Listen to Your Grandma...

My Grandma said it first. She really did. She told me ways to be frugal... but did I listen... "Nooooooooo."

And here I am, realizing that she was right all along.

Okay, it's not that I thought my Grandma was wrong.... but maybe it's realizing that I'm going to implement a few ideas she had suggested to me, oh, about 8 years ago.

I was a newlywed and thought I knew what I wanted. This is coming from someone who wasn't much of a cook, a cleaner, or well, much of anything :)

I guess maybe now that I'm older and hopefully a little wiser that I'm more humble to the input of others.

My Grandma has lots of great ideas. She really does. Sometimes I deviate from the most cost effective suggestions because I need to do what's best for my family and that can be a little more costly because of the convenience, etc. But there is a season for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes)... and hopefully this is a season for me to be more thrifty in ways I can be.

So, I'm going "old-school" on some cleaning products... Here's what I'm going with: baking soda, vinegar, lemons, castile soap, borax, and if I can find it, washing soda.

I found some good recipes online on how to turn these normal, inexpensive products into some serious "green", mean, cleaning machines.

Plus, this way I can not only cut costs but not be concerned about the chemicals that my kids would be coming into contact with.

I found these natural cleaning recipes online at

Alice’s Wonder Spray All-Purpose Household Cleaner

Ingredients: Liquid Castile soap, white distilled vinegar, borax, purified water, and an essential oil for fragrance.

What Else You’ll Need: A clean 16-oz. trigger spray bottle.

How to Make Your Own:

Mix 2 tbsp. of vinegar with 1 tsp. borax .
Fill the rest of the bottle with very hot water.
Shake until the borax is dissolved.
Add the 1/4 cup of liquid soap or.
To scent, add 10 to 15 drops of an essential oil.

I like to use a combination of lavender and lemon. Because minerals in the water inhibit cleaning, it's best to use purified or distilled water especially for this recipe. It's important to dissolve the borax in hot water so that it doesn't clog the spray nozzle. And don't mix the soap and vinegar directly together, because the soap will clump up. Please follow the order of the recipe by mixing the vinegar, borax, and water first and adding the soap last.

How to Use:

Spray and Wipe. Use Alice's Wonder Spray as you would any other all-purpose household cleaner.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Dishwashing liquids:

1/4 cup soap flakes
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup glycerin
1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil

1) In bowl combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Cool to luke warm.

2) Stir in the glycerin and the essential oil, leave to cool. As it cools it will form a loose gel. Stir with a fork and break up the gel and then pour into a narrow-necked bottle. An old shampoo bottle makes an excellent container.

3) To use, squirt 3 teaspoonfuls into hot running water.

Liquid castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

1) Fill a clean 22-ounce plastic squirt bottle with castile soap (diluted according to directions if using concentrate).
2) Add the essential oils.
3) To use, squirt 3 teaspoonfuls into hot running water.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Automatic Dishwasher Detergent:

1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 drops tea tree extract (or oil)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Baking Soda

Mix together all ingredients except the Baking soda. Store in squeeze bottle. Use 1 Tbsp. in the first cycle and 1 Tbsp. in the automatic soap dispenser for standard size dishwasher. Sprinkle a handful of baking soda over dirty dishes and in the bottom of your dishwasher to absorb odors and boost cleaning power at the start.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Oven Cleaner:

1 quart warm water
2 teaspoons borax
2 tablespoons liquid soap

Spray on solution, wait 20 minutes, then clean.

Baking soda

Combine one cup of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Apply it to your oven surfaces, and let it stand a short while. Use the scouring pad for scrubbing the surfaces. A spatula or bread knife is helpful for getting under large food deposits. This recipe will require some elbow grease, but it is not toxic to you or a child.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Microwave Cleaner:

1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
5-6 drops thyme, lemongrass, or lemon essential oil

Combine all ingredients to make a paste. Apply to the walls and floor of the microwave with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse well and leave the microwave door open ot air-dry for about 25-minutes.

1 cup water
1 quart warm water
1/4 cup baking soda

To loosen dried-on food, put 1 cup water in a microwavable cup and heat in the microwave until it boils; turn off the microwave and let the water sit for 1 minute. Dissolve baking soda in 1 quart warm water and, using a sponge or cloth, wash the interior of the microwave with this solution to clean and deodorize it.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Kitchen Floor Cleaner:

1) A pencil eraser removes heel marks from a floor.

2) For greasy, no-wax floors:

1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup washing soda
1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap
2 gallons hot water

Combine all ingredients, stirring well to dissolve the washing soda. Mop as usual.

In a bucket mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1-gallon hot water.
This is safe for hardwood, linoleum, tile, and any washable surface.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Appliance Cleaner:

2 cups water
1/4 cup oil-based soap
10 drops rosemary, lavender, or citrus essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray generously on appliance surface and wipe with a damp cloth or sponge. Wipe dry with a cloth or towel.

1 teaspoon borax
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups hot water

Combine in a spray bottle. Shake to mix and dissolve borax. Spray on appliances and wipe off with a soft cloth or sponge.

Make Your Own Cleaning Recipes for the Bathroom

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Disinfectant Spray:

2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Tea Tree Oil
1/4 tsp. Lavender Oil

Combine and store in a spray bottle. Shake occasionally. Use where ever a disinfectant spray is needed.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Tub and Tile Cleaner:

1 2/3 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid soap
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup water
a few drops of Tea tree essential oil

Mix soda and soap. Add water, then add vinegar and oil. Store in a squirt-top bottle and shake before using. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving a residue.


Combine 1/2 cup baking soda with enough vegetable-oil-based liquid soap to make a frosting-like mixture.
Add 15 drops of Tea tree oil .

Scoop the mixture onto a sponge and scrub the bathtub, sinks, Formica countertops or shower stall. Rinse.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

Pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet and toss in a handful of baking soda to soak about 10 minutes.

Swish with toilet brush.

Mix enough borax and lemon juice into a paste which can cover the entire ring.
Flush toilet to wet the sides, and then rub on paste.
Let sit for 2 hours and scrub thoroughly.

For less stubborn toilet bowl rings, sprinkle baking soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Mirror Cleaner:

1-1/2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup water
8 drops citrus essential oil of choice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before use. Spray solution onto mirror and wipe with a dry cloth or towel.

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups warm water

Put all ingredients in a large spray bottle. Shake well to dissolve the cornstarch. To use, spray liberally on the mirror, wipe with a clean cloth. Buff to a streak free shine with a wadded up piece of newspaper.

Make Your Own Cleaning Recipes for the Laundry

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Fabric Softener:

2 cups baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups water.

Mix these ingredients and use 1/4 cup per load in the final rinse.

1 gallon vinegar
20 drops lavender essential oil

Add the lavender essential oil to the vinegar right in the container and you've got instant fabric softener. Shake well before using. For a large load, add 1 cup during the rinse cycle; use 1/2 cup during the rinse cycle for smaller loads.

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Dryer Sheets:

½ part lavender essential oil
½ part benzoin essential oil (absolute resin)
small dropper bottle
1 scrap of cotton cloth (about 4 inches square)

Make base essential oil by mixing the two oils in equal amounts into a small dropper bottle. Shake well. Label.


Take 10-15 4-inch cloths and put 4-5 drops of essential oil base on each one. Put into an airtight container that you can easily get your hand into to take one out at a time as needed for the dryer.

Use as you would a normal dryer sheet. The airtight container will help hold the scent in the dryer sheets instead of just dissipating out into the room and leaving the dryer sheet less scented. Leave the additional essential oil base that you have left to easily make more are you need them.

15 drops of spearmint
12 drops of lavender

Put this mixture on a clean cloth and then fold the cloth several times.
Wrap another cloth around that and toss into the dryer!  

Make Your Own Natural Healthy Laundry Detergent:

1 ounce liquid castile soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar

Fill washer with water and add each ingredient in the order given. Launder as usual.


weebobnsuz said…
washing soda is making a comeback!!! Around here, Harris Teeter always has it, and I've recently seen it at both Walmart and Target. We love it!
weebobnsuz said…
dude. that's from Suzy Ivy... not Bob... somehow I'm logged in as him, but he would never comment about washing soda.

Popular posts from this blog

Saying Goodbye to my friend Celinda

Rub-A-Dub Dub... 3 boys in a tub.

When you can’t outrun the diagnosis