Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Frugal Friday: (Almost) All You Need is Vinegar

You know what I love about green cleaning?  It's generally pretty cheap and lazy.  You buy a few cheap products in bulk and then, ta da!  Clean house.  Or at least cleaning products available should you decide to clean house.

I'm a big fan of Clorox Cleaning Wipes (on sale and in bulk--we have a baby and my husband is a messy cook. It doesn't matter if it's flour or animal blood--it's going to be spilled on the counter tops) because they're easy, but when I do take the extra second or two to grab a washrag out of a drawer I usually use vinegar mixed with a little water in a spray bottle.  One gallon of vinegar usually lasts us a month or so for both cooking and cleaning.

So, you take your spray bottle of vinegar and use it on your counter tops*, your shower walls, your stove top, your table, your mirrors and windows, and your high chair.  Then you wipe it off.  Then the vinegar smell goes away after a few minutes.  That's my favorite part.  No trees, no lemons, no luaus lingering in the air hours after you've stopped cleaning but your eyes still burn.  Just cleanliness.

One gallon of vinegar is (I think) around $3ish.  Sorry to be imprecise, but looking for this online was challenging.  Just get the store brand and go wild with all  your cleaning needs.

Borax is amazing.  Just google it to find all about its glorious cleaning properties.  We don't have the time or space over here.  I should totally do (another) all-borax-all-the-time post in the very near future.  For now, let me just say that I use it to clean the toilet (just shake the box in there and then scrub after you ignore it for a while) and the shower.  To clean the shower, I just shake some onto a scrubber and rub it on the walls and floor of the tub WHILE WEARING GLOVES.  I can't emphasize the gloves part enough.  Borax is a heavy metal and I've eased up on using it so much since Evelyn came along.  A box of borax lasts us around 6 months and costs a little more than $10 (I think).

That's pretty much it for me.  I use Bar Keeper's Friend for polishing the sink and bathtub, but borax works just as well.  I probably won't buy another container once this one runs out. 

Salt is also a pretty good grime-destroyer because it's abrasive.  It rinses easily because really hot water just dissolves it and sometimes I use it in our bathtub. I know I'm talking about the bathtub a lot.  It gets grimy pretty easily because I use conditioner and lotion, and then Cody comes home covered in cooking grease.  If I can keep the bathtub pretty clean, the occasional (every other week or so) spray of vinegar or a wipe-down with a Clorox wipes takes care of everything.

I know this all looks really lazy, but I think it's a smart move.  We keep a jug of bleach on hand for some kind of worst-case supergerm scenario, but all we generally need is to keep things clean. They don't have to be completely sterile and we don't need a glass cleaner and a stove top cleaner and a bathtub cleaner--especially because all of those products choke me up a little.  If I can save some money and space under the sink while avoiding an asthma attack, I'll totally take the lazy way out.

*Don't use vinegar on marble surfaces because it eats away at things.  But I'm guessing if you have marble counter tops, you're probably not too concerned with frugal cleaning.  Sorry to stereotype you.

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