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Articles: Money

Happy Homemaking the Homemade Way

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I am not going to launch into a preachy prose about how bad commercial cleaning products are today when it comes to cleaning your home. It is common knowledge that a healthy home is not doused in heavy-duty bleach and preserving our environment should be tops on our priority list. The truth is, if you peeked inside of my caddy of cleaners, you would see some of these harmful products in there.  The fact is that I am trying to rely less on these cleaners and rely more on homemade cleaners. I am in the process of making the transition over to using only healthy homemade cleaners, and feel a lot of pride when I take the time to do this. I know how much better it is for our environment...and for my wallet!

Making cleaners does not mean that you need to purchase a ton of items; in fact, most cleaners can be made from things you already have in your house. The main components that I like to work with are white vinegar, baking soda, liquid dishwashing soap, and lemon juice.  One purchase that you may need to make though, to begin getting started, is purchasing a few spray bottles.  I pick these spray bottles up from our local dollar store. These clear spray bottles will make it easy to measure and label your new cleaners in your house.

If you do decide to use these types of cleaners regularly, I would suggest making a trip to your wholesale club to buy the ingredients. A small box of baking soda can cost around fifty cents at your local grocery store. The same baking soda, in a twelve pound bag, from Sam’s Club costs about $5.42. What a savings! All of these products can be purchased in bulk and once you begin using them regularly, you will go through them quickly.

While you are at the warehouse store, be sure to swing by the automotive section and pick up a bag of microfiber cloths.  The cloths sold at the warehouse store are larger and thicker than the ones you can get in other stores, and these are great for all of the jobs around your house. You can use these wet or dry. You can also use these just using water and not even bothering with a cleaner because they are that amazing. 

Be sure when you launder your microfiber cloths that you do not use any type of fabric softener and use a very little amount of soap or cleaner on them.  If you overload them with cleaning products, they will become less and less effective, particularly when you are trying to attract dust towards them.

Because these cleaners are homemade and use less harsh ingredients, they will require a little more elbow grease than your commercial products.  There are lots of great recipes on the internet though and typing in the search phrase, “homemade cleaners” should you give you lots of different ideas and give you an array of recipes to choose from to find which one works best for the jobs you have around your house. Everyone uses different measurements; it just depends on the difficulties of the jobs around your house.

Here are some of my tried and true recipes that we use in our house:

All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix together two tablespoons of mild dishwashing soap and two cups of water in a spray bottle and give it a shake. Use these anywhere that you would use a commercial all-purpose spray. This cleaner is particularly great for countertops, bathroom surfaces, and high chairs.

Glass Cleaner

Mix together one part white vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray this solution on your mirrors and windows and dry your windows with newspaper.  The newspaper is great for lint-free drying and is a great way to repurpose some of those old papers you have laying around.

Homemade Oven Cleaner/ Deep Kitchen Cleaner

Mix a paste of three parts warm water to one part baking soda to clean away kitchen stains or to clean your oven.

Bathroom Cleaner

Mix dishwashing liquid with baking soda until you have a thick paste and use this throughout your bathroom.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

No measuring is required with this recipe. Sprinkle a little baking soda into your toilet bowl and then pour a little vinegar in and watch it fizz it up. Give it a swish with your toilet brush and then flush.

Floor Cleaner

Add ½ cup of vinegar to a gallon of water.  The scent of the vinegar will fade in approximately an hour, but you can also add a couple of drops of essential oil to help with the scent. I like the smell of Tea Tree Oil, but you can buy any essential oil that smells best to you. Essential oils can be picked up at stores offering nutritional supplements or can be purchased online.

Furniture Polish

Mix ¼ cup olive oil with four tablespoons of vinegar and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well before using.  If you do not use all of it in one cleaning session, store the remainder in the fridge, as the lemon juice can go sour. You can also substitute the lemon juice with twenty to thirty drops of lemon essential oil and then you won’t have to refrigerate it. Using the essential oils though will up the price a bit on your homemade product.

Silver Cleaner

Although I don’t polish silver very frequently, this is a great to have in your bag of tricks. This will clean all of those nooks and crannies that are hard to reach in more detailed pieces and is great if you have a big batch of silver that needs cleaning. In a large bowl (or you can use your kitchen sink) place strips of aluminum foil in and place the silver pieces on top. Cover the silver with boiling water and then add three tablespoons of baking soda and soak for ten minutes.

By making your own cleaners, you will save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year. For example, a bottle of window cleaner will usually run you around two or three dollars.  A bottle of your homemade window cleaner though, will cost you about five cents. What a difference that will make to your grocery budget and helping the environment is a wonderful benefit of your fabulous frugalness.