The key to a squeaky-clean shower is...chamomile?


Of all the home cleaning woes that feel like an uphill battle (see: never-ending piles of laundry, rampant dust bunnies), none affect me so personally as scuzzy shower grout. See, I live on the fourth floor of a prewar building with prewar plumbing—and my unvented bathroom wears these factors like a the form of grout, tile and shower curtain liners that need near-constant attention.

Full transparency: I’d taken to combatting my mold-prone conditions with fire and fury. (“The stronger, the better! And the fact that my eyes sort of sting and lungs sort of burn? Don’t overthink it, Grace!”)

Which leads me to the discovery of Branch Basics. When I received a sample of this all-natural, newly relaunched cleaning concentrate, I knew exactly where I’d be testing its mettle: My scary shower. And to be honest? I wasn’t too optimistic. (The primary ingredient is chamomile, for goodness' sake!)

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Per instruction, I spritzed my shower heavily with the bathroom cleaner, allowing it to soak for 15 minutes before re-entering the room. Since Branch Basics claims to be "the safest cleaner in the world," I eschewed rubber gloves and started wiping up with a sponge directly. Guys. I kid you not—it was like taking a Magic Eraser to my shower grout: The grime seemingly melted away with a single swipe, leaving behind a fragrance-free, grease-free residue that simultaneously left my hands feeling moisturized.

Here’s the deal: Branch Basics' formula is a combo of entirely plant-derived, all-natural ingredients—like coco glucoside (a coconut-based alternative to sulfates) and sodium citrate (a plant-based salt that acts as a water softener). These agents essentially make water wetter, which allows for that seamless grime lift.

Look, I’d be lying if I told you I’m a convert because it's an all-natural product—I’m a convert because it’s simply the most effective product I’ve tried. The fact that using it also makes me feel like Gwyneth Paltrow? That’s just an added bonus.

Branch Basics starter kit ($59)

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