Shortly after Evergreen resident Holli Schaub gave birth to her first daughter, Jovi, she decided to pick up some books about how a baby’s environment could affect a child’s developing brain and body. What she learned about home cleaning products shocked her: Many of the so-called natural cleaners she’d been using for years were either ineffective at disinfecting her home or still full of toxic ingredients—and made good use of deceptive marketing. (Fabric softener, for instance, tends to be formaldehyde-based.)
So Schaub decided to create her own cleaners, calling her fledgling company Humble Suds. “All my recipes are based on vintage recipes,” she says. “I wanted to take everyone back to a simpler version of what cleaning used to be.” Her first challenge was an all-purpose cleaner—“a natural combination of ingredients that could really kill some germs in the bathroom and kitchen while still being safe for skin contact.” After a lot of trial and error, Schaub ended up with a mixture of coconut oil soap, natural grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, and water she distilled herself, plus essential oils. (Choose from the orange-clove scent or the lavender and tea tree.)
In 2014, she began selling this all-purpose cleaner, which can tackle any surface except glass, at farmers’ markets in the Denver area. Three years later, she’s released several more items, including a lavender-cedarwood laundry detergent and a citric-acid-based cleaning paste designed for stains lingering on ceramic fixtures and grout. All her ingredients are certified organic, and she hopes to get her products themselves certified organic by the end of the year. And Schaub offers a free delivery service for Denver-area residents, in which she’ll pick up your empty bottles and replace them with full jugs of cleaner. (She reuses every container she can.)
Over the years, Schaub has also developed insider knowledge on how best to make your home spotless. Here are her top three tips for spring sprucing:
- Make sure to open your windows when you wash them (starting with water and finishing with vinegar). Pollution levels can spike indoors after a long winter of stale air.
- Actually take apart your vacuum and clean it with hot, soapy water. Otherwise your machine might be spurting out as much dust as it’s taking in.
- Gunk accumulates easily on ceiling fans. If you dampen the blades and then take a pillowcase and slide it over them, you’ll be able to easily trap all that dirt instead of letting it fly all over the room when you reverse the fan.