Cheap and Natural Cleaning Products

Now that Thanksgiving is over, all my family has gone home, and I’ve recovered from getting up way too early on Black Friday… Now I’m ready to finish cleaning my kitchen. No matter how hard we try while making Thanksgiving dinner, the countertops, floors, and pans take a beating. With grease. And flour. And other things I drop (I’m rather clumsy).

I’ve been trying to switch over to more natural products when I started hearing how harsh cleaning chemical and and then started reading my friend’s blog Kinda Crunchy Kate and hearing how harsh the chemicals are. I became more convicted one day when I was cleaning the fronts of my cabinets with Soft Scrub and had a coughing fit because my lungs felt like they were burning from the bleach. Maybe that’s being delicate, but I haven’t used it since!

But I’m still too frugal to just toss out all the non-natural products I have. So I’m making my way through the last of my chemicals and finishing the transition into more natural products. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

*Vinegar and water:

http://tastyexploration.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/vinegar.jpg

Please note, I'm not endorsing the use of Heinz vinegar. Just vinegar in general!

I use this as my multi-cleaner now. It takes care of absolutely everything–grease, dirt, spilled food, window/mirror streaks. The best part is that it disinfects without using bleach. I have read not to use it on granite, because it can do something to the grout, but I haven’t seen much of a problem on the granite tiles in my bathroom. The water/vinegar ratio is pretty flexible and you can add a few drops of essential oil if you don’t like the smell (but that smell goes away within a few minutes). This is also a great way to clean a clogged shower head–just mix a little in a baggie and tie it onto the shower head. I also boil this mixture in my teapot, let it sit, and then rinse away all those little cruddies that collect and make my tea taste funny.
Here are some great websites with tons of other ideas:
1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar
131 Uses for Vinegar

*Baking Soda and Water:

Or whatever baking soda you can find for cheap!

This is the other powerhouse of my natural cleaning products. When you add just enough water to a bowl of baking soda to make a paste, you can clean pretty much anything. It’s got a little grit to it, so it’s great to scrub. But it’s not so abrasive that you’re going to scratch anything. I use this to clean up baked-on food on my stove, toothpaste in the bathroom, and stains on my vinyl floor. And of course, there’s the oder-absorbing qualities, which is why there’s a box in my refrigerator.
Great websites:
27 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda
 Cleaning With Baking Soda

*Vinegar and Baking Soda:

This is the volcano science experiment from elementary school. Whenever our sinks start running slowly, I dump some baking soda down the drain and let it sit while I wait for a bot of water to boil. Slowly pour the boiling water down the drain and let it set for 5-10 min. Then pour some vinegar down and cover the hole with a rag. That chemical reaction with all the bubbling “lava” does a great job cleaning all the black nasty from the pipes.

*Peroxide and Baking Soda:

Again, no brand affiliation

This is a combination I haven’t tried yet, but I’m seeing more and more ideas for things to clean with it. I guess it’s a great way to clean grout and pots/pans. It’s definitely on my list to try on my cookie sheets before Christmas cookie baking begins!
Websites:
Cleaning Grout with Baking Soda and Peroxide
Home Cleaning Remedies

And speaking of frugal… all of these natural powerhouses are super cheap! Which makes cleaning the house much less expensive!

If you use any of these combinations, post a comment to tell us how it works!

Now there’s on thing that I just can’t get rid of yet. And that’s my Swiffer Wet Jet. I love how convenient it is to grab it and wipe up the spills while cooking dinner or muddy footprints from the dog. But I HATE paying for the disposable pads and am not thrilled about the chemicals in the solution (or buying the solution). Like I said, I’m cheap.

So after seeing a picture a long while ago of someone who created their own mop heads for their Swiffer Dry Mop, I decided to see what I could do. She used microfleece, which has a nice bit of stretch to it (kind of a nice feature in hindsight). But I didn’t have any on hand so I used a towel that had been stained in the wash.

What you’ll need:
*old towel
*thread

Sorry, I don’t have specific measurements for this one. I just estimated when I made mine!

1.  Put your mop on top of your towel. Cut your fabric so there’s about 3″ extra on each short side (if you’re using something with more stretch, you could probably get away with 1″) and 2″ on the long sides. Keep in mind that the little nubbies on the bottom that keep your purchased mop head on will also keep you bigger mop head in place.

2.  Cut 2 rectangles that are the width of your big rectangle and about 5″ long. If you’re using a towel, my suggestion it to cut the edges of one short side on the finished edge of your towel. This way, you won’t have to hem the side.

3.  Pin the short rectangles to the long one, starting at either end. There should be a gap in between the two small rectangles, which is what you’ll put your mop into. If you were able to cut one short edge on a finished seam, make sure those are the two edge in the center of the big rectangle.

4.  Stitch all the way around the mop head. If you’re using something like terry cloth, zig zag stitch around the edges twice (so you don’t lose fuzzies while you mop).

5.  Turn right side out. Clean your floors and toss the mop head into the washer when you’re done!

I’ve also read on Pinterest that you can put the lid of the solution container in boiling water for 10 seconds and unscrew it. Then you can fill the container with your own cleaning solution (like an all-natural one) and not have to keep paying for theirs. I haven’t tried this yet, but I really hope it works!

Smokey "helping" me cut out the rectangles.

5 Comments

Filed under Repurposing

5 responses to “Cheap and Natural Cleaning Products

  1. Kate

    Go Lindsey! It really is much cheaper and the cleaners without crazy chemicals work just as well.

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  5. Yes, the Swifter Wet Jet bottles can be refilled. I followed the directions, and it worked like a charm. I use microfiber clothes with my Wet Jet without any sewing. The pad grabs the microfibers and holds it into place nicely. By using the cover you described, the spray jets would be covered.

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