Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cleaning on the cheap

By now you should know I like to save money when and wherever I can. No worries, I will never appear on the TV TLC show “Extreme Cheapskates” because I am still a firm believer in quality over quantity (yes I am using the word quantity to talk about money). Yes, I have gone as far as unplugging appliances and the TV when I go on vacation, but never will I go to the extreme as one guy on the show that pulls the plug on everything every time he leaves the house. Wouldn’t it save him more money to just keep these things unplugged until he needed them? OK, back on topic; I like to save money when I can. I won’t do crazy things to do it, but there are tons of little things you can do around your house to keep it clean and save some money. Best part is that these cleaning hints are all natural and not a chemical base, but they still disinfect.

One of my go-to products for cleaning is vinegar. Not any special type, I just get the huge gallon jug of the white distilled vinegar at the grocery store (about $6). Vinegar will kill all kinds of bacteria, mold, germs, and other icky stuff. This is because vinegar is very acidic and most of these things can’t survive at these PH levels (2.0). My grandmother use to use this stuff to clean her windows and other glass surfaces. I always thought she was crazy until a few years ago when I finally tried it. My windows looked just as clean as they would if I had used the blue glass stuff.

Basic recipe: 50/50 mix of water to vinegar. Just mix the two into a bowl or you can put the mix into a spray bottle. I just mix into a small mixing bowl and dip a rag into the bowl and ring it out. I clean my glass surfaces, and most all surfaces this way and I never have water marks or anything of that sort. However, if you have a marble surface you don’t want to use vinegar because the vinegar could etch the surface. This is my basic recipe that I use for most of my cleaning. I use this solution to fill up my Swiffer wet jet and clean my floors. I use this basic recipe to clean my kitchen aid mixer (the vinegar cleans out the grease from buttercream and other foods that use shortening or butter. However, you don’t have to worry about chemical residue in your baked goods so this is a perfect alternative.

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar that is ok there are ways to make vinegar smell good. Buy a few oranges, peel them (enjoy the fruit but keep the peels). Use a 16oz canning jar stuff the peels from 2 medium or large size oranges inside the jar. Pour vinegar over the peels and tighten the lid onto the jar. Store the vinegar jar for 2 weeks before using. Now you will have citrus vinegar, works with limes, lemons, grapefruit, etc.

You can even make your own laundry soap, and it works great, smells amazing, and it’s cheap. The cost is about $8 for about 550 loads of laundry. Before I go into the recipe I suggest you use utensils for the purpose only and don’t use them for cooking again.

You will need:
1 Bar of soap – I use Dove bar soap.
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda: Arm and Hammer makes this and you can usually find it in the laundry soap area.
You will need a large pot that can hold about 2.5 to 3 gallons of liquid.
You will need cheese grater, or something of the sort.
A funnel isn’t a must but is very helpful.
1 large spoon, I use a plastic one because it is easier to clean off.
Now you will want something to store your soap in. I use 2 milk jugs. You can also buy a 5 gallon bucket at the home store and double this recipe and store it in there.

1.) Grate your bar of soap into your pot. (I had an old food processor that made this so much easier).
2.) Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves.
3.) Add the Borax and washing soda.
4.) Bring to a boil. It will coagulate.
5.) Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well.
6.) Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container. A funnel helps tremendously.

I have many more money saving tips for cleaning but this is more than enough for now. Let me know what you think of these suggestions and if any of them work for you.
New Frugal Mom

1 comment:

  1. I make all purpose cleaner with 1 part wintergreen alcohol, 1 part white vinegar , 2 parts water. It smells great and cleans like a champ. I also make my own detergent, but do not make it liquid. 3 cups borax, 2 cups baking soda, 2 cups washing soda, and 1 bar fels naptha or ivory soap grated (I use a pampered chef rotary grater - it only gets used for soap making) Mix it all up and store in in a container. Use 2 TBSP or so for regular large machines or 2 tsp for HE machines and instead of fabric softener use white vinegar. I have also started using white vinegar in the bleach container and love how that is working out, too. Felted wool balls in my dryer help the clothes dry faster and better and are cheap to order on amazon. :) great job on the blog Megan!!