by Tawra Kellam
Just as clean...for less!
Here are some tips for using and making your own household
cleaners from "Dining On A Dime Cookbook"
Never mix ammonia and bleach! Mixing these chemicals creates a
harmful gas that can be fatal!
If you don't want to make your own cleaning supplies, either
purchase the store brands at your dollar store or in bulk at a
Buy one gallon of bubble bath and use instead of liquid hand
soap. It is much cheaper and smells better than regular hand
Read the labels on any cleaning product you buy, even on
common products that you, your mom and grandmother have used
for years. For example, for generations, women have used
ammonia to disinfect their kitchens, but ammonia is not a
disinfectant. It is a de-greaser. It works great for that
greasy grimy build-up on floors, but it isn't actually
Mark your cleaning pail with fingernail polish to indicate the
levels of water you usually use for your jobs (i.e. 1/2 gallon
or 1 gallon). That way you don't waste water.
When using cleansers, tear the tab back only part way. Then
you only get half as much cleanser so that you don't wash as
much unused cleanser down the drain.
Save on spray cleaners. Spray the solution on a rag and then
wipe. This way the extra spray cleaner is not wasted and you
save time by not having to rinse off the over spray.
Use fabric softener sheets to dust furniture and television
screens. The sheets make your furniture smell good, but more
importantly, eliminate static so dust won't be attracted to
All Purpose/Window Cleaner
1/2 cup ammonia
2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. dishwashing liquid
In a one-gallon container, mix ammonia and rubbing alcohol.
Fill almost to the top with water. Add dishwashing liquid and
mix. Top off with water. Rated by Consumer Reports Magazine to
work much better (and much cheaper) than most commercial
window and kitchen sprays. Alcohol is the secret ingredient;
it's what commercial window washers use. This is safe on most,
but not all, household surfaces. I use this to clean almost
everything from the bathroom to the window. This is the main
cleaner that I use in my house.
Ready Mop Cleaner Refill
1 gallon water
1 cup ammonia
1/2 cup vinegar
Mix ingredients and use instead of buying commercial cleaner.
Use a piece of scrap fleece, scrap flannel or micro-fiber
towels (purchased at automotive stores) to replace your
Swiffer(tm) or Clorox Ready Mop(tm) disposable pads. Cut
several to size to have on hand. When soiled, throw in the
wash and launder as usual. Note: Don't use ammonia on wood
floors. Just use vinegar and water or water and Murphy's Oil
Daily Shower Cleaner
1/4 cup concentrated cleaner (Lysol is a good brand)
1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol
Pour cleaner and alcohol into quart spray bottle. Add enough
water to fill. Thoroughly clean shower before using. Spray on
shower daily. Use daily to prevent water deposits and soap
Homemade Cleaning Wipes
1 round baby wipe container*
1 roll of paper towels**
2-4 cups cleaning solution (homemade is fine)
Recycle a used round baby wipe container. Cut a roll of paper
towel in half (an electric or serrated knife works best for
this). Remove the center cardboard. Place 1/2 of the paper
towels in the baby wipe container. Pour cleaning solution into
the container. (The amount will depend of the absorbency of
your paper towels.) This can be used for window cleaner, all
purpose cleaner, or disinfectant cleaner. Pull the first paper
towel out of the center of the roll, through the hole in the
container lid. If the paper towels dry out before they are all
used, add more solution or some water.
* If you don't have a baby wipe container, you can use a round
plastic container and just drill or punch a large hole in the
center of the lid.
** It is best to use expensive, thick paper towels. The cheap
ones won't hold up to scrubbing.
2 tablespoons liquid baby bath
2 cups water
1/2 cup pine cleaner
2 cups water
1 cup glass cleaner
1 1/2 cups water
Outdoor Window Washer
3 Tbsp. liquid dishwashing soap
1 Tbsp. anti-spotting agent (Jet Dry(tm))
Put soap and anti-spotting agent into a spray bottle
attachment for your garden hose. Spray upper windows and let
them dry. This is for cleaning the higher windows on your
house that you can't reach except with a ladder.
Tough Hand Cleaner
1/4 cup Fels Naptha*, grated
2 Tbsp. mason's sand or pumice
1 cup water
2 cup plastic container (16 oz. cottage cheese container works
Place soap and water in a saucepan. Place over low heat; stir
until soap is melted. After mixture cools, add mason's sand or
pumice. Store in a cottage cheese container or margarine tub.
Dip fingers into soap mixture and lather hands. Rinse well.
* Any grated bar of soap will work but Fels Naptha removes the
Skunk Smell Remover
1 qt. hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp. dish detergent
Sponge on and let dry. Safe for use on cats and dogs.
Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the
editors of http://www.LivingOnADime.com/ . As a single mother
of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any
capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month
income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years
on $22,000 a year income.
Take the Next Step:
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