Today, for this first post I wanted to share how simple it is to make pretty much all of your house cleaning products with three ingredients! Really, only three. All are nontoxic. All are edible, or at least can go in your mouth. You can’t say that about commercial toilet bowl cleaner now can you? I’ve tested these on most of the surfaces in my house and they work. Really! There are a few exceptions, however, and I’ll tell you about those. Want to know what they are? Here ya go!
Because I don’t want to overcrowd your inbox with 365 posts in a row I am going to bundle some of the simple items in order to simplify your life and mine!
#1 simple – Baking Soda
Baking soda has so many uses beyond cooking or deodorizing your refrigerator! Check out this blog post from The New Homemaker that lists 27 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda.
I love this stuff! I use it in homemade deodorant. I add a cup to my laundry to get an extra boost, especially with my white clothes. I add a dab to my shampoo every third or fourth shampoo to de-gunk and de-grease my hair and to add sparkle to my silvers. It is in my homemade toothpaste. I put it in the bottom of my trash compactor drawer to deodorize and soak up any spills. I’ve also discovered that I can sprinkle it on the floor of my shower and scrub away all soap and hard water residue. No more Mr. Clean Erasers for me! So, do like I did and get yourself a giant bag of the stuff at Costco – beats having lots of those tiny orange boxes!
# 2 simple – White Vinegar
Get the cheap stuff. There is no point in buying the expensive brand when you’re just going to pour it down the drain or squirt it on your window. Reader’s Digest had an article on 150+ household uses for this sour miracle liquid. See the article here. I also found a handy dandy article on allyou.com with 45 uses for vinegar. I tell you people, this is great stuff! Just tonight I scorched a stainless steel pan while cooking up some ground beef. I got busy on the computer and before you know it I could smell something burning. Vinegar to the rescue. I saved the beef patties from certain death then filled up the pan with water and about a cup of vinegar. I brought the mixture to a boil then turned off the heat. As I did the dishes the vinegar was working its magic on the cooked on oil. The vinegar worked and most of the gunk in the bottom of the pan came off after a quick wash. But not all. I sprinkled baking soda on the pan and with a bit of elbow grease I was able to get my pan back to its original sparkle. Good to know these simple tips really work! You can also make a paste out of baking soda and vinegar (it will foam up a bit, kinda fun) and use on stains, unclog drains, and so much more! Do not spray vinegar on your granite countertops, however. The acid will take the finish off of the granite. You can use #4 in this list instead if you want to sanitize your countertops.
FYI, I use canning jars to store my baking soda and vinegar for bathroom cleaning. It is much easier to reach into the cupboard for a small jar of baking soda rather than the ginormous bag you see in this picture.
If you look at the picture above you’ll also see a yellow cloth. It isn’t in the picture to add artistic contrast, but to show another of my super simple secret weapons. That leads me to #3.
#3 simple – Microfiber toweling
I love these things. Microfiber towels have been used in auto repair shops for their ability to soak up spills and stay strong even when using harsh chemicals. I have discovered that these fuzzy little babies work much better than paper towels when washing windows and cleaning mirrors. No streaks. No soggy towels. No waste. I can use and reuse these towels over and over again. When I deem them too dirty to use again I simply throw them in the wash with my regular towels and clean them up. One caveat, do not use fabric softener, it somehow causes the fabric to lose its awesomeness. Also, don’t put them in the clothes dryer. I just hang them on a rack in my garage until they are dry. I have one stashed in the kitchen for all things kitchen related. I have replaced those fancy schmancy dust wands with these versatile beauties. I keep a couple in each bathroom – one for mirrors and the other for general cleaning. I still use paper towels to clean around the toilet since I can’t imagine reusing a towel more than once for this job because, well, that’s just gross! I’ve found mine in the auto section of Target and Walmart and they usually carry them at Costco.
#4 simple – Hydrogen Peroxide
You can pretty much replace chlorine bleach with hydrogen peroxide. It whitens clothes, teeth, and toilet bowls. It can be sprayed directly on your countertops to kill germs instead of the blue stuff. When mixed with vinegar (in SEPARATE SPRAY BOTTLES – DO NOT MIX TOGETHER) a chemical reaction occurs to form a very powerful disinfectant. Try spraying first hydrogen peroxide and then vinegar on your cutting boards after cutting raw meat. I found a nifty primer for 28 amazing benefits and uses of hydrogen peroxide here. Do you ever have dark stains form at the bottom of your toilet bowl? Pour some hydrogen peroxide into the bowl before going to bed and in the morning scrub with a good stiff brush and flush. That should take care of the problem. Still got a few pesky dark spots hanging around? Good ol’ baking soda to the rescue again! A few sprinkles of that, plus another good scrub works better than any singing scrubbing bubbles that I know.
So there you have it! Four easy peasy super SIMPLE and FRUGAL tips for you to start off our 365 Simple.