pen rainbow

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home—New Ideas In Plastics

Replenish Smart Bottle
"A Better Cleaner in a Smarter Bottle."

It's a neat idea:  Reuse the container and purchase only the concentrated cleaning solution.  This idea appeals to me because I've basically been doing the same thing every week for about a million years (time flies when you're housecleaning).  Every week, I clean my corner of the Q-Continuum with a bucket of hot water and some Mr. Clean with Febreze.

The only problem is that I don't like all of the crappy toxins that I'm exposing myself to every week while I'm cleaning the house.  I shouldn't worry about inadvertently ingesting pollutants in my  seafood when I'm soaking my hands in kryptonite cleaner every Thursday.  So, I pay a little extra for products that don't harm the environment, my animals, or the humans with whom they live.  I've been experimenting with homemade cleaning solutions, but now my house smells like vinegar.

When Steve got a bottle of Replenish in his goodie bag from the conference-that-shall-not-be-named-because-we-fight-about-it-every-year, I thought it was worth a try.  Neat product—skin-safe PH neutral formula, no animal testing, and biodegradable.  Overall, a really great new cleaning product!  There are a few tweaks that would make it even better.

Tweak #1—The Wrapper
The plastic wrapper cannot easily be removed by hand unless you're Edward Scissorhands.  The packaging would be smarter if it had a perforated zipper or a pull-tab.  It would help if the wrapper didn't unspool from the bottle, like the peel of an apple.  It should come off quickly and easily.

Tweak #2—The Measuring Cup
The concentrate spills out of the measuring cup when you flip it back into an upright position.  Better instructions for first-time users would help.

Tweak #3—Measuring Line
The measuring line on the measuring cup should be bigger and more visible.  It is nearly invisible from some angles.  A bold, white line would suffice.
Fresh Lavender Replenish

Tweak #4—Tiny Bubbles
It's the beer foam effect, except with soap.  Even though the directions clearly say to add the water slowly, people who clean usually move at a relatively fast pace.  When I filled the bottle, it was half full of bubbles, and I didn't want to wait for them to dissipate.  I wouldn't say that I filled the bottle too quickly, either.  The formula needs to be tweaked so that there is less foam.

Tweak #5—Less Soapy Smell
I love the choice of scents—green tea, fresh lavender & sun lemon—but, it smelled a little too much like soap.  I used it on wood and on glass, and it did a great job, but I tend to avoid products that smell too much like detergent.

Tweak #6—Color & Scent Should Match  
Add an orange blossom scent to go with the orange-colored cleaner, and make the sun lemon cleaner a sunny yellow color.  When I'm grabbing for a refill on anything, I use color cues to identify the product.

Tweak #7—Info Poster  
Why was this in the package?  I am guessing that this was for promotional purposes.  It is printed on only one side, so it looks like it was intended for display.  Forget the poster altogether because it's one more piece of paper in the house.  The website already includes the info.

Tweak #8—Sturdier Packaging
Steve's initial shipment was damaged because of the frail padded shipping envelope.  He had to call for a replacement.  The replacement arrived intact, again in a frail padded envelope with some eco-friendly packing peanuts thrown in for good measure.  Better wrapping around the bottle would help.

Overall, it's a great product, and it was fun to try something new.  The prices are reasonable for the starter kit (the bottle and the concentrate, $7.99) and for the concentrate cartridge ($3.99).  Each cartridge provides 4 full bottles of cleaner, which is a great deal!  That's a dollar for a bottle of all-purpose, eco-friendly cleaner.