Archive | June 2013

Save Money (and a Long Drive to Town) With Home Made Cleaning Products

Where we live, it's a long trip to the grocery store – when we run out of something, it simply goes on a list. When the list is long enough or the need outweighs the waiting – you go buy the stuff on the “list”. So, partly because of this and partly because I am a do-it-yourself'er, I am always on the alert for simple ways to skip a few aisles at the grocery store. I had so many comments on the window washing solution in my last post, I thought I would share a few of the other cleaning products that I make and use. Be on the watch for future posts – there are a lot that I will post at a later date.

 

Ever used the product that you drop into your garbage disposal to clean it up and make it smell better? I have – it works great. One type makes this blue foam that swells up into the sink – when it disappears down the drain, your disposal is clean. But if you have a lemon, some white vinegar and an ice cube tray, you can make your own cleaner for mere pennies. Simply slice the lemon into small pieces (including the rind), and drop them into an ice cube tray. Fill with vinegar and freeze. When your disposal needs a cleaning, use a couple cubes with the water running.

 

Counter cleaner is another favorite. This homemade product smells great, costs very little and kills germs! We use one gallon of distilled water, 2 teaspoons of washing soda (this is not baking soda – look for washing soda!) 1 teaspoon liquid soap, and 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil. For years I have used a combination of tea tree oil, lavender oil, thyme oil and lemon oil. The antibacterial qualities of these essential oils will help keep your counters clean and germ free. You end up with a gallon of wonderful spray cleaner that will last a long time!

This laundry soap recipe has been shared by many – but just in case you missed it – this one works great! There are two ways to make the detergent – and I prefer the “dry” version because of the amount of storage space the “wet” version requires. Figured I didn't need to store “water”! I simply combine one and a half cups of washing soda with a half cup of borax. Then add one bar of either Fels Naptha soap (grated) or one bar of Ivory to the washing soda/borax mixture. Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads and 2 tablespoons for heavy loads. Note: I soak the majority of my grease-laden clothes for 8 hours or so and also add a couple of teaspoons of lemon or orange essential oils to help cut the grease. Depending on how fine you grate the soap, this extra soaking time also allows the soap to melt.

Besides saving you money at the grocery store, these products keep you away from harmful toxins that are in many household products. Consider this – essential oils are an economical way to disinfect, clean, and deodorize. Thyme oil kills strep and staff on surfaces, lavender and rosemary are anti-bacterial, anti-infectious and anti-viral. Lemon oil kills strep and staff in the air and is great for cutting grease. Use equal parts eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oils for air fresheners. Simple products, natural products. Simple!

 

Save Money (and a Long Drive to Town!) with Homemade Cleaning Product

Where we live, it's a long trip to the grocery store – when we run out of something, it simply goes on a list. When the list is long enough or the need outweighs the waiting – you go buy the stuff on the “list”. So, partly because of this and partly because I am a do-it-yourself'er, I am always on the alert for simple ways to skip a few aisles at the grocery store. I had so many comments on the window washing solution in my last post, I thought I would share a few of the other cleaning products that I make and use. Be on the watch for future posts – there are a lot that I will post at a later date.

 

Ever used the product that you drop into your garbage disposal to clean it up and make it smell better? I have – it works great. One type makes this blue foam that swells up into the sink – when it disappears down the drain, your disposal is clean. But if you have a lemon, some white vinegar and an ice cube tray, you can make your own cleaner for mere pennies. Simply slice the lemon into small pieces (including the rind), and drop them into an ice cube tray. Fill with vinegar and freeze. When your disposal needs a cleaning, use a couple cubes with the water running.

 

Counter cleaner is another favorite. This homemade product smells great, costs very little and kills germs! We use one gallon of distilled water, 2 teaspoons of washing soda (this is not baking soda – look for washing soda!) 1 teaspoon liquid soap, and 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil. For years I have used a combination of tea tree oil, lavender oil, thyme oil and lemon oil. The antibacterial qualities of these essential oils will help keep your counters clean and germ free. You end up with a gallon of wonderful spray cleaner that will last a long time!

This laundry soap recipe has been shared by many – but just in case you missed it – this one works great! There are two ways to make the detergent – and I prefer the “dry” version because of the amount of storage space the “wet” version requires. Figured I didn't need to store “water”! I simply combine one and a half cups of washing soda with a half cup of borax. Then add one bar of either Fels Naptha soap (grated) or one bar of Ivory to the washing soda/borax mixture. Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads and 2 tablespoons for heavy loads. Note: I soak the majority of my grease-laden clothes for 8 hours or so and also add a couple of teaspoons of lemon or orange essential oils to help cut the grease. Depending on how fine you grate the soap, this extra soaking time also allows the soap to melt.

Besides saving you money at the grocery store, these products keep you away from harmful toxins that are in many household products. Consider this – essential oils are an economical way to disinfect, clean, and deodorize. Thyme oil kills strep and staff on surfaces, lavender and rosemary are antibacterial, anti-infectious and anti-viral. Lemon oil kills strep and staff in the air and is great for cutting grease. Use equal parts eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oils for air fresheners. Simple products, natural products. Simple!

 

Easy Window Washing!

No matter how many times I have tried in all of my years, I have never gotten any good at washing windows. I have heard the different arguments, use newspapers to dry the windows instead of paper towels. Never wash on a sunny day. The list goes on and on. So when I read an article saying your could make your own solution to clean your outside windows and then never have to dry them……well, it sounded too good to be true! I had to try it!

I mixed up a half of a bottle of “jet dry” (the product you use in your dishwasher to keep your dishes from spotting), 4 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, one handful of automatic dishwasher powder, 1/4 cup of ammonia, and 2 gallons of hot water. Using a cloth, wash the windows with this solution. Have your garden hose ready, when you are done, you simply spray the soapy water off the window. That's it! No drying (or in my case, streaking…) just go on to the next window. I had the whole house done in minutes instead of hours. I will recommend that if your bucket of washing solution begins to get low or gets dirty, refill it with fresh solution. The last few windows that I washed, dried with a few water spots – and I am guessing it was because the anti-spotting solution in the bucket was almost gone.

I will tackle the inside of the windows today using a spray bottle filled with 3 tablespoons of ammonia, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and cool water. Works as well as the “blue” kind for only pennies!

 

That Contraption is a Hay Sweep?

It was here when we bought the place, just like many other pieces of equipment. It is big….and it wasn't until this last week that I was told what it even was! But today, it paid it's rent out in the hay field !!

 

We were eating breakfast the other morning and Kevin had his attention in a local farming paper that is published weekly. He grabbed the IPad and started searching for something, then he said – “look at this!”

It was almost the same looking contraption that we have – and it was hooked to a skid steer and picking up hay bales. Looked like about twelve at a time. Kevin's eyes twinkled as I could see the wheels turning in his head! Now, he just needed to figure out how to mount our big contraption to the skid steer and maybe put it to work.

Away he went, and later in the day, I walked down to the shop to see what he had accomplished. He had not only been inventing a hay-bale picker-upper thingy, but he had a wheel off one rake, guides off the swather, and a belt to something laying on the cement. Four pieces of equipment backed up to the shop in a pie-shaped fashion so he could reach them all with the air hoses and power tools. He had so much going on that I wasn't sure how he even knew what he was doing – but anyone that knows him would agree that he had it all in order. It was time to cut hay and he was in high gear.

Well, I had brought us each an ice cold drink, so I proceeded to relax against the equipment and enjoy the end of a very productive day. Glancing around, I noticed that this big hay equipment had a faded name on it….Meyer Hay Sweep. It looked old, so I grabbed my iPhone and googled the name. Come to find out, a gentleman by the name of Alvin Meyer invented the sweep way back in 1956. And to think it had been in use for all these years!

Didn't take him but a few hours and a couple of modifications and our Bale Sweep was out in the field. It will pick up 12 bales of hay by simply tilting the forks down and sliding them on the rail. Kev made many, many trips with it – our first cutting of hay in that field was twice – almost three times – more than last year. He could keep the skid steer at full throttle and slide the bales into place.

The previous owners of our old homestead must have had a little smirk on their faces up in heaven….. as they watched their old bale sweep out in their fields. I can guarantee you, I don't think anyone in our neighborhood has one of these contraptions!

 

 

 

That Contraption is a Hay Sweep?

It was here when we bought the place, just like many other pieces of equipment. It is big….and it wasn't until this last week that I was told what it even was! But today, it paid it's rent out in the hay field !!

 

We were eating breakfast the other morning and Kevin had his attention in a local farming paper that is published weekly. He grabbed the IPad and started searching for something, then he said – “look at this!”

It was almost the same looking contraption that we have – and it was hooked to a skid steer and picking up hay bales. Looked like about twelve at a time. Kevin's eyes twinkled as I could see the wheels turning in his head! Now, he just needed to figure out how to mount our big contraption to the skid steer and maybe put it to work.

Away he went, and later in the day, I walked down to the shop to see what he had accomplished. He had not only been inventing a hay-bale picker-upper thingy, but he had a wheel off one rake, guides off the swather, and a belt to something laying on the cement. Four pieces of equipment backed up to the shop in a pie-shaped fashion so he could reach them all with the air hoses and power tools. He had so much going on that I wasn't sure how he even knew what he was doing – but anyone that knows him would agree that he had it all in order. It was time to cut hay and he was in high gear.

Well, I had brought us each an ice cold drink, so I proceeded to relax against the equipment and enjoy the end of a very productive day. Glancing around, I noticed that this big hay equipment had a faded name on it….Meyer Hay Sweep. It looked old, so I grabbed my iPhone and googled the name. Come to find out, a gentleman by the name of Alvin Meyer invented the sweep way back in 1956. And to think it had been in use for all these years!

Didn't take him but a few hours and a couple of modifications and our Bale Sweep was out in the field. It will pick up 12 bales of hay by simply tilting the forks down and sliding them on the rail. Kev made many, many trips with it – our first cutting of hay in that field was twice – almost three times – more than last year. He could keep the skid steer at full throttle and slide the bales into place.

The previous owners of our old homestead must have had a little smirk on their faces up in heaven….. as they watched their old bale sweep out in their fields. I can guarantee you, I don't think anyone in our neighborhood has one of these contraptions!