Safe, effective cleaners
Dissolvable, eco-friendly tablets
Helps cut down on plastic waste
Bottles feel high-quality
Supplied cleaning bottles might feel heavy to some
Need to wait until tablets dissolve
Blueland The Clean Essentials
We purchased Blueland's The Clean Essentials so our writer could put the eco-friendly formulas to the test in her own home. Keep reading for our full product review.
The eco-conscious cleaning supply company Blueland solves a problem with its products by reducing plastic bottle waste and using environmentally friendly ingredients. According to the startup, 90 percent of our drinking water contains toxic microplastics. And if humans continue their plastic-loving habits, the ocean could be filled with more plastic than fish by 2050, as noted in a 2016 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum.
Countless horrifying scenes of polluted oceans and natural habitats have burned images into my mind, enough that I now avoid buying shrink-wrapped produce, cheap plastic toys, or toxic products that can eventually end up in our drinking water. I want to live an eco-friendlier life, but leading a low-waste lifestyle as a parent with two kids under 5 has its challenges.
I may have stopped buying plastic bags and using other single-use items in an attempt to reduce my carbon footprint. I can always do more. I was excited to test out Blueland’s Clean Essentials kit, especially since I’ve been wanting to give my house cleaning routine a greener overhaul. Keep reading to see if Blueland’s products keep my home (and my conscience) squeaky-clean.
Setup: Ready to clean in 20 minutes or less
Blueland’s Clean Essentials kit is shipped in a recyclable cardboard box with minimal packaging, which earned big eco points from us. It comes with three reusable acrylic cleaning bottles, one reusable glass foaming hand soap bottle, and four dissolvable tablets that are each roughly the size of a nickel. You get multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom cleaners (which each make 20-ounce solutions), and foaming hand soap (which makes a 9-ounce solution). The tablets’ paper packaging is also compostable.
I closely followed the company’s instructions and filled each acrylic bottle with warm water up to the designated fill line, then dropped the tablets in. The three cleaners create a 20-ounce solution that took less than 10 minutes to dissolve, but the hand soap (which makes 9 ounces) dissipated in about 20 minutes. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re in a hurry to get scrubbing.
The cleaner solutions also settled after sitting unused for a while. I didn’t find it inconvenient and they were ready to go with just a little shake.
Performance: You need little elbow grease for tougher stains
If you’re used to traditional gel hand soaps, it might take some getting used to the foaming soap, which has a silky consistency that doesn’t lather. I only felt like I needed about two pumps, and I and everyone in my family felt that the soap was gentle on our hands without drying out our skin.
The glass cleaner left every surface it touched clean and streak-free. It easily wiped off water residue and toothpaste spots from my bathroom mirror, and my car windows and my house’s front windows were also clean of any water stains, bug residue, and dirt.
I used the bathroom cleaner quite liberally on the bathtub, sink, and toilet surfaces. Measuring from the fill line, I did not need much of the solution to scrub all of the grime off our tub, the sink (including the water stains on the fixtures), and the outer area of the toilet. At best, it was a few ounces.
My family of four used up about a quarter of the foaming hand soap in one month. Even with two toddlers who happily pumped more soap than necessary, I’d say one to two pumps really go a long way in making our hands fresh and clean after each wash.
The multi-purpose cleaner fared well on our very greasy stovetop, tiled kitchen counter (one of the most annoying areas of our home), dirty solid wood dining table (emphasis on our toddlers’ areas!), and plastic dining table chairs. We didn't need much—even less than the bathroom cleaner.
I did need to let the bathroom and multi-purpose cleaners sit for a few minutes to “work” on tougher stains and dirt buildup as well as use a little elbow grease with a scouring pad. As someone who has been using “green” cleaning products for over a decade, this was expected and not necessarily a negative thing.
While these cleaners don’t compete with bleach-based products in terms of strength per spray, to me it’s worth some extra scrubbing for the peace of mind that everyone in my family’s health won’t be jeopardized for the sake of sparkling counters.
Smell: Gentle for this fragrance-sensitive
I am not a fan of perfumes; I am prone to migraines after a simple stroll past department store perfume counters. The Blueland’s cleaners were a dream to use and never smelled overpowering. Thankfully, I didn’t get any headaches after using Blueland’s cleaning products either.
The hand soap comes in Iris Agave (a mild floral scent) which we really liked. Refills are available in Perrine Lemon and Lavender Eucalyptus. The counter cleaner smells like fresh lemon, and the bathroom solution is eucalyptus mint. The glass cleaner is completely unscented.
Safety: As green as it gets
Ever concerned about the health of my family (which also includes two pets), I’m already a fan of other gentle, cruelty-free home cleaners.
Blueland’s formulas are made from naturally-derived ingredients and do not have any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That means they’re hypoallergenic, safe for kids and pets, and you won’t have to air out your room after spraying it down.
I liked that you can read the full list of ingredients and whether or not they are synthetic. This can be helpful for those with severe sensitivities to certain fragrances or ingredients. The company even shares its material safety data sheets, so I appreciate that they’re willing to be transparent about its ingredients.
The company avoids ingredients on the Environmental Working Group’s restricted list, which is another reason why these products score an A+ in my book. All of their formulas have received the highest ratings by environmental agency Cradle to Cradle and cruelty-free certification group Leaping Bunny.
Bottle Design: You won’t mind leaving them on the counter
I never thought I’d consider a spray bottle aesthetically pleasing, but that’s exactly what you get with Blueland’s sleek-looking BPA-free acrylic containers. The bottles also don’t leach into the cleaners over time, and the acrylic is shatterproof. The bottles also have a stylish design that I wouldn’t mind my guests seeing if I happened to leave them out.
The spray handles are easy to use, ergonomic, and dispense the product evenly, while the bottles themselves have a sturdy, long-lasting quality. It’s worth noting that the bottles might seem heavy to some people, but I actually liked that they felt substantial.
While I liked that the foaming hand soap dispenser did what it promised, I wasn’t a big fan of the “Blueland” brand name stamped into the top of the pump. It tended to collect the dirt from our hands, which I know is unavoidable during the washing process, but it seemed counter-intuitive to design a soap bottle that attracts dirt.
Price: Won’t clean out your wallet
Blueland’s The Clean Essentials costs $39 MSRP. Considering that the three individual cleaner starter kits are $12 and the soap is $14 (each includes a bottle and tablet), you’re saving $11 with the essentials bundle.
Tablet refills cost $6 for a 3-pack, $11 for a 6-pack, and $14 for a 9-pack. That translates to about $2 to $1.56 per tablet, so that’s a pretty good deal when you compare that to your traditional bottle of cleaner and the fact that you’re not buying another plastic container that you’ll need to recycle (or hope that it somehow inadvertently ends up in a landfill).
Competition: A few options to choose from
Branch Basics Starter Kit: The Branch Basics Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost is $69 MSRP and includes three empty spray bottles, a foaming pump bottle, a 33-ounce concentrate, and 2 pounds of the oxygen boost scrub. You’re really getting a bang for your buck: The solution makes three 24-ounce bottles of all-purpose cleaner, three 24-ounce bottles of bathroom cleaner, three 24-ounce bottles of streak-free glass and screen cleaner, three 10-ounce bottles of foaming soap, plus 64 loads of laundry. The bottles are BPA-free recycled plastic.
Full Circle’s Come Clean Natural Cleaning Set: Full Circle’s Come Clean Natural Cleaning Set is about $33 and includes three BPA-free recycled plastic spray bottle with a citrus juicer, one microfiber cleaning cloth, and a recipe book for mixing cleaner solutions made of vinegar and lemon. While it’s significantly cheaper than Blueland’s kit, you’ll have to be prepared to make your own cleaning products.
Worth it for the environment.
We recommend Blueland’s Clean Essentials kit for anyone who’s looking for an effective, eco-safe, low-waste alternative to traditional home cleaning products. Though you’re paying a little extra upfront, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that you’re saving money and lowering your environmental impact.
- Product Name The Clean Essentials
- Product Brand Blueland
- Price $39.99
- What's Included 3 reusable plastic cleaning spray bottles, 1 reusable glass foaming hand soap bottle, 1 multi-surface cleaner tablet, 1 glass and window cleaner tablet, 1 bathroom cleaner tablet, and 1 foaming hand soap tablet
- Warranty Full refund if unsatisfied