During tight economic times, many of us are looking for ways to cut back and save money and the weekly shopping list is one of the easiest places to begin. From canning vegetables to making jelly and homemade mayonnaise, thrifty folks have found countless ways to save money in the kitchen. Even if you don’t have the time to spend cooking and canning, you can still shave dollars off of your weekly grocery bill by using these simple homemade recipes to make things like laundry detergent, shampoo, vegetable cleaner, dish detergent and other things – without spending hours in the kitchen. These are all recipes that were handed down to me by other thrifty housewives, and I personally use them all. Most of these recipes use white distilled vinegar, which I suggest buying in two- or four-gallon containers.
1.Laundry detergent – Mix equal parts borax and baking soda in resealable container (plastic container or freezer bag). Mix well. Measure as you would any laundry detergent when doing wash. Add one cup of lemon juice to wash cycle and a half cup of vinegar to rinse cycle (as fabric softener). Clothes will come out clean and fresh smelling, and, the vinegar eliminates the need for fabric softener. To keep the washer fresh between uses, sprinkle about a half a cup of baking soda into machine and allow leave it – it will keep odors from building up in the washer and will be an added dirt-fighting boost when you wash your next load. For heavier loads, add a half a cup of salt to the load with the detergent. Treat stains prior to laundering, allow stained garment to soak in either a vinegar-water solution or a lemon juice-water solution – both are effective at removing tough stains.
2. Hair Care
Shampoo – Boil about two cups of water and remove from heat. Add one cup of baking soda and one cup of canned coconut milk. Stir well and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator between uses and shake before using. Mixture will be thin, but effective – use as you would regular shampoo. Rub into scalp and allow to sit for several moments before rinsing. Baking soda is great for removing odor, cleansing and relieving an itch scalp. The coconut milk will add moisture and a yummy smell.
Hair rinse or de-tangler – Combine one-quarter cup of vinegar mixed with about one cup of water. Pour into spray bottle or drizzle over hair.
Deep conditioner – Combine mayonnaise and one egg in a bowl. Massage into hair and scalp and allow to sit for 15-25 minutes. Results will be better with the better. Rinse very well.
De-frizzier for curly hair – Rub a teaspoon of olive oil between your palms and rub on the ends of hair.
3. Carpet wash – Combine one part vinegar with two parts water and use to wash carpets. Although the mixture will not form suds, it will effectively clean and deodorize. The mixture is safe for most carpets, but test a small discreet patch before using on entire carpet.
4. Carpet refresher – Combine one cup of baking soda with one cup of Borax and two tablespoons of cinnamon. Shake well and sprinkle over carpet. Allow to sit for about an hour then vacuum thoroughly.
5. Dishwasher detergent – Mix equal parts borax and baking soda with about 1/4 part coarse salt. Store in airtight container and use as you would regular dishwasher detergent. For added ooomph, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to each load. If this doesn’t give good results (this recipe can leave a film on the dishes, especially plastics and results will vary depending on the age of the dishwasher and its rinsing power), purchase a generic box of powdered dishwasher detergent and in a large container, mix it with the borax/baking soda/salt solution. With this method, you will decrease the amount of times you need to purchase dish detergent and achieve sparkling clean dishes. A dash of vinegar or lemon juice (or both) tossed in with the wash cycle can also improve results.
* Vinegar alone is great for getting glassware to shine. Simply run the dishwasher with a few tablespoons of vinegar.
6. Vegetable cleaner – To tackle the pesky germs that might linger on lettuce or spinach, rinse the vegetables with cool water then place leaves in a bowl of ice water with about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Just before serving, rinse and spin through the salad spinner.
7. Glass cleaner – Combine equal parts vinegar and water. Pour into spray bottle. Use clean, dry rag or newspaper to wipe.
8. Air freshener – Combine equal parts vinegar and water with a few generous splashes of lemon juice. Pour into spray bottle and use liberally. Mixture will smell a bit like vinegar when sprayed, but smell will quickly dissipate, taking nasty odors along with it.
9. Counter top or bathroom cleanser – Combine two cups of water with one-third cup of bleach and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto counter tops and wipe clean. For those who prefer not to use bleach, combine equal parts water and vinegar and use as an all purpose kitchen cleaner.
10. Windshield wiper fluid – Combine equal parts vinegar and water and pour into car’s windshield washer fluid basin. The mixture works better than most store-brought solutions.