Natural cleaning products just don't work as well…
…at least, that's what I thought.
Last year I had the chance to try out Grove Collaborative, a straight-to-your-door service that lets you select from natural cleaning and personal care brands to try in your home and family.
I have enjoyed just about every box we've gotten – and I've been pleasantly surprised to find not only products that work, but that work well!
Transitioning Towards a “Clean” Home
I'll admit that I've long felt intimidated by going natural with my cleaning products. How could I possibly keep my house really clean?
How could I possibly de-grease all of those delicious dishes made with nourishing healthy fats? Fats make a mess!
Imagine my surprise when Grove sent along a Mrs. Meyer's dish washing soap… and it actually worked!
I was excited!
Knowing that I can test products and find the ones that really work for my family (and have them delivered to my front door) has made it easy for me to start progressively replacing the conventional cleaners we've been using. We're moving towards better health for our environment… and better health for ourselves.
We were already using several natural personal care products, but I've found most of those through Grove (and you'll probably hear me mention more than once that I love their lip balm!).
Interested in giving Grove a try? Now is the perfect time! You'll get $10 when you click here to give it a go – and my family will too. It's a win-win 😉
Right now Grove has a special Fresh Start offer for new customers! Check it out:
On Healthier Showers and Happier Hands
I have long loved Dr. Bronner's soaps but had to make a long drive to a co-op to get them. Now I get them with Grove, and I do not have to worry about running out. The Grove shopping basket is intelligent and knows we need a new bar frequently. If I need extra, I can add it to the order. If I don't need it that month, it's easy to remove it.
Grove sends several reminders that your box is about to ship – you have plenty of time to remove or add from your box
We use Dr. Bronner's soap for hands and in the shower. Most of us only use soap from time to time in the shower (or always under arms and on bottoms) – warm water works well otherwise. But when we do want soap, Dr. Bronner's is gentle.
We recently tested Mrs. Meyer's hand soap and I will admit that I like it. I don't usually like pump soaps because they take up extra room on the counter and, well, kids + pump soap = soapy mess 😉
I have been really impressed with the Mrs. Meyer's products, though.
I like that Grove has gotten me focused on natural products – and trying different brands. I like the intuitive suggestions.
The Joy of Cleaning
Who actually wants to clean??? I will admit, I like cleaning my bathroom.
It's the Grove Collaborative's fault.
They sent me this pretty glass spray bottle last fall as a VIP gift (VIP gifts are a nice perk!). And then sent a candle in a pretty glass jar.
I only use that spray bottle in our bathroom (I just don't trust the kids with a glass bottle yet!). But O the Joy of using that spray bottle! It just makes my cleaning routine feel more polished 😉
After I wipe down the counter and the toilet, I light the candle and the bathroom is a peaceful oasis… a place that's (mostly) free of 7 rambunctious children.
It is my little oasis (okay, in all honestly, it frequently serves as an office because it's the only place in the house I can hold a phone conversation without hearing random whoops, hollers, and screams in the background… but it is a beautifully clean office).
Obviously, I do not always feel so poetic about cleaning my bathroom. Often it's just a chore like any other cleaning job. But that pretty little bottle does make me smile. I even enjoy refilling it with Seventh Generation concentrate.
As part of my recent adventures in testing new things, I did give some other Grove suggestions a try. Both are Method products – toilet bowl cleaner and all-purpose cleaner.
The toilet bowl cleaner seems to work well to me. It's nice and thick and coats the sides of the toilet well, which is good. I have not had a chance to give it a “good” test yet, though. We have hard water and sometimes if I miss scrubbing the toilet for a couple of weeks, we get a ring of buildup. I'm curious to see if the Method will take that out. It also happens inside of little potties – I would love to be able to use a natural cleanser on those, since Sadie's tush sits on those!! It has worked well for routine cleaning with no buildup happening thus far.
The all-purpose cleaner works really well. Its major drawback is that it's not in a pretty Grove glass bottle 😉
Actually, something else I've noticed with these products is that they actually have scents… and the scent lingers. The all-purpose spray Grove sent to me is bamboo scented. I actually really like the scent but I was really surprised that the scent lingered even after I cleaned.
I'm kind of torn on this (and this is totally a personal thing). Maybe it's because I've been using unscented things for so long, but the scent takes me off guard even though it's pleasing. I'll have to use it a bit more before forming a final opinion for myself. I know scents are important to some people (my mom has always liked scents), so having natural products that actually hold a scent could be a good thing if you like them.
Testing Grove in the Laundry Room
Grove convinced me to give Mrs. Meyers a try in the laundry room, too. I have liked the detergent – it works well on our diapers, which I prefer to clean with natural laundry soaps.
They also sent a fabric softener, which I haven't been able to use 🙁 We had to get a new washing machine several months ago and the model we chose doesn't have a dispenser. That means I need to get a ball for the fabric softener… or time the cycle right to pour it in… and I just have too much going on for that!!! When I do get a fabric softener ball (Downy ball), I'll give the fabric softener a try. I'm curious to see if it works on my cloth diapers fro time to time without causing wicking – from what I read online, it will be okay as long as I'm not using it with every load (of course, getting Sadie out of diapers completely is another good option).
The detergent is working really well, though. And, like I discovered in the bathroom, these things really hold a scent! The laundry room smells like Mrs. Meyers… and so do the diapers! And the smell lingers long after washing. So again, if you like the scent to linger, Mrs. Meyers and Method have you covered. If you're a little ambiguous like me, just be aware 😉
I have definitely decided that I like the “bluebell” scent we got the dish soap in better than the “lemon verbena” we got the laundry products in. Mrs. Meyers also has an “apple cider” scent I'm curious about, so I'm getting our next bottle of dish soap in that scent.
We usually buy conventional laundry detergent in bulk sizing, and Scott is actually the head of laundry in our house. I'll have to talk to him before we make any firm decisions on detergent for the whole family, but we'll definitely do diapers in Mrs. Meyers from now on – and should we have another baby, I'll do birthing and newborn laundry in it too.
We also got a bottle of Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover and I have got to admit I'm impressed. Sadie decided to make a muddy escape, so I got the opportunity to put this stuff to the test. Check out the results:
It's even helping to get old stains out from a pair of Galen's shorts. It didn't work in one load like it did on Sadie's mud, but I'm pretty impressed that it's taking out such old, ground-in dirt, even if it takes a few loads!
Can it Cut the Grease?
As I mentioned above, having natural soaps that can actually remove grease has long been a problem… even just a few years ago we found nothing really worked well. I'm happy to share that Mrs. Meyers came to the rescue again.
When I got the dish soap in, I tested it on a stock pot insert that my kids did not do a very good job washing (ahem). Here's what it looked like when I started:
And after just one squirt of Mrs. Meyers on a steel scrubbing pad and mild elbow grease (no more than I'd have used with Dawn), here's where we ended up:
I did not scrub the stockpot itself because I assumed my kids would do that (yeah, that was a bad assumption). I couldn't help but notice the insert sitting by the stockpot on the counter – the difference was immediately clear. The insert had a lovely stainless-steel shine… the stockpot itself… not so much.
Cassidy, my oldest, also tested the dish soap on some dishes that had been “generously” buttered (read: my kids at a little oatmeal with their big ol' pats o' butter) and said it did a really good job. I probably will switch from conventional dish soap to the Mrs. Meyers because the cost difference is minimal and it's much better for us – and our septic system.
Check out Grove's Fresh Start offer for new customers – get Mrs. Meyers products and a caddy!
Wipe it Down & Soak it Up
Another thing I've been doing slowly but surely is decreasing our use of paper towels. Grove has quite a few options for cleaning cloths. I've tried the SMART cloths in my bathroom. The regular cloth works well for day-to-day cleaning, and the window wipe also works well on glass.
I just throw them into the the diaper pail when I'm done with them!
This month I got a SMART absorbent kitchen cloth to test as a paper towel replacement in the kitchen, but I haven't gotten the chance to use it yet. I'm hopeful it will be a good alternative and I can stock up on them over the next few months. The SMART cloths I've been using in my bathroom have been very durable.
We've also gotten the Grove Kitchen towels – they are very thick, premium towels and we love them. They're great for wiping hands off by the stove or sink. They're also pretty enough to have in the dining room – we use one to cover homemade bread loaves as we prepare for dinner every Friday night 🙂
We use Grove sponges for some scrubbing needs and I like having one on hand – they work well paired with Bon Ami (a trusted favorite you can get in your Grove box!). Even though I wipe down the counter and sink in my bathroom (most) days, we do sometimes get build-up from soap, toothpaste, etc. in the sink. A sprinkle of Bon Ami and a quick scrub with the scrubber side of the sponge takes care of that and the sink sparkles! This also works well for the kitchen sink.
Grove also has a huge selection of baby products. You can get diapers, wipes, soap, and more.
We used the Seventh Generation wipes while camping at the fairgrounds for 4H this summer, and I really liked them. At home we use cloth wipes when we need a wipe (mostly for cleaning Sadie's face!!), but I'm going to order another package of wipes for having when we're out and about – they're handy for many reasons. Actually, Grove has Yes to Baby Face and Nose wipes, so I might give those a try!
If you want to have your diapers and wipes delivered, Grove can handle that.
They also carry quite a supplement choices and other personal care items for baby.
An Ode to Mint + Chia
I'll admit that I already suspected I'd like Grove when I signed up a year ago – I really like things that come straight to my door, because getting out and about with 7 kids is sometimes… challenging.
But I have been really pleased. Our boxes come without trouble. We did have the wrong product packed in one box – my Grove Guide immediately shipped the correct product to us and told me not to worry about sending the incorrect selection back.
I also had a security issue (unrelated to Grove) that required my credit union to send me a new debit card. That caused a pause on my Grove account because the old card didn't work. My Grove Guide (Maria you are awesome!) helped me get things fixed quickly so my box came when I needed it.
I have appreciated the human touch behind the very useful automation at Grove 😉
All in all, using Grove has been a good experience for my family and we will continue to use them to get products that have quickly become favorites – and to work on exploring new products to replace conventional ones (I think I'm brave enough to play with dishwasher options). We have had a couple of issues with orders, but they were resolved very quickly. It's easy to request more or less of a product, or to cancel a product from showing up in your basket in the future.
And have I mentioned the Mint + Chia? I just love Grove's lip balm…
…even in the months when I've needed nothing else, I've gotten a little tube of lip balm so that I have it wherever I need it (desk drawer, backpack, purse, kit I take to births, bathroom drawer, bedside table… … …).
That lovely little tube is everything I like about Grove – effective, classy, and oh-so-convenient.
Interested in giving Grove a try? Now is the perfect time! You'll get $10 when you sign up to try Grove by clicking here – and we will too. A win-win from my family to yours <3
Already a Grove customer? There's Fresh Start love for you, too!
Grove did send some of these products free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Others have been VIP gifts (love VIP), and most we've ordered and tried over the past year 🙂