Cheap Momma’s Guide to Parenting:Home-made Edition
(Or Cheap Momma’s Guide to Home-making)
Entry 1: Cleaning up your cleaning supplies
I’m cheap. Really I am. I’m not ashamed. Being frugal is almost a driving force for me. So it was only a matter of time before the cheapness and the homestead began to coincide.
A couple of years ago, I was walking through my friendly neighborhood Target to pick up some cleaning supplies. I circled the aisles and could find nothing that was a) REALLY environmentally friendly, while also being b) budget friendly. $14 for laundry detergent that lasts 25 loads? Wait. You mean like 2 weeks, maybe? Hells nah. I’ll hire somebody to do laundry for me before I pay that price.
I left the way I’d entered: empty-handed.
But not without a new fervor for taking this whole home-making thing in a new direction. You can keep your $14 laundry detergent and $8 spray. Honey, I’m making my own and at literally a fraction of the cost. (No, this is not an infomercial. Don’t get scared.)
So I got really into it. I hit up some websites. I talked to my more crunchy-granola friends. I even bought some books. (On addall.com, mind you, where you get the cheapest possible price and most titles have used copies). The book that I recommend most highly, in case you are just dying to know, is called “Make Your Place” by Raleigh Briggs. There are literally recipes for everything in this book, I paid around $3 for it, and you can even leave out the more expensive ingredients, if you’re into that sort of thing. Score.
The first item I sought to utilize was a basic household cleanser. At the time, my oldest kiddo was still pretty young and in that “let’s pull everything out of the cabinets to investigate whether it’s edible” stage, and, pregnant with Eagle baby 2, I knew the next one would quickly hit that stage. My motivation was to make something that if ingested would likely taste disgusting but need not be something to call Poison Control over.
What I have found in my years of making my own cleaners and obtaining virtually zero store-bought cleansers, was that you can probably start immediately with things already lying around your house. The items I use mostly are:
-apple cider vinegar
-Dr. Bronner’s soap (occasionally)
I’ll start us out on the simplest of the cleaners: The Cheap Momma’s End-All Cleaner.
You’ll need very few things for this:
1. Water (just regular ol’ faucet water. Don’t get fancy on me.)
2. White vinegar (the kind in a huge jug for $1.24)
3. Spray bottle (typically from Dollar General or the likes. Avoid Wal-Mart like the plague, though, mkay? And maybe reuse one of your old ones)
And that’s all. Seriously. Vinegar is an acetic acid that basically breaks down left-over food, anything you’d use goo-gone on (think anything a kid touches), and, though it’s not got the reputation for having the best scent, magically removes odors.
So all you do with the water and vinegar, then, is mix equal parts of each in a spray bottle, shake ‘er up, and get to cleaning. It sounds simple, because it is, but it is so rewarding. To know you can utilize the same bottle of cleaner for at least a month, that you made a safe cleaner yourself AND you spent a fraction of a “normal” cleaner’s price, is incredibly satisfying and empowering. And who can’t use a little empowerment now and again?
And now, for the typical Cheap-Momma How-To:
1. Look around and notice how disgusting your house really is. When was the last time you scrubbed off your refrigerator? Or under your stove? Ew. Or your bathroom tile. You so nasty.
2. Get dressed. Because let’s face it. It’s 12:30pm and you still have not had time to put on clothes. But to leave the house, I strongly suggest it.
3. Head to Target, Dollar General, or, even better, somewhere locally owned like BlackHawk Hardware or a local drug store. Those do still exist, right?
4. Pick up a gallon of white vinegar, which should last a month or so, depending on how gross you are and a spray bottle. You’ve got water at home, silly.
5. Walk out victoriously.
6. Head home to pour 2 clear liquids into 1 spray container and shake well.
7. Talk one of your kids, nieces, nephews, spouse/partner/lover into cleaning something for you because, hey. You got dressed and made the damn stuff. Least they can do is put it to good use.
So there you go, moms, dads, and curious folks of all ages. An incredibly cheap way to clean your kitchen. Stay tuned. You never know where the cheapness will lead.