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Saving Money With Homemade Cleaners

I love the holiday season. Its the time of year to enjoy friends and family, beautiful holiday decorations & traditions AND the time of year where we reflect on our lives! This year, I’m spending a lot of time reflecting on my family’s financial choices. I realize that there are many ways we could cut costs by taking advantage of homemade products instead of expensive store bought versions. With that in mind, I’ve done a lot of research and here is a list of the items I want to try to make HOMEMADE in 2013. As I try each item I will post my results, with a letter grade, below each item. Will you take the challenge with me?

  • Window/Glass Cleaner – Rinse out an empty Windex bottle. Add 1/4 cup white vinegar. Fill the rest of the way with water & shake.
  • Citrus Cleaner Spray – In an empty jar combine 3 cups of white vinegar and the peel of one orange. Store in a dark place for 2 weeks shaking occasionally. Remove the peel and strain to remove any small pieces. Put one cup of vinegar into an empty spray bottle and fill the rest with water.
    • Results: This homemade cleaner works just as well as the store bought version but does leave a vinegar scent for a little while. I give this an A-.
  • Carpet Freshener – Mix 1 cup of baking soda or cornstarch with approximately 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour mixture into an empty spice jar with holes in the lid. Sprinkle on the carpet, wait 30 minutes, then vacuum.
  • Dishwasher Detergent – In an empty plastic container WITH LID mix 2 cups of washing soda & 2 cups of borax. Use 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the dishwasher soap dispenser.
  • Rinse Agent for Dishwasher – Use white vinegar in your dishwasher’s ‘rinse aid’ dispenser instead of expensive store bought.
    • Results: We have hard water so our dishes weren’t left “spot free” but honeslty, they aren’t “spot free” with the expensive store version either, so I’ll give this a B+.
  • Microwave Cleaner – Fill a medium sized bowl with water and squeeze 1-2 fresh lemons into it. Once squeezed, put the lemons into the water as well. Microwave on high for 2-5 minutes, then wipe inside of microwave with a wet rag.
    • Results: This is one of my FAVE homemade cleaning options. It is amazing AND leaves your kitchen smelling like lemons. A+
  • Garbage Disposer Cleaner – Freeze white vinegar in ice cube trays and store in a bag in your freezer. Once per week run 2-3 cubes through your garbage disposer. Another option: Run an orange peel through your disposer once per week to give it a fresh scent.
  • Fabric Softener AND Anti-Static – Fill a small spray bottle with white vinegar. Spray 1-4 squirts of vinegar onto wet laundry before starting the dryer.
  • Bi-Annual Washer Disinfectant – Run the empty washer on hot with vinegar. Repeat process using bleach in second load.
  • Multipurpose Disinfectant Cleaner – Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 1/2 teaspoon of washing soda, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons white vinegar & 3 cups of very hot water in an empty spray bottle. Shake vigorously before each use.
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Flush toilet to wet sides. Sprinkle borax around the toilet bowl. Drizzle vinegar on top of that. Allow to sit for 3-4 hours (or overnight) then scrub.
Many of the ingredients for these items may already be around your house, but just in case you’re starting from scratch here is your “shopping list” to create these homemade products (not including empty containers which you can recycle from items you already use):
  • White Vinegar
  • A fresh orange
  • A fresh lemon
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon Juice
  • Your favorite scent of essential oil
  • Washing Soda
  • Borax
What homemade products does your family use already or plan to try out in the coming year?

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