Friday, February 19, 2010

Adventures in thriftiness -- cleaning solutions

For the past 6 months, I've been using Bare Naked Cleaners products to clean my house and I love them. I use them every time I clean. I use (and love) the miraclean, citrus toilet spray, minty window wash, hardwood floor cleaner, and disinfectant. I love the fact that they are made from all natural products, are non toxic and I get to pick their scent. Since I love all natural products, I choose to get mine scented with essential oils instead of fragrance oils, but she offers both. So not only do I not have to deal with nasty chemical smells, but I get to pick what I do smell. I might be too excited about this, but since I do most of the cleaning and can't stand the smell of AJAX or bleach, even when I'm not pregnant, its a big deal to me. Plus, she does co-ops on Diaper Swappers twice a year, so I'm able to get the custom scented cleaners that I love at a discount. You can't get much better than that in my book!

Still, I'm always ISO a way to be more self-sufficient or to save a few bucks. She doesn't offer dishwashing detergent, so I use 1/2 borax and 1/2 washing soda as dishwashing detergent and I use white vinegar in place of jet-dry. And I'm always running out. I try to estimate how much of each cleaner I will need for the next 6 months, but I forget how much I used the past 6 months or I use more just because it smells so darn good and I always run out at the most inopportune times. The last time I ran out, it was a week before I was to have a joint birthday party for Addy and Evie (they were born a week less than 3 years apart). Talk about bad timing!

So the other day, I was reading a thread on Diaper Swappers about recipes for homemade cleaners that other people have made themselves and liked and I decided to take the plunge and give it a try. Rather than just pick one all purpose cleaning recipe solution to try, I decided to take all the ingredients for all of the all purpose cleaning solution recipes that I had on hand and mix them together. BIG MISTAKE.

My solution was 1 tbsp borax, 1 tbsp washing soda, 1 tbsp baking soda all dissolved into hot water, poured into a 32 ounce spray bottle that was then filled with white vinegar. Those of you who made volcanos for your elementary school science fairs know what happened next. That's right, massive spewage. Not only massive initial spewage, but secondary spewage whenever I jostled the bottle at all, and I forgot to close the sprayer nozzel all the way that night, so while I was sleeping most of the solution fizzled out of the bottle on to the floor. It was a big mess. Needless to say, I will not mix baking soda and vinegar in a squirt bottle again. . .

Next time, I am going to try 1 tbsp borax and 1 tbsp washing soda dissolved into hot water, poured into the spray bottle then filled with vinegar. As vinegar is naturally antibacterial and baking soda is a great stain remover, I think its more important to include vinegar in an all purpose cleaner than to include baking soda. I can always use baking soda as a scour powder if I happen to get a stain on the counter.

I am by no means a pro and until I am able to make my own all natural cleaners that smell like roses, I will still be buying cleaners from BNC whenever they have a coop. This is just something I've been playing with lately as a backup. I don't want to have to buy cleaners at the store when I run out. I'd rather figure out a functional cleaner recipe just in case I need it than have to fall back on whatever I can find at Walmart. . .

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