tools You Need To Become Your Own Product Advocate, we teach you how to vet household products. If there is no ingredient list, we recommend not purchasing the product.
At Branch Basics, we believe in transparency in labeling, which is why we list all our ingredients on our labels.
Here’s an overview of what’s in Branch Basics products, why we chose these ingredients, and how they are safe:
What’s in Branch Basics Concentrate?
Below is a list of our ingredients - all rated “1 or 2” by EWG Skin Deep - in the order of their occurrence.
- Purified Water: Reverse Osmosis purified.
- Decyl Glucoside: A naturally derived surfactant cleanser derived from coconut and/or corn. It is often used in skincare products and baby products as well as fruit and veggie sprays, as it will not harm the delicate skin on berries.
- Chamomile Flower Extract: An organic flower extract with Allergen (IFRA) Certifications, which certifies it is nonallergenic and is not a fragrance. Its anti-irritant, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties to its nourishing and skin-soothing characteristics make it a star ingredient!
- Coco Glucoside: A naturally derived surfactant derived from coconut, coco glucoside is one of the most gentle cleansing agents available and is a natural alternative to the harsher cocamidopropyl betaine and sulfates. Its chemical nature and production process result in a surfactant free of impurities like ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, making it suitable for baby and pet products.
- Sodium Citrate: A plant-derived, biodegradable sodium salt that acts as a water softener. It’s also used as an acidity regulator in food and drinks (think club soda!) and as an emulsifier (it enables cheeses to melt without becoming greasy).
- Sodium Bicarbonate: A mineral-based water softener, also known as baking soda!
- Sodium Phytate: A natural chelator, phytic acid is found in plant seeds and is often used commercially as a preservative due to its antioxidant properties.
How Branch Basics Concentrate’s Safety is Verified
- Certified Made Safe
- All ingredients are rated a 1 or 2 on EWG Skin Deep
- Cruelty-Free Verified/Never tested on animals
Branch Basics Concentrate is also…
- 100% biodegradable
- Safe for the most sensitive skin
- Baby and pet-friendly
Learn more about Branch Basics Concentrate in: Journey to Our New Formula.
What’s In Branch Basics Oxygen Boost?
This non-toxic best-seller contains just two ingredients:
- Sodium Percarbonate: A mineral-based brightener, deodorizer, and stain lifter. Rated “1” on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
- Learn all about Sodium Percarbonate here.
- Sodium Bicarbonate: A mineral-based water softener, deodorizer, and natural bleach alternative, also known as baking soda. Rated “1” on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
How Branch Basics Oxygen Boost Safety is Verified
Branch Basics Oxygen Boost is also…
- 100% biodegradable
- Free from synthetic chemicals, preservatives, or fragrances
Learn more about Oxygen Boost in: The Cleaning Power of Branch Basics Concentrate and Oxygen Boost.
What’s In Branch Basics Dishwasher Tablets?
Our Dishwasher Tablets are the newest addition to the line. Here’s what’s in them:
- Sodium Carbonate: Mineral-based water softener
- Sodium Bicarbonate: Mineral-based brightener and deodorizer - lifts stains
- Methylglycinediacetic Acid (aka MGDA), Trisodium Salt: Plant-based cleanser and water softener
- Sodium Citrate: Simple sodium salt of citric acid
- Sodium Silicate: Mineral-based cleanser
- Poly(itaconic acid-co-AMPS) Sodium Salt: Gentle and stabilizing dissolvable salt
- Citric Acid: Plant-based rinse aid, descaler, water softener and disinfectant (due to pH)
- TAED: Cleanser and stain remover booster
- Protease: Enzyme cleanser
- Amylase: Enzyme cleanser
- Magnesium Stearate: Plant-based binder (safe in dishwasher tablets, but not recommended for consumption in supplements)
- Note: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain magnesium stearate without the company providing adequate substantiation due to issues surrounding ingestion. Our Dishwasher Tablets are EWG Verified based on their intended use.
- Decyl Glucoside: Plant-based cleanser from coconut and/or corn
Branch Basics Dishwasher Tablets are Third-Party Verified by
- Cruelty-Free Verified/Never tested on animals
- We’re working on our Made Safe certification for this new product…stay tuned
Branch Basics Dishwasher Tablets are also…
- 100% biodegradable
- PVA (polyvinyl alcohol)-free
- Ethoxylate free (no 1,4-dioxane)
Learn more about what makes all Branch Basics products human-friendly, eco-friendly, and sustainable in: How is Branch Basics Sustainable?
Benefits of Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
The EPA has named indoor air quality as one of the top threats to health. Cleaning products are a primary contributor. Indoor air quality is typically 2 to 5 times more polluted than indoor air. After cleaning with conventional cleaning products, indoor air could be up to 1,000 times more polluted than outdoor air! Therefore, there are numerous benefits to choosing non-toxic cleaning products.
The most significant is that harmful products can be removed from the home! This gives you tremendous power to reduce exposure to harmful toxins throughout your life.
There is so much we cannot control regarding toxin exposure, such as outdoor air pollution, what goes on at offices and schools, and even what’s added to our water and food (although you can filter your water and choose healthier foods!).
Choosing non-toxic cleaning products is a simple and inexpensive way to improve indoor air quality while reducing exposure to some of the world’s most concerning toxins.
Safe For Your Children & Pets
Did you know the majority of poisonings from household cleaning and laundry products affect young children and pets?
Aside from the fact they cannot discern a safe product from a harmful one, children and pets are also much more prone to the effects of passive exposure due to their smaller and underdeveloped lungs, and organs.
Choosing non-toxic cleaning and laundry products is a powerful step in protecting your family’s most vulnerable from preventable harm.
Safe For Your Health
Few people realize how negatively impactful long-term exposure—even passive exposure—to household chemicals can be.
Passive exposure to bleach, for example, a common ingredient in nearly every cleaning and laundry product, has been linked to miscarriages and preterm births. The CDC doesn’t know at what exposure level it becomes a problem.
Yet, bleach and bleach-containing products are marketed to women of child-bearing age like they’re completely safe.
Passive exposure to disinfectants and fragranced products in the home can trigger asthma, the #1 chronic illness in American children.
These are just a couple of examples of the known harms of cleaning chemicals.
We encourage you to learn more in: The Most Toxic Cleaning Products to Avoid and Non-Toxic Swaps.
Safe for People With Sensitivities
Ingredients in l cleaners can set off a chain reaction of symptoms in anyone with sensitivities or allergies to fragrance, bleach, ammonia, and countless other ingredients.
We can’t tell you how many people have shared their stories of recovery from all kinds of sensitivities or even chronic ailments from simply tossing the toxins and using only safe replacements.
Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Cleaning Products
Avoiding toxins in cleaning products may seem simple: just look for the “green”, “organic”, “from nature”, or “eco-friendly” cleaners and laundry soaps, right? No! Non-Toxic on a label is not enough!
Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, greenwashing and deceptive marketing are rampant in conventional and green cleaning spaces.
In other words, just because a product looks the part—or even has a reputation as being non-toxic—doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the safest, most eco-friendly, or most natural choice.
Avoiding synthetic chemical-based cleaners and laundry detergents is a great place to start.
And knowing what chemicals to watch out for is paramount if you don’t have access to EWG Skin Deep.
The following is a red flag short list of some of the worst synthetic chemicals in cleaning and laundry products.
- Bleach aka: Sodium Hypochlorite
- Synthetic laundry products (especially fabric softeners and dryer sheets) containing:
- Alpha terpineol
- Benzyl acetate
- Benzyl alcohol
- Biodegradable cationic softeners
- Linalool camphor
- Drain Cleaner
- Synthetic dish soaps and dish detergents
For more information on these, and other toxic ingredients in cleaning and laundry products, click the links and see:
- Common Household Chemicals to Avoid
- Most Toxic Cleaning Products
- Home Cleanse Guide: How To Detox Your Home
Branch Basics Safety FAQs
We hope this information has helped answer your questions about Branch Basics safety and purity.
However, we like to be thorough, so here are more answers to your FAQs.
Is Branch Basics safe for babies?
Yes! As our Made Safe Certification, EWG Verified rating, and third-party testing has shown, Branch Basics is one of the safest products for use around newborns, infants, babies, and young children.
You can even use our Foaming Wash as a baby wash or eye makeup remover! It’s that gentle.
The only exception is we recommend using Oxygen Boost with some caution around babies and young children, who may be tempted to swallow it or accidentally breathe it in.
Although 100% mineral-based, sodium percarbonate can cause skin, eye, or lung irritation and must not be ingested.
That said, Oxygen Boost is incredible to use as a soaking aid for all kinds of baby stains (blow-outs, spit-up stains, etc.). Just make sure you’re in control of its use.
Same goes for Dishwasher Tablets which should not be ingested.
Learn more in: How to Clean Your Baby’s Toys and Bottles Naturally.
Is Branch Basics safe for cleaning while pregnant?
In fact, Allison and Kelly, have used Branch Basics as their exclusive cleaner and laundry product throughout their combined six pregnancies
Pregnancy is an ideal time to commit to non-toxic living as much as possible!
Get more tips on non-toxic cleaning while pregnant in: Cleaning While Pregnant: Products To Use And Avoid.
Is Branch Basics safe for pets?
Learn more about the safest (and least safe) pet cleaners in: Our Guide to Pet-Safe Cleaning.
Does Branch Basics disinfect?
No. Branch Basics is an excellent germ removal tool, but it is not an EPA-registered disinfectant—and that’s on purpose.
We discuss this at length, including sharing the best non-toxic disinfectants and when to kill versus remove germs in: 8 Best Natural Disinfectants for Everyday Use.
Toss the Toxins With Branch Basics
From the beginning, our goal has been to empower people with the knowledge and tools they need to create safer and healthier homes.
And one of the best, most accessible, and underestimated ways is the power of removal! Replace harmful household products as you are able with safe, non-toxic options.
If you’re interested in creating a healthier home, we have many tools available to help you get started.
We even have a $5.00 Trial Kit with a mini Concentrate and spray bottle so you can test us out.
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.