One of the best ways to save money and create a safe home environment is to multi-purpose some of the ingredients and materials you already use for eating and cleaning. This allows you to buy key items in bulk to save money, and also limits your family’s exposure to dangerous chemical compounds – after all if you make your own detergent, you know there’s no hidden nasty surprises. My last post on how to save money with cleaning supplies made me totally rethink this idea. If we are buying in bulk, why not let that bulk be even more bulky and purposeful. Sounded a bit difficult to read I know.
Here’s an example. Soap is essentially a combination of three oils. Olive, coconut, and Shea Butter are the best that I am aware of – if that’s wrong please leave me a message and I’ll credit you and of course update the article. You could just as easily use sunflower oil, rice bran oil, and palm oil, much cheaper, add some lovely dried herb from the garden. Lavender works well but many dislike it – the herbs you add are unimportant and all about personal preference which makes your own soap all the better. You could even use the same scents and plants you grow in your home. With trial and error you’ll get exactly what you want.
A wonderful recipe I recently came across from thenerdyfarmwife.com:
1lb coconut oil
2 & 1/4lb olive oil
1/2 lb of Lye
1lb ounces distilled water
Oatmeal – as much as you like, I would add 5-6 ounces.
You might like to add honey or another flavour, I think honey and oatmeal is a good mix.
This looks lovely from creativemeinspiredyou.com
You can really get technical and make beautiful soap. An example would be practical ‘soap on a rope’ – very nice and a lovely way to cheaply decorate your home.
Understand what’s available to go green
General shopping outlets have expanded their product ranges to provide products with more and more specific applications. This is great for them because it creates new markets and more turnover. For the consumer, however, it is more expensive because you need more and more products that do fewer and fewer tasks. These products cost you money, take up valuable space in your cabinets, and are often under utilised because they have such specific applications that the prepackaged quantities are much more than you need.
As pointed out above with making soap, all of the ingredients with the exception of maybe Lye, have dozens of practical uses. The best advice if you don’t want to make your own is look at what cleaning detergents you can multi purpose.
Save money by using multi purpose items
Lime and scale removal products are a good example. These products do a great job of removing mineral deposits from your sinks, showers, glassware, and faucets, but that’s all they do. If you purchased white vinegar in a half-gallon jug, you could use it to remove scale as well as the professional products, but it would also be a great multi purpose ingredient that could be used to clean your floors, counters, and coffee pot, as well as polish chrome, kill weeds, treat bee stings, reduce the discomfort of sunburn, and much more. This image speaks a thousand words, and shows all practical uses for vinegar.
Products like baking soda, salt, dental floss, wood soap, toothpaste, clothespins, olive oil, mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and lemon juice, can be used in many useful and inexpensive ways to stretch your dollar and limit your exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Reduce Your Exposure to Caustic Chemicals
It’s not uncommon to be confronted with an evening news segment warning against the hazards of using substances that you’ve trustingly brought your home. As medical research explores the ways that complex chemical compounds affect our health, our collective idea of what’s safe continues to evolve.
Sometimes that means being confronted with the fact that we’ve inadvertently put ourselves at risk. Exploring ways to use basic, natural ingredients creatively is a good method for keeping our families and the planet safer. This sign in a commercial warehouse, it’s not a gimmick!
This really is about the environment, and while we are on the subject, about your environmentally friendly decoration as well. The next time you reach for the furniture polish, spot remover, air freshener, silver polish, copper cleaner, scale remover, bug spray, weed killer, or carpet shampoo, think about whether or not you already have the ingredients you need to do that household job. A little vinegar or lemon juice might serve just as well.
Rethinking your choices will save you money, and save your family needless exposure to caustic and possibly dangerous substances. Not only that, but reduced packaging and chemical waste in landfills is good for everyone.