Continuing on with the series, I figured I'd share some of the household products we use. Much like our personal hygiene products, we make it a priority to avoid toxic or harsh chemicals as well as those that are damaging to the environment. An added bonus is that most of what we use is also dirt cheap. Yayness!
So let's start with cleaners. Vinegar. Baking Soda. Yup, that's about it. Seriously though- I have a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water. I use that for the laminate floors, glass, kitchen and bathroom. I use baking soda for stuck on grime or anything that needs a little extra scrubbing power. I've found they work just as good as most commercial cleaners; they just require a little more elbow grease. But really, who out there is adverse to burning a few extra calories? Vinegar is antibacterial, so it's a great replacement for bleach and other harsh chemicals.
I also make our own laundry detergent. I make 5 gallons at a time and it only costs a couple of bucks per batch. Here is the recipe I use:
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half way with hot water.
Add 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 1/2 Borax and stir until dissolved.
Grate 1 bar of soap (we use a castille soap with tea tree oil)
Heat a pot of water on the stove and gradually stir in the soap flakes until completely dissolved.
Mix into bucket.
Fill the rest of the way with hot water.
Let sit for 24 hours.
Stir before each use
That's it! We have an old plastic detergent dispenser that we fill with our soap so that we don't have to get the big heavy bucket out each time. I think the original recipe said to fill the dispenser with half soap half water, but Joey gets really sweaty so we've always just used our double strength (it still lasts forever, so why not?). This works great for us. Joey has a reaction to some detergents so this is a good option. We used in on Perrin's newborn clothes and I even use it on our cloth diapers. If I need to get something extra clean (like dingy whites or stripping the diapers) I just do a prewash with some vinegar and baking soda (you can also add a little Borax if you have hard water).
Another thing we try to limit is our consumption of paper products. We still use toilet paper (so far...) but Perrin's diapers are all cloth. We also don't buy paper towels. I have a ton of rags made of cut up t-shirts that we didn't want anymore and we use those to clean up day to day messes. We even stopped buying paper coffee filters and got a reusable metal one.
The few things we do still buy are hand-soap, dishwasher detergent, and dish-soap. I have found some good recipes to try to make our own, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. But we like the money we save and it's nice that I don't have to worry about Perrin or the animals being affected by any of the products. And did I mention how cheap vinegar and baking soda are?!