It's Easy Being Green - Homemade Cleaners

By: Angela Howard Email
By: Angela Howard Email

Meet Claire Williamson. This Tallahassee mom is the new face of Ecological Babies - a company designed to help families be more environmentally friendly.

She hasn't always been the all natural type, but when son Grant was born about three years ago, she decided to stay home with him which meant she and hubby Nathan had to pinch pennies where they could.

"A lot of these old-fashioned way of doing things are coming back around, like making your own soap, making your own cleaners, and cloth diapers," said Claire Williamson.

Some people go so far as to say they won't use 'any chemicals' in their home, but Williamson says that's really not possible. You just have to choose the chemical that's right for you.

"Vinegar and baking soda are chemicals, just, you say I want a chemical free home, but vinegar is a chemical, so it's this chemical versus this chemical and which one is going to eat my skin off and which one can I clean my son's high chair with," Williamson said.

Williamson's obvious choice is the latter, so she uses a simple mixture of vinegar and water and a little elbow grease to clean everything from the bedroom dressers to the bathroom walls.

For the tub, she uses baking soda and a sturdy scrub brush, and because her products are non-toxic, she can get her son Grant in on the cleaning too.

"You would never hand your two-year-old a bottle of Comet, but you can give them baking soda," she said.

Williamson also has a way to tackle tough grease in the kitchen.

"A trick, sounds crazy, but, cut a lemon in half and put some baking soda on half the lemon and rub on there. Works just like soft scrub."

Williamson does admit that her homemade cleaners may not be as strong as some of the store-bought brands, but she says a little extra scrubbing goes a long way.

"It's just a matter of time and what you're willing to trade for your dime."

So just how 'many' dimes are the Williamson's saving? A bottle of all-purpose cleaner and a bottle of scrubbing cleaner come to a grand total of 5.48. But a gallon of Vinegar, two pounds of Baking soda and a lemon only come to 5.23.

Yet at the end of the day, it's not the pennies but the peace of mind these natural cleaners bring.

"I like it mostly because it's safe and I don't have to worry about locking away yucky chemicals to keep out of my son's reach."

To contact Williamson or to check out Ecological Babies, scroll down to the Related Links section of this story and click on the link.

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  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Jul 25, 2011 at 03:49 AM
    Forgot to mention, when our boys were born there were only Pamper brand disposable diapers out. That lets you know how old I am. We had been given cloth diapers at showers for them, but out of curiosity checked to see how much it would cost to use the disposable versus cloth diapers. We found VERY quickly that we could buy a new washer and dryer and pay for them in short order with the savings on cloth diapers. Claire, what kind of soap are you making? The very old fashioned "lye soap" uses a pretty caustic chemical, lye, but it is good stuff. It will even dry up poison ivy.
    • reply
      by Claire on Jul 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM in reply to Georgia Boy
      Georgia Boy, I don't actually make my own soap. I think maybe that got edited funny. I have several friends who make their own laundry detergent. Angela Howard and I discussed that, and I was hoping it would make the interview, but obviously it didn't. :) Shes uses a combination of grated Dr. Bronner's bar soap, washing soda, borax, and baking soda, plus some essential oils for natural fragrance. Personally, we use Rockin Green (which is a brand I carry in my home business) and Bio-Klean (which I usually buy at Earth Fare). You are right about the savings with cloth diapers! They are as good for the budget as they are for the earth. :) With diapers averaging about 25 cents per diaper and the average child potty training at 2 1/2, that's about $1800 tossed in the garbage, versus a stash of cloth diapers that can be used on MULTIPLE children at about $300-$400, depending on what you buy.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Jul 25, 2011 at 03:45 AM
    You can get white vinegar in a package of two one gallon jugs a lot more reasonably at Sam's, as well. I use it to clean my coffeemaker and it works great.
  • by Carol Location: Tennessee on Jul 23, 2011 at 06:18 PM
    Very interesting interview. Claire is to be admired for searching out and using "green" methods of cleaning. More power to her--and all who care about our environment!
  • by Roy Location: Texas on Jul 23, 2011 at 03:16 PM
    Hooray for common sense! And hooray for involving a two year old in helping! I see that as a double win for the next generation - a cleaner earth and a young man who knows how to be helpful. You go girl!
  • by panhandlesue Location: Wakulla on Jul 23, 2011 at 08:39 AM
    Is this the remarkable lady teaching Wakulla County to be a "clean green"? Yep! Can't put a price tag on health. A solution of lemon juice/baking soda whitens the teeth while brushing.
    • reply
      by Derp on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:43 AM in reply to panhandlesue
      Um, lemon juice will eat away the enamel on your teeth. Not good.
      • reply
        by panhandlesue on Jul 24, 2011 at 08:02 AM in reply to Derp
        One usually rinses the mouth after brushing.
    • reply
      by Claire on Jul 23, 2011 at 01:21 PM in reply to panhandlesue
      No, I am not in Wakulla County. We live and work in NE Tallahassee. Baking soda does wonders around the house and is dirt cheap! You can buy in bulk at Costco and Sams. You can use it sprinkled on a toothbrush, but I'm not sure about the lemon juice. Might be a little too acidic.
  • by Jim Location: Gadsden County on Jul 23, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    This country will never go green. We are too lazy and selfish.
  • by Bette Location: Tallahassee on Jul 23, 2011 at 04:21 AM
    Baking soda is also a great natural deodorant for your body, instead of commercial products that have been linked to breast cancer.
  • by Claire on Jul 22, 2011 at 05:49 PM
    What I actually said was, "It's about what you're willing to trade for your time," not DIME. As in, would you trade having harmful chemicals in your home for the extra seconds you save by using corrosive cleaners. Or would you rather use safe household products and spend two extra minutes scrubbing. The mistake isn't a big deal, I just wanted to clarify what I really meant.
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