Thursday, April 16, 2009


Spring is right around the corner. Before you run out and splurge on a lot of high-priced cleaning supplies, we'd like to offer some alternative suggestions. Our choices are CHEAP and ECO-FRIENDLY too. You've no doubt heard these ideas before somewhere; Heloise has been touting them for years, but hard times are the perfect time to cut back and save the planet in the bargain. After all, we are the change we've been waiting for, and Team CHEAPIOSITY wants you to save money (and the planet) not only this spring, but all year long.

Cleaning With Vinegar
White distilled vinegar is a great addition to your cleaning supplies. It works well for cutting grease and fighting odors. It's a wonderful laundry aid as it both softens water and fights odors; just add it to your rinse cycle or use as you would fabric softener. While vinegar has a strong smell, the smell dissipates fairly quickly so you don't have to worry about a residual smell. Mix white vinegar with water in a spray bottle, and use it for quick cleanups in the kitchen or as a maintenance spray in your bathroom. It's also effective for cleaning mildew. You can buy white vinegar at your local grocery store in the salad dressing section. Buy it by the gallon and don't be afraid to use it, it's a safe cleaner. Warning: Do not mix with chlorine bleach.

Cleaning With Alcohol
No, silly. Not the drinking kind, the rubbing kind...although we used to have a cleaning lady who swore by the hard stuff. While she was very happy, she tended to leave scorch marks when she ironed the shirts. Isopropyl Alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is effective in many cleaning projects. Put it in a small spray bottle and it works well for cleaning and shining chrome faucets. It also can be helpful when trying to remove ink stains from fabric and upholstery. Always pretest the alcohol in an inconspicuous spot before using on a stain. Isopropyl Alcohol can be purchased in the grocery store or the drug store. It's usually in the first aid aisle. Look for sales and save.

Cleaning With Salt
Believe it or not, salt makes a wonderful and eco-friendly cleaner. A paste of salt and vinegar will help clean tarnished brass or copper. If you spill wine or grape juice on your carpet, simply cover the stain with salt to absorb much of the stain. Soaking washable fabrics in salt water will help remove many stubborn stains. Salt can be purchased in the spice section of your grocery store. Buy in bulk and save. For cleaning purposes use plain salt, not iodized salt.

Cleaning With Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the most versatile substances you can have in your home. It makes a wonderful mild abrasive for surfaces that you want to be careful not to scratch. Just make a paste of baking soda with water. You can use it instead of Comet or other abrasive cleaners for cleaning bathroom fixtures. It works well for cleaning spots off chrome and stainless steel. It can be added to your laundry as a booster (1/2 cup should work) to help clean really dirty clothing or fight odors. Baking soda can be purchased in the baking section at your grocery store. Look for two pound boxes or bags at big box stores to save money and have plenty of it around. (Leave an open box in your refrigerator to absorb odors.)

Cleaning With Borax
Borax is an effective ingredient in many cleaning recipes and also is a good laundry booster. Anyone but us old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan hosted Death Valley Dayssponsored by BORAX? We used to have nightmares of that miniaturized 20 Mule Team running across our desk. Add one tablespoon of Borax to 1 quart of water and use it as a safe all-purpose cleaner. Dissolve 1/2 cup of Borax in a sink full of water to clean delicate dishes like fine china. Follow the directions on the box to use it as a laundry booster. If you do construction or landscaping work and have really dirty work clothes, adding Borax to your laundry helps a lot. Borax can be purchased in the laundry section at your local grocery store. Sweeten musty basement floors by sprinkling Borax around on the concrete. Just let it sit for a while, then sweep it up.

Cleaning With Washing Soda
Washing soda is often confused with baking soda but it's quite different. For starters, you don't bake with it! It's not edible. It is great as a laundry additive, to boost the cleaning of your detergent . You can make an effective scouring powder out of washing soda and baking soda. Mix 1/4 cup washing soda with 1 cup baking soda and use it as you would Comet or Ajax scouring powder. Washing soda can be purchased in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store.

Cleaning With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide works well for cleaning cuts, so it should be no surprise that it is effective for blood stains. It can have a bleaching effect so you will want to pretest it before applying it to a fabric stain. Keep a spray bottle of peroxide handy to tackle tough blood stains, even dried ones. For blood stains on carpet, pour peroxide directly on the stain and blot with clean cloth. Pretest this solution on a remnant. Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased in the first aid section of your local drug store or grocery store. Always keep a bottle on hand.

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