Monday, January 23, 2012

Green Cleaning is Dollar Green Savings!

I grew up in a very clean home. I also grew up in a toxic waste dump. My Mother was a clean freak the way some people hoard. As children our first walker was the vacuum cleaner. Yes, we were well trained in the school of germ and dirt free living from birth on. What I did not know until I left home, was why I grew up with chronic health issues and odd rashes. I learned that the cleaners my Mom so loved, were actually killing me. The toxic fumes, the constant contact with Lysol in every form, Purex and more, left me ill.

It was very freeing for me to be away from the toxic cleaners. This did not mean I went the other direction and stopped cleaning, but rather I learned how to clean without killing myself. I researched how my great grandmom made her own supplies and I made some life changes. In the mid 80's I learned from library books how to "green clean" without toxins. In a nut shell, I was green before green was popular.

I always knew green cleaning was less expensive, but I really didn't see how much until last week. I did my Mom's shopping for her, and bought the supplies on her list. I was shocked at the price of washing powder, and her long list of toxic cleaning supplies. I realized all this time I had actually cut out a big expense without even realizing it. In the honor of saving both money and the environment, I am posting a few tips.

Washing Powder:
1 cup of Borax, sold on the detergent isle.
1 cup of WASHING soda ( do not confuse with baking soda)
2 cups ground soap   Zote or Fels_Naptha are made for clothing.
Most body bars are not pure soap and should not be used. However little known fact, Lux was used for years for washing clothing.
essential oils if you wish to add a smell like lavender, which I admit, I love. 10 -15 drops will usually do. Mix well and store in air tight container. I use about one heaping tablespoon for most loads.
I  have bought an off brand powdered oxy product at Dollar tree and added into this mix, about half a cup.
Also if you want a disinfecting form of powder, add a few drops of tea tree oil and shake well. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and is the key in the Melaleuca brand of cleaners.

Fabric softener is not necessary if you line dry. An inexpensive alternative to fabric softener is baking soda. Just add 1/2 a cup during the rinse cycle.

I line dry. This drives my Mother crazy. The cost of a dryer when the sun is free drives me nuts. The one thing I love the most is the smell of line dried clothing. That smell drifts through my clean house on laundry day and nothing, nothing bottled can come close. It is to my family, the smell of home, and I am thankful my husband appreciates that fresh line dried smell.

What else do I use in my home? I keep a gallon of white vinegar on hand for cleaning and germ killing. Yes it stinks, but the smells goes when it dries. It shines counters, mirrors, stainless steel very well. Can be added to wash to kill germs, wipe down furniture, doors and floors when sickness is in the house.

That brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide, I keep several on hand, in the laundry, the bath and so on. This will clean and disinfect without a smell and cost only pennies. Great on blood stains too. Do be careful about spilling on color fast surfaces, it can bleach. This makes it idea to add to a load of whites, a cup at a time for extra cleaning. I keep some in a spray bottle and spray little tight area I cannot reach to bubble out dirt. Does a good job on the toilet!

Need scouring power? Use baking soda on a wet sponge. Mix up a paste of baking soda and washing soda and borax for sinks, stoves, ect.

I know, you use sprays to make the house smell clean. Try boiling some cinnamon on the stove for a nice welcome home smell. White vinegar on a rag and swing it in the air will remove smoke, pet odor and other unpleasant smells. Use baking soda on the carpet to remove smells, vacuum after about 30 minutes. This is a double help, the baking soda in the vacuum helps keep the cleaner smelling clean.

Do you know how to make your own cleaning supplies? If so share some of your tips. What do you like and can't live without?  How to you save money on things you cannot live without.

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