Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homemade Cleaners

If you would have told me about a year ago that I would be making my own cleaners, I would have told you that you were crazy. A year ago, I was pregnant with our fourth child, working part time, 2 in elementary school and one at home. Add to that the various projects around the house, the normal everyday upkeep, the kids’ activities, doctors and dentist visits, two dogs and two cats to care for and the list goes on and on, you get the picture. I felt I simply did not have the time.

Then I read more and more books on being frugal, again, the list is too long to mention them, maybe in another post. Not to mention that various people in our family have asthma and allergies and all those chemicals do not help it. So I thought, what the hay, let’s try it.

I started small, with simply vinegar and water, I have read all kinds of recipes but I use a 2:1 ratio of water and vinegar in my spray bottle. I used this for quite a while as an all purpose cleaner in my kitchen and bathrooms, but didn’t do the mirrors or windows with it. And I still use it today as an all purpose cleaner.

Then I moved on to cleaning the toilets with baking soda and vinegar. I put baking soda in one of my empty, very large, spice containers. I sprinkle it in the bowl along with some vinegar sprayed from my bottle and let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bubble and then I simply clean with a toilet brush. And then you have a sparkly toilet! I also use baking soda to sprinkle on my carpets and let it sit for a while. Then I vacuum it up, this helps to remove the odor from the carpets!

Then I was talking to my great friend Jeannie and we happened to mention that both of our husbands were joking with us about our “concoctions” that we come up with for cleaning. She gave me a recipe for Alkaline Cleaner and one for window cleaner. The alkaline cleaner is 2 tsp borax, 3 squirts of liquid soap, 1/2 tsp washing soda and 2 cups water, that is it. Combine and shake well. The Window cleaner is 1/3 cup vinegar, 3 squirts liquid soap and 2 cups water. Same thing, combine and shake well.

I love those. I use the window cleaner for my mirrors and windows with wadded up newspaper (also new to me) and they get so clean! As for the alkaline cleanser, it even gets out Kool-Aid stains on my kitchen counter.

Then about 2 weeks ago I found a recipe for homemade dishwashing detergent here. With 6 people in our house and me baking about every other day, our dishwasher gets ran at least once a day, sometimes even twice. And we have hard water, so I cannot use the cheap cleansers, or our dishes do not come out clean. I have used this recipe for about 2 weeks now and love it. I omit the essential oil and just mix Arm and Hammer Super Soda wash and Borax together as is in a container and shake it up to mix them. Both of which I can find at our local large grocery chain. Then I put 2 tablespoons in my washing machine and run it. It comes out so clean it is amazing. I have not tried the vinegar as I have lots of free rinse aid from couponing, so I cannot comment on that.

My friend Jeannie and I are going to get together in a couple of weeks and try making this recipe for homemade laundry soap. I am very interested as I have a front loading washing machine and am anxious to see how it works since I have to buy the low suds kind for the high efficiency washers. I’ll let you know how that goes!

So, all in all, I would say that I love making my own cleaners. Is it a cost savings? Absolutely. However, the main reason I do it, is to avoid all those extra chemicals they put in cleaners. Who wants to breathe that stuff anyway? And as for time? It only takes seconds to mix up the cleaners that I already make and use. The exception might be the laundry detergent. However I have heard that it cost pennies per load with the homemade kind, so the money return might be worth the time investment.

So, do you have any recipes for cleaners that you love? Share them in a comment below!

Make sure you check out Life As Mom for more Frugal Fridays, and We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesdays.

1 comment:

  1. I've been making laundry detergent for several months, and that works for me. I estimate that it saves about $10/month ... even compared to the discount brands that we used to buy.

    I haven't had much success with homemade dishwasher detergent, though. It doesn't seem to get the dishes clean, so I went back to using commercial products for that. I also heard that borax might not be safe enough to use on dishes; I suspect that it rinses away, though. My main reason for switching back was the effectiveness.