Saturday, September 7, 2013

How to Clean Your Home for Next to Nothing

A little over two years ago, I became a stay at home mom.  The name really belies the job requirements, as I am really running all over the place most days, but I digress.

As we transitioned from two incomes to one, I really dove right in to the world of being cheap.

Cheap as in frugal that is :-)

I learned couponing!  Oooh, that's a post for another day, but I love my coupons.
Not in a crazy couponer way...but in a saving-tons-of-money-on-things-I-would-buy-anyway kind of way.

I searched the internet for things to do in our community that were free or low cost as a family.

I planted a garden.

On top of all of that, I started researching ways to clean my home and laundry without spending money on cleaners and detergents.  I haven't looked back!

For over two years now I've made my own laundry detergent, fabric softener, static-reducing dryer balls, glass cleaner, stain remover, shower cleaner, wood polish, carpet steamer solution, and floor cleaner.

Whoa, that was a mouthful!  :-)

Lol there are probably some that I'm forgetting (and others I won't mention because they were just huge flops), but these are my regulars that work for me.

Laundry Detergent
There are ton of different recipes out there for this, but I've been using it since the beginning of my frugality and it continues to do the job well.
I actually use this recipe from the Duggar family.  It's easy- and cheap- to make.  It lasts forever.  Lots of people add essential oils to it to fragrance their laundry, but our family is ok with the scent of...nothing.  :-) Just clean clothes.  It smells nice, fresh, and detergenty before you use it, but there really isn't a lingering scent on your clothing.  All of the ingredients are available with the laundry products at my grocery store, but if you can't find them they're also available online.

Fabric Softener
White vinegar.  That's it!  Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the same way you would normally use liquid fabric softener.  Voila!  Soft clothes!  The vinegar doesn't leave any scent whatsoever on your clothes.

Static-Reducing Dryer Balls
Tin foil.  Another simple solution!  Take a large piece of foil and firmly pack it into a ball shape.  I like mine to be about the size of a plum.  They can be used over and over and over again and work like a charm, just throw them into the dryer with your wet clothes.

Glass Cleaner
This leaves glass beautiful and streak-free, but it also works well as a general all-purpose cleaner.  Combine 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup ammonia, and 1 tsp liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.  Fill remainder of bottle with water and stir or shake to combine.

Shower Cleaner/Stain Remover
Inspiration picture from The Craft Patch
This one is so amazing I call it my "magic potion" and have already written a whole post about it here.  It is absolutely amazing.  I discovered it on Pinterest, lots of people have written about it, but the post that convinced me to try it myself was this one from the Craft Patch.  It's really a miracle cleaner.  It saved the once-dingy bottom of my textured bathtub.  I've never purchased a cleaner that works this well, ever.  It just makes everything sparkle!  My friend even cleaned out a tub that had concrete dust in it after some home renovations.  It's marvelous.  Spray it on, let it sit for an hour, clean it off.  That's it!
Then I started trying it on other surfaces and discovered that if I spray even REALLY stained stuff and let it sit overnight it works like magic too!  Just mix liquid Dawn dish soap (the blue kind) and white vinegar in a spray bottle in a 1:1 ratio.  That's it!

Wood Polish
I have a lovely wooden dining room set that- truth be told- can be a pain to keep looking nice with two kids using it several times a day.  The best solution I've found so far is a combination of olive oil and lemon juice (or white vinegar) in a 2:1 ratio.  I've tried it in a spray bottle, but it doesn't seem to spray very well.  I dip a soft cloth into the solution and rub it into the table, both cleaning and polishing.  I wipe down the table with another soft cloth when I'm done.

Carpet Steamer Solution
Although we've recently replaced all of the carpet in our home with wood flooring and no longer need it, I used to mix up this solution for my carpet steamer.  Seriously, ammonia and vinegar are truly amazing things!  Mix 1/4 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tsp liquid dish soap, and about a gallon of very hot water.  Works wonderfully and saves tons of money on commercial cleaners!

Hardwood Floor Cleaner
I'm loving this one lately, and I wrote all about it earlier in this post.  1/4 cup of white vinegar to 1 quart of water used with your existing Bona or Swiffer Wet Jet.  Doesn't leave any streaks on my floors and keeps them clean!

Tile or Linoleum Floor Cleaner
Even after I started making my own cleaners I still had an unnatural attatchment to my Pine-Sol...until one afternoon when I REALLY needed to mop and didn't feel like leaving the house to buy more cleaner.  Vinegar to the rescue again!  Same ratio as for Hardwood floors, 1/4 cup of white vinegar to each quart of water.  My floors have never been cleaner!

Although our financial situation has improved over the past couple of years, I stick with these homemade solutions.  They're cheap, easy, not full of chemicals, and honestly- I just kind of feel like super woman when I'm concocting and cleaning with them :-)

I hope that you're able to use some of these cleaning solutions and save some money with the same success that I have!  Do you have any favorite homemade cleaning solutions?  I'm still on the look out for a dishwasher detergent that actually works and a nice dusting spray!

1 comment:

  1. Great money savings tips! I'm going to give the vinegar on the hardwood floor idea a try!


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