Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Nitty Gritty

Wifey here. I have been promising TOR that I would write about homemade cleaners for quite some time now but I keep forgetting. He is working especially long hours today, so I thought I'd do him a favor a put something up on here for him.

I started making homemade cleaners a few months ago. I was successful in cutting our food bill significantly by cooking from scratch, brought my attention to how quickly the cost increased when we had to pick up any cleaners. I was completely guilty of using every cleaner advertised. The space under our sink was overcrowded and our cost was out of control. With store bought cleaners, you're paying mostly for the fancy label and strong perfume. Most cleaners can be made with a few ingredients that you probably already have around the house. The only thing I don't make now is dishwasher detergent because I was initially afraid of flooding my kitchen floor with suds, but I'm going to try it once this bottle runs out. I also occasionally cheat and use pine sol for the floors and comet for the bathrooms, but both are so cheap I don't worry about it. I make big batches of laundry detergent, surface, and glass cleaners and keep them on hand all the time. I make everything else on an as needed basis. Buy as much as you can in bulk, and you'll see your cleaning costs nearly disappear.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar soap, finely grated (I use whatever is cheapest but make sure it's white or it could color your clothes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
Mix all ingredients together. Use 1-2 tablespoons for each load.

Everyday Surface Cleaner (works on anything)
1 part water
1 part vinegar
Combine in spray bottle
Heavy Duty Surface Cleaner (for grimy messes)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp borax
10 drops orange essential oil (optional)
5 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Mix all ingredients in spray bottle, spray on mess and wipe away.

Glass Cleaner
1/2 cup ammonia
2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 tsp dishwashing liquid
Mix ammonia and rubbing alcohol in a 1 gallon container. Fill almost to the top with water. Add Dishwashing liquid and mix. Top off with water if needed.

Carpet Cleaner
*test a small area first
1 part laundry detergent
2 parts hot water
Scrub into carpets and let dry completely

Floor cleaner
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 gallon hot water
Combine ingredients. Mop or sponge onto floor. Use towels to dry floor immediately.

Toilet Cleaner
Sprinkle with baking soda and lemon juice
Let sit about 10 minutes and scrub with a toilet brush

Oven Cleaner
1 tsp liquid dish soap
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp bleach
1 qt warm water
Mix all ingredients, spread over oven surfaces. Allow mixture to sit for 45 minutes. Scrub and rinse well.

Bathtub Stains
2 lemons
1/4 can cream of tartar
Wet surface. Sprinkle with cream of tarter. Rub with cut surface of lemon.
Laundry Pretreatment
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup laundry detergent.
Combine all ingredients, mix in spray bottle. Let mixture soak into clothes for 5 minutes, then wash as usual.

Anyone have other useful remedies? Variations? I'm always looking for cheaper, easier ways to do things.

Hey All TOR here, Please give Wifey a big round of applause. If we see a few nice or helpful comments a post on home cooking or saving money while still eating well may follow at some point. I am quite pleased as she has been doing all sorts of awesome stuff over the past few months. Also since we (at least currently) have very traditional gender roles in our home her thoughts really bring some balance to this place and hit on useful topics generally missed.

In any case it is late and I have to wake up early so I'm off to bed.


Stephanie in AR said...

Check out these suggestions for dishwashing machine detergents - no problem with sudsing with most of them.

You might also enjoy this blog for other simple living ideas (which really blend nicely with prepping but sounds better in general conversation)

Jungle Mom said...

Great recipes! Thanks for sharing. I have a few like this and you have some new ones here for me. I will be coping this and forwarding it on to others. I hope Wifey will write more posts in the future!

HermitJim said...

Very good job, Wifey! I found it very useful inceed...and plan to save it for a while in my folder!

Rook said...

Wifey, Great job. I will be making some of those wonderful cleaners soon, to put into the pop up we just bought. Now that I can scratch that off the list.


Anonymous said...

Great post - THANK YOU for all of the great recipes. All of the money saved can be spent on more important items.

TiredofDC said...

Great Post and thanks for the information. My fiance is real big on not using harsh chemical cleaners so some of these seem like really good alternatives to off the shelf cleaners, plus they cost a lot less another big plus.

YeOldFurt said...

Home made cleansers are exactly "right up our alley". Thanks,

Conservative Scalawag said...

Seeing that, yes I may be the man of the house,but also the maid. Thanks, these will come in handy.

John Britely said...

Nice article! Reminds me of a book I refer to occasionally: Making your own groceries.

John Britely said...

Nice article. Reminds me of a book I refer to sometimes: Make your own groceries.

straightjacket said...

I use the same powdered laundry detergent you listed, but I use Fels Naptha soap (finely grated) and I add a 1/2 cup of that OxyClean powder (the cheap stuff from the dollar store)

TheSurvivalMom said...

What I like about these recipes is that the ingredients have other uses as well, so you get more bang for your buck. The only homemade cleaner I haven't liked so far was a floor cleaner that called for baking soda. It left gritty soda on my kitchen floor, and we had to clean it a second time.

Thanks for the great post.


Survival Chick said...

Love this! Going to print it out and try some this weekend! Thanks!

Wifey said...

Stephanie in AR, thank you so much for the suggestion. I'll definitely give it a shot.

Thank you everyone for your encouragement. I have stayed completely out of this blog because it's really TOR's "thing" but he's been encouraging me to write about what I do. When we first got married I was refused to participate, but I'm pretty involved now. You'll probably be hearing from me occasionally.

Michael Hawkins said...

Re: Oven cleaner

Mixing bleach with lemon juice is inadvisable to seriously dangerous depending on the conditions/type of bleach.

Hypochlorite bleach in an acidic environment will generate small amounts of chlorine gas, so be sure NEVER to try this in an area that isn't sufficiently ventilated.

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