Did you know that some environmentally-friendly practices in the home can actually save your family money? In this article, I provide some practical tips for saving money and the environment by getting back to cleaning basics.
In recent years, product marketing departments have been working very hard to make sure that all of us are disgusted by the thought of germs, and they’ve convinced us that we need to pay $40 dollars per month on harsh household chemicals.
Why is this bad? Some of the worst air pollutants can be found in our own homes because we introduce all kinds of toxins into our homes through so-called “cleaning supplies.” These are bad for us to breathe, are hard on our children and pets and contribute to resistant bacterial strains. Importantly, these also get flushed right out into our rivers and lakes and, ultimately, our community drinking water.
Here are some tips for replacing your household cleaners with the basics.
Get Back to Basics with Baking Soda
Did you know that salt and sodium products are the main ingredient in most soaps today? How much are you spending on glorified salt? Did you know that baking soda and a soft scrubbing sponge magically remove black stains from glass-top stoves? Baking soda can also be used to scrub and disinfect your sinks, countertops and bathtub.
Vinegar can be used for polishing windows, stainless steel faucets and mirrors.
Love your Lemons
Don’t like vinegar? The next time you use a lemon or orange, chop the rind into small pieces and add warm water. After a few days, strain and keep the liquid. This makes a great substitute for window and mirror cleaner. However, unless you live in a place where lemons grow locally, please don’t buy lemons just for this purpose.
Laundry Soap on a Dime
This year, I decided that I was sick of paying 6-8 dollars per month on laundry soap. First, as I was running out of laundry soap, I kept the big plastic jug for future homemade laundry soap. Then, I looked on the internet for laundry soap recipes. I purchased the ingredients and have been using this mix for about six months now. I am still using the original ingredients that I purchased, still using the same plastic jug, but have saved myself about 30 dollars so far, but more importantly I haven’t sent plastic laundry jugs to the landfill!
1 big box of baking soda (about 4 dollars)
1 box of Borax (about 3 dollars)
1 jug of environmentally friendly laundry soap (about 6 dollars)
To make the laundry soap, I put one cup of each of the three ingredients above into a pot on the stove. I used the laundry jug to measure how much water to add (usually about 3/4 of the jug), then I add all of this water to the mixture. I simmer it on the stove for about 15 minutes on medium (just until all of the ingredients have dissolved). Then, when it cools, I put it back in the jug. This is a liquid mixture that does form some crystals at the bottom of the jug as you are emptying it. But, it goes a long way and is much more economical and better for the water supply than buying a jug of laundry detergent every 2-4 weeks.
Amount saved in one year from getting back to cleaning basics: