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Tue, Oct. 22

Practical Saver: Make your own cleaning supplies for spring spruce-up

Let the spring cleaning begin! But before you allocate a lot of cash for cleaning supplies, take a moment to consider some homemade options. These win-win alternatives will accomplish your goal of having a sparkling home, as well as save you an incredible amount of money in the process.

Making your own cleaning supplies will not only save time and money, but the environment as well. To keep things simple and cost effective when making cleaning recipes, I select only options that use common ingredients such as borax, washing soda, vinegar, dish soap, lemon juice and baking soda. When purchased on sale, many cleaners are around $1/bottle. In contrast, a bottle of homemade All Purpose Cleaner can be made for less than $.05; a bottle of Window Cleaner for less than $.15; and Homemade laundry detergent can cost $5 for the entire year. I encourage you to investigate making your own cleaning products as they can be much safer for you as the consumer (without all the chemicals) and the environment. And did I mention... they are also very easy to make! Visit www.PracticalSaver.com to explore a variety of recipes that I've already researched and use on a regular basis in my home. And of course, use your search engine on the web to find other ideas that meet your needs.

An area that can benefit from Spring cleaning is the showers. We enjoy our homemade shower cleaner recipe that uses 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, and 3 Tbsp. dish soap. Place all ingredients in a spray bottle for easy removal of normal dirt and shower residue. For an extra boost, sprinkle baking soda on the floors prior to spraying the vinegar mixture. Let the soda and sprayed on mixture sit for 5 - 10 minutes before scrubbing. There are times, however, when you need even more intervention. For showers that are in incredibly tough shape, use odorless Oven Cleaner. Spray it on the walls, let it sit for a half hour and then scrub and rinse. Be prepared to be amazed!

In the kitchen, an appliance that is used often but tends to get overlooked is the microwave. Vinegar is the answer to this cleaning dilemma. Simply fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, and then cook on high for two minutes. Next, use the vinegar water mixture and a sponge or dishcloth to wipe the food off of the walls of the microwave.

Spring is also a time to hit your closet. My article last week talked about how to recycle clothing by taking them to second hand and consignment resale stores. Whether you are keeping or reselling the items, this is a good time to make sure every piece is in good shape. Do a quick inventory and check under the arms to see if there are any armpit stains lurking. A problem on many shirts is the dark stains that appear in the armpit area. Inconveniently, the effects of deodorant and perspiration stains can be tough to remove, but here is a recipe that works wonders on these stains.

Armpit Stain Remover

1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid

2 - 3 teaspoons hydrogen peroxide

1 - 2 teaspoons baking soda

(Using an old toothbrush, work the mixture into the stain. Let sit for approximately an hour, and then launder as usual.)

With other problem areas, pre-treating a stain on your clothes will increase the likelihood that it will be removed when laundered.

A fabulous fabric pre-treatment is a moistened bar of Fels Naptha. Fels Naptha is a key ingredient in the homemade laundry detergent that our family uses. It is a bar of soap that can be found for around a dollar in the cleaning isle at most grocery, hardware and discount stores. Simply moisten a corner of the bar and rub it directly on the stain.

Give these tips and recipes a try, then sit back and enjoy Spring with the cleaning behind you!

Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three, has lived in Prescott Valley for 17 years. Kara's website www.PracticalSaver.com helps make shopping simple and savings possible.

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