Vinegar and Baking Soda – The Natural Drain Cleaner

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Baking soda and vinegar. Natures natural, non-toxic cleaners. I am still amazed by how well these two things together clean and deodorize. Plus they’re cheaper than commercial toxic cleaning options on the market!

When we had a funky odor that didn’t seem to want to go away in the linen closet in the new apartment we just moved into, we put a small dish of baking soda in the closet. The next morning all the odors were gone. This also works great in fridges and freezers!

When our drains get slow, we simply pour 1/4 – 1/2 Cup of baking soda down the drain.

Then follow with 1/2 Cup or more of white distilled vinegar. The vinegar and baking soda combined will fizz, helping to naturally clear drains without toxins and are safe for pipes. Let fizz for several minutes, then follow with hot water – or water you’ve brought just to a boil – down the drain to rinse free the baking soda and vinegar.

This doesn’t work on severely clogged drains or for drains with standing water. If that’s the case, you’ll need to first remove the clog. But if you do this natural baking soda and vinegar method monthly or whenever drains just start to get slow, it will help to prevent them from clogging again! Plus it’s much cheaper than buying toxic drain cleaners.

And, if you buy your baking soda in bulk from a source like Mountain Rose Herbs, you’ll save even more! You can buy a pound of baking soda from Mountain Rose Herbs for just $2.75 and use it in cooking and baking, to scrub pots and pans as well as for general household cleaning. You can even use it to make your own deodorant and toothpaste! Much cheaper than buying little boxes one at a time! (Buy more and save more! 5lb. is just $11.75.) I also buy vinegar in gallon containers locally.

Be sure to check out the article, Over 100 Ways to Use Baking Soda at Hubpages.com, for more ideas on ways to use baking soda. You may also like Good Housekeeping’s article, Spring Cleaning the DIY Way.

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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions – What’s Your Take on the Mop and Bucket?

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Now that Scott and I have settled into the new apartment, I just have to say – I had forgotten how expensive aluminum foil is. And there will be not Swiffer anything in my household. Not only is it too expensive, but SO not eco-friendly.
Libman Freedom Spray Mop from Amazon

My ex took the Swiffer with him when we split. I figured I could always buy a new one. However, when it came time to buy new cleaning supplies for the new apartment, I found I didn’t want a new Swiffer mop. Not only are the cleaning solution and pads too pricey for my new budget, but it’s a lot of waste going back into the environment. So I really gave a look at the available mops when trying to choose an alternative solution. I first tried the Libman Freedom Spray Mop as it was the closet to what I had become accustomed to after using Swiffer products for so many years. The concept seemed great – washable, re-usable pads and a canister to fill with your own cleaning solution – however, the sprayer on mine didn’t work at all and I ended up returning it. Plus, my boyfriend Scott wasn’t that fond of it for cleaning the nitty gritty and getting into corners. What he wanted was a commercial, standard run of the mill mop and bucket like they use in the restaurant where he works. So I ended up buying him a Clorox Cotton Twist Mop instead which was the closet thing I could find at Target. (Which, btw, he also hates and says would take forever to clean any kind of floor space. Guess I’ll have to find a “real” mop at Home Depot.)

Swiffer Re-Usable Pads from The Herb Companion

However, for quick cleanings lugging out a mop and bucket isn’t always the best solution. Therefore I’m kind of digging the DIY Washable Swiffer alternative from The Herb Companion. Basically you can take a Swiffer Sweeper or any similar type of sweeper or mop and create your own re-usable, washable pads with an old towel, some minor sewing and some ribbon. Then make your own Herbal Floor Cleaner by combining some liquid soap, distilled white vinegar, water, and some lavender essential oil. (The full instructions and recipe can be found at The Herb Companion.) If you’re sweetie is like mine, however, and just cannot stand the smell of lavender, try substituting the lavender essential oil with other essential oils known for their cleaning and disinfecting power such as lemon, orange, lime and tea tree oil. (Note that tea tree oil is toxic to cats if ingested.) You can find bulk, organic essential oils at Mountain Rose Herbs.

So, what solutions do you use to stay green, stay clean, and save money?

Here are some of the ideas suggested to me by friends and fans on facebook. (But I’d love to hear more so feel free to comment!)

Amazing Uses for Household Products

Books are some of the best resources. Amanda recommended to me the Amazing Uses for Household Products, 5-Book Library: Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, Lemon Juice, Salt, Vinegar.

Jennifer recommended making my own laundry soap. Now this something I have done in the past, but I really hate grating soap. Maybe I can assign this duty to my son.

Laura uses a Shark Steam Mop with washable pads. Apparently these go on sale down to about $30 around Christmas. Megzy also uses a steam mop and makes her own diy vinegar/baking soda cleaners.

Aubrey uses washcloths instead of paper towels. I actually have washable, re-usable napkins that I bought from KenilworthPlace on etsy back in 2009. (The problem is getting people to use them because “they’re so pretty.”)

I also like the diy gunk remover recipe found on Rosy Blu’s blog – it contains nothing but coconut oil and baking soda and works like Goo Gone but without the toxic irritants.

For more great tips, check out my DIY Lifestyles Tips Board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to comment with your own suggestions. I’d love to hear what you use to clean your own floors!

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Homemade Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent Recipe – For Clear Dishes Even in Hard Water!

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If you’re a regular reader of Soap Deli News, then you know by know that you can make your own diy laundry detergent that not only works great, but saves you money. But did you also know that you can make your own homemade dishwasher detergent?

Simply Designing Blog shares a handmade dishwasher detergent recipe that not only works, but works even in hard water! Her diy recipe results in clean, clear dishes – not the cloudy dishes she had before as a result of hard water. What she calls her “miracle recipe” includes borax, washing soda, salt, and Lemi Shine.

Lemi Shine is available at most major big box stores, like Target and Wal-Mart, and grocery stores, like Kroger in my area, and is made with all natural ingredients. It’s environmentally friendly and is completely free of phosphates, so you can feel good about using it. You can grab the recipe for Simply Designing’s eco-friendly dishwasher detergent here.

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A DIY clean for an OCD happy.

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When I am stressed I do the obvious things. I read, I veg in front of Netflix watching bad movies and sci-fi series that I never would have known about if not for the internet. I nap – sometimes a little too much. I try not to yell and snap at the those around me trying to be helpful when I just want to be left alone. But days like today, when my life is in complete chaos… Days like this the little things don’t help.
So it’s days like these that I clean. Yes, clean. Cleaning I guess is therapeutic for me. It’s the one thing that allows me to make everything right and put things in their place. And it could explain why there are so many people with OCD in this less than simple world.
green clean (not a meth lab)However, not only is cleaning therapeutic, but it’s also necessary. That is, unless you enjoy your bare feet sticking to the floor and maggots breeding in your fruit bowl. Cleaning, however, can also be crafty. That is if you’re making your own green and clean solutions for everything from the bathroom to the kitchen to the laundry. DIY cleaning works, it’s less expensive and it’s non-toxic.
With that I want to share an awesome collection of DIY Green Cleaning Recipes that I found at Re-Nest. There are 25 recipes for cleaning everything in your house from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room to your living room and specialty cleaning. You can grab the collection of all 25 recipes and articles here. Also be sure to check out my own recipe for making diy laundry detergent using handmade soaps.
I also recommend checking out Sew Chatty Blog for a free printable cleaning chart. It serves as a handy reminder and to do list making it easier to keep those everyday chores on task. Plus, be sure to visit Design Finch Blog if you’re looking to label your cleaners for easy organization and something far cuter than black Sharpie scribble. Not only does Design Finch offer a few additional homemade cleaning recipes, but the bottom of the article contains a handful of links to free printable labels for your handmade household cleaners. Additionally, you may also want to check out my blog article from last summer, Eco-friendly alternatives to everyday conveniences. It contains a great tutorial on crafting your own washable Swiffer cover using a loom plus re-usable and unique product ideas.

You may also be interested in these articles from Soap Deli News: DIY All Purpose Cleaner Recipe, DIY Homemade Shower Cleaner Recipe, and DIY Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions.

So what’s the skinny on you? Do you clean when you’re stressed? And what’s your favorite magic, natural combo for a green household clean?
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