Cheaper, Greener, Cleaner: Ceiling to Floor Savings

Cheaper, Greener, Cleaner: Ceiling to Floor Savings

by Carolyn Wootton, Dena Wootton


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For too long we’ve been led to believe there are only two choices when it comes to cleaning our homes: either spend an arm and a leg on “green” products, or pollute our homes and the environment with noxious chemicals. No longer! Cheaper, Greener, Cleaner: Ceiling to Floor Savings shatters this myth with easy-to-follow recipes for inexpensive, homemade cleaners that will allow you to save money while going green.

Spend pennies, not dollars, for your cleaning and laundry needs. Do away with mystery ingredients with unpronounceable names. No more guessing what’s really in your cleaning and laundry products. Everything you need to create cheaper, greener cleaning products is already in your kitchen or can be found easily at your local store. If you can make a cake mix, you will have no problem following the step-by-step recipes provided. It really is that simple.

Cheaper, Greener, Cleaner: Ceiling to Floor Savings will show you how to clean your twenty-first century home at a nineteenth-century price!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462066872
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/07/2011
Pages: 436
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Read an Excerpt

Cheaper Greener Cleaner

Ceiling to Floor Savings
By Carolyn Wootton Dena Wootton

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Carolyn Wootton and Dena Wootton
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-6687-2

Chapter One

Trash or Treasure?

"One woman's trash is another woman's treasure," has been stated many times in different ways regarding a variety of topics. Many lost treasures have been found because others have realized their importance, or looked for the unseen value. The earliest crediting we can find referring to "One person's trash is another's treasure," dates back at least to 1916 where this axiom appeared in the book, Speaking of Home: Being Essays of a Contented Woman, written by Lillian Hart Tryon. What a profound statement this is for us because what we found in one's trash was certainly our treasure.

My very wise and generous mother-in-law, Ida Marianne Cowie Wootton, had kept all that she had of family members from the past. She had in her possession numerous items for over sixty years but alas the time came when she needed to reduce the items from her home. Many family members wanted an antique trunk, but no one seemed to want to go through the contents which she had saved. It was the general consensus to throw the loose papers and such into the trash. She was determined to save her valued treasure of unknown worth. Determined not to allow family members to throw away the contents, she cleverly placed the items into boxes and placed our name upon them.

Shortly after the family members left with their chosen items, we received a phone call telling us of the boxes we were given. Now some might think we were on the short end, this would depend on what or where one places value.

When the boxes were received, it was a bit of a shock as the boxes were opened for it did indeed look as though it was just trash. Knowing Mom, there had to be a reason she loved and cherished these crumbled and tattered paper pages and scraps for all these years. To our great delight, we uncovered treasures that others could not behold. We found many items inside the box which we will be donating to the historical society. Certainly we found treasure instead of the trash which was perceived by others!

There were numerous recipes for food, home remedies, health tonics, and cleaning items on scraps of paper along with valuable information. We found bank receipts, signatures from my husband's late grandfather and grandmother, stock certificates, grocery lists, business journal, pictures of great grandparents never before seen, and numerous handwritten original poems no one knew existed. These were written by his grandmother, Ada Dilworth Tracey Wootton, whom he never had the privilege to meet. She passed away before she could impart her wisdom, talents, and gifts to her family.

These poems gave us so much insight into this great woman and her earthly trials. We learned of her heartache as she said goodbye to two of her young children that were taken in death. We read about her life, the trials, tribulations, and her complete devotion to her husband. Through her poems she gave a bittersweet experience to our family for never having the opportunity to know her. Somehow we needed to do something to acquaint her to her family.

We learned that one of her poems was published in an anthology of poetry for the 1939 World's Fair. We also found an issue of "Peterson's Ladies National Magazine" dated August 1882, that belonged to her mother. This was a great discovery. My daughter and granddaughters were delighted to look upon a magazine similar to what they had read about in the "Little House" series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Considering her life during the Great Depression, we studied each scrap of paper that held wisdom and insight into this woman's life. So many pieces began to fit into place much as working on large a puzzle. Her writings were found on anything she could use to write on. We presumed that paper was a choice commodity during this time. We even found that she used straight pens to put pieces of paper together to continue with her poem versus when she seemed to have run out of paper. She must have been very resourceful and yes, completely frugal.

Our family talked about these grandmothers, and we wanted somehow to bring to life the grandmother we only knew by name, her poems and items in the boxes. We carefully transcribed her poems with the chance to know more about her and to help us make her life come alive for us using the vehicle of her writings to explore her life.

When finished with the poems, we discovered a nearby outdoor museum with a historically accurate farm-house from the 1890s. On a family outing we went to try to get a glimpse of her life. As we walked about the home, we talked about this grandmother and how she lived and cooked and so forth. This was originally planned for the grandchildren, but we quickly became lost in our own thoughts of her life. As we explored the house, to our surprise, we found some of our grandmother's cleaning ingredients on the pantry shelves. We became intrigued and began to diligently study her ingredients. We wondered how well these cleaning items worked.

We decided to try Grandmother Ada's ingredients. We didn't know what to expect. We thought nothing could compare to what we have available today. All the products with their fancy containers supposedly cleaned far better than anything ever before, or so we thought. To our amazement, we had marvelous results! Indeed we had discovered a great treasure among the many pieces of paper.

Not only did we get our clothes and house clean, our chemically triggered health concerns were reduced. Could there be something to this? The serious research started, many hours spent learning about Grandmother Ada's ingredients.

Our thoughts then took us to those of our own grandmothers and the many fond memories we had of times spent with them. The path down memory lane took us back to many happy visits to our grandparents' farm. We found ourselves smiling and crying at the same time when a new memory flooded the minds and filled hearts with emotions. Although from differing backgrounds and geographical regions, we found so many similarities between these women, during the same span of time during the Great Depression. The more we delved into the boxes, the more insight we found into a past long forgotten.

We then remembered an incredible illustration of trash versus treasure when our paternal grandmother's Colonial Mansion burned down. Grandma Bessie went to help out to provide any comfort and assistance that she could give to her daughter's mother-in-law. She gathered all the torn down draperies, banquet tablecloths, and other linens which had been removed from the house in hopes of saving as much as possible. All these were covered with soot and smoke, while some were charred and wet from the fire hoses. This dear little lady was trying so hard to recover anything that she could for my paternal grandmother. She dragged these heavy fabrics over to the neighbor's yard to use their hose to rinse. She wrung out the excess water as best she could and went to report that she would take the items home to wash and restore what she could and return the items to this in-law.

This was an embarrassment to the in-laws' standards. She was told to just let it be for it was nothing but trash. As if an afterthought, she was told she could have anything she wanted. Grandma Bessie then asked if she could have all that she had collected and anything else she found. She was granted permission to have any and all things that she wanted.

Grandma toted home all that she could find and began her labors. She soaked, washed, bleached, sun bleached, and aired out the fabric until there was not a trace of soot or smoke odor in any of the fabric.

Many of the tablecloths became the batting substitutes, or the backing to her quilts. She remade the draperies to fit her windows in her farmhouse. The amount of quilt pieces she was able to make and use was remarkable, not to mention some of the furniture she was able to salvage. I have one of the many quilts which she had placed the table linens from the fire inside as the batting.

It was not until shortly after the death of my grandfather, Bessie's husband, which the family realized this was not the poverty stricken relatives who everyone thought they were. Everything unfolded to what had been their financial practice throughout their over fifty years of marriage. By their frugality over their lifetime, these wonderfully disciplined grandparents had investments and savings that gave Grandma Bessie financial support for herself to last her lifetime, gift to her children, and support a daughter and a grandchild with severe special needs.

Contrasting this with the paternal side of the family, who happened to look down their noses at the frugal and simple lifestyle of the farm family, had that expansive Colonial Mansion, (which had burned to the ground) the best of everything, and tons of debt. She spent her money on the best luxuries designed to make her every day better. This Grandmother, upon the untimely death of her husband, spent her forty plus remaining years living in the home of one of her sons and drawing her meager Social Security. We give these examples to illustrate the polar opposites that existed in our families.

What was the common thread with these great women from our past? As we pondered the varying backgrounds, from farmers, merchants, and an heiress, we began to realize a common paradigm. These were women who did all that they could and then more. They were women of strength and principle. They endured hardships beyond anything we could ever imagine. They gave their children strength of character, truth and ethics. There were no excuses, for excuses meant failure, and failure could mean death in some cases.

As it turned out, we learned a lot about basic household chemistry. We began to feel empowered and questioned the myth that was set forth by Madison Avenue–and began a journey of self-education and self-reliance. We broke away from the bondage of needing what the ad agencies told us we needed. As a result, we began removing hidden toxic chemicals from our home environment and we began seeing noticeable changes within our family's health.

We decided if we couldn't pronounce an ingredient on a label, it didn't belong in our homes. We have easily removed chemicals from our homes and the air we breathe. Best of all–the money savings is incredible!

We have added touches for today's home and woman. We live in a time that is a marvel, just think about it! In a relatively short time, it is similar to going from caveman to space traveler. We have instant information at our fingertips, on-demand entertainment, GPS that tells us how to go wherever we need to go, and every product available to make our lives simpler. From calculators to computers, we have it pretty good. The trade off for this ease of lifestyle seems to be the lack of confidence in ourselves and looking for easy answers elsewhere. There are products for everything, from washing machine cleaners to special wipes for stainless steel. Break free from the dependence on others and give yourself credit for the gray matter between your ears. You can do this!

From ceiling to floor, we loved the results and rejoiced over our newly found time-tested, home-made, green and inexpensive cleaning and laundry recipes.

As for the quality and benefits of this lifestyle, all we can say is wow! We were amazed to realize just how effective these homemade recipes really worked and many times outperformed the modern pricey products. Talk about quick, easy and convenient. All it takes is a trip to another room in our house to get the cleaning items needed to do a cleaning chore. No more running to the store for window cleaner or laundry detergent.

Without the great care and concern of my dear mother-in-law for preserving these precious items, we would never have had the insight into the life of Grandmother Ada. Without the example of Grandma Bessie, we would never have had the courage to take on this project. It is our sincere desire to honor these great women from our past with a loving and respectful thank you for being the women that they were.

"Where there's a will, There's a way."

Old English Proverb (This was one of Grandma's favorite sayings. I can honestly say, she meant this earnestly and lived by it all her life.)

What Does Green Mean to You?

As we began our adventure, it was for the purpose of saving money during the past few tough economic years. That was the sole purpose. We didn't really think that our little effort and our experimentation would have any impact on our environment let alone help us to "go green." We soon learned otherwise.

We never realized what we were spending per use of any of the products we used. To have a frame of reference as to how much we could save, we needed to do some math. This became my great challenge. Math was not one of my better subjects; the mention of math problems could conjure cold sweats from the memories of trying times in school. At this point having suffered total humiliation in this subject, resistance was dominating all rational thought. A change in paradigm was the only way to conquer this demon. The focus now became a quest to solve not a math problem but a need to resolve the never ending enormous laundry expenditures.

As Dena mentioned in the Introduction, she was using far more laundry detergent and fabric softener, trying to get the softest clothes possible for her family. When we started to analyze her usage and the costs involved this became a very big deal for her budget. The simplest solution was to use less and buy the generic or house brands. This would not work for her, due to health challenges from allergies to fragrance and dyes added to all but the most premium products. She was using or over using to a great extent her high cost fabric softener to help her daughter with sensory sensitivities.

We discovered Dena was spending $1.50 per load on laundry. This was outrageous; now the work began. Family needs outweighed math chills and we broke down everything that was purchased. We were completely shocked at the amount of money that could be wasted needlessly.

Our first homemade replacement was laundry detergent. More money was being spent than should be necessary. We were victorious! With the results we experienced we decided to replace something else which was high priced. Fabric softener was our second victory, so why not try all other laundry needs? We scored another victory the laundry cleaning industry giants, experienced their first casualty. Right away in the laundry room, we saw huge savings of 531% in detergent, 2,855% in stain removers and 704% in fabric softener, without sacrificing our convenience, quality or TIME.

The laundry products that we replaced can be made in less than thirty minutes, no kidding! We were hooked! After this savings we were encouraged and emboldened to try more. After all, when you get these types of results, why not try to save more? Where to go next?

As homemakers with the constant battle fighting dirt and germs, we are unknowingly exposing our families to hidden toxic chemicals. These are present in the clothes we wear, the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch, and on the dishes from which we serve healthy meals. There is very little to do about it, right? No, not quite. You hold in your hand a solution to removing these substances from your lives and homes. Not only can you remove the hidden toxic chemicals, you can do it with little time commitment and virtually no change in your convenient and modern lifestyle. You will save yourself a lot of money in the process. We'd like to invite you along on the adventure.

We discovered the hazards of the chemicals which are in our bodies and our homes, originating from the products which we use. We are surrounded by laundry and cleaning products. We can't go anywhere without being exposed to commercial or industrial cleaning products laden with hidden toxic chemicals. In our society today we value the cleanest of homes, clothes, surfaces, establishments and the freshest air. Unfortunately the products we use clean the surfaces, but in most cases make our environment worse. This is not only our water and air, but many times our physical health may be affected.

To "go green" by our way of thinking can also refer to increasing our own "green," our money. As consumers we are courted and enticed to separate ourselves from our "green" at every turn. Is there anything anywhere that gives us direction how to keep it? It has been stated many ways, don't spend more than you make, this is indeed wise advice. Now that we said that, who is helping us to be strong and not fall for the habits we have made? What alternative do we have? We go to the store; we look for the least expensive price, yet, is that the best we can do?

We think not. Rather, we know that it is not. We hope to inspire everyone to broaden their vision, step into new habits that are fun, exciting, and empowering. Do something you have never done before. Look for alternative ways to get the same or better results. All it takes is an open mind and a willingness to try.

"Going green" did not conjure up any desires to leave the comforts of our modern home for a yurt, (a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic and Mongolic nomads). It also doesn't mean hitching up our children to plows to plant our food, or harvest our crops. Standing over boiling cauldrons stirring lye and ashes making our own soap, or shearing sheep to make our own wool yarn is not what we had in mind.

You don't have to build your own new green home made from egg cartons or another's garbage. It doesn't mean candlelight reading, or peddling your little legs out to crank enough electricity to flicker a wee nightlight let alone enough energy to power your laptop. Most especially it doesn't mean selling your car to build a covered wagon to do your carpooling, shopping, and run errands.

Yes, these were lifestyles of the past when our ancestors left a minimal carbon footprint. But must we go back to this way of living today? No, we say "going green," does not have to be about spending more money, more work or extra time consuming tasks. It can be as simple and as painless as following a cake mix recipe.


Excerpted from Cheaper Greener Cleaner by Carolyn Wootton Dena Wootton Copyright © 2011 by Carolyn Wootton and Dena Wootton. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Trash or Treasure?....................1
Chapter 2 Extreme Savings In the Laundry Room....................55
Chapter 3 Super Simple Quick General Cleaning....................112
Chapter 4 I Can't Believe it's So Easy Floors and Carpets....................163
Chapter 5 Quick and Convenient Make It Yourself....................191
Chapter 6 Green and Clean in the Bathroom....................233
Chapter 7 A Little Drop Will Do Ya' Essential Oils....................266
Chapter 8 Cleef's Notes....................283
Chapter 9 A Treasured Legacy....................373
About the Authors....................385

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