Cleaning Your House for Less This Spring

By ERIN TURNER

Hooray, for spring!   I’m so anxious to open the windows, shake out the rugs and clean, clean, clean!  When my home is clean and organized, my family knows there will be peace throughout the land!  But, wow, you can spend a fortune on cleaning products in order to wash away winter’sgrime!

Now, the stores (check out CVS, Target and Walgreens this week) are having good sales all this month on cleaning products and matched with coupons you can save a bundle.

But this week, I thought I’d share some money saving ideas for spring cleaning and organizing which go beyond commercial products.

Homemade Cleaning Products

Here are some ideas and recipes for homemade cleaners which cost pennies and may be much healthier for your family and the environment!

Window Cleaner: Fill an old bucket with warm water, a splash of ammonia and a tiny squirt of dish soap.  Use an old rag to wash then use an old cloth diaper to dry.  (This is my tried and true method for crystal clear windows!)

Bathtub and Toilet Scrub: Mix equal parts baking soda and borax. Wet the surface before you dust this mix and scrub with a brush.  (Makes porcelain gleam like new!)

All Purpose Cleaner: 1) Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent and water. 2) Lately, I’ve been using a spray bottle filled with water and ¼ cup of ammonia as my everyday cleaner.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap – Front or Top Load Machine

I’ve come across lots of different homemade laundry soap recipes but I like this one from the Duggar Family (you know the family with 20 kids?!)

4  Cups – hot water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar (in laundry aisle)
1 Cup – Arm-Hammer Super Washing Soda (in laundry aisle)
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

– Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

– Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (It will gel.)

– Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled.  Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

– Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

– Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

– Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

– Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Don’t forget with the warmer weather and sunshine, you may be able to save $20-30 per month on your power bill by hanging your clothes on a line outside instead of using your dryer.  Yes, the cloths may be a little stiff. If that bothers you, just run them a few minutes in the dryer before hanging or folding.  No need for dryer sheets, because the clothes will smell like the warm, summer sunshine already!

De-clutter and Organize as You Clean

Spring cleaning is a great time to take stock of everything you have, organize it and get rid of what you don’t use.  As you go through your items, sort items you will no longer use into categories:

  • Items to re-purpose

Check out the Reuse It blog on MakeItMissoula.com for some inspiration!

  • Items to donate

Goodwill, Secret Seconds, Bargain Corner, Teen Challenge are few of my favorite thrift stores in Missoula.

  • Items to sell

One of our family’s favorite activities in the spring is our annual Garage Sale.  A great way to purge our entire house of unnecessary items and the money we make is put in an envelope for our family vacation fund or to purchase something our whole family will enjoy!

There are endless tips online for cleaning your home and making homemade cleaning products.  Spring cleaning and maintaining an organized home doesn’t have to cost a lot.  With a little ingenuity and a little elbow grease, your home can quickly be ready to welcome spring and summer while not leaving your wallet feeling light and airy!

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Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It”archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.