Monthly Archives: December 2011


I love that the hot “new” trend this year has been saving money.  From extreme couponing to DIY to homemade everything, its now cool to save.  For this post, I decided to explore the world of making your own household cleaners.  I began making my own all purpose cleaner quite some time ago.  After sucking in the fumes of Fantastic, Lysol, and the like for years, I decided I wanted something more mild & natural.  I soon realized that it cost even more for the non-cough-inducing natural/organic varieties such as Green Works or Method.  I knew there had to be something else, something old school.  After all,  my Polish grandma wasn’t wiping her counters with a toxic green liquid from spray bottle during the depression.  I tried this recipe on the website Homemade Household Cleaners for something all purpose that you make right in the spray bottle and have been using it ever since.

All-Purpose Cleaner 

2T vinegar

1 t Borax

Hot water

a few drops of a mild dish detergent

10 drops of essential oil, optional 

In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and  hot water.  Swish around until borax has dissolved.  Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water.  Add the essential oil.

In my opinion, it works just as well as any store variety and literally costs pennies to make each time.  This then led to the most life-changing discovery in my young cleaning years… BORAX.

Those 20 ass-kicking mules can clean anything… laundry, dishes, counters, tile, grout, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, sinks, stainless steel, toilets, garbage cans, carpets, outdoor furniture, and will conquer anything smelly, stinky, or funky… all while leaving your hands baby soft.  This white miracle power does it all (short of food additive or contact cleaner… do not ingest, folks).  It was like a shining beacon of cleanliness.  Even better, as the box states, it is “All natural. Always has been.” Since 1891, in fact. Even, even better, after a year, I am still on the same $2.99 box. Grandma, why did you keep this secret?

So when these recipes for dishwashing detergent and laundry soap had Borax for the main ingredient, I jumped on my 20 mule team pulled wagon and was off to Wal-Mart.  I followed the instructions for Dishwasher Detergent and Homemade Laundry Soap exactly from Being Creative to keep my sanity‘s blog.  I will leave the detailed directions to her, as they are perfection.  (Side Note: I did find pink Zote soap at Wal-Mart, but my store did not have Borax (for shame) so I had to go to Target for that).  Everything went smoothly and I ended up with my very own detergent:

The letters were scrapbooking stickers that I stuck on, then went over with glue & water mod podge.  I also wrote on the date with a dry erase marker to help me keep track of how long it lasts.

And my very own laundry soap:

Accessorized with more sticker letters, ribbon, and housed in a candy jar with scoop!  The recipe made A LOT!  I have the whole jar plus 2 gallon sized baggies chalk full of powdered goodness.

Total cost of all ingredients, plus jars & scoops, and tax was $46.  ($17 for me after Christmas gift cards.  I mean, what better gift to give yourself then cleaning products???)  I will update when I run out.  Which, as it is just a “me & my husband” household, will hopefully be a long time!

So fellow bloggers, people of Pinterest, and anyone who might be reading, I leave you with this last piece of advice: When life gets messy, Borax.

UPDATE 12/12:  The dish detergent got clumpy, lumpy, and did NOT get dishes clean.  The powder would get wet  and just stick in the container.  I stopped using it after 10 loads.  The laundry soap, on the other hand, leaves clothes clean and fresh!  After a year, I am still using the same batch!  I will never buy bottle laundry soap again!