When we first switched to a real food diet, reading labels was absolutely crucial. There are so many different products on the market, and not all were considered healthy or safe.
Reading labels is what inspired us to make non-food things too, like hand sanitizer, foaming hand wash and even carpet deodorizer. I can’t enough pronounce half the ingredients listed on some of those labels!
But harmful and unknown ingredients on labels is also one of the reasons I started shopping at Grove Collaborative.
UPDATE: I no longer use Grove Collective for multiple reasons, which I explain at the bottom of this post. If you’re interested in joining Grove, I highly recommend reading my update first!
If you’ve ever started the process of making things from scratch, you know that it’s a big undertaking. You want to make the things that will have the greatest impact in the long run. But you don’t want the little things to slip through the cracks either.
(That’s a principle I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp for buying food, but it also applies to toiletries and household goods!)
Then there’s the cost of buying supplies up front. Buying in bulk is the most cost effective in the long run for sure, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet THIS MONTH, then a single bottle of cleaner at $3 is much more budget-friendly than spending $30 in supplies.
But just as knowing WHERE to start can be overwhelming, so can knowing WHAT to buy.
5 Reasons to Shop at Grove Collaborative
1. High Standards for the Products They Carry
One of the reasons I started shopping at Grove Collaborative (formerly known as ePantry) is because they only sell products that are:
If I’m honest, I want the products I use to be healthy, effective and affordable. Usually sustainability is lower on the list because those products tend to be out of my price range.
I like that they’ve set the bar high, on behalf of me. Their requirements are even greater than mine!
NOTE: Please read my update at the bottom of this post before buying from Grove Co. I’m not so sure all of their products are as “healthy” as they claim them to be.
2. They’re a Certified B Corp Company
Grove Collaborative is a Certified B Corp, which is certification of rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. It’s like what the USDA organic certification is for food, and what the Fair Trade certification is for coffee.
Instead of my eyes glazing over entire sections of laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaners at my local store, turning over dozens of bottles to be confused by all the labels, Grove Collaborative only offers brands that pass their strict guidelines.
3. Excellent Customer Service
As I get older, customer service has become increasingly important to me. If I have a problem, I want it resolved without any fuss.
I’ve had to Grove Collaborative contact customer service a couple time because of a discrepancy in ordering (I took something out of my cart and thought I was charged ). Customer service had it resolved quickly and even sent me the item I didn’t intend to order, free of charge!
4. Ordering (and Cancelling Orders) is Really Easy
I love that I can set-up automatic orders on my own schedule – monthly, every other month, once a quarter… I set the schedule based on my own product usage. For example, we go through toilet bowl cleaner more quickly than glass cleaner, so I set my orders to include toilet bowl cleaner every month, but glass cleaner just once a quarter.
Because of this, I never run out of what I need, nor have a bunch of products on hand that I’m not using. They email me a week before my order ships, which reminds me to double check my order against what I currently have. Adding or removing items is super simple, and I get what I need, when I need it!
5. VIP Membership Offers Free Shipping and Free Products
The VIP Membership isn’t free (but see below – you can become a VIP member for free for a limited time!), but with it comes free shipping and free products every 60-90 days. When you break down the cost of shipping your orders, OR the value of the products they send, either of these options alone pays for the membership.
Granted, nothing will replace my responsibility to research what brands and ingredients are best for my family, but Grove Collaborative makes it so much easier to know right away which brands are the better option.
Now, With all that said, going on a blind spending spree at Grove Collaborative – or anywhere for that matter – isn’t the wisest choice.
As I’ve been shopping there these past few years, I’ve learned how to spend my money wisely. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, and I’d like to share with you what things are best to buy at Grove Collaborative, and which ones you can skip.
Top 4 Things to Buy at Grove Collaborative
1. Scrubbing Stuff
You can make your own DIY bathroom scrub using soap and baking soda, and I even have a tutorial for it right here, but too much baking soda can be harsh on certain surfaces.
Or if you’re working on years of built-up dirt and grime, you might need something with more oomph for the first cleaning or two before switching to a DIY bathroom scrub for regular cleanings afterwards.
The first time I tried Mrs. Meyer’s Surface Scrub, I fell in love. We used it to scrub the years of built-up dirt in the kitchen tile grout at a previous rental house. We tried all sorts of cleaners and concoctions – homemade and store-bought – but this was the only product that actually worked!
Mrs. Meyer’s Baking Soda Cream Cleaner is another favorite of mine. Like the kitchen grout, we tried other options too, but this was the best at taking the grime and soap scum off.
Grove Co. Tip: If you like all your cleaning supplies to have the same scent, I’ve only ever found whole product lines at Grove Collaborative. Yes, I’ve seen some products at Target and Walmart, but I’ve never been able to find all of the items (like soap, lotion and body wash), in the same scent, in one stop. Plus Grove Collaborative carries exclusive seasonal scents like Peony and Lilac in the Spring, and Orange Clove and Iowa Pine in the Fall.
When you’ve fallen in love with a certain product or brand or scent, refills are your best friend. It’s like buying in bulk, but better!
At least half of the items I buy from Grove Collaborative are available in bulk, which saves me anywhere from 20-30% off the cost of buying each individual item.
For example, I just recently purchased refills for Method Dish Soap, Method Wood Floor Cleaner and Method Daily Shower Refill (not pictured). Here’s how this saved me money:
- Method Dish Soap – 17¢/oz in the refill vs. 22¢/oz in the original container to save 23%
- Method Squirt & Mop Wood Floor Cleaner – 19¢/oz in the refill vs. 24¢/oz in the original container to save 21%
- Method Daily Shower Refill – 10¢/oz in the refill vs. 14¢/oz in the original container to save 29%
Grove Co. Tip: Buying refills means less packaging and less shopping. Remember, if you’re a VIP member, shipping is always free. If you’re not a VIP member, stocking up on refills will save on shipping costs – but be sure to read below for an opportunity to try VIP for free!
3. Cleaning Cloths
Grove Collaborative once included a set of cellulose sponge cloths as the VIP free item of the month and I totally fell in love! They’re like re-usable paper towels, except they’re super absorbent, dishwasher safe and hold up well over time to scrubbing and daily usage.
Another month the VIP free item was an e-cloth general purpose cloth. This was my first time using an e-cloth and again, I fell in love!
When it’s wet, you can wash almost anything with just water without leaving streaks. When it’s dry, you can use it as a dusting cloth.
I’ve used it on splattered grease, cleaning up after dinner and scrubbing down the kitchen table. It’s gentle enough to use on painted surfaces (think cleaning doors around the door knobs – something the kids can do!) yet still tough enough get dried on gunk off counters.
I loved both of these items so much, that I invested in a second set of each!
Grove Co. Tip: Grove Collaborative strives to offer the best price on all of their items, and they back this up. If you’re a VIP member and find an item advertised for a less price elsewhere, send their amazing customer service department an email and they’ll price match!
4. Laundry Supplies
Making your own laundry supplies is one of the easier natural living DIY’s I’ve ventured upon. In fact, I’ve been using homemade laundry detergent, stain remover and bleach alternative for years without any issues.
But that’s not the case for everyone, because the circumstances surrounding homemade DIY’s is what makes them difficult. For example:
- Laundry Detergent: Do you have hard water or soft water? Front loader or top loader? Sensitive skin or do you prefer your laundry to have a certain pleasant smell when it’s done?
- Fabric Softener: Is it necessary or not? Does it work or not? Do you use it every load, or only on loads when it matters?
- Stain Remover: What type of stains is it? Has the clothing already been dried or washed repeatedly? How many times do you have to try the remover in order for it to work?
Or what if you’re in a season when making it yourself isn’t an option?
When we first moved from California to Georgia, I had no idea where to shop for anything. I didn’t have most of my tools or storage container, so I couldn’t make anything OR store it, even if I did know where to shop.
And quite frankly, it was overwhelming living in a one bedroom apartment and carrying 4-6 loads of laundry every week to the community washer and dryer. Anything I could do to make the transition to Georgia easier was a welcome relief!
5 Things I Don’t Buy from Grove Collaborative
For scrubbing stuff, refills and laundry supplies, I prefer to shop Grove Collaborative. But there are a few things that they think I’ll like that I almost always take out of my cart.
Note – my reasons for not buying these items from Grove Collaborative have nothing to do with quality. Everything I’ve purchased from them, or gotten for free because I’m a VIP member, has been exceptional. I simply do not buy these items for personal reasons (which I’ve included, just so you can follow my train of thought).
1. Walnut Sponges
I’ve used their walnut scrubber sponge before, but they’re a bit out of my price range to buy on a consistent basis. However, I fully take advantage of them when they’re free for VIP members.
2. Hand Sanitizing Spray
I created my own hand sanitizer recipe that’s really easy to make. Since I already have everything on hand and we don’t use it often anyway, I prefer to just make it myself.
3. Toilet Paper
Unfortunately, my toiletry budget doesn’t include room for recycled toilet paper.
4. Paper Towels
Ever since we switched to cloth napkins, I simply don’t need to buy paper towels anymore! If you’re still using paper towels, I encourage you to make the switch. I shared a step-by-step on how we set aside money to do this in this post.
5. Face & Hair Products
I only use 3 products in my simple morning routine, which includes a bar of soap that washes everything – face, body and hair. The selection of natural products at Grove Collaborative are tempting, but I just don’t need them with my current routine.
Things I Haven’t Tried from Grove Collaborative, But Really Want To
I have an on-going wish-list of things I’ve been wanting to add to my cart, and I give myself a budget for every time I place an order. This is how I can mange our finances AND still try out new products!
1. Re-usable Bags
Grove Collaborative has re-usable bags in snack, sandwich AND gallon sizes!
2. Oxygen Whitener
I currently use this homemade bleach alternative, but I’d like to try the powdered oxygen whitener sometime since it might be easier to use with my front loader.
Update as of March 2018:
This month I led a chemical-free living challenge and used the Think Dirty and Environmental Working Group (EWG) apps to evaluate all the cleaning products I had in my house, including the so-called “healthy” products I bought from Grove. For a point of reference, products are rated on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is the best and 10 is the worst.
It was extremely disappointing and frustrating to learn that every product ranked medium to high (that’s anywhere from a 5 to a 9, depending on the product) for carcinogenicity, developmental & reproductive toxicity, and/or allergies & immunotoxicities. In other words, they were no better than the “bad” stuff I was buying off the shelves at Walmart and in some cases, they were worse!
This challenge opened my eyes to the incredibly dangers of harsh chemicals, including the ones that smell good and come in pretty bottles, and because of this challenge, I now only use essential-oil based cleaners in my house.
As it turns out, essential oils do a better job at cleaning, are more affordable (one bottle costs just 37¢!) AND ranks a 1 on both apps! If you’re serious about using healthy cleaners in your home, I can’t imagine using anything else but essential oils.
Because there are no federal guidelines on the labeling of oils, it’s crucial to know how the oils are grown, harvested, distilled and tested for purity. I choose Young Living because of their patented Seed to Seal system and promise, which is better than organic! You can read more about Young Living HERE and join my education-based team. You can also read how we afford essential oils on a budget HERE.
As of July 2019: In addition to the misleading belief I was buying better products, the company has been difficult to work with. I cancelled my VIP membership over a year ago yet they keep renewing my auto-shipments and emailing me without my permission. Needless to say I am very disappointed in Grove Collaborative as a whole.