By Nikki Willhite
Cleaning is another area where the frugal homemaker can save
money. Buying different cleaning products at the store is like buying
convenience food. Most of them are overpriced. You do not need so many products.
They waste your money and the storage space in your home.
With a little planning, you can buy just a few solutions and
make everything you need to clean your home. On the web site I talk about when
my mother-in-law came to help out after the birth of one of my sons. When I came
home from the hospital, my house was literally shining. She had used but one
cleaning product- ammonia!
Ammonia will clean everything from windows and glass, to walls
and bathroom fixtures. The only thing you MUST remember is to NEVER mix it with
bleach, as it will cause toxic fumes.
While it can be used plain like my mother-in-law uses it, you
can also augment it. For instance, if you are washing walls, add some liquid
detergent. For sinks and tiles, add vinegar. For windows, vinegar and baking
soda strengthen the solution.
If you want to make different cleaning solutions, here are the
basic ingredients, and what you use them for.
Ammonia- walls, windows, floors, sinks, tile.
Bleach- Whitens and sterilizes all surfaces. Do not mix
with anything but soapy water.
Vinegar- Very effective for removing mold, grime, mildew,
For the many uses of vinegar,
Baking Soda- this is a very safe cleaner. It is good for
scouring and deodorizing (which is why you keep it in your refrigerator). For a
list of the many uses of baking soda,
Baking Soda Here
Borax- this is a good substitute for bleach. It retards
the growth of mold.
Another caution- Ammonia is a strong solution and should not be
used on everything. Many things clean well with nothing but a solution of soapy
water. One example would be metal mini-blinds. They are best taken down, and
either soaked in a tub with sudsy water, and laid out on the grass and wiped
A few more tips:
You will find that your house stays cleaner and has less need
for deep cleaning if you vacuum regularly. Use your vacuum attachments and
periodically go over the blinds and drapes.
Your carpet will stay cleaner if you vacuum with regularity.
When you vacuum you remove dirt and other items that otherwise gets ground into
the fibers when you walk on it.
You can freshen your carpet by sprinkling a mixture of baking
soda and cornstarch on it, and then taking it up with the vacuum. You leave it
on for about 30 minutes (about 1 Cup per room), but a more fugal approach is to
remove shoes at the front door. It is a pain, but what a difference for your
Want to freshen the air? Open a window!
Polish your furniture with a mixture of olive oil (3 parts) with
either vinegar or lemon juice (1 part).
Keep your sinks running smoothly by NEVER putting anything down
them. Freshen and loosen debris by pouring hot water down the drain once a week.
Or fill up the sink with water, unplug, and use the pressure of the water to
clean the drain.
For clogged drains try baking soda, followed with vinegar.
Vinegar will remove grease, so it works well for kitchen
appliances and other surfaces.
For more cleaning suggestions,
spend a fortune on cleaning products. Pick up a few plastic spray
bottles, make a
couple products, and go from there.