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Have you heard the one about the homeschooling family that lives on less than $22K a year in an area that costs above 100% (116%) of the National CoL Index?

I haven't quite figured out why so many people still persist in perpetuating the myth that living on a single income and homeschooling on a dime aren't possible. I can only suppose these are people who can't imagine life without a daily trip to Starbucks and dinner out several times a week. The people who actually shop at malls (*shudder*) and think "Brand Name = Best". The people who really live by the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

That? Would not be us!

Welcome to our world. We cook from scratch. Buy from thrift stores. Find 95% of our homeschool materials for free. This is my blog and this is how we do it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Five for Free (3)

My five favorite cleaning supplies "recipes" - go green and save money. :)

Disinfectant spray: combine 2 teaspoons borax*, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 to 4 cups hot water in a spray bottle. (If you need "extra" cleaning power, you can add 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap**.)

Air Freshener: combine 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Spritz in the air whenever needed.

Glass Cleaner: combine 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap in a 1 quart spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. Shake well. Spray on lightly, then wipe with crumbled newspapers. (Yes, the newspaper really works, if you've never tried it. We don't subscribe to the paper, but we get a few free local/neighborhood ones delivered once a week and I'll sometimes pick up free copies at the store.)

All purpose cleaner: Combine 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons borax and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a 1 quart spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with very hot water. Shake well. (You can add more borax for tougher cleaning jobs.)

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet. Let stand for several hours or overnight. Scrub and flush. (If you need "extra" cleaning power here, you can add 1/4 cup vinegar to the borax.)

Honorable mention - for every day dusting, a lightly dampened cloth does the trick - no spray-on "polish" needed. For extra polishing, combine olive oil and vinegar in equal parts. Pour a small amount on a soft cloth and buff. If you use too much polish, just use a dry cloth to wipe off.

*borax can be found in the laundry detergent aisle.

**liquid soap - I have seen many recipes for liquid soap, but they often call for odd or expensive ingredients. The one I've tried before is this: Save all the little bits and pieces of leftover bar soap until you have 1 cup full. Make sure they are fully dried out and then grind them to a fine powder in your blender. Pour one cup of boiling water over the soap and stir until the powder is dissolved. This can be stored in a pump dispenser or squeeze top bottle. In our house, however, it takes forever to build up to a full cup of soap pieces because we tend to use them until there's barely anything left. Generally, I simply buy the generic liquid soap from Dollar General.

PS - Don't forget to label your bottles! :)


Anonymous Anna said...

I just wanted to say I am glad you have taken the time to help all of us out with your wisdom. My childrren are grown but I know many homeschooling families and so will pass on your site to many and ideas to the ones without internet. I though, have gotten many new ideas in your homemaking and frugal buying and cooking thoughts. Thankyou.

June 23, 2007 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

You are a treasure trove of wisdom, thank you!

Might you have any suggestions for a replacement for bleach (for disinfecting purposes)? I would like to not use it anymore, but want to be able to kill germs during sicknesses, etc. Thank you.

June 24, 2007 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

Sorry, I just noted one of your sprays says "disinfectant". Do you think this will be enough to kill germs? Thanks again.

June 24, 2007 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Just Me, Jenni said...

Thank you, Anna! :)

Mrs. L - Borax is a disinfectant. (As is vinegar, actually.) You can increase the amount of borax in your spray if you feel it necessary. I use the disinfectant spray on my kitchen counters and bathroom sinks for a quick daily clean (and wipe-down after cooking a meal) and then for the weekly "big" clean where I actually remove everything from the counters and clean them more carefully, I use the all-purpose cleaner, which has more vinegar.

This is enough to kill the germs, without using bleach.

I also spritz our kitchen garbage can with the spray, and occasionally use it in the bathroom garbage cans as well. I have also used it lightly in my son and husband's running shoes and spritzed it on the shower curtain.

I wonder if calling it a "spray" is misleading? I don't ever just spray it in the air for "odor" purposes. For that I use the air freshener.

June 24, 2007 at 2:01 PM  

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