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grocery tips

Cleaning

My Favourite Home-Made Cleaning Recipes

Jessica Skene

About a year ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Human Experiment which opened my eyes up to the dangers of having so many chemicals in our homes. I’d been dealing with the frustration of sensitive skin for years meaning I had to be careful of what my skin came in contact with, even dish soap and hand wash would make me break out in an extremely uncomfortable Dermatitis rash. I soon became very passionate about finding ways to keep my home clean, whilst looking after my health and skin and was on a mission to learn about natural home cleaners and testing them out.

After much research and trial and error I came a cross a few staple home-made cleaning recipes that I use regularly.

Here is a list of My Favourite Home-Made Cleaning Recipes. They work just as good in my experience as brand name chemical cleaners and are not only more affordable, but safer to use in your home. Please see my blog on 10 Benefits of Home-Made Cleaning Products for ten reasons why I recommend making the switch.

INGREDIENTS LISTS

These are the basic must have items for your home-made cleaner recipes:

  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing Liquid (I use Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid Ultra Dry Skin Aloe for sensitive skin)
  • Bi-Carbonate Soda
  • Essential Oils (Tea-tree and Lavender oil preferably)
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Water
  • Spray bottles
  • Labels (use a label maker or stick on labels)

Don’t forget to label all your spray bottles as when you come back in a week you will probably have no idea what is in what bottle. It’s really worth it to save you  figuring out what is in what bottle and having to waste your cleaning products.

These are 9 of my favourite home-made cleaning recipes!

Home-made All Purpose Spray (Two versions)

I have two recipes that both work wonderfully. Sometimes if I am in a rush I will make the simpler version and if I have more time I will go with the second version.

All Purpose Spray (Simple Version)

Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. That’s it! This should be gentle enough to use on most surfaces and is a cleaner I use for all around the home. I would use the Version 2 cleaner for more stubborn stains unless you have stone bench tops. Please check the care guide for your bench tops before using any cleaning products as vinegar can damage stone and other surfaces.

All Purpose Spray (Version 2)

In a spray bottle preferably over a sink (the bottle can overflow with the bi-carb soda and vinegar reacting) put the following

  • 4 Tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp of dish washing liquid
  • 2 Tsp of bi-carb soda
  • Fill the rest of the spray bottle with warm water.

Spray the solution on your stained surfaces and let sit for about 20 seconds to help break up any hard to move stains. If you are using the bottle when the cleaner is back to room temperature, throw the bottle in the microwave for about 10 seconds and this will help remove harder to move stains. This solution is what I use for everyday All-Purpose Cleaner, just refill when you are out.

As mentioned above please check whether vinegar can be used on your bench tops as some stone benches can be damaged by vinegar.

Linen Spray

This is a spray to help keep your sheet smelling amazing between washes.

Fill a small plastic spray bottle (I use the ones in those travel container packs) with:

  • I cup of distilled water
  • 5-10 drops of essential oils
  • 2 Tbsp of rubbing alcohol

Use this to spray before sleep to spray your bed linens. Lavender essential oils can provide a calming scent but feel free to choose whatever scent you prefer.

Glass Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with

  • ½ Water
  • ½ White Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle

Since starting to use this glass cleaner I have never looked back or thought to buy a regular store bought version. Just make up as described above in a matter of seconds and spray contents of glass cleaner on mirrors or windows and wipe over with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have beautiful, streak-free mirrors and windows in no time. Leave a bottle of this in your bathroom and a microfiber cloth to clean as you go.

Shower/Tile Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle with

  • ⅓ vinegar
  • ⅓ dishwashing liquid
  • ⅓ water

This is great for cleaning showers and tiles with a brush or sponge. Another option is to fill a refillable dish washing brush with a mixture of ½ vinegar and ½ dish washing soap to scrub all over the shower with. The vinegar smell will dissipate soon after and dish washing liquid will give you a nice scent over the harsh scents most chemical cleaners provide.

Daily Shower Spray (same ingredients as glass cleaner)

  • Spray bottle
  • ½ water
  • ½ vinegar

I leave a bottle of this in our shower to spray down the shower after each use (well, as often as I can remember to ;)). Spray down the tiles and shower glass and floor if it is the last shower of the morning or night (or last for a while). The vinegar helps to break down soap scum and fights the growth of mould so will make your weekly shower scrub a breeze! Remind your partner or room mates or whoever uses the shower to give it a quick spray over when they step out, it only takes 20 seconds and will save whoever is stuck cleaning it a lot of elbow grease!

As mould loves moisture, another tip from Clean My Space’s Melissa Maker to avoid your bathroom being taken over by it is to squeegee or wipe down the shower screens or tiles with a cloth after each shower. This is a bit more time consuming than the after shower spray but is a massive help if you can manage it.  

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Fill with vinegar
  • Add 10-15 drops of essential oils
  • Shake before each use

Combine vinegar and essential oils in a spray bottle. Spray vinegar mixture inside bowl and around toilet. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside toilet bowl and scrub inside of bowl with a toilet brush. The Bi-carb soda gives a bit of abrasion to remove any hard to remove stains.

You can use the all over purpose cleaner (Version 1) or the above recipe spray to clean the outside and seat of the toilet. 

Disinfectant Spray (Non-scented)

  • Spray bottle (you can use one of the small travel spray bottles mentioned above)
  • ½ water
  • ½ rubbing alcohol

A great spray for disinfecting surface around the home such as bench tops, door handles or cupboard handles and for cleaning your toilet brush.

Disinfectant Spray (Scented)

  • 3 cups of water
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Tea-tree or Lavender essential oils (10-15 drops or a blend of each)
  • Spray bottle

For those who love a nice smelling home this second disinfectant spray not only leaves your home free of germs, but with a lovely calming scent. Tea-tree and lavender essential oils can be used for their antibacterial properties or blended with other favourite scents you have.  

Do you have a favourite home-made cleaning recipe? Please comment below with anything that you love to use in your home.

Budgeting

10 Easy Tips to Save Money on Your Groceries Budget

Grocery shopping can make up a big portion of the weekly family budget. If you are not aware of your grocery spending habits those supermarket trips can easily add up significantly in a short space of time.  Here are 10 easy tips to save money on your groceries budget that can help you plan ahead and that can quickly add up to some great and easy savings on your grocery bills.

1. Always bring a list with you and stick to it

Save money on groceries by having a shopping list on your fridge. This is my number one tip to save money on your groceries budget! When you are out of something, write it down and by the end of the week you’ll have a list of things to buy that you actually use. Avoid walking into a supermarket unprepared! Once you are in store, resist adding to this list with impulse purchases by completely avoiding aisles that don’t contain items on your list.

2. Resist buying large quantities of new products

Avoid buying new products or if you can’t resist, only buy one to try it out first and see if you like it to avoid ending up with multiples of a new grocery item that you may not like. We quickly learnt that often new food or products we would buy on sale were more often than not left unused and taking up space in our pantry or cupboards. Sometimes it is best to stick to using our trusted and preferred brands of products to eliminate waste.

3. Shop online to help resist impulse purchases

Do your grocery shop online when you can. It’s easy to see what products you regularly purchase are on sale and helps you streamline your grocery list. I grab my shopping list, sit down for ten minutes and order what is on that list and pick it up at a convenient time or get it delivered. Not being in the store means you avoid additional temptation to make unnecessary purchases and helps you stick to your budget.

4. Buy only what you need and avoid excessive bulk purchases

Don’t overstock on sale items. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy a year‘s supply of it. Most popular items go on sale on a rotating cycle every 3-5 weeks so you needn’t be preparing for the apocalypse! You’ll often find when you do stock up on items like soft drinks and chocolates, you’ll end up consuming the items faster than if there was a smaller supply. Keep in mind how much you need when shopping. If you only need two tomatoes for a recipe and don’t plan on using tomatoes again for another week don’t buy the bulk pack just to make a saving on the per kilogram price. I’d rather pay a bit extra for two tomatoes per kilo that I ended up using, than binning and throwing away a lot more in wasted food and money.

5. Store food correctly to prolong life and reduce waste

Learn how to store food correctly in order to prolong it’s life. Some food such as potatoes and onions should be stored separately, tomatoes ripen better out of the fridge and herbs thrown into a glass of water will last a few days longer than in the fridge. This will ensure you get as long out of your fresh produce as possible saving you another trip to the store and money continually buying the same things when they have gone bad earlier than they should have.

6. Save with DIY Cleaning products

Reduce cleaning supply bills by making your own DIY cleaning products for a fraction of the price as well as limiting the cupboard overflowing with different products for each cleaning task. Bicarb, dish washing liquid, water and white vinegar alone can clean most areas of them home as well as help reduce the chemicals used inside the home. Cleaning products can contribute a huge portion of your grocery bills and can be a great way to save money on your groceries budget. 

7. Switch to machine washable cloths

Switching to machine washable microfiber cloths can helps save endless dollars on dish cloths. A pack of microfiber cloths can be obtained for $5-10 and can be washed again and again to save your replacing clothes regularly. Simply use and put in a wash cloth pile to wash once a week. Other savings tips for cloths is to soak them in vinegar and heat them in the microwave for a couple of minutes to kill bacteria or to throw them in with your dish washing
cycle once a week.

8. Meal Plan 

Meal Planning can be an easy way to save money on groceries. Base your shopping list on what meals you could make with the ingredients you currently have in your pantry or fridge. Add any additional ingredients required for those recipes to the shopping list. If you’re buying something that will not be used up in one meal, incorporate the left overs into your next meal so you can avoid food waste or freeze remaining portions where possible for next time. Ten minutes a week meal planning can save you hundreds over the year and drastically help reduce food waste in your home.

9. Research specials online or in catalogues prior to entering the supermarket 

Buying more expensive items such as beverages, beauty and cleaning products can add up over time when paying full price. In order to easily save money on your groceries budget, check out the weekly catalogues for your local supermarkets. Make separate lists for your groceries based on what you are planning to buy in each and shop according to what store has the best price. This might take a little longer, but the savings can be very much worth your while. If you do online shopping this can be even easier where you can just order from different stores and get pick up or home delivery to avoid multiple trips. Alternatively, go to the shop when it suits you, it doesn’t have to be in the same day, if you will be near one today and another on the weekend grab what you need when it is convenient.

10. Pay attention to the ticket pricing per weight

In Australia, supermarkets are now required to include easy price comparisons on their pricing tags such as price per 100 grams. You can now easily compare various sizes and prices of similar products from the price tag on the shelf. This can be done much quicker than before when you’d be trying to work these things out in your head or with your calculator and can be an easy quick way to decide in store or online what is the best value for money product to buy.

Do you have any tips to save money on your groceries budget? Leave a comment below!