Monday, August 9, 2010

cleaning products: homemade vs. store bought (with recipes!!)

Just some housekeeping info: For those of you new to the blog, Sunday is my day of I generally post something like a verse or the words to a favorite song/poem. I try to keep this special for Sundays, though I digress occasionally. The other 6 days are filled with everything from my deals for the day to free sample lists to my ramblings on family. Just so you know:)....

Isn't it the golden rule of tightwads to make everything from scratch? To grow your food, raise your own animals and sew your clothes? I guess that depends on perspective. I have several "homesteading" friends, and many more who want to be. At times, I am one of the wannabes, but at other times, I want to pick up the phone and call Papa Johns. You might say I am a bit schizophrenic on this one. For example, I almost always use vinigar in water to clean my floors and windows...but if I get windex free with a coupon, it's in my cleaning cupboard. I love my little garden spot-such as it is- but I have no issues eating processed food, either. I have made some pretty awesome handstitched clothing...but the reality is, I can't make it for less than the 50 cents I often pay at yardsales.

And you know what? Every single one of my homesteader friends that I've talked to about this subject tell me that it's great and relaxing in theory but it's "work your booty off" and stressful in reality. I think there is a different balance for all of us. I'd love to have your comments on this subject! The following is an article by Jenny from It's a good one! Enjoy:

"With the dawn of the modern age came prepackaged, perfumed household cleaners modeled by a skinny woman in an apron with perfectly manicured nails (you’ve seen the commercials). Some say that it is more economical to make your own, but as we all know, using coupons and searching for freebies can result in some killer deals on these oh so convenient products. Even so, there are some who stick to their guns and mix up huge batches of homemade cleaners.

Well, we’ve done the leg work for you. Here is a cost comparison of some recent sale prices (taken from our Best Prices List) and some simple home recipes for basic products. However, it is difficult to tell you which system will be best for you and your family. Really only you can make that decision. First take a moment to assess your situation, and then check out the price comparison.

A few things to consider:

Are you buying because you need the product right now or are you just trying to stock up because you found a great sale?

Are you trying to avoid harsh chemicals due to sensitive skin?

Are you looking to “go green?”

Are you more comfortable knowing the exact ingredients in your products?

Are you looking to save time, or do you have time to spare?

Are you going to use extra gas running around for the deal, or could you just as easily use something you already have stocked in your pantry?

Do you have coupons in your stash for the component ingredients?

Consider that most of these recipes make large quantities, as opposed to small bottles of cleaner in the store.

Basic ingredients
The comparisons below are assuming you bought the product at regular price, but don’t forget that you can use couponing to get even better deals on the components of homemade cleaners, making them even cheaper! Keep this list handy so you can stock up.

vinegar – $2 for 1 gallon
baking soda – $0.75 per box
washing soda – $3.79 for 55 oz. box
rubbing alcohol – $0.97 for 32 oz.
hydrogen peroxide – $0.67 for 16 oz.
gentle soaps (Ivory, pure castile) – $1-$3
borax – $4.65 for 76 oz.
plastic spray bottles

Laundry Detergent
Recent Sale Prices:
Bi-Lo – Purex Liquid Laundry Detergent, 50 oz., $1.49 ($.05/load)
Bloom – All Liquid Detergent, 50 oz., $1.99 ($.06/load)
Kroger – Surf Powder 40 ld 99¢ ($.02/load)
HEB – Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent, 50 oz., $2.02 ($.06/load)
Winn Dixie – Xtra Laundry Detergent, 35-44 load liquid, $1.99 ($.05/load)

Homemade Recipe 1:
Mix 1 cup Ivory soap,
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads = $0.05-0.10/load

Homemade Recipe 2:
1 cup castile liquid soap (Dr. Bronner’s or Mountain Rose Herbs are good choices)
2 cups water
1/3 cup salt
1 cup, baking soda or washing soda
1 cup vinegar

Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads = $0.05-0.10/load

Additional Considerations: may be gentler on sensitive skin, environmentally friendly; if you can’t make it out to the store or can’t find a sale, you can mix this up for a comparable price at home

Fabric Softeners
Recent Sale Prices:
HEB – Arm & Hammer Fabric Softener Sheets, 144 ct., $2.29 ($.015/load)
Bi-Lo – Arm and Hammer Dryer Sheets, 100ct., $1.50 ($.015/load)
Harris Teeter – Arm & Hammer 100 ct. Dryer Sheets 99¢ (4/22) ($.01/load)
Publix – Snuggle Fabric Softener, 32 oz., Free

Homemade Recipe:
1 cup baking soda
6 cups distilled white vinegar
8 cups water
10-15 drops orange essential oils (optional) or lemon essential oils (optional)
Use 1 cup per load in final rinse cycle.

Cost for Homemade: $0.06/load

Additional Considerations: no fragrances or harsh chemicals, if you can’t make it out to the store or can’t find a sale, you can use this as a substitute"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recipes!

    My theory about "homesteading" is do what you can and not stress about it.

    I bake my own bread and, recently, started making yogurt. Tried making cleaning solutions but wasn't worth it.

    We have a garden, but if it doesn't pan out, it's okay because we've got the grocery, farmer's market and a CSA (community supported agriculture) share. So I can get plenty of veggies to can and store.

    I can because it's a family tradition and I do believe it's healthier. But I only do what I can with my hectic schedule and then eat fresh or frozen veggies from the store for what I can't do at home.

    I say do what's right for you and not stress too much about the rest.