For many of us, our budgets are getting tighter and tighter. We watch the sales papers for deals at the market and at department stores. Stretching our spending dollars has become an important part of our life – similar to the frugal days during World War II. Rekindling ‘Victory Gardens’ has come back into vogue. So too has thrifty homekeeping, finding those everyday items from our shelves and patries that can serve double maybe even triple duty in our lives.
Seeming old-fashioned cleaning recipes and remedies, now seem to demonstrate a bit of wisdom. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did know best.
Some household items we probably have now on our shelves can serve a wide variety of purposes.Vinegar, baking soda, borax, salt, hydrogen peroxide, lavender – flower and essential oil, lemons – lemon oil, olive oil, castile soap, and Bon Ami.
For The Home
has been around for a very, very long time. The word ‘vinegar’ comes from the french word ‘viniagre’ which means, ‘sour wine’. Distilled white vinegar is made from corn which had been distilled into corn alcohol. To make the vinegar, water and nutrients are added to the corn alcohol and then fermented. Vinegar is produced when the alcohol is gone and after several steps of filtering the product. You can find a long list of cleaning uses for vinegar here.
Window and Mirror Cleaner
1 part vinegar + 1 part water in a spray bottle. Use old newspapers for a very thrifty shine and save on paper towels, or buy a good cloth especially for window cleaning.
- in the bathroom, due to moisture and poor ventilation, mold can be a recurring problem. To combat this you can spray straight vinegar or a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water onto the mold prone areas.
Wood Floor Cleaner
1 teaspoon vinegar + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil + 6 drops essential oil + 1 quart warm water. Mix these ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before use and spray the floor, mopping with a clean mop. Mop once more to rinse with a clean mop and hot water. Buff dry.
Take great care – vinegar can melt pearls!
is a white crystalline powder (NaHCO 3 ) known as sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda, sodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium acid carbonate. It is classified as an acid salt, formed by combining an acid (carbonic) and a base (sodium hydroxide). (source)
Baking Soda can be used to clean surfaces, just like powder cleaners, sprinkle onto surface and scrub with damp cloth. Rinse.
1/2 cup baking soda + 1 cup vinegar makes a good drain cleaner
a dish of baking soda in the fridge and freezer can absorb odors.
both baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean out dishwashers.
place in a glass bowl 2 tablespoons of baking soda, boiling water and a piece of aluminum foil to remove the tarnish from silver. The silver must touch the aluminum foil to transfer the sulfer atoms to transfer from the silver to the foil.
many more uses for baking soda can be found here.
also called sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium detraborate, is a natural substance that is simply a boron compound, which is a mineral and a salt of boric acid. Borax is a white, soft crystal that dissolves easily in water. Interestingly, 20 Mule Team Borax was so named back in the 19th Century when Francis Marion Smith used such teams to haul borax out of the California and Nevada desert for his Pacific Coast Borax Company.
1/2 cup of Borax combined with 1 gallon of hot water can clean any kitchen surface such as countertops, refrigerators, stovetops, sinks, appliances and cookware.
To reduce spots and film on dishes in the dishwasher, sprinkle 1/4 cup of borax in the bottom of the washer.
Sprinkle Borax on a damp sponge to clean shower stalls, tubs, and walls to remove soap scum, hard water spots and dirt.
Empty the toilet bowl by pouring in a large bowl of water and scrub the inside with 1/2 cup borax to clean and disinfect.
occurs naturally in many parts of the world, a white cube-shaped crystal that is composed of two elements – sodium and chlorine. Salt is also often referred to as halite, which is called halos – a Greek word that means ‘salt’.
To remove grease spots from carpets use one part salt to four parts rubbing alcohol, scrub going with the nap of the rug and rinse well.
To keep wicker furniture white, scrub with a stiff brush moistened with salt water and allow it to dry in the sunshine.
scrub food residue from cast iron pans with salt.
Clean brass or copper with salt and lemon.
more uses can be found here
Hydrogen Peroxide -
is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O2)
Combine Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar to clean and disinfect wooden cutting boards.
Hydrogen Peroxide can be used to clean mold.
You can use one cup of hydrogen peroxide in your wash to brighten your whites.
Soak your sponges in a solution of 50% Hydrogen Peroxide and 50% water for 10 minutes, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry to remove bacteria.
more uses here
Lavender essential oil added to cleansing solutions is not only fragrant but also acts as a natural disinfectant.
Lemons and Lemon oil
also are used, like Lavender, to enhance fragrance.
Lemons can be used to clean not only brass and copper but chrome also.
To clean your microwaves combine three tablespoons lemon juice with 1 1/2 cup water and heat on high five to ten minutes to allow the steam to condense and then wipe down the sides of the microwave.
Soak plastic containers with diluted lemon juice to remove stains and odors.
make a paste of Olive Oil and salt to clean your cast iron. Rinse well and dry completely.
Rub a small amount of Olive Oil onto leather furniture with a cotton ball to repair scratches.
Bring a shine to stainless steel with Olive Oil
Combine two cups of Olive Oil with one cup of Lemon or Vinegar to clean wood furniture. Rub into the wood well.
Castille Soap is an Olive Oil based soap.
Make a soft-scrub from castille soap and baking soda to clean bathrooms. Fill a spray bottle with a 1 to 3 ratio solution of Castille Soap to water. Sprinkle the area you wish to clean with baking soda, spray with the solution and scrub. This solution also works on stovetops.
Make a dish soap by combining a one to one ratio of Castille soap with water.
more ideas can be found here.
is French for ‘Good Friend’, it was created as an alternative to harsher abrasives. The main ingredient is feldspar. (limestone, water, baking soda, citric acid, corn alcohol, Epsom salts, essential oils and Xanthum gum are the added ingredients. This product has been around for over 125 years and is known as a gentle cleanser.
This product can be used to clean from tarnish to grease stains. It’s non-toxic ingredients make it a good cleanser for the kitchen.
These are but a few ideas and natural ingredients that you can use, at a low cost to keep your homes clean and fresh.