Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frugal and Natural Homemade Cleaning Supplies

With so many people trying to cut back on expenses, it's a good time for a blog entry about making your own cleaning supplies.  With some very simple ingredients, you can create your own cleaning supplies for pennies per use. 

Making your own cleaning supplies does three things: First, it saves money.  Second, it reduces exposure to toxic chemicals.  And, third, it increases self-sufficiency.  Who can argue with that?

Four items that you can get cheaply from the grocery store or your wholesale club that will handle most cleaning tasks are: baking soda, vinegar, lemons, and salt.  (I buy all these at the wholesale club to save as much money as possible.)  With the addition of a few essential oils, lavender, tea tree, lemon, and sweet orange oil, you can tackle a wide variety of cleaning chores. 

Glass Cleaner
Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle.  Use newspapers to wipe if streaking is a problem.  Use this mix as a base for other cleaning needs.

Disinfectant Spray
To the basic Glass Cleaner spray mix, add 5 drops of lavender and 10 drops of tea tree essential oils.  Use on door knobs, counter tops, sinks, mist into the air, mist lightly over a bed while airing out the mattress, etc.

Kitchen/Bath Multi-Purpose Spray
To the Disinfectant spray mix, add 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of lemon essential oils.  Use on counter tops, toilet lids, and anywhere germs are a concern.

Grease Cutter Spray
To the basic Glass Cleaner spray mix, add 5 drops of lemon and 10 drops sweet orange essential oils.  If you have a really tough, greasy mess, reduce the amount of water/vinegar portion by half, and increase the sweet orange oil to 20 drops.

To Clean a Cutting Board
Spray with 50% water and 50% vinegar mix.  While damp, sprinkle some salt on the board.  Cut a lemon in half, and use the cut lemon surface to rub the salt into the board.  Rinse with water and let dry.

To Clean a Toilet Bowl
Add two cups of baking soda to the bowl, and let sit for an hour.  (Go enjoy a nice cup of tea and maybe a slice of pumpkin bread!)  Add a cup of vinegar to the bowl, and scrub clean with a toilet brush. 

To Clean Soap Scum
Sprinkle the surface to be cleaned with baking soda.  Spray straight vinegar onto the baking soda.  Using a little elbow grease, use the foaming soft scrub made by the baking soda/vinegar combo to clean the tub. 

*A note for those who want to be as self-sufficient as possible...Most of us would never be able to produce their own baking soda.  Most of us would not be able to produce our own salt.  Although, those near the coast could potentially collect sea salt, though I would probably not waste sea salt on cleaning products.  In those two cases, most people would still be reliant on a grocery store or wholesale club. 

Every other item I mentioned is potentially capable of being produced an a homestead.  Vinegar can be made at home, as part of one's home brewing efforts.  Even folks in colder climates or with limited space can grow miniature lemon and orange trees by moving them inside a green house or indoors in the winter, and back outdoors on a balcony or porch in the summer.  If in a cold climate, tea trees (Melaleuca Alternifolia) could be grown with green house protection in the winter.  If you have the space, then you could conceivably grow enough of these plus lavender to distill your own essential oils. 

Next blog entry: Three Budget Friendly Recipes

Live better, a little every day.

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