Friday, January 11, 2008

Homemade Windex and 409!

I have so many random cleaning supplies in my cupboards. Some were inherited from the widowed man we bought our house from and some were acquired during an overzealous cleaning frenzy during the nesting stage of my four pregnancies.

But I’ve got a lot.

Just sitting there.

Collecting dust.

And instead of putting those supplies to good use, I’ve just continued to buy my tried and true products. But, I just ran out of Windex and 409 all purpose cleaner and since today is grocery shopping day and I really want to get food to eat, not cleaning products, I went to the trusty internet to find out if I could make these things with the stuff I already have in my cupboard.

What I came up with was some recipes from a great little book by Karen Logan called Clean House, Clean Planet.

All purpose cleaner (like 409 or Fantastik)

16 oz trigger spray bottle
2 Tablespoons distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon of borax
Water (if you have hard water this needs to be distilled or purified water, otherwise use tap)
1/8 of a cup of mild liquid dish soap (ivory, palmolive….)

Mix the vinegar and borax with 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Let the mixture cool and then poor into your spray bottle. Add enough water to the bottle leaving room for your dishwashing detergent. Then add the liquid soap. This cost me about 35 cents per bottle versus $3-$4 per bottle for the store brand.

Window Cleaner (like Windex)

Fill your spray bottle with club soda and spray on window or mirror. Wipe with wadded up newspaper for a streak free shine. The club soda cost me 99 cents and will probably fill my spray bottle 4 or 5 times. Homemade Windex cost me close to $4.

If you ever want to scent your cleaning supplies, you can pick up your favorite essential oil and use 15-20 drops per spray bottle. So if you just HAVE to have the lemon or orange or pine scent, you don’t have to give that up.


Heather Kay said...

I am loving this blog! It has been such a encouragement. I need to cut expenses big time right now.
Thank you for the time you put into it!

EEEEMommy said...

I echo Heather! Just yesterday, I finally acquired the Washing Soda and Fels Naptha so that I can make my own laundry detergent. I'm so excited! I also found the Mrs. Stewart's Bluing. ($2.97) If you truly knew how unfrugal I am, you'd understand what a positive impact you've already been on me in this area! So thanks!

P.S. Do you think it's okay to use Dawn dish soap in the cleaner?

Leanne said...

I sure do admire you for getting stuff so cheap, even if it's kinda not what you're used to, and planning some great looking meals around what you get. Good job!

As to the homemade cleaners, have you tried them yet? Do they work?Do they disinfect? And for your readers, if you do use the essential oils, be careful because they may leave an oily residue......

You're inspiring a lot of people with this great grocery blog!!!!


YogaMama said...

I am finally getting into the blogging thing... and LOVE the advice from others just like me!!
I have found my two favorite CHEAP and earth-friendly cleaners are:
Spray Bottle of Vinegar-Awesome Window/Mirror cleaner (I do splurg and buy the Windex Wipes instead of newspaper... they work well and I don't have black printed hands when I am done).
Baking Soda works like a charm on steel sinks and faucets... I have tried EVERYTHING and this works the best!!! Also great for bathtubs and sinks... plus no stinky fumes for my toddler (or hubby & me) to breath.
Next I am trying the homemade laundry detergent :)
Thanks Ladies!!!

mamaredhead said...

OK, I'm game! I'll give it a go! I have nothing to lose - and a LOT I need to save.

Hazel said...

I found your site two days ago and just can't stop reading it ,your amazing .While I could never get my groceries down to $50.00 per week ( hubby is a big meat eater )I love all your hints and recipes tried two today dinner rolls and muffins yum they are great .I have been using the homemade laundry detergent for a month ,started with the wet but have now changed to the dry ( it doesn't take up so much space to store )Works great .I also made your recipe for windex and fabric softener today .Keep up the good work ,when I grow up I want to be just like you LOL .

Hazel said...

I haven't bought cleaning supplies other then bleach ( i just can't get our of the habit of using it in white cloths , ) since i started reading your blog ,can't tell you how much money i have saved .Thanks for all the tips , I'll try the 409 substitute this week .

Ashley said...

I was wondering if the all purpose cleaner would work as a disenfectant type of cleaner. I am looking for something cheaper to use cleaning the kitchen counters and the table. Do you think that this would work well?

Gayle said...

The good news is that white vinegar is a disinfectant. So this is great for cleaning food surfaces.

solitaire said...

I'm just adding the dish detergent, won't you need to then rinse whatever you just cleaned?

Gayle said...


I'd never thought about that but I haven't noticed any residue left behind and no need to rinse. Give it a try and see what you think.

Jess said...

Great blog. Tip for glass cleaning to all those looking for streak free results without the lint and fuzzies...use coffee filters...way better than newspapers and cheap!