My husband and I recently finished a Dave Ramsey class called Financial Peace University. We highly recommend it for everyone, not just people who feel that they struggle with money! Any way, we decided that our financial goal is to be in a place where we don't have to think or worry about money because WE are in complete control of our finances. We want to dictate where our money goes, not our debtors. We put ourselves on a strict budget which meant cutting back on groceries. I use coupons, look for sales and buy store brand products as much a possible. One thing that I'm sure everyone notices is that household products, cleansers etc, are one of the most expensive things on my list! I have searched out and test lots of homemade household products. Here are my favorites!
Mix baking soda with your choice of cinnamon, clove, lavender buds etc. Any fragrant spice will work. I always eyeball the ratio, 1/4 c. soda to a tablespoon of spice. Sprinkle on the carpet and let sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming. It works so much better than the stuff from the store!
Cast Iron Cleaner
I like to cook in a cast iron skillet occasionally, but they are such a pain to clean! You don't use soap on them, ever! Here is my fool proof, simple method. First I fill the skillet half full of water and place in on the burner on high. I let the water boil for several minutes until all of the stuck on food is loosened. After drain off the water, allow it to cool for a little while. Make a thick paste out of table salt and a little bit of water. Using a scrub brush, scrub the skillet with the salt paste. The salt acts as a scrubbing agent and helps with the pan seasoning!
Adding a cup of white vinegar to your laundry will help deodorize and brighten your clothing.
Shower and Tub Cleaner
Using a utility spray bottle, fill it with a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. Spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping clean. The vinegar cuts through build up easily and deodorizes too. You could also use lemon juice in place of the vinegar, but I think the vinegar works better.
#1) The amounts will vary on this depending on how much you are cleaning and what type of dish soap you use. I start with 1/4 c. baking soda and then add just enough dish soap to create a thick paste. Using a soft, damp cloth I gently scrub my counters and sink. Rinse with clean water. The baking soda gently scours and deodorizes and the soap ... well the soap cleans! LOL Use sparingly! I found out the hard way that if you use too much...you will be rinsing the soap off for a very long time!
#2) Fill your spray bottle with water. Then add a couple of drops of mild soap, dish soap works best. Shake before using. Lightly spray the surface then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
This one is so simple! I fill my spray bottle with water then add one cap full of bleach. Shake and spray. You can either lightly mist the surface and let it dry or you can generously spray the surface and wipe dry. Also use this to clean the inside of your refrigerator!
For the Kitchen Sink (stainless)
Plug your sink and fill it FULL of hot water. Add about 1 cup or so of bleach and let it sit for a while...I usually wait until the water has cooled down. Drain the water and wipe with a soft cloth...it will sparkle!!
For the Coffee Pot
Fill the reserve tank with water as usual then add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar. It will cut through the hard water build up and make your pot brew faster.
I fill my bucket with hot water and add about 1 cup of bleach. You could add lemon juice if you like. I have found that this works so much better than the expensive stuff from the store!
Using a utility spray bottle, fill it with a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water. If you have it, wiping with newspaper helps prevent streaks, but I never see streaks with this mixture.
This is not for cleaning the dishes but for cleaning and deodorizing your dishwasher. Mist the inside of the dishwasher with water (I use my bleach water mixture) and then lightly sprinkle with baking soda. This will deodorize. Then, fill your soap cup with lemon juice and run it through a light cycle. Make sure to crack the door when it's done so that the inside dries completely.
For the Microwave
Place a moist sponge or dishcloth in the microwave. Cook on high for 45 to 60 seconds depending on your microwave. Mine cooks like lightening so this is the perfect amount of time for it. Adjust the time according to your microwave. The moisture loosens up the splatters and can easily be wiped clean. I use a cloth dampened with bleach mixture.
Remember, these are just MY favorites. You may find that you prefer another method. I still have not found a favorite stove and oven cleaner and am open to suggestions!