Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Cleaning on the Cheap

**I'm cheating a little bit today.  This post is actually one that was featured over on Brit's blog, Knewlywifed, a few months ago.  But, I'm knee deep in projects (more coming soon. . .hopefully!), getting back in the swing of things from after the Holidays, and well, I've been slacking just a little bit too, I suppose.  Anyways, I don't know how many of you have already seen this post so I figured I'd use it this week for my Thrifty Thursday post.  Forgive me? 

Today's post is related to cleaning your home in the cheapest way possible!  While I do occasionally buy cleaning products from the store, I most often make my own solutions.  There are several reasons for this.  One, it's stupidly cheap.  Two, it's seriously easy and quick to make your own!  Third, most of the items (or all?) that are used in the recipes below are totally family friendly and won't cause any harm to my little man or my animals.  I can't confidently say that about the products that I buy from the store.  I've had people tell me that they don't feel that homemade cleaning products clean as well as ones with chemicals in them but I actually get the opposite result.  Not only am I feeling good about spending less money and having less chemical residue on my home's surface, I feel that most homemade cleaning products clean BETTER than store bought.  Here are a few of my money saving recipes and tips.  Hope you find them to be as awesome as I have!

Microwave Cleaner:

1/2 c. vinegar
2 c. water
juice from half a lemon (optional)

Combine in microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 3-4 minutes, remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.

Dishwasher Detergent:

2 c. borax
2 c. baking soda
4 packages of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid (or generic)

Mix together and store in airtight container.  Use enough mixture to fill detergent cup 2/3 full in dishwasher.

Window & Glass Cleaner:

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp castile soap (Dr. Bronner's is my choice)

Mix together in spray bottle and give a gentle shake.  For a streak free shine, use newspaper to wipe down surface rather than a cloth or paper towel. 

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

Liquid Castile soap
Baking soda or Borax

Squirt soap into toilet and sprinkle baking soda (or borax) in around bowl.  Scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub and Tile Cleaner:

With a sponge or cloth, apply white vinegar full strenth.  Scour with baking soda and rinse well.

Wood Floor Cleaner:

1 gallon hot water
1 c. white vinegar
squirt of castille soap (Dr. Bronner's Peppermint leaves your house smelling minty fresh!)

Mix all in a bucket and use a slightly damp rag to wash floors.  Yes, this requires hands and knees style mopping, but it's so worth it!

Carpet Deodorizer:

Baking soda
10-20 drops of essential oil

Mis together and sprinkle on carpet.  Wait 15-20 minutes and vacuum.

Laundry Detergent:

1 c. grated Fels Naptha soap
1/2 c. washing soda (mine is from Arm & Hammer and comes in a yellow box)
1/2 c. borax

Mix all together and store in an airtight container.  For a lightly soiled (or small) load, use 1 Tablespoon.  For heavier loads or very soiled loads, use 2 Tablespoons.

Fabric Softener:

Add 1/2-1 cup white vinegar to your softener dispenser

Other Money Saving Tips:

* Run dishwasher late at night without the heat-dry on and let dishes air dry overnight
* Instead of sponges (which get mildew-y and yucky quicker), use microfiber cloths or bar rags for cleaning.  Can be washed and used over and over again.
* If you must use sponges, extend their life by either running them through the dishwasher with your next load or wet them down and pop them into the microwave for 45 seconds to kill any bacteria which might be trapped inside. 
* Only wash clothes (unless really soiled) on cold setting.

Most of the items listed above are extremely cheap to buy and will last a really long time.  For example, I buy a 5lb bag of baking soda for $6.00 and a gallon of white vinegar for $3.50 at Costco.  One of those two items is used in most every recipe above.  In fact, I use only baking soda and vinegar to clean my bath tubs.  About 1/3 c of baking soda sprinkled in my tub and then spritzed down with a few sprays of vinegar and I've cleaned my tubs literally for pennies.  Another favorite product is my Dr. Bronners Castille soap.  I bought a large bottle of it for $7.00 at Kroger (natural foods section--can also be bought from Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc) and I've been using the same bottle for about 2 years.  The great thing about castille soap is that you can use it for ANYTHING!!  Seriously. . .cleaning product, laundry soap, shampoo, body wash, face wash.  Honestly!   The same bottle that I used to use to wash Tyler's cloth diapers was also the soap that I used to wash my face at night.  It's so gentle but cleans so well! 

Do you have any other recipes for homemade cleaning products?  What about money saving tips related to cleaning your home?  Please share!!

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