Monday, January 12, 2009

Now onto saving the planet!

It's been over a year now since I've been "Greening my Cleaning" and I must say it's saved me a lot of money so I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes for you all to try. The ingredients are dirt cheap and work pretty darn good especially when you add a little elbow grease. Borax is slightly toxic if ingested so keep that up high along with any essential oils you may use to scent your cleaners.
Dishwasher Detergent
1/2 borax and 1/2 baking soda. Put in sealed container. Use 2 Tablespoons per load or more if you have hard water.
Rinse Aid
1/2 water and 1/2 white vinegar. The vinegar smell goes away as soon as the dishes are dry.
My Favorite Laundry Detergent
This stuff smells so good. You may need to use Clorox 2 on tough stains but this will get your clothes clean. Finely grate 1 bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap (in the laundry aisle). You could use Ivory soap or a vegetable based glycerin soap if you have a Natural Foods store close by. Put 1 cup grated Fels Naptha flakes with 1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda (NOT baking soda) and 1 cup borax powder. Shake it up in a closed container. If you're using something other than Fels Naptha, just add the whole grated bar with 1 cup each of soda and borax. If you'd like a different scent add some drops of your favorite essential oil. I find I like orange and lemon the best. Tea tree oil has an anti-bacterial effect! Anyway, use just 2 Tablespoons per full load. This costs about 2 cents per load instead of 15+ for regular detergent. I just saved myself over $100 this past year!
*Instead of Downy you can add 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water to your downy ball for the same anti-static effect. This will slowly strip off the waxy build-up from those dryer sheets.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
My least favorite thing in the world... So add a splash of white vinegar to the bowl. Then sprinkle some baking soda on your toilet brush and scrub around. (I like to save my Parmesan grated cheese containers and reuse them by putting baking soda in it.) If it's bad feel free to let it sit while you clean the rest of the bathroom then scrub it again.
Tub and Sink Cleaner
Save that grated parmesan cheese container (clean it out first) then put in baking soda. Sprinkle on whatever surface you want clean then scrub with a wet scrub brush or rag then rinse clean with water. If you want something like that Soft Scrub brand all you need to do is sprinkle salt on the wet surface. Cool, huh?
Window Cleaner
1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water works best but I've also tried club soda and that works too. Windex is mostly water and ammonia. That stuff just gives me a headache and if you accidentally mix it with anything that has bleach in it you get toxic fumes. TOXIC people!
All-Purpose Cleaner
Mix 2 Tablespoons white vinegar and 1 teaspoon borax in a small bowl. Add 1 cup hot water and stir till dissolved. Let cool then put in 16 oz. spray bottle. Add 1/8 cup Palmolive or Ivory liquid soap then fill to the top with water. If you want an anti-bacterial spray add 15 drops tea tree essential oil.
Disinfectant Cleaner
Fill a 16 oz. (2 cups) spray bottle almost all the way with purified water. Add a few drops of Palmolive soap and 30 drops of tea tree essential oil. Did you know that Lysol spray is legally considered an insecticide? Yike! Who wants to breathe that?
Furniture Polish
1/4 cup olive oil, 4 Tablspoons white vinegar and 25 drops of lemon essential oil and no ozone-killing aerosol can! Hooray!
Other Ideas to Try
We have a carpet cleaner that comes in handy for flu season or potty training season and I've found that instead of buying the carpet cleaning solution all I have to do is put in a few Tablespoons of Clorox 2 with 1 cup hot water and I've made my own!
One more thing: We use the foaming soap dispensers for our bathrooms. If you buy the concentrated liquid soap and use 1-2 Tablespoons and fill the rest with water, and shake really well, you've made your own for a lot less money.

*Last note: Please use washable rags and NOT paper towels. I guess I'm an official tree-hugger now... we haven't had paper towels in our house for months. It took awhile to get used to but now I don't even think about it. And I don't mind NOT paying for it either. I have better ideas on how I want to spend that money, don't you? So right now I want you to print off these recipes and mix them up, your grandma would be so proud!

1 comment:

  1. Karen- Hey there... great ideas... I am all about saving money and the earth... although, I am not sure I can totally give up on paper towels... at least not yet. But I love your cleaning recipes... definitely gonna try them soon. Your family looks adorable and it seems like you go to many of the same places we do when we visit my Mom in Midvale... so fun! I do believe I am jealous you live that close to Gardner Village and Wheeler Farm... two of my favorite places. If it is OK, I am going to add your blog to my link list... Aubry