Products We Love: Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Here at Hello Charlie, we’re all about discovering and sharing the best and freshest innovations in the world of eco living. But there’s also something to be said about the old school products that have been low key “green” long before green living was even a thing.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser is one of these.

You see, Bon Ami has been a household cleaning staple for more than 150 years, but it can still compete with its more modern counterparts in eco friendly cleaning. This green cleaner isn’t exactly exciting or flashy, nor is it knocking you over the head with words like “nontoxic” or “eco friendly.” It’s just a simple cleaning product that gets the job done while helping you minimise your eco footprint.

Bon Ami natural powder cleanser

What can the Bon Ami cleaning powder do?

Since 1886, people have been using Bon Ami Powder Cleanser on their tubs, sinks, toilets, tiles, stoves, ovens, cookware, bakeware, dishes, and wood furniture.

It effectively removes grease splatters, baked on food, soap scum, water stains, deep seated grout stains, mould, smudges on woodwork, scratch marks on china, rust stains, and other messes.

Bon Ami gets food residue off most countertops without scratching the material. It absorbs odours from pots and pans. It’s tough on soil and smudge marks on outdoor furniture. It removes scuff marks from floors. And because there’s no dye, you can even use it to get crayon marks and fingerprints off your white walls.

What’s in Bon Ami cleaning powder?

From the beginning, Bon Ami has stayed true to their name, choosing their commitment to people and the environment instead of caving to the pressure to use chemical additives — even when everyone else was. To this day, the original formula still has just 5 simple ingredients: limestone, feldspar, biodegradable cleaning agents (alkyl polyglucoside), soda ash, and sodium bicarbonate.

Unlike most mainstream powder cleaners, there’s absolutely no nasties in Bon Ami. No perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleach, and anything that can make you, your family, or Nature sick.

Bon Ami is biodegradable (great for the planet) and hypoallergenic (great for people with allergies). It’s safe enough for children to use, especially if yours have started taking on some of the chores. All Bon Ami packaging comes from recycled paper and bottles.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser has an A+ rating from EWG, which means it’s “of lowest concern” and has “good ingredient disclosure” with “few or zero known and suspected health and environmental hazards.”

How to use Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser

Lightly wet the surface you want to clean. Next, sprinkle Bon Ami powder and rub it in with a wet cloth or sponge. Rinse off a couple of times. Don’t use hot water when rinsing, as this will only separate the powder and create more residue to rinse off.

Bon Ami is not intended for glass, mirrors, brushed stainless steel appliances, and lacquered surfaces. So if you’re unsure if the powder is too abrasive for a particular surface, test first on an inconspicuous area.

Lastly, don’t use too much powder. A little gets a lot done!

If you’ve sworn off bleach and other harsh chemical cleaning products, as we have, we highly recommend Bon Ami. You can get it right here at Hello Charlie. This is really good stuff that perfectly balances effectiveness, affordability, and safety. Give it a go!

What do you think of Bon Ami cleaning powder? Any other old fashioned household cleaners you think we should feature? Share below!

Like this? Why not Pin it?

Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Images: Bon Ami

Problems with Optical Brighteners (And What You Can Do About It)

optical brighteners problems

optical brighteners problems

Many laundry detergents promise to make your white clothes whiter than white. How do they do this? Using chemicals called optical brighteners.

What are optical brighteners?

Optical brighteners are chemicals that absorb ultraviolet light and reflect back blue light. This helps to hide the normal yellowing of white clothes, and makes them appear whiter and more vibrant. Optical brighteners add chemcials to your clothes, rather than removing stains from your clothes. You could call it an optical illusion.

What are optical brighteners used for?

Optical brighteners are most commonly used in laundry detergents. But they’re used for lots of other things as well. You can find optical brighteners in small amounts in products like cosmetics, cotton balls, and fabrics. Paper products, like food packaging, printer paper and toilet paper often use optical brighteners. You can find optical brighteners in just about anything that you might want to look bright white.

What’s the problem with optical brighteners?

In the 1970s, scientists studied the effects of optical brighteners on the environment, and on humans. This research showed mixed results.

Skin Allergies: One study found that contact with optical brighteners can cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis. The symptoms are red, itchy, irritated skin.

However, further studies on this effect were inconclusive. Researchers found no immediate danger, but they haven’t ruled it out. To confirm whether the material is completely safe or not, scientists need to do further research.

In 2002, one study found a skin reaction to optical brighteners in less than 0.7 percent of over 3,000 participants. So, a reaction may be possible, but it’s very rare. This study also had inconclusive results.

Environmental Effects: One Swedish study claimed to have found that optical brighteners cause genetic mutations in fish and plants. Later studies were unable to replicate these findings, and the results were, again, inconclusive.

We do know one thing for sure about optical brighteners: they’re not biodegradable. Bacteria can’t break down optical brighteners in the environment. Non-biodegradable materials can stick around for hundreds of years, polluting the environment and leaching toxic chemicals into the soil and water.

Optical brighteners are so commonly found in wastewater that scientists use them to detect whether bacteria is contaminating community water supplies. This water flows into rivers, streams and oceans, and into the ground, and optical brighteners go right along with it. And because they’re not biodegradable, they won’t go away.

Inconclusive Studies: Meanwhile, scientists are still conducting studies to decide if optical brighteners are safe or not. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration sets limits on the amounts of brighteners allowed in food packaging products. The FDA cites inconclusive studies as a reason for these precautions.

How can you avoid optical brighteners?

If you’re not willing to take your chances on inconclusive studies, don’t worry. You can avoid using optical brighteners that might irritate your skin or pollute the environment.

Eco friendly Detergent: Laundry detergent is by far the most common place to find brighteners. It’s easy to find brands of laundry detergents without them though. All Hello Charlie laundry products are free of optical brighteners.

Oxygen Bleach: But what if you still want your white clothes to look whiter than white? One way is to use an oxygen based bleach. These products use no optical brighteners, and instead whiten clothes through a process called oxidation. Instead of hiding stains with an optical illusion, oxidation actually changes the color of the fabric, making it whiter.

Household Whiteners: Hydrogen peroxide can also whiten clothes through the process of oxidation. Most homes have some hydrogen peroxide. If not, you can find it at the supermarket. Many people also swear by lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar. Just add half a cup of any of these ingredients to your laundry to help keep your white clothes white.

Sun Bleaching: Another way to naturally whiten your clothes is to do what your grandmother used to do: hang them out to dry. Before the invention of modern bleach and laundry detergent, people used sun bleaching to brighten white clothes. It also helps to conserve energy by avoiding the dryer.

Image source: Depositphoto