Friday, October 9, 2009

Secret Weapons

I know that I said I was going to give you all a run down of the thrift stores in Post Falls this week. But really, we spent most of our time at the Real Life Thrift Store! So, there's not much to report =) Instead, I'm going to tell you about my secret weapons. Yes, I know that sounds cheesy. When Matthias came around, I started double thinking the whole cleaning thing. I really didn't like having a cabinet full of toxic chemicals and having my child crawl around on a floor that had just been smothered with them. So, I started using "natural" cleaners and haven't gone back since. The great thing is, not only are they safer, but they are so much cheaper! So, here are my 4 secret weapons:

Castile Soap

This stuff is awesome. It's a soap that is made entirely out of vegetable oils and can be used for anything. Seriously, anything. At first glance this soap is kind of pricey, but keep in mind that it's highly concentrated. We buy it from the Flour Mill for $5.99/lb, but I dilute it at about a 5:1 ratio. So that's 6 pounds of cleaner for $5.99.

Baking Soda

Again, can be used for just about anything. We purchase this from Costco at about $8 for a 13.5 pound bag. That's a lot of baking soda. It lasts a long time!

White Vinegar

Let me tell ya, we look pretty odd coming out of Costco with a giant bag of baking soda and 2 gallons of vinegar. The door checker asked us once if we were making a volcano. Anyway, we get 2 gallons of white vinegar for about $3.69 which always gets diluted to about a 3:1 ratio.

Ok, so how do I use these? Well let me share =)

All-Purpose Cleaner:
1 part Castile soap
5 part water
Used for general cleaning of counters, sinks, tables, toilets, etc.

1 part white vinegar
3 part water
Used for windows, glass and other surfaces.

Sprinkle baking soda over area, spray with "windex" or all-purpose cleaner. Scrub until cleaned.
Used on stove tops, toilets and other yucky areas.

Carpet Freshener:
Sprinkle baking soda onto smelly carpet, let sit for about 10 min then vacuum area.

Sprinkle some baking soda over drain then pour some white vinegar onto it. Let work for 10-15 min. and rinse with hot water.

Laundry detergent:
1-2 tbs. undiluted castile soap
1/4-1/2 cup baking soda
Add while washing machine is filling.

Fabric Softener:
Fill a Bounty Fabric Softener ball with vinegar and toss in the washing machine. I promise your clothes will not smell like vinegar when you wear them! Soft and static free =)

Hand Soap:
1 part Castile soap
5 part water
Using this into a foaming soap pump works great!

Shampoo 1:
Tiny bit of Castile soap
Yes, I've actually done this many times. The great thing is you don't need conditioner! I wouldn't recommend this as a long term habit since the soap is made out of oil and can leave your hair kind of oily

Shampoo 2:
1-2 tbs baking soda
This is actually what I do. Don't get grossed out, it works great! Just sprinkle it onto your scalp and scrub away. It gets rid off all the grime and dead skin cells without stripping your hair of it's natural oils. If any of you decide to try this, just be forewarned that it can take up to a month for your hair to adapt. Since normal shampoo strips off all the natural oils, your scalp is constantly producing more to replace them. It will take a while for your body to realize that it doesn't have to produce as much oils.

1/4 cup white vinegar diluted with water
This works great any time, but is pretty important if you're using baking soda as shampoo because it helps keep the ph balance. Just pour onto your hair and let sit for a minute or two and rinse. When your hair dries you won't be able to smell the vinegar!

There are many, many more recipes but these are the main ones I use. If you want to see more, a great website is Pioneer Thinking. Just ignore all the Ayurvedic stuff.

For my fourth, and final secret weapon...washcloths. I use washcloths or cut up t-shirts instead of sponges or paper towels. This is a huge money saver for us. I have even made reusable Swiffer covers to use!

So, there you have it. Some great ways to save bits of money here and there. These supplies last us for months and are used for just about every kind of cleaning we do. Except the dishwasher, but we usually wash by hand anyway...using Castile soap of course!

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Anonymous said...

Cool ideas!

Sharyl Williams said...

Love the idea's! Vinegar is also a natural antibacterial. I have seen it tested and it really works well.