Friday, October 22, 2010

Homemade cleaning products and tackling the laundry room mess

Like in my last post when I said that sometimes I feel like I'm falling behind and can't keep up and blamed it on my almost 2 year old, it also has to do with my pregnancy and that it's just fall. I think our bodies tend to slow down in the fall, almost like bears going into hibernation. Well, whatever it is, the housework has seemed to be slacking in the past couple of weeks. However, this morning I looked upon everything with a new resolve...okay, maybe just realized that gumption wasn't going to happen and I needed to create my own!

As part of our family's strive to be green and cheap frugal and spend wisely, one of the easiest ways I've found to do that is with making my own cleaning products. And it makes me feel better not having to chase the kids out of whatever room I'm cleaning because I don't want them to inhale the cleaner. That just doesn't make sense in my mind..."Sorry kids, mommy's cleaning to make a healthy environment for you but don't breathe the cleaner cuz it's dangerous."  Huh!?!

Anyways, some of my favorite homemade cleaning recipes are here. I know that many of them are listed in 2 million other places around the web but hey, the wonder of the internet!

Homemade SoftScrub
    2 cups baking soda
    1/2 cup liquid dish soap (Dawn works the best because it really tackles grease)
    Optionally you can add 5 drops of essential oil is you prefer

    This makes a nice creamy paste and 2 cups gives me enough to clean the tub and shower, bathroom sink and countertop, along with the stovetop, microwave, and countertops in the kitchen.

Tip 1: If it's been awhile since the microwave has been cleaned, place a microwave safe bowl full of water in microwave and cook on high for 5 minutes. The steam will loosen any crude in there, making it easier to clean.

Tip 2: For hard water stains in the tub, I found this solution works best using one of those green scratchy pads, however, if you're worried about scratching your porcelin, I'd use elbow grease.

All-Purpose Cleaner
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 drops of essential oil (Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial)

I use this for everything. I keep it in a spray bottle behind the kitchen sink and use it for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, hardwood floors, etc.

Wood Cleaner/Polish
Another cleaner I use on our wood floors is plain old water with a little dishsoap. I come from the Granny cleaning system where floors are cleaned on hands and knees. I sweep the floors first and then scrub them good with an old towel. If I'm really lazy, I soak down a bath towel and "scrub" the floors by walking around with the towel (kids love doing this!) Throughout the week, I use an old swiffer mop with a reuseable cleaning pad I made from old towels.

Every so often, I'll polish wood furniture and the hardwood floors with using the following recipe.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar
20-30 drops lemon essential oil

My other disorganzed chaos is the laundry room. Because our house is old, our basement is rock wall with a dirt floor so it can't be used for storage, etc. We do have a nice sized attic but there are just thing that are easier kept in the laundry room for easy access. However, this often means the laundry room becomes the holding area for everything including my treadmill, the vacuum, carpet scrubber, and intermediate storage for outgrown clothing and the charity box. One of the things that helps me is having a storage bin next to the dryer for outgrown clothes. That way when I know something is outgrown, it gets put into the storage box as soon as it comes out of the dryer. When the bin is full, it gets labeled and put upstairs in the attic.

I also keep a charity box in the laundry room and anything I don't want to keep goes into the charity box and when we do our grocery shopping (usually every other week), the box gets loaded up into the truck and dropped off. Sometimes the box isn't full but I've found that if it stays in the house too long, someone goes into the box and finds something they've decided they can't live without.

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