Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Frugal Spring Cleaning!

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Toward the end of each of my pregnancies I would get an overwhelming urge to sort, clean and organize. I was a crazed woman for the last few weeks before each baby’s birth as I purged my house of all excess clutter and scrubbed every nook and cranny until it passed the white glove test. I made honey-do lists as long as my arm and my husband quickly learned to convincingly pretend it was just as important to him that the baseboards were dust free and the contents of the freezer were all color coded. And even though my pregnancy days are over, that feeling still visits me every year to some extent. When it starts to get close to spring, I get the urge to clean away all the germs and clutter that have accumulated over the winter.

Now, spring cleaning doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on toxic cleaning supplies to get your house sparkling. In fact everything you need to clean your entire house is probably already lurking in your cupboards. You just need to know what it does and how to use it. Homemade cleaners are a great way to save money. A three to four dollar brand name store bought cleaner can be made for just pennies at home and cleans just as well if not better. And most of the time the ingredients in the homemade version are much healthier for your family and the environment. Do you have these items in your house already?

Ammonia – Disinfects and cuts grease

Rubbing Alcohol – disinfects

Distilled White Vinegar – effective for killing most mold, bacteria and germs

Borax – cleans, deodorizes, disinfects and softens water

Baking soda – cuts grease, gently scours and neutralizes odors

With these few household items that you probably already have on hand, you’ll be able to scrub away the winter grime and save a bundle in the process.

All Purpose Cleaner

Empty Trigger Spray Bottle

2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon Borax


1/8 cup of liquid dish soap

Pour the vinegar and borax into the spray bottle with a funnel. Follow with one cup of warm water and swish around until dissolved. Fill the rest of the way with water leaving about 1 inch of space at the top. Pour in the dish soap. You now have a cleaner that can cut kitchen grease, disinfect counter tops, and wipe out odors at about 10 cents per bottle.

Window Cleaner

¼ cup ammonia

1 cup rubbing alcohol

1 teaspoon liquid dish soap

6 ¾ cups water

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Store extra in a jar for later use.

Soft Scrub

½ cup baking soda

Enough liquid dish soap to make a texture like frosting

Apply with a sponge and some elbow grease. Good on bathtubs because it doesn’t leave any grit behind.

Furniture Polish

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover and store indefinitely.

Oven Cleaner

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven.


Carolyn said...

When you say liquid detergent, are you talking about liquid dish soap (like Dawn)? or detergent like laundry soap?

Thanks! :)

Gayle said...

Carolyn, soap. I changed it in the recipe so it would be more clear. Thanks for letting me know.