Friday, January 29, 2010

Frugal Friday--cleaning up

Household cleaning chemicals are expensive and (as research continues to verify) they may not all be as safe as we've been told! Here are some cheaper alternatives.

  • I use an old parmesan cheese shaker to store/dispense the baking powder. I pretty much use it anywhere I want something 'scrubby' or mildly abrasive...tub, sink, oven, you name it. It does tend to leave some residue (as most powdered cleaners do) so you have to rinse really well.
  • A great deodorizer/odor-absorber, I use it in my diaper pail, or sprinkle a little on musty carpet, let it sit a few minutes, then vacuum it up.
  • Good for clogged drains (see below)
  • Baking soda is also a main component of homemade laundry detergent.

  • I use a spray bottle for the vinegar (which I usually blend with water). This is what I use in place of most spray cleaners--in and on the fridge, the stove, and the microwave (when we used to have one). Sinks, counters, and the outside of the toilet.
  • Pour a cup or so of straight vinegar into a stained toilet, let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub and flush and it will get rid of most rings and stains.
  • If you have a clogged drain, pack it with baking soda, then pour in vinegar...remember those elementary volcanos? Same thing in your drain...and yes it's effective as well as entertaining.
  • Vinegar is a germ-buster and odor-killer too, so I use it in places where I want to disinfect, such as places that have developed mold or mildew.
  • I am told that you can use vinegar in place of liquid fabric softener--just pour it into the dispenser in your washing machine where the fabric softener would go.
  • Vinegar does not work so well for windows, just FYI.
  • A great laundry enhancer, salt loosens the fibers of the fabric (without damaging them) allowing the water to flow through and clean them more thoroughly. Adding a little salt to each wash load allows you to use less soap.
  • Abrasive, good for things that need to be scrubbed (put some in with your baking soda for scrubbing a grubby tub).
  • Does great things for copper--see below

  • Pour a little lemon juice (with or without water) into a small microwave-safe dish and set it in the microwave on high for a couple of minutes. The humidity it produces will soften any stuck-on stuff so that it's easy to wipe out, plus the lemon scent will freshen it. Lemon juice can be used in place of vinegar for cleaning most things.
  • If you have a copper-bottomed pan, sprinkle it with some salt, then a little lemon juice, and scrub with a cloth (the abrasive salt does the actual 'scrubbing) and it will shine that copper right up!

  • Put some on a soft cloth, and it will give you lovely streak-free mirrors and windows.

That's what I know...what do you know?!


plantflowersandsingsongs said...

you're so clever! it saves so much money and so much waste to use these obvious cleaners instead of highly marketed, excessively packaged, expensive, chemical ones.

Katidids said...

I love bing soda to remove ink stains or bleeds from bread bags etc. Just a dab and a rub with a cloth. Love your blog, just recently found it...saved you as a fav!

BonnieKaye said...

Thanks so much for this post. I want to try these (as soon as I get through my other cleaners, bought them and don't want to waste them). I love your blog!

Mommy Bee said...

(from my dad)

Jerry Baker sells books (cheap) on how to do everything with common, cheap ingredients. House, garden, pets, you name it. I have a couple. Daddy

Alicia and Justin Clark said...

One thing we learned last year was using a pumice stone, like people use on their feet, to clean hard water stains/rust stains off the toilet bowl. They also sell one for just that purpose at Fred Meyer in the cleaning department. Works really good, and doesn't scratch the bowl like I thought it would, but it gets that out of there without using something harsh or a whole lot of hard labor. :)

Carrie said...

My homemade glass cleaner: 1 c. water, 1 c. rubbing alcohol, 1 tbsp. vinegar. Works like a charm!

You can use vinegar in your dishwasher instead of jet-dry/rinse aid.

Crystal said...

BonnieKay, you can always give away your recently purchased chemical cleaners to someone who would love to have them, then they're not being wasted and you're not being exposed to their harmful side effects any longer than necessary.

Great post Jenni! I'm just beginning with the natural cleaners and you had some tips I hadn't heard yet. Thanks!

Amy Jo Madsen said...

I know this is a bit late, but I found this out the hard way this take crayon off walls, heat the crayon first with a blow dryer and then wipe off with a dryer sheet. We have sand texture on the particular wall we had to clean, and this worked pretty well. Then to finish up, we scrubbed the rest (as well as the colored-on toilet seat) with baking soda on a sponge and rag, respectively. I think the rag may have worked better on the wall than the sponge did--the texture tore it up. Ah, well. Live and learn.

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