Meet three local moms creating safer cleaning products for your home

From farm to zero

When customers are overwhelmed when trying to incorporate more natural cleaning products into their homes, Amy Bierstedt has an idea where to start: dryer balls.

The handmade balls of yarn that Bierstedt and his sister roll up together can be thrown in the dryer and left there for months, eliminating the need to buy dryer sheets and getting rid of one of the biggest sources of toxins in homes. “Just throwing in dryer sheets makes a big difference,” she says.

Bierstedt launched her company From Scratch Farm nine years ago after first making body products in her kitchen. She now sells these bath and body products as well as home products including all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent and dish soap.

Everything is made in small batches using organic and natural materials where possible. Dyes and fragrances are never included, and each product contains a short list of ingredients that Bierstedt promises you’ll be able to pronounce.

Her laundry detergent is a natural complement to dryer balls and is created with super lye, baking soda, borax and a little OxiClean, because as a mom of boys, Bierstedt knows detergent needs to work on Tasks.

The all-purpose cleaner is made with distilled water, vinegar, lemon essential oil, and a blend of essential oils that acts as a disinfectant. Bierstedt says she uses it on windows, countertops and even her microwave.

A single mother, Bierstedt spends much of her week running the Handmade on Main shop in Boerne, which features her products and those of 22 other manufacturers. She also devotes one day a week to making her products at home. “It’s exhausting, but it’s a joy and a priority,” she says.

Find her products online, at local markets (check Instagram for her latest updates) or at Handmade on Main in Boerne.

Image courtesy of Chabod Home


Yuliana “Yuli” Martinez’s latest business venture, Chabod Home, was born days before her first daughter, Amalia.

An environmental engineer by training, Martinez came to the United States from her native Colombia on a student visa to pursue a master’s degree in engineering, but life circumstances forced her to pivot eight years ago and she began to clean houses to make ends meet. She started with a few residential clients, but over the years has expanded into commercial cleaning and an official business, Chabod Cleaning Services, which she runs with her husband Andres Martinez, also a Colombian immigrant.

It was while cleaning homes that Yuli Martinez noticed that many of her clients had cupboards full of unused cleaning supplies and tools. She also tested several dusters, mops, and tile cleaners herself, but never found anything she liked. “I’m a neat freak and tried so many brands, but there were always things we couldn’t find anywhere,” she says.

So she made her own.

Chabod Home’s first three products – the Anguis Short, the Peniculus and the Tortamque – are intended to help solve some of the everyday cleaning problems faced by Martinez and his staff. (Find them here.)

The Anguis Short works as a drain cleaner and removes hair (and other debris) from drains. Martinez describes the Peniculus as “a flat broom” that can dust hard-to-reach areas. It is equipped with a microfiber cloth that can be washed after each use. The Tortamque is a reusable electrostatic lint roller inspired by customers who have dog hair all over furniture and other items. Rather than a roll with paper that needs to be peeled off and thrown away, this version catches unwanted hair and can then be emptied much like a vacuum cleaner.

Martinez says she next hopes to expand into multi-purpose cleaners, and she’s already created her own paste for cleaning tubs. “As an environmental engineer, I know what’s good for the environment and what’s good for cleaning, so I try to strike a balance and use natural products (when we can),” she says.

Focusing on the product development side of her business, Martinez says she found a way to stay involved while raising her baby girl.

“Amalia is the reason for everything…San Antonio gave us what our country didn’t give us,” she says. “We love this place and want to grow our business locally, give back to the community and create a legacy for our family.”

Organic Chix, photo by Claire Hogan

Organic Chix

As a mother of three, Catherine Hix was unhappy with the laundry detergent she found at the store. Between her children and their family’s two large dogs, she often felt like her fresh laundry was coming out smelling like it had just been coated in fake perfume. At the same time, she was beginning to worry about the number of chemicals in their home and the consequences this could have on their health.

She started googling how she could make her own soaps and then started experimenting. After several batches, she came up with a simple recipe that also got rid of all the dirt and stains from regular laundry. “There was a lot of trial and error, and a lot of product went down the drain before we got it right,” Hix said. San Antonio Magazine.

Her mission to reduce the chemical load in her home blossomed from there. She created a surface cleaner and in 2014 founded Organic Chix so she could share her creations with other families. The company now sells everything from detergents and stain removers to surface and wood cleaners and dish soap. Knowing that harsh chemicals extended beyond its typical cleaners, Hix also branched out into “healthy lifestyle” options that range from hand sanitizer spray to mosquito repellent.

Each product is made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils.
Hix says even her husband was skeptical that her creations could work as well as those typical store-bought cleansers when she started. After seeing them used in their home, however, he was “100% okay”.

Find them at a variety of local stores or order online for local pickup. Organic Chix is ​​also at Pearl Farmers Market, Gruene Market Days (every third weekend of the month).

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