Household chores, environment and savings

mcpegNovember 1, 2007

I love to go back on this forum and read the older threads. Just finished reading Ed's 2003 thread (previous page) on saving money at home.

Well it's 2007 and all the points mentioned are still valid.

My 2 cents:

Elimination of expensive, harsh cleaning chemicals in my home by returning to the basics:

borax powder - great stuff, no smell, great disinfectant/laundry boost, floors. Read the box for more. Found with the laundry boosters.

apple cider vinegar - spray bottles with water to clean/disinfect surfaces

vinegar/soda down drains to lift up gunk to remove by hand

dishsoap for general wiping

old towels - no papertowels

get too many xmas kitchen towels - use them year round instead of napkins

Looking to expand on the basic cleaners as I clear out all the boxes and bottles of toxic chemicals. The house still smells clean and fresh - just like Mom's did when I was small.

Yep - I love wool in the winter, second hand stores/charity shops. I sew, refinish, reupholster some items. Salvage from other people's trash - I'm not shy. Surprisingly there are a regular group of us out and about on garbage night. I also put out stuff the day ahead that can be reused with a sign "free" and I regularly give to charity shops.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

CFL lights and LEDs are the norm too.

Anything new you are doing? Anything old you are returning to?

It's not just about saving money anymore for me, it's also about making a smaller footprint on our environment.

Your posts and comments I do read and enjoy. Thank you everyone. Let's wake this forum up again!

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I've recently switched to cleaning most surfaces with a mild bleach solution rather than purchased cleaners.

One thing I don't want to go back to is cleaning my floors with a mop or broom and dustpan. I admit, I am totally spoiled by the swiffer concept - but I have switched to homemade cloth covers that I can throw in the washing machine.

An old felted sweater recycled into a swiffer cover just grabs the little dog fur tumbleweeds in a way that a broom never could.

I'm always looking for options where my frugality and laziness can coincide with environmentalism :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 4:09PM
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Well, I vacuum floors but mop the kitchen/bathroom floor.

Spray bottles are fantastic for time and money savers. Many of us use too much of the chemical concentrations than we need. I now mix everything in spray bottles - bathroom, all purpose etc. etc. And those towel rags are in many areas. If I notice something I spray and go which really helps prolong the big jobs. Especially the kitchen floor.

I like the old felted sweater idea, probably would make an excellent duster rag too!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 4:26PM
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3 tennis balls in the drying instead of fabric sheets. Cheaper and better on your skin.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 4:36PM
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My favorite cleaning tip comes from Flylady. I clean the shower with a cheap shampoo (no added conditioner) while I'm in the shower. I absolutely love not having to clean the shower stall with harsh, smelly chemicals while trying to keep myself reasonably dry.

I really don't understand the concept of using fabric softener or dryer sheets. My clothes are soft and they don't have that yucky (to me!) Downey smell. What are dryer sheets supposed to do for you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Flylady's web site

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 12:54PM
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Dryer sheets keep my clothes static free, and they appear to greatly reduce wrinkles in my cotton things. I use 1/3 sheet per load.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 4:23PM
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Put a saucer of apple cider vinegar out on the kitchen table at night, by the morning all householod odors are gone, cigarettes, cat box, bathroom smells,etc. Also remove garbage from the kitchen before going to bed. I don't have a garbage disposal,so my vegetable peels and coffee grounds and meat scraps all go in the garbage. I do try to compost some of it, so I throw it in a corner in my yard. Come spring,I have a nice supply of free compost I can work into garden beds.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 6:00PM
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mcpeg, what a fantastic idea to make Swiffer covers out of felted wool! Can you give us more detail? I'd love to know how to make them, and how exactly to wash them, of course. Does the accumulated dog fur ever clog your washer? I use microfiber cloths to clean my bathroom floor, and I have to admit that I worry about all that cat/human hair going in the washer.

Thanks very much. :)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 12:40PM
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A good scrubbing everyday usually takes care of ring around the toilet and faucets, but it you cannot scrub everyday and do have buildup, use wet sandpaper (medium to fine) and scrub lightly with it to remove mineral accumulation.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Sandpaper? To scrub a toilet? And scrub faucets? You are kidding right?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:39PM
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No kidding. Just gently rub WET sandpaper on the ring or accumulation not the whole toilet. Be sure it is wet and it will probably take more than one sheet since the wet sheets tend to come apart.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Some sandpapers are made to be used wet, and they don't disintegrate quickly.

They have some nylon-faced scrubbers that are good at clearing surface grime, including lime build-up, if there's not too much of it, as well.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 3:06PM
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A pumice stick works wonders on many things and supposedly doesn't damage sinks, toilets and the like. You can pick them up for less than a dollar as I recall and even break them up to use part in the toilet and part elsewhere if you like. Don't use them on chrome though! Another cleaner that can do a great job is the Lime-Away. I soak a paper towel (imagine you could use a cloth but probably would need more) and let it sit on there for a few hours to loosen things up.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 5:38AM
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I have started using only baking soda, ammonia, bleach, lemon juice, peroxide, and vinegar to clean with. Baking soda is safe to use to scrub your ceramic stovetop. Just make sure you rinse and rub it off well. I follow up with window cleaner made of equal parts ammonia, alcohol, and water. Cleans it right up and shines it too!

Peroxide will remove stains from colored clothing without fading them. Oxy-clean is just powdered peroxide that is activated by water.

Lemon juice will remove stains from countertops. For any that it won't remove, just use 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and let sit awhile. If you don't like bleach, use peroxide.

Peroxide also gets blood stains out without fading clothing. You may have to let it sit overnight, then wash.

White vinegar works for the odor removal too, and it doesn't smell as strong as apple cider vinegar.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:26PM
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xantippe - if you are crafty, there are lots of patterns on the web for knit or crocheted swiffer covers.

For me, the easier option is to felt an old sweater - toss a moth ridden/worn/stained/otherwise not suitable for Goodwill wool sweater in the hot cycle of your wahsing machine with a pair of jeans or some old towels to create friction.

Once it is felted, you can just cut out a rectangle the same size as your purchased swiffers.

I have a small, short haired dog. So washing the blanket she sleeps with or a few tumbleweeds on a swiffer will mean a full lint trap on the dryer, but clogging has never been a problem for me.

If I were to collect a huge amount of dog hair, I'd probably try to pull most of it off and toss it in the trash before I washed it.

(Officially, I vacuum my wood floor then swiffer the corners and under the couch and any other places where I am too lazy to use a vacuum attachment)

Same premise as your microfiber cloths. I think my washer and dryer are up to the challenge.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 12:12PM
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I have a solar and wind powered laundry de humidification device in my back garden - for no cost, no pollution, no carbon laundry dryification through centrifugal force.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 6:52PM
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I use a hand held steamer to clean a lot of things, especially bathrooms. No nasty chemicals and no paying for any cleaning solution other than water... plus it sterilizes. It's also great at shooting dirt out from little cracks, like around the base of the toilet or around the hinges of the t. lid. It melts soap scum right off the shower walls, and is great for window cleaning too.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 4:00AM
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I love clotheslines! or the rotary kind. When I was short enough space I have been known to put a clean 2x4 between 2 ladders, lay out sheets and towels. Fond memories of living on the prairies and prying off frozen items and leaning them against the wall/furniture to finish drying. Talk about a fresh smell - nothing like it, not available in any box, fragrance - mother's natures gift.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Western pa luann, I thought I had posted a "thank you" for responding to my question about dryer sheets but I don't see it. So thank you!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:36AM
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junkyardgurl posted: "Lemon juice will remove stains from countertops. "


Lemon juice will stain marble countertops and ruin them. It the one thing they warn you about with them.

Lemon juice will whiten up grout if you have glazed ceramic tile but it will also accelerate the deterioration of the grout.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 7:19PM
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