Thursday, February 14, 2008

NitroClean, Part 2

In a futile attempt at being more "domestic", I tried that FlyLady thing for several weeks. I wore my shoes, shined, swished and flung with the best of them. But that is all I did. I did not create one single thing. I didn't have time to putter around with the girls or sit down with my husband in the evening. The house was clean, but none of us felt like we were allowed to live there. I made dinner, but it was extremely stressful, because I didn't feel like I could mess up the kitchen. I could have invited Kim and Aggie over for tea, but we were all miserable.

So we are now attempting a balance between clean and comfortable. We have a place for everthing, and when we need to, it all goes in it's place. There is a separate table for crafts so that we always have a place to eat with minimal fuss. You can take your drink into our living room and if it spills, no one has a coronary. There is hair on the back of the rocking chair, and sometimes it even swirls in the corner by the stairs, but the flip side is that we have fuzzies to cuddle and play with. The dishwasher always need to be run, but my family gets a home cooked meal most nights and loves it. So do I. The clean clothes are more likely to be in a laundry basket than in the drawer, but we're reading through Wind in the Willows together. I think the trade off is worth it.

Now, all that being said, there are some things that I think are worth going the extra mile for. Especially if it saves money. To that end, I started making most of my own cleaning products about 2 years ago. Before you think, "Whoa! That doesn't sound like someone who is a domestic slacker to me!", let me explain.
I live 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store and have two children who hate to go shopping. They get that from me. If I can pull a couple of simple products off my shelf and mix up my own all purpose cleaner, or brew up a batch of laundry soap, and save myself money and a trip to the store (where I'm likely to buy a whole lot more than soap) then I'm ahead of the game in my book. On top of that, the homemade products work at least as well, are healthier for us and easier on our septic system.

I learned how to make almost all of these from Crystal Miller on her website, The Family Homestead. I was spending about $700 a year on laundry products alone. Now it's about $20 a year.

Here is a link to the laundry soap. I use Fels Naptha, which I order from Soaps Gone Buy. You can purchase 7 bars for the lowest shipping cost. That's enough to make 21 recipes of laundry soap, or 42 gallons. I use a little more than 1/2 cup per load because my washer is large. I use ammonia for a laundry booster (for really stinky or dirty clothes) and vinegar for the fabric softener. Your clothes do not smell like ammonia or vinegar when they're done! (The same goes for the other cleaners. Once the surface is dry, you don't smell ammonia or vinegar.) The only thing that we have noticed is that the laundry soap and dishwasher soap work much better for people with soft water. Our water here in the country is off-the-charts-hard, but we have a really good softener (not a WaterBoss from Menards).
Here is a link to the basic cleaners. I use the window cleaner #2. In the all purpose cleaner, I use Pine Needle oil for the essential oil. Then it always smells like Christmas when I clean! I don't know if the dishwasher soap is on there, but I mix one part borax to one part washing soda and then use about 1 1/2 tablespoons per load.

I'm not too concerned about using antibacterial products. I think they have done more harm than good in many cases. But that's another post.
About the only commercial cleaning product that I do buy is toilet bowl cleaner. But only because I haven't gotten around to making a replacement.

I have a real mop, not a Swiffer. I mopped for several years at a hospital in high school and during college summers. The mops we used there weighed 15 pounds when they were wet and I liked that. You only had to go over the floor once and it was clean. There was very little scrubbing involved and you threw the mop heads in the wash to clean them.
I can't quite bring myself to mop my kitchen floor with something that looks like a menstrual pad.

That's about all there is to my cleaning repertoire. Told ya it wasnt' much!


  1. I'll NEVER be able to look at Swiffers the same way again. And, having a very vivid imagination, I'm not even going to discuss the images swimming in the cesspool of my mind - LOL!

    aka Batty Girl

  2. I'm with Batty Girl! (hey - I really am with Batty Girl! Hello, fellow Texan!) Seriously, that is exactly what I was thinking when I scrolled down to the comments. Eeew!

    Making your own laundry products. Interesting. Maybe I will have to harness some of that overseas - who knows how much a jug of Purex would run in Melanesia! Ha ha!

    Keep bringing on the tips, girl! I'm enjoying them! (I have some more good literature suggestions for you, too, if you're interested!!) sharon

  3. Ha- I loved your description of your Flylady experience. I tried her and felt NAGGED TO DEATH, in the most syrupy sweet way. The 40 emails in my inbox every day were quite self-defeating, IMO.

    I'd rather spend time with my kids than being anal about cleaning. We took a few of her ideas and jettisoned the rest of the plan. :)

    Thanks for posting the link to the cleaning recipes! This will get heavy use at our house; we already use vinegar and baking soda for a lot of things.. very excited to try the laundry and dish soap. :) Lory, Poodle Dudes

  4. Do you know if you can use the laundry products in a new front loading high efficiency washer? It sounds like you might be able to since somewhere I read that they do not suds as much as the traditional laundry soaps? just wondering since I just got these beauties and I do not want to do anything that would wreak havoc on them!
    six stars

  5. I have a Maytag Neptune, which is a HE frontloader, and it works beautifully!

  6. Super good idea, super nice site !! congratulations :)


Your feedback means a lot!