Natural Cleaning

Review:: Biokleen Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner

Biokleen is a company we have met before.  It’s a company I have a great deal of time for and they have a great back story.  Back in the 1980s, people were largely unaware of the harmful effects of the insane chemicals that they were using in their homes and businesses.

“A sales executive for a chemical supply company, at the time, Jim Rimer grew disturbed by the harmful side effects he witnessed among customers and colleagues, from skin rashes to respiratory disease and worse. So, when his attempts to implement safety and educational training on the use of those products led to his firing, he vowed to find non-toxic, effective alternatives, and Biokleen was born.”

He spent his nights cleaning carpets and such as he studied the science of botany. Shortly after, in a garage in 1989 Portland, the first cleaner he had ever created was born (All Purpose Cleaner II).

Their second generation family-owned business keeps family and eco-friendly values at the center of their production and products. Using plant-derived biodegradable ingredients, their products hold lots of promise.

I was excited to receive their Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner!

First Impressions

Biokleen’s Bac-Out Bathroom Cleaner comes in a sizeable 32 ounce recyclable spray bottle.

It looks very professional, displaying the promises of cleaning and deodorizing bathroom surfaces through the use of live enzyme cultures and lavender and lime extracts (more on that in a minute!) and eliminating tough stains.

While not an unpleasant smell, the fragrance of the cleaner is almost overpowering, especially when sprayed on surfaces. I often prefer fragrance-free options when available, but Biokleen doesn’t offer that option.

If you’re sensitive to fragrances, you may want to look for a different review!

How does it clean?

I was ready to see how well the cleaner worked. The directions say to spray and let sit for 1-2 minutes before wiping clean, or for extra soiled or odorous surfaces to let sit for 5-10 minutes.

I let the cleaner sit for longer on the shower and toilet surfaces while I worked on the sinks and countertops. Not surprisingly, it did an excellent job of leaving the sinks, faucets, and countertop surfaces fresh and sparkling.

After 10 minutes, it was time to tackle the shower. The shower floor has lots of tiny grooves where grimy build-up likes to hide. Mildew was building up on the shower doors along with soap scum on the wall below the shower caddy. It needed some TLC!

The cleaner worked just like a name-brand harsh-chemical cleaner at easily removing the soap scum and mildew build-up. It also polished the metal lining of the doors and shower head nicely. However, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t remove the tough stains on the shower floor. As seen in the pictures, it’s almost hard to tell which is before and after. The good news is it did leave the shower clean without the use of harsh chemicals.

Next up was the toilet. It had a yucky black ring around the water line. Conventional cleaners and gels and all the scrubbing in the world does not work on this toilet ring! I sprayed the Bac-Out cleaner and left it for about 5 minutes. After examination, I was impressed to find the ring was almost entirely broken down by the live enzymes cultures. All I had to do was give a little swish and scrub with the toilet brush and it flushed away.

What’s in it?

It’s always great to see a natural cleaner work do the job of a conventional cleaner, but is it as safe as it claims?

The ingredients in the lavender-lime Bac-Out cleaner include two very gentle, plant-based surfactants in

  • Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside
  • C10-16 Alkyl Glucoside

The company has also enhanced this cleaning power by adding live enzymes to the formulation.    Much like the enzymes added to bio-based laundry detergents, these cultures speed up the decomposition of complex substances like fats, starches, and proteins by breaking them down into simpler elements like oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Once broken down, these simpler elements wipe away easier and leave the surface truly clean.  Best of all, studies have shown that these enzymes are safe to use in your home.

Are there any red flags in the formulation?

As mentioned, the fragrances are strong in this product.    Both Lavender and citrus terpenes have been used.   The citrus terpenes, aka D-Limonene, can cause contact dermatitis.  If the product were sold in the EU, the company would have to explicitly disclose that Limonene was present as the prevalence to cause contact dermatitis is so high.  While they smell nice, it’s easy to forget that these fragrances are volatile compounds, that can induce asthma-like symptoms in asthma sufferers.

In addition, the company has added a synthetic preservative Benzisothiazolinone.  While not as infamous as it’s cousin, Methylisothiazolinone, we are seeing less and less of the isothiazolinones in personal care and cleaning products due to the pretty extreme allergic reactions they can bring out of people.

I have to admit, it’s disappointing to see these added to a largely plant-based formulation.

So do I recommend it?

Overall, I do recommend it with a couple of caveats.

Bac-Out bathroom cleaner largely did the job most conventional cleaners do but with a more transparent, gentler formulation  While it worked well on almost every surface in the bathroom, it was a little disappointing to not see the shower stains lift, especially since the label advertised stain removal.

The ingredients are a significant improvement on conventional cleaners, especially the unique cleaning quality of live enzyme cultures, but there’s still cause for concern with the overuse of fragrances and the inclusion of benzisothiazolinone.

Decent cleaning power.  Decent ingredients.  However, if you’re of a sensitive disposition, you may want to look elsewhere.

Originally published at Safe Household Cleaning.

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