Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cheap v. Thrifty: Homemade Cleaning Supplies

I have a theory that all the pre-made cleaning solutions out there are a scam.  I'm talking about the soft scrubs, the greenworks, the you-name-it multipurpose cleaner.  I used to use these all the time and then I decided awhile back to try baking soda and vinegar.  I find that baking soda, vinegar and some elbow grease clean 90% of what I need to clean, and cleans it well.  For the other 10%?  Good old fashioned (and also dirt cheap) bleach does the job.

(Notice the "NOT" Soft Scrub bottle.  I just reuse a bottle from back when I bought such things).

No need for a separate plastic bottle of cleaner for the kitchen, the bathroom, the windows (skip the baking soda and just use vinegar on windows and glass).  It makes life simpler and much less costly.

Here is a recently cleaned with baking soda and vinegar stove top:

If you look at that picture and say it is still dirty, then I assure you it is user error (or standards) because that is how it looks after I clean regardless of what I used.

A quick tip for microwave cleaning (I told my mom to do this when I was visiting her last time and she was surprised how well it worked).  Spray down the whole microwave with vinegar.  Wet down a paper towel or microfiber cloth.  Microwave on high for two minutes and wipe clean.  Easy!  Before and after shots:

(We use these microfiber cloths in lieu of dish sponges and just throw them in the washing machine regularly. Between washes I often microwave them on high for a couple of minutes to kill anything that might be growing.)

My exception to the non-commercial cleaning products is wood cleaner.  For some reason we have a boatload of pledge and other wood cleaning products so I use them.  I think they are from Kevin's first house (he sold that 5 years ago) since I haven't bought any in years.  Once those are used up (we have a lot more wood in our house now so it will be pretty soon) I'll look into making a wood-safe home cleaner.  In fact, a quick Google search led me to this recipe: a quarter cup of olive oil, four tablespoons of distilled white vinegar, and two teaspoons lemon juice in a spray bottle.  I have all of those ingredients already.  Once I use up the wood polish in a spray bottle, this is what will be replacing it.

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