Review :: Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner

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Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner
Review Score
Ewg RatedA
Decyl Glucoside
Alcohol Ethoxylates (C6-C12)
Alcohol Ethoxylates (C12-15)
Alcohol Ethoxylates (C9-11)
Citric Acid
Sodium Citrate

Puracy Multi Surfacer Cleaner looks and smells great. It cleans well and, while it isn't 100% natural, it comes pretty darn close. It's just a shame that the synthetic element had to be a harsh synthetic preservative (Benzisothiazolinone) renowned for causing contact dermatitis.

If you're not sensitive to fragrances or the 'isothiazolinones', give this cleaner a shot! You may just find an all-new meaning for the word "clean."

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Puracy’s website self-identifies as a small company, but a quick Google search immediately demonstrated the splash that they’ve made across America. They boast an extensive list of awards and accolades on their website, including the impressive label of “Best All-Purpose Cleaner” from the New York Times.

Numerous other media outlets have praised the natural origins of Puracy’s products and their safe, affordable ingredient formulations.   They, unlike most of their peers, aren’t shy to tell us exactly what they put into their products.

We’ve reviewed a number of Puracy products ourselves, and we had to check out one of their most beloved products.

So, who is Puracy?

Based in Austin, Texas and accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2013, they’re a fairly new company with humble beginnings. Co-founders Sean Busch and Paul Tracy were friends with backgrounds in e-commerce, but Puracy’s start was more than a business move for them.

While Tracy had always embraced a natural and organic lifestyle, he became even more dedicated after the birth of his first child. When he found a lack of satisfactorily safe and natural household cleaning products on the market, he and his wife began mixing their own formulas.

Eventually, Puracy was born!

It’s easy to feel good about using Puracy’s products when they give back so much of their success to local communities in Austin and throughout the U.S. Even the artwork gracing their product labels was created by local artists! Puracy believes strongly in upholding a personal commitment to charity, as demonstrated by their 2017 “one-for-three” donation to aid relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Puracy has also made massive contributions to the Austin Children’s Services and SafePlace.

What do they mean by “Natural”

Puracy has developed its own definition for what comprises a natural ingredient. To be “natural” according to Puracy means that an ingredient “started from a natural, renewable source found in nature with absolutely no petroleum compounds.”

Without any sort of regulation, this is an applaudable move by Puracy.  I’d much rather there was some regulation on what was deemed a natural product, it’s one of the most abused and misunderstood terms in the industry, but Puracy is again showing the way forward.

There’s no doubt that Puracy’s goals and ideals are just what we want to see from businesses creating natural household products, so let’s get to it. What’s their multi-surface cleaner like right out of the box?

Knowing Puracy’s background and their current legacy made me even more thrilled to receive the product itself, and the stylish packaging did not disappoint!

The bottles are attractive in a bright, modern way, and I particularly appreciated the gleaming silver foil highlighting the Puracy name—a nice detail that wasn’t apparent in online images of the product.

Long before I began my hunt for the household surfaces in need of the most attention, I was already excited about the subtle but delicious scent of this cleaner. The label advertises this particular formulation as green tea and lime, and it’s absolutely just as refreshing as it sounds.

The bottle and spray attachment came packaged separately so that the product could remain sealed and maintain its freshness, and each bottle contained 25 ounces of cleaner.

Plus, I was happy to see that information about the product (including ingredients) was listed clearly on the label in a readable font size! There’s no mystery to the ingredients within the cleaner, there’s no need to squint to see the formula, and the bottle’s sleek design makes it exciting to pick up and get spraying.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that Puracy’s packaging is made entirely from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET(E).

This plastic is BPA-free, non-toxic, entirely recyclable, and doesn’t pose any risk of leaching harmful chemicals into the product within.

Obviously, I’d much rather it was plastic free – but does that material even exist yet?

Puracy’s natural multi-surface cleaner looks great, but how well does it do its job?

With my cleaner and a brand new sponge in hand, I set out across my house to find forgotten corners and neglected surfaces in need of a little TLC. As an added bonus (just because I really wanted to see this multi-surface cleaner do its work), I even made a few messes of my own. After all, it’s not often that I find an excuse to fling soggy toothpaste on my bathroom mirror and decorate my kitchen counter with honey!

While this Puracy cleaner didn’t work any miracles, it did its job well!

In most cases, I sprayed the cleaner directly onto the surface before wiping down with a sponge and then cleaning up any remaining moisture and debris with a paper towel. I was impressed that a single spray of cleaner could go such a long way—the couple of times I over-doused a mess resulted in excessive soap bubbles that reminded me not to be so heavy-handed.

First, I let some honey and sriracha sit for a while on my countertop before coming at it armed with a sponge and spray bottle, and I was particularly impressed with how smoothly Puracy’s cleaner removed these gummy, sticky condiments.

A utility cabinet corner that’s seen better days cleaned up pretty well, too.

Next, I took the cleaner to my bathroom where I let the formulation have its way with some deposits around the bathtub drain. While Puracy’s cleaner couldn’t quite take a stand against my stained grout, discoloration within the bathtub disappeared with a single swipe! Plus, the cleaner rescued my tub’s chrome fixtures from a life dulled by soap scum.

Unfortunately, this cleaner did leave some residue on my bathroom mirror despite the label’s guarantee to clean any hard surface without streaking, but it was nothing that a damp paper towel couldn’t fix. Utilizing less product or a cleaning aid other than a sponge could make a difference—your mileage may vary. However, this streaking wasn’t so pesky and cumbersome that I won’t continue to use this cleaner on my mirrors and windows.

So far, so good. This multi-surface cleaner has done its work rescuing my kitchen counters and neglected cabinet corners, but what’s inside?

Puracy includes its formula’s ingredient list right on the bottle, in the same font size as the directions and company information. Plus, they’re kind enough to identify each chemical component on the list. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for companies who are upfront about their formulations, and Puracy even went the extra mile by eliminating some of the mystery that accompanies long, daunting chemical names.

As if this wasn’t enough to impress me, I was ecstatic to find that Puracy’s website is equipped with an encyclopedia of the ingredients the company uses in their products.

Along with every ingredient is a definition of the ingredient, an explanation of how the ingredient functions within each product formula, how the ingredient is produced, and why Puracy has chosen to use it in their formulations. All of these explanations are backed up with well-cited evidence so that any concerned user (like me) can easily do their own research.

I’ve never seen a cleaning product company dedicate this much effort to transparency about their ingredients, so I have to give Puracy huge props for the resources they’ve made available to their customers.

In particular, their multi-surface cleaner contains:

  • Citric acid (a mild acid capable of killing bacteria and conquering both mold and mildew)
  • Sodium citrate (a risk-free chelating agent used to adjust a product’s pH; the salt form of citric acid)
  • Natural fragrance
  • Benzisothiazolinone (preservative and disinfectant)

The majority of the formulation is water mixed with 4 gentle plant-derived surfactants:

  • Decyl glucoside (a non-ionic surfactant derived from glucose and plant-based fatty alcohols like coconut)
  • C6-C12 alcohol ethoxylate
  • C12-C15 alcohol ethoxylate
  • C9-C11 alcohol ethoxylate (all three listings of alcohol ethoxylate are surfactants derived from coconut or palm kernel oil)

Surfactants, or cleaning agents, enhance the formula’s ability to battle with dirt, grime, oil, and grease by lowering the surface tension of water and therefore making the cleaner’s molecules more “slippery”. In other words, the cleaner’s molecules become less likely to clump together with each other but more likely to pair up with dirt and oil for easy removal.

Chelating agents, such as Sodium Citrate used in this formula, are surfactants’ cheerleaders. They bind metal ions including calcium, magnesium, and iron which would normally attract the surfactants and distract them from tackling grease and dirt. In the past, phosphates were widely used for this purpose before bans were imposed and other chelating agents like EDTA were developed. Sodium citrate is an even better alternative, a natural ingredient derived from citrus fruits and corn.

Everything sounds promising so far, but are there any ingredients to be wary of?

There are a couple of gotchas in this formulation.

It isn’t fragrance-free.  For domestic use, this will be fine for most people, except those sensitive to fragrances (obviously).  The fragrances are flagged as “natural”, and we know their definition of that word.  But there’s no further detail on the type of fragrance.

Avoid if you’re sensitive to fragrances.

The major problem I have with with Puracy’s multi-surface cleaner formulation is the addition of Benzisothiazolinone (BIT). Because there are no federal regulations dictating that a product self-labeled as “natural” must adhere truthfully to its label, some synthetic chemicals like this one can easily sneak their way in.

According to the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, BIT is considered safe when used as a preservative in concentrations not exceeding 0.01%. However, Puracy only states that BIT “is typically used in concentrations less than 0.04%.”

That said, it is a cause of contact dermatitis and a cousin of the more famous Methylisothiazolinone.  It’s a volatile compound, and airborne allergens on this level are not pleasant.

To be completely fair to Puracy and their dedication to transparency, they do disclose on their website that BIT is a synthetic ingredient and explain their reasons for using it in their product.

While their honesty is respectable, the health-related and environmental concerns surrounding BIT made me a little less comfortable using this multi-surface cleaner in large quantities all over my house.

So, what’s the bottom line?

At $7.99 for a 25 oz bottle, Puracy’s multi-surface cleaner is far from the cheapest on the market. However, Puracy’s web store does offer an opportunity to save 15% when you subscribe to receive a fresh bottle of cleaner in the mail on a regular basis! You can choose how long you’d like to wait before shipments, which is a neat feature to save you both time and cash.

However, if you value quality, natural ingredients, company transparency, a solid performance, and a satisfaction guarantee, this out-of-pocket cost doesn’t seem so bad. The formulation isn’t 100% natural, but it comes pretty darn close—just be aware of the harsh preservative BIT and its risks.

All in all, give this cleaner a shot! You may just find an all-new meaning for the word “clean.”

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