How To Clean Your Whole House With Only 3 Low Cost Ingredients

You can clean your whole house with only 3 natural, low cost ingredients to save money and keep things simple. Recipes for everything!

Commercial cleaning products are wasting your grocery money. They usually contain harsh chemicals, and often make some pretty dodgy claims. Not to mention they can be tested on animals! 😦 You can clean your whole house with only 3 natural, low cost ingredients to save money and keep things simple.

1) Dishwashing liquid
Dishwashing liquid is a mild detergent that is close to a pH of 7 (neutral). This is because it’s designed to be safe to come in contact with skin. Because it is mild, it can be safely used to clean most surfaces.

2) Washing soda
Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is an alkaline powder with a pH of about 10.5. It’s non-toxic and even used in food manufacturing.

3) Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil smells great and is a versatile solvent.
Although it is natural, eucalyptus oil is toxic if ingested, even in small doses, and should not be used directly on the skin of young children or pregnant women. Use sparingly and carefully.

What about vinegar and bicarb soda?

Bicarb soda (sodium bicarbonate) is also known as baking soda, but it’s not the same as baking powder which also contains other ingredients. It’s a bit like a milder version of washing soda (pH of 9, so less alkaline). It’s fine to clean with. I just rarely use it because it’s more expensive than washing soda, and it’s less effective.

Vinegar (active ingredient is acetic acid) is often touted as a multipurpose, natural cleaner. But being acidic (about pH 2 to 3) it is only useful for removing alkaline deposits (like white mineral deposits in the kettle). Vinegar also contains no surfactants, making it useless in cleaning oil or grease.

I find dishwashing liquid to be much more effective, versatile, safe for delicate and alkaline surfaces and much cheaper, as you only need a very small amount.
It also doesn’t smell bad or sting the cuts on your hands like vinegar does.

Mixing vinegar and bicarb soda together does not make an effective cleaner.

This is a MYTH!

Mixing vinegar (acetic acid solution) and bicarb soda (sodium bicarbonate) or washing soda (sodium carbonate) gives you water, sodium acetate, carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and some leftover vinegar or bicarb soda/washing soda depending on the ratio used.

A sodium acetate solution is not an effective cleaner.

RECIPES

Multipurpose Spray Cleaner
Add 1/2 tsp of dishwashing liquid to a spray bottle and fill with plain water. Spray lightly and wipe with a dry or damp cloth. Great for kitchen benches, tables, sinks, tiles, or really anywhere you can think of (that can be cleaned with a wet cleaner).

Heavy-duty Spray Cleaner
This is based on the “miracle cleaner” recipe on the back of the packet of washing soda. I leave out the vinegar (see above paragraph on vinegar) and have formulated the recipe for 1 Litre of water. This fills 2 sprayer bottles with a bit of room for the foaming that happens when you pour it in.

It’s great for the shower and bathtub, the stove and oven, and anywhere where the multipurpose spray isn’t strong enough.

Ingredients:
– 1 Litre (4 cups) boiling water
– 30 g (1 1/2 metric tbsp) washing soda
– 30 mL (1 1/2 metric tbsp) dishwashing liquid
– 10 mL (2 tsp) eucalyptus oil

Method:
1) Add the first 2 ingredients, stir to dissolve and allow to cool.
2) Add remaining ingredients, stir gently and pour into 2 sprayer bottles.

Toilet Cleaner
Normal toilet cleaner is just a plain detergent with coloring and fragrance. You don’t need special antibacterial or bleach-containing toilet cleaner. It’s not like your toilet will actually be free of germs after using it.

Dishwashing liquid works just as well. Use like normal toilet either on its own or with a few drops of eucalyptus oil to make the toilet smell nice.

For hygiene purposes, keep a dedicated bottle of dishwashing liquid aside just for cleaning the toilet. You can decant it into an old toilet cleaner bottle if you prefer. Dishwashing liquid is generally cheaper than toilet cleaner (otherwise, just use normal toilet cleaner).

Paste Cleaner Alternative
Sprinkle washing soda over the area and scrub with a damp cloth or brush. Good for scum buildup in bathtubs and laundry sinks, or burnt on food in ovens.

Laundry Deodorizer
Add 1 tbsp of eucalyptus oil per load of laundry to get rid of bad smells from clothes. Add either during the wash cycle, or in the rinse cycle for more retained fragrance.

Many Types of Stains
For greasy stains, saturate with heavy-duty spray cleaner or dishwashing liquid and then soak in the hottest water the fabric can tolerate. Leave overnight. Wash as normal.

For makeup, paints, glues, chewing gum etc scrape away as much as possible then cover the stain with eucalyptus oil. Gently blot as the stain lifts so it doesn’t spread. Repeat, adding more eucalyptus oil. When no more colour or residue is coming away, wash as normal in cold water.

For blood, tomato, tea, coffee and ink try a thin paste of washing soda. Leave the paste on overnight and then wash as normal in cold water.

Bad stains may need these processes repeated (wait until clothing has dried). Drying in the sun also helps to fade the stain. Do not tumble dry or iron until stain has completely gone.
Try to get any stained clothing into cool water immediately after the stain happens. Patch test if unsure of fabric suitability.

For dirty work clothes add 2 heaping tbsp to the machine with normal detergent. Start the wash cycle until the machine starts to agitate then turn the machine off. Let it soak for a while (ideally overnight) and then wash as normal.

Window cleaner
Inside: spray lightly with multipurpose spray then buff with dry, lint free cloth.
Outside: add a tiny squirt of dishwashing liquid to half a bucket of hot water. Scrub with a sponge or cloth, scrape with a squeegee, then buff with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Floor cleaner
Add a tiny squirt of dishwashing liquid to a bucket of hot water. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil if desired for fragrance. Don’t use on any type of unsealed floor (it’s fine for stone and pavers though).

Air Freshener
Not exactly a cleaner, but it makes things smell clean. Add about 1tbsp of eucalyptus oil to a small sprayer bottle and fill the rest up with water. Shake before each use. Great in the toilet, but also nice to freshen up the bedding.

Dishwasher Tablets/Powder Alternative
If you’ve run out of your normal dishwasher tablets or powder fill the detergent dispenser in your dishwasher with washing soda. Sodium carbonate is used to make dishwasher tablets and powder so it’s perfectly safe.

I’ve also found adding just 1 tiny drop of dishwashing liquid directly into the machine makes it more effective. Do NOT add too much or the dishwasher will just foam up and the water won’t circulate. (Not to mention potential damage to your dishwasher.)

It’s not quite as good as normal dishwasher powder so you might want to do a pre-rinse cycle for really dirty dishes.

Dishwashing Liquid Alternative
Okay, so this sounds strange considering I’ve been talking about all the other uses for dishwashing liquid. But if you run out and need to hand wash some dishes, try washing soda. A heaped teaspoon in a sink of very hot water works quite well (use gloves).

Laundry Powder/Liquid Alternative
If you’ve run out of laundry powder/liquid, use 1 tbsp each of dishwashing liquid and washing soda for a normal load and 1 1/2 tbsp of each for a heavy or dirty load. This works very well for everyday clothes.

… Okay, so that’s almost how to clean your whole house.

Everyone has dishwashing liquid, but I find that not a lot of people use washing soda. Do you currently use washing soda? What for? I always like experimenting, so let me know if you have any good uses for it.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

19 Food Scraps You Can Eat To Reduce Food Waste

Throwing food in the bin is throwing money in the bin. There are many food scraps you can eat, the key is to make the scraps more appealing.

 

Food is one of the largest expenses in most people’s household budgets. Throwing food in the bin is throwing money in the bin. You paid for your food, so you would want to use as much of it as you can. There are many food scraps you can eat, perfectly edible things that get overlooked. The key is to make the scraps more appealing.

Not wasting food is important for the environment because food waste is a major source of greenhouse gases, not to mention the resources that went into producing it. I also feel that reducing food waste is respectful to those who don’t have enough food.

  1. Cooking water from pasta, rice and vegetables can be added to soups, stews, sauces, and gravy. Cooking water from pasta and rice (if you don’t use the absorption method for rice) is good for slightly thickening foods.
    Water from boiling or steaming vegetables is particularly nutritious. By saving this water and incorporating it back in whenever possible will save the vitamins and minerals from going down the sink. If you have more than you know what do with, you can use it to make bone broth.
    Don’t use water that has been to soak or cook dried legumes (pulses). It contains substances that are irritating to the gut.
  2. Juicing pulp can be used in cakes, muffins, pancakes or in small amounts in savory foods like meatloaf, rissoles or bean burgers.
    My favorite is pulp from homemade orange juice. It adds a lovely, subtle fragrance to vanilla cake and keeps the cake moist. I add 1/2 cup per cake or per batch of cupcakes.
    Start by adding small amounts to see how recipes respond. Be mindful that you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.
  3. Citrus skins can be made into marmalade, you can save them in the freezer until you have enough. They can also used as mixed peel in fruit cakes or dried and used for flavoring herbal teas.
  4. Broccoli and cauliflower steams are often discarded. Grated with a cheese grater, they can be used to make broccoli slaw or simply added to stews. Sliced with a Julienne peeler, they are lovely in stir-frys. I mostly just slice them thinly and add them in with the rest of the broccoli or cauliflower.
    Cauliflower leaves and the outer leaves of cabbages are also perfectly fine. Just give them a good wash, slice thinly and cook well.
  5. Chard, silverbeet and spinach stems often get thrown out. Just slice them very finely and add them back in to whatever you were using the rest of the vegetable for. Or if they’re going to be textually or visually unappealing, add them to a stew, or at a last resort, use to make vegetable stock.
  6. Stop peeling mushrooms, they don’t need it. Just clean them by wiping the cap with a moist cloth or gently brushing clean with a pastry brush. Or if you’re cooking them straight away, just go ahead and rinse them under the tap. And don’t waste mushroom stems either, just chop them up finely and add them back in.
  7. Oil from jars of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes etc is usually full of flavorful herbs and seasonings. Use it to make salad dressings or add a tiny bit to pasta to stop it sticking.
  8. Radish, beetroot and turnip greens are all edible. Radish and beetroot tops are nice shredded and mixed with salad green. Beetroot leaves can also be added to borscht. Turnip leaves are tougher and they’re best finely shredded and cooked well.
  9. Juice or syrup from tinned fruit can be used to replace some or all of the milk in cakes. It adds a lovely flavor to cakes but you might want to reduce the sugar a little bit. You can also put it in smoothies or milkshakes, or freeze into ice blocks for a desert.
  10. The liquid from roasting meat can be collected (if you’re not using it to make gravy) and chilled in the fridge. The fat will rise to the surface and then you will have two products. The fat can be used for frying meat, or it’s lovely on roast vegetables. The liquid below the fat will gel into a lovely, rich stock that can be used anywhere stock or broth is called for. Roast chicken stock is the tastiest stock I’ve ever tried.
  11. If you’ve used the last of your bottle or jar of sauce add a bit of water and shake it up to dissolve the last little bit. Add this liquid to flavor soups or stews. The water from dissolving tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, tomato puree, passata, minced garlic, chutney and relish can all be used this way.
  12. Another use for the dissolving trick is for using up the remains of jams, jelly, ice cream toppings and syrups. Shake up the jar with milk and add to milkshakes, smoothies, or replace the normal milk component of cakes, or freeze into ice blocks.
  13. Make sure to freeze your surplus bread before it goes moldy. Collect up all your stale bread and bread crust ends and save them in the freezer so you can process them in a large batch. You can take them straight from the freezer, break them up a bit by hand, grind up in a food processor and put the crumbs straight back in the freezer until needed.
    Bread crumbs can be used to crumb steak for beef schnitzels, crumb chicken pieces for homemade chicken nuggets, make stuffing for roast chicken, added to rissoles, meatloaf, salmon or bean burgers, or for crispy toppings for casseroles and baked dinners. You can even make cookies with bread crumbs.
    Another use for stale bread or bread crust ends is croutons. Lightly toast the bread and then cut into crouton sized pieces. Season the pieces with salt, pepper and dried herbs and then fry them in a generous amount of olive oil until they’re crispy.
  14. Bones can be used to make bone broth. Keep any bones from roasting or boning out meat, you can freeze them until they’re needed.  Put them in a large pot, cover with water (or vegetable cooking water), and add a small amount of vinegar (about 1/4 cup for a large pot, I use apple cider vinegar). The vinegar leaches the minerals out the bones and into the broth. Many people use the term “stock” if the bones are simmered for a shorter period of time and the term “broth” if they’re simmered for 6-8 hours or more.
  15. Cut off the yucky bits from fruit and vegetables that are going bad.
    Puree fresh fruit or cook and mash then freeze in small portions. Make muffins, cakes, sorbet, ice blocks or smoothies with the fruit.
    Vegetables can be chopped and frozen raw (they don’t need blanching if only freezing for a short period of time). Use wherever you would normally use frozen vegetables. Less appealing bits can be hidden in soups or stews, or added to broths (see above) in the last 2 hours of cooking.
  16. Banana peels are normally used in other countries when they are still green. Banana peels from ripe bananas have a strong banana flavour, making them better in things like banana cakes. You trim the tough ends and then I prefer to puree them with the amount of milk the banana cake recipe calls for.
    They’re also meant to be good in smoothies (just blend the whole banana with the tough ends trimmed) but I’m not a huge banana consumer and haven’t tried this one.
  17. Strawberry tops have a kind of lettuce-y, strawberry-y flavour. Blend them with your smoothie for more greens.
  18. Watermelon rind sliced thinly and cooked well tastes a lot like squash or zucchini. It’s lovely in stir-frys or stews. It also really nice pickled – use a pickled squash/zucchini recipe.
  19. Food you really don’t like – maybe it’s something you’ve been gifted or a meal that hasn’t turned out quite right. This happens to everyone and the key is to disguise it in other meals (like soups and stews) a very small amount at a time. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and you hide yucky (but edible) food in other meals 1tbsp at a time…

And if you have scraps leftover that you really can’t eat, consider feeding to chickens, then in the worm farm and the last resort is your compost bin.

What other “scraps” can you eat? Comment and let me know what I’ve left off my list.

Save Money In The Bathroom On Everything – 33 Things I’ve Tried

Try these ideas to save money in the bathroom. Some are easy, some are more extreme.

I’ve tried lots of things to save money in the bathroom. Most of these ideas I use as part of my normal routine. Some are a bit more extreme and while I have tried them, I’ve found them a bit harder to get used to. But, you have to try everything once!

  1. Buy the only two truly proven anti-aging products: a basic moisturizer and a sunscreen. Problem skin is due to your health, not a lack of over-priced skin care product. You really don’t need all the other gimmicky stuff to be beautiful.
  2. Try a natural body moisturizer designed for sensitive skin on your face. Body moisturizer is much cheaper than face cream and does the same job. If the moisturizer is too heavy, wet your face before applying sparingly and it will be effectively watered down. Try different brands.
  3. Use homemade deodorant, and customize your own fragrance.
  4. Wax with homemade sugar wax and non-stretchy rags. It takes practice to get the consistency right, but it works.
    Or…
  5. Shave with an old-fashioned safety razor. The replacement razor blades cost less than half the price of the cheapest disposable razors and cost much less again than the cheapest replacement heads.
  6. Remove makeup with a soft cloth wrung out in warm water with a little bit of moisturizer or coconut oil.
  7. Use old toothbrushes as a nail brush, for scrubbing out stains, or for cleaning nooks and crannies.
  8. Shower only when you’re washing your hair and sponge bath the rest of the time. Unless you’re in a job where you get dirty or germy, it does the skin no favors to wash daily. Only shower when you’re actually dirty.
    Also…
  9. Wash your skin with water and wash cloth only. No more soap or body wash to dry out your skin means less moisturizer needed too. Too much washing can disrupt the natural flora that keeps the skin healthy.
  10. Make hand towels or face washers out of old bath towels. Just trim away any holes or badly worn patches, cut to size using your existing towels as templates and serge or zigzag-sew the edges.
  11. Use coconut oil for lip balm, cuticle balm, nipple cream and dry heel balm. Put some in a small non-breakable tub for easy use.
  12. Swap out tampons for a menstrual cup. The initial purchase will be more expensive, but it will pay for itself by 6 months and can last up to 10 years.
  13. Swap sanitary pads for reusable cloth pads. Again there’s the initial outlay, but depending on how many you buy they should pay for themselves by 6 months too. They should last at least 5 years.
  14. Replace your tissues with handkerchiefs. Much softer and prettier.
  15. Clean your toilet with… a tiny amount of plain toilet cleaner. Normal toilet cleaner is just a nice smelling detergent.
    You don’t need stick on gels or tablet cages, bleach or disinfectant toilet products. Your toilet will never be truly sanitary anyway so there’s no need to use harsh chemicals that will get into the waterways.
    Vinegar (while cheap and natural) doesn’t save money either. Consider the fact that while vinegar might cost half as much as toilet cleaner, you only need a tiny squirt of toilet cleaner, while you need at least 1/2 cup of vinegar to make any difference.
  16. Stop using cotton tips to clean your ears. They are no longer recommended. Doctors warn that sticking anything into your ear canal can damage your ear drum. Clean your ears in the shower – let some warm water run in and clean the outside with a wash cloth.
  17. Exfoliate your face with something natural from your kitchen – for blackheads or acne-prone skin try bicarb soda, normal skin try castor sugar, for dry or sensitive skin try oatmeal. Put a pinch into moist hands, massage gently then rinse well.
    Or…
  18. Exfoliate your face with a face cloth or microfiber cloth.
  19. Try raw sugar as a body scrub.
  20. Clean your bathroom with a homemade spray cleaner or paste cleaner.
    Or…
  21. Clean your bathroom with only hot water and a terry toweling rag or microfiber cloth. Lots of elbow grease will get your tiles and bathtub shining.
  22. Make “wee wipes”, “pee rags” or “family cloth” – washable, reusable cloth squares used in place of toilet paper. As the name suggests, some people use them just for number ones and some as a complete toilet paper replacement.
  23. Brush your teeth with homemade tooth powder.
  24. Reuse dental floss – we don’t throw away our toothbrush or interdental flosser after only one use, so why not get a few more uses out of floss too? Just rinse and hang to dry between uses. Replace when it starts to deteriorate.
  25. Go “no ‘poo”. Replace your shampoo with bicarb soda or soap and your conditioner with vinegar.
    Or…
  26. Try the real “no ‘poo”. Wash your hair with water only. Using shampoo dries your hair out, so then you need conditioner to add the moisture back, then the conditioner makes your hair oily and the shampoo makes your scalp produce more oil, so then you need to shampoo it, then the shampoo dries it out…
  27. It will be much easy to wash your hair with only water if you use natural, homemade products in your hair. Try salt water spray for texturizing and sugar-water spray for hair spray (more sugar = stronger hold). Use a tiny amount of coconut oil warmed up in the hands for dry ends or calming frizzy or curly hair.
  28. Launder your bath towels once a week or less. If you dry your towel completely after each use it will stay fresh a lot longer before it needs washing. Find somewhere airy to spread it right out.
  29. Ditch the mop and clean the floor with only hot water and rags. Or use rags safety-pinned shut on your existing swiffer type mop.
  30. Make your own hair bands from old stretchy clothing like pantyhose, t-shirts or leggings. Cut in thin strips and tie the ends.
  31. Make your toothbrush last longer than the recommended 3 months. Sanitize your toothbrush regularly by pouring boiling water over the bristles. And don’t scrub too hard and it won’t turn into a “shaggy dog” so fast. Replace when the bristles actually start to deteriorate.
  32. Use expired sunscreen to moisturize your legs and feet with.
  33. Clean your a retainer or false teeth by using only half a cleaning tablet or just a little bit of toothpaste or tooth powder and a toothbrush.

How do you save money in the bathroom? Which ideas would you never use? Let me know if you have any special tips for me to try!

How To Be A Canny Housewife? – My 6 Homemaking Goals

How to be a Canny Housewife? Who is a housewife and what does canny mean?

How to be a Canny Housewife? Well, a housewife is a female homemaker, normally married and often has children. A homemaker manages the home – the cooking, cleaning, organising, buying, making, and often caring for children.

But what does canny mean?

“can•ny

1. careful.
2. astute; shrewd.
3. skilled.
4. frugal.
Chiefly Scot.
5. steady.
6. snug; cozy.”

What a great word!
Canny has lots of lovely meanings that I can use to describe my homemaking goals.

My 6 Homemaking Goals:
1. To be careful in looking after my family and myself – our appearance, eating well and staying physically and mentally healthy.
2. To be astute and shrewd in making the most of each day, being time-wise, organised and planning for our future.
3. To be skilled in the practical matters of homemaking, including cooking, cleaning, sewing, decorating, and entertaining.
4. To be frugal in managing our income so it goes further to pay for the things that are truly worthwhile.
5. To be steady and patient in my disposition, so as to nurture loving and respectful relationships with my husband and children.
6. To create a snug and cozy home, where we can feel warm, comfortable, calm and well-rested.

Of course, my number one priority will always be the well being of my family and I know that I’m not Super Woman and can’t do everything.

I do like that this word has made me consider what is important to me as a homemaker. I think this will be a useful list to refer to when I’m working out where my priorities are (or having a particularly crummy day!).

At the moment, caring for my family is my full time job. So I want to take it seriously and do a good job of it.

I hope to create some SMART goals in the near future (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).

Have you consciously thought about what is important to you as a homemaker? Do you currently have any goals?

 

 

How To Get Out Of Survival Mode: Get Your Home Back

Get your home back! How to get out of survival mode? Start with the 3 most important aspects of homemaking.

Sometimes it feels like you’re only just surviving, or even going backwards. The whole house is a mess. It’s closing in on you and you don’t know how to get out of survival mode. You can’t even get one job completed because of your kids’ constant needs and everything is in the way of everything else.

Maybe you’ve been sick or your kids were sick.
Maybe you’re really tired from pregnancy or busy with a new baby.
Maybe you’ve just had a really busy week.

The most recent time things got out of control for me was when I was too sick to get out of bed. ABC kids played non-stop while my 2-year-old Lucy and I ate baked beans out of the tin. 😦

You’ve got this.

You’re a woman and can do anything. Things will be normal again soon!

The first steps out of survival mode:
Start with the 3 most important aspects of homemaking (everything else can wait):
1) clean clothes
2) meals
3) clean dishes

Why that order? It’s in order of the amount of time required.

Firstly, clothing takes time to wash and dry, so you need to get the laundry done first. Not all the laundry, but enough so you’re not wearing dirty clothes around. Put on a full load of some clothes for everyone. Let the towels and sheets and any fussy clothing (unless its needed for school or work) fester in the laundry basket for a bit longer.

Secondly, meals take the next longest amount of time. When planning easy meals, try to plan for lunch and dinner to contain 2-3 vegetables and 1 serve of protein each. It doesn’t matter how it’s prepared or if it’s some weird combination, we’re just focusing on basic nourishment.

Check the fridge and freezer for leftovers. Hopefully, you will have some emergency meals frozen. If not, do you have some random things in the fridge you can throw in a pot together and warm up, or cut up and serve as a nibble plate? Salad and cold meat is good, so is something out of a tin.

Try to minimize pots and pans used if you can, to save on dishes. Better still if the meal can be eaten with hands. Serve in mugs, cake tins, ramekins or anything else in the cupboard if you’re low on clean dishes.

Breakfast can be cereal, fruit, yogurt, toast etc. Lots of easy options.

Snacks can be fruit, more leftovers, or more breakfast options.

Lastly, dishes can hand washed as needed immediately before a meal. Once you’ve got the clothes and meals sorted for the day, it’s time to get a load of dishes done. Fill the dishwasher or hand wash until the draining board is completely full if you can.

Hopefully you’ve made it to this point and you’re starting to feel a bit less stressed?

If you have the energy, one more task now that will make all the difference…

Go and find a clean plastic garden rake. Yes, a garden rake, go get it. If you don’t have one your second best choice is a wide, stiff broom.

Now, starting at the entrance of your home, begin to rake everything lying around on the floor inwards. Now rake the kitchen, dining and living areas toward the lounge room (or somewhere out-of-the-way) and make a big pile in the corner. Don’t bother with the bedrooms unless you need to rake a path to the bed.

There. The house is already looking better.

Now all you’re left with is washing faces and brushing teeth and you can collapse in bed. Don’t push yourself, you need your sleep. Tomorrow you can build on what you’ve achieved today.

You did it! Everyone is still alive. Things can only get better from here.

When do things get out of control for you? How did you get out of survival mode?