Don't you just love it when you can be environmentally friendly and budget friendly at the same time? A lot of the green products that are available from light bulbs to all-purpose cleaners work quite well, but cost you a lot more green...which is bad for a mom on a budget. So in addition to recycling plastics 1 and 2, all aluminum cans and glass I also make my own cleaners. The secret to environmentally friendly and budget friendly cleaners are things you probably already have in your house: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and peroxide. Before I go any further I want to go ahead and warn you that a lot of these products should never be mixed together so please do your research before you start mixing or don't mix them at all. (I thought about leaving these products on the counter so when my husband got home he would wonder what in the world I was doing, but I think he probably had a hard enough day bartending so I will leave him alone this time.....lol)
- I use white vinegar every day as a general cleaner. You can use it straight from the bottle undiluted for a stronger disinfectant. I usually mix it in a spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar. In my opinion it works wonderful as a general cleaner, but I think it makes glass streak so I won't use it on windows or mirrors. It can also be added into the final rinse cycle of your laundry to help get soap residue and smells out of clothes. Speaking of smells, ironically, white vinegar is wonderful for getting smells out of things like your garbage disposal or maybe you had something rot in one of your pretty new canisters (oops!). You can pour white vinegar undiluted and soak for a while and the smell will most likely go away. This is ironic because a lot of people have trouble with the smell of white vinegar and won't use it to clean. For those of you who are nervous about the smell...jut be aware that the smell goes away once the vinegar is dry. It is also very safe (not toxic), I use it to clean the kids' toys all of the time. This budget friendly big jug pictured above only cost me $1.32, with or without diluting it that is a lot of cleaner. During my research I found a good resource for other uses of white vinegar, check out http://www.vinegartips.com/
- Apple cider vinegar has been a total life saver for me! It's not in the picture above because I ran out, this is not something I like to be out of. If you have a husband like mine, who is prone to getting gasoline on his clothes, apple cider vinegar is a must have! I wish I would have known this sooner! When your husband is mowing the lawn and just so happens to spill gasoline on his shorts he may (like mine does) come in and hand them to you and walk away. Here is what you do and don't do: 1-do NOT put anything else in the washing machine with any articles of clothing that have gasoline on them, the gasoline will spread to all of the clothes and create a bigger problem; 2- wash clothes with detergent and a good amount of apple cider vinegar (depending on how much gasoline, I usually use half of a small bottle); 3- do NOT put the clothes in the drier...this could potentially start a fire; 4- once you are satisfied that the clothes now smell like stinky vinegar take them outside and hang them to dry, once dry they should smell normal again, if they don't repeat this process. My mother-in-law also believes that a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar will take away heart burn. I tested her theory and I believe that it may or may not work, but you probably won't know either way because the taste will over-power any heartburn or memories thereof.
- Baking soda can be used for more things than I would ever have time to mention. I mix it with water and create a paste for cleaning tougher jobs. I also use it to clean my coffee pot, put it in my laundry to take out stains, and use it to remove odors. If you can find it, it has been proven that activated charcoal (NOT cooking outside charcoal) actually works better on removing odors. I have activated charcoal in the pill form to pull infection out of infected cuts, or to use in my garbage disposal. I have also used activated charcoal to brush my teeth and it works wonderfully. Baking soda can do all of these same things and it is much easier to find than charcoal. For a list of other things to do with baking soda check out http://www.armhammer.com/
- Haven't you ever thrown a lemon into your garbage disposal to make your kitchen smell fresh? Lemon juice can also be mixed with baking soda or white vinegar to add an extra kick to your homemade cleaning products and a better smell. Lemons are acidic and will help break down things like soap scum or stains.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be diluted 50/50 with water to be used as a cleaning agent. Be careful to not mix this with vinegar and you will also need to be aware that it will bleach fabrics. Many people use peroxide to clean a surface after using vinegar to get a very disinfected surface. This is fine to do, but make sure that the vinegar on the surface is completely dry before cleaning it with peroxide. I also like to use peroxide as a mouth wash and to clean my tooth brushes, just be sure to not swallow any of it.
I am currently working on the perfect mixture of homemade liquid laundry detergent and as soon as I master the recipe I will add it to this blog. Let me know if you know of any homemade cleaners that I didn't mention.