Saturday, July 18, 2015

Doing It Ourselves: Swiffer

I love my Swiffer. I just don't use it as often as I should. It is a great way to "mop" your floors
between really scrubbing, soaking mopping and is way easier than finding the mop and bucket out side (because you forgot once again to bring it in after it had dried the last time you used it), cleaned the bugs and dirt off of them (because they stayed outside for several days...ahem...weeks), fill the bucket with water and soap, mop all the floors, then wait 2 hrs for everything to dry (then still finding a puddle and nearly doing the splits in the kitchen).

I still feel like I have to do a good soaking mop every once in awhile, but if I could get into the habit of using the Swiffer every day, I would feel like I've really progressed.

I also love the presoaked pads for the Swiffer. What I don't like is the price. They typically cost about $0.33 per pad. I usually use about two-three pads just for my kitchen alone. So, just to clean the floor in my kitchen alone, that is around a dollar. If I do that every day that is about $30 a month and $365 a year; and that is if I don't end up making a mess and having to clean it more than once. That's pretty pricey just to mop a floor, in my opinion.

So, I took to Pinterst, the woman's encyclopedia for all things home, to see if any of those amazing DIYers out there had come up with an alternative.

I was not disappointed.

There are tons of great options. Here are a few I found:

Here is a great sewing option that looks really cute with the buttons from Berlin's Whimsy.

 This one from Sarah at POPSUGAR has a recipe for a cleanser for soaking the reusable pads. I'm not sure about using lemon juice, though, if it is going to sit out for a long period of time. A lemon essential oil might be a better alternative, in that case.

For the crafty person, here is a crochet pattern option from Jessica at Candle in the Night. I really like this one but I need to keep practicing my crochet skills. This may be a way for me to practice. :)

Here is a really nice sewing idea from Penny at SewTakeAHike.

This one from One Good Thing by Jillee uses a fuzzy sock. Talk about simple. I'm not sure how this one would be at being used as a wet alternative but it looks like it would be great as a dry alternative.

But, this is the one by Karrie at Happy Money Saver is the one I ended up going with. I liked the use of old rags/towels and her recipe for the cleanser better than some of the others I had seen.

We had recently been talking about how we needed to find a new use some of our towels and washcloths. Some of them are starting to look a bit ratty faded (or bleached on accident). We didn't want to throw them out because they still work they just don't look as nice anymore and we got so many towels and cloths when we got married we hardly have room in our bathroom closet for anything else (talk about a cabinet that needs organizational help).


Price wise, this is way cheaper. A gallon of vinegar runs around

$2.50, a gallon of distilled water cost me $0.50, I already had the essential oils. Essential Oils can be quite expensive but (1) they aren't really necessary, (2) you can shop around for better priced ones or chose oils that aren't that pricey, and (3) you only use a few drops so it isn't like you are using an entire bottle. I modified the recipe just a little so mine came out to be less than $0.50 for an entire container. My container held about 6 wash cloths so that is about $0.08 per wash cloth. I ended up using three cloths to "mop" my kitchen/dining room, both bathrooms, the entryway, and hallway. So, what use to cost me around $2.00 to "mop" my whole house now costs me only $0.24. That's a pretty significant savings, if you ask me. :)

Vinegar is one of those "miracle" cleaners. It breaks down grease and grime, disinfects, deodorizes, and is much nicer to the environment than other household cleaners. After using these to clean my floors, I felt like they worked much better. I was able to really scrub some spots much easier than with the Swiffer pads and they seemed to come up much easier. My cloths also seemed to stay wet much longer than the Swiffer pads.

Final Grade:

Works great. Happy budget, "naturally" safe, creation friendly, and convenient. Happy homemaker approved. :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Doing It Ourselves: "Naturally"

Once upon a time, I was a tree-hugger. In fact, in college, I went to a Sierra club meeting with one of my friends. During the meeting, they talked about going to Little Rock and chaining themselves to the capital building or the court house. While they were talking, I was a little scared at first with what they were talking about but the longer I stayed that evening the more my brain was washed. However, God was protecting me from that kind of nonsense. As my friend and I walked back to the dorm we discussed the meeting and decided they were a little too radical for us at least at that moment in time, in other words, we were afraid we would get in trouble with our parents is we got up to the shenanigans this group was proposing. 

The "natural" movement in today's culture would have been right up my alley. I would have gone head long into that sea. 

Fast forward a few years and I moved from being liberal leaning, tree-hugger to far right, conservative, recycling is a political conspiracy. I definitely swung to the to the opposite end of the spectrum. I refused to recycle and scoffed at anything that people called "natural" or those who said stuff like, "That has so many chemicals it it." 

Today, however, I think I have mellowed a bit. Much to the credit of my wonderful and wise husband who tends to ground me and make me think of things with a cooler head. He and my Aunt Connee convinced (somewhat conspired) me to start recycling. I'm certainly not back to my "the world will end if we don't save the environment" days but the Creator did give man dominion over the land and I doubt He is pleased when we abuse His creation. I deny the whole climate-change/global warming movement, I'm not worried about the hole in the ozone, I am certain a world-wide flood isn't going to ever happen again. However, I also don't think it is being a good steward of what God has given us to not at least attempt to take some sort of care of the environment.

I still don't necessarily trust someone saying "it's natural." Poison ivy is natural but you don't see me wiping my counters down with it's leaves. "That has so many chemicals in it" still irritates me a bit. This entire world is made of chemicals. I understand what they are saying, it has many man-made chemicals, but in this culture today, we must be careful with the words we use.

Having said that, I am concerned with the amount of manufactured chemicals that are considered toxins and poisons that we use without thinking these days. I get the sentiment of "natural" and don't disagree that it's probably better to stay as close to the original product as God created it. However, we live in a Genesis 3 world and due to Adam's sin, the world suffers from the curse. Before The Fall, there was no death, no disease, no danger. But after Adam sinned, death was the sentence and the whole world suffers under that verdict. Therefore, what was safe and likely beneficial before, is now often harmful. Before using something touted as being "natural," it is wise to do some research and find out just how "safe" it really is. Also, there are some things that may be safe to use in certain ways and very dangerous in others. 

I became especially concerned about the ingredients in a cleaning product after using one of my favorite cleaning products. I love the Clorox wipes. They are easy to use, they work great, and I'm pretty confident that anything on my cabinet is dead by the time I finish using them. However, when I use them, my hands will start burning like crazy. No amount of washing will stop it either. I can use gloves and do when I'm cleaning for a long time, however, just wiping down the counter after dinner, I typically don't take the time to put gloves on. So, Anthony and I have done a little research and have found some supplies we are giving a try.

We have been making our own laundry detergent for over a year now and are very happy with it. I have an all-purpose cleaner and a shower spray that I mixed up myself that works pretty well and I love the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar. We also recently also bought a couple of Mrs. Meyer's products to try...Anthony found a good deal. ;) 

I have lots of friends who have jumped on the essential oils bandwagon. I have some mixed feelings about them but I don't deride anyone for trying them. I have a few myself that I do use occasionally for making the house smell nice or adding to my homemade cleaning supplies so they smell nice. However, I'm not quite convinced of them yet. I tend to be the type of person that is easily lured into things like this (see first paragraph), so I have learned over the years to slow down before jumping into something (not that I'm always that great at it in practice). I will say, I have seen a friend's condition improve amazingly and it certainly has me wanting to so some serious research.

One thing with EOs is, that again, you have to do a lot of research before using them because many of them can be quite dangerous. I'm not going to talk any more today about EO's because I may make a separate post one day about them. The only thing I'll say is if it doesn't harm you, you feel better using it over popping a pill, and you can afford it, great! But, please do research and don't just trust what the EO company is claiming.

Another reason for trying to make our own products is that they tend to be significantly cheaper than what you find in stores. Sometimes there may be a little more up front cost but it ends up saving you a lot down the road...seeing that you continue using them. 

So, I'm going to try to experiment with a few DIY supplies and products from time-to-time and write about them here and tag them "Doing It Ourselves." For me to use something on a regular basis it has to meet certain qualifications and I'll be judging all of the products and methods I try based on essentially four criteria: Is it safe? Does it make my budget happy? Is it creation-friendly? Is it convenient?