February 8, 2013 by currbell
I stopped having television in my home five or six years ago. Even when I watched tv I comprehended and believed in the power of advertising, so I thought it wasn’t having that much of an effect on me. One of the most shocking things to me about cutting tv out came a year or two after getting rid of it: I started buying, shopping, and thinking differently about the products I bought. I started to think more about the merits of the products themselves, instead of being impressed with the explosive power of the scrubbing bubbles or whatever.
These days I am much more of a producer than a consumer. When it comes to my cleaning products I think there are a couple of advantages in this: saving money and healthier products. I’m not that keen on using a liquid (bleach) every day to clean my house that is used in war times to kill people (though I do think it has it’s time and place).
Cleaning Spray: I use this for virtually everything, cleaning the tub, the counter, the windows (when they do get clean). Some people have complaints about this product leaving streaks on glass. My depression era Grandma taught me to clean my windows with newspaper, which doesn’t leave lint or streaks, and I’ve never had any problems with this method…but I’m also not very picky about my windows…just happy to have them clean-ish once in a while. Here’s what you need to make it:
- Citrus peels (I save mine, even the zested ones, and dry them if I have on over abundance) herbs or essential oils (I like citrus and flower combinations)
- White vinegar (you can use Cider Vinegar, but there is no benefit I know of and it cost more)
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (for its powerful but gentle disinfecting power…a bottle of this will last you a LONG time and is useful for LOTS of things, like washing produce or warding off a cold)
I prefer to use the citrus peels if I have them, because they a waste product that costs me nothing. I take a glass quart or half gallon jar and put my peels in. The more you use the stronger it will smell. You can also use strong smelling herbs in the mixture like mint, basil, thyme, lavender. The limit is your imagination. I cover this over with white vinegar (I use the cheapest I can find and not the “cleaning strength” stuff), put a lid on and leave in a dark place (kitchen cabinet) for three weeks, shaking it when I think of it. After three weeks I take it out and strain it (pour it into a bowl lined with an old piece of fabric like a t-shirt or old dishrag and squeeze it to get all the liquid out). I’d guess I make a new quart about every month and a half. If you don’t want to do this, you can simple use plain vinegar or add some essential oils after you mix it up to improve the smell. I fill my spray bottle up with about a 1/3 vinegar 5-10 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract and the rest with water. Shake and your good to go. One thing I really love about it is that I can hand the girls a bottle of this spray and tell them to wipe down the cabinets or whatever and I don’t have to worry about how much they are wasting or what the chemicals might do to them if they breath it too much or get some in their mouth.
Dishwasher Detergent: I’ve been using these directions, for umm it must be six months at least, with good results. I think it has less chemicals in it than the “natural” stuff you can buy, and at the prices I could find it was 8 cents a load. For a disclaimer though: my mother-in-law tried this for a couple of weeks and felt like it was “etching” her glasses. I’ve had so such problem though…I might just be less picky who knows? The girls love helping me put the soap in. I want to experient and see if I can find a replacement for the Dawn; something that tells the ingredients on the label. I’ve heard castle soap does not work well. But I’m not in an experiment phase of life right now, so that will have to wait.
Bleach for my laundry: This one is really easy. I have a front load washer and this also helps to keep the washer from getting musty or moldy. I pour some Hydrogen Peroxide (I’d guess a little less than a tablespoon, but honestly I just squirt) and some white vinegar (maybe two or three tablespoons) into the bleach cup and add 6-8 drops of lemon essential oil (mainly to make the laundry smell good…or you could use your citrus vinegar if you had extra). This is a color safe bleach too. If I have some sort of nasty something I’m washing or if someone has peed their pants I’ll add a few drops of the Grapefruit Seed Extract too. I haven’t calculated the cost of this one, but a quart of Hydrogen Peroxide has already lasted me at least two months and when what I have left in it I would guess I’ll get at least one more month.