Non-Toxic Household Cleaning Supplies To Use For Your Spring Cleaning

diy zero waste cleaning supplies

The weather here in St. Louis might be completely confused as to what season it’s supposed to be, but I am not. It is spring time, and that means one thing:

Time for spring cleaning.

I much prefer to use natural products around the house, both because they are cheaper and because they are healthier for my toddler and infant sons to be around since they are all over every surface.

It’s also very nice that these recipes contain various combinations of a few basic ingredients, most of which are already in my pantry. I love knowing exactly what I’m introducing into the environment around my babies.

Most common ingredients in almost every homemade cleaner:

white vinegar

essential oils 

castile soap

baking soda

Related: 5 Eco-Friendly (and cheap!) Paper Towel Alternatives

 

All Purpose Cleaner

diy all purpose cleaner

photo credit and recipe from The Bold Abode

Dean is crawling all around now, and sticking everything in his mouth. To protect his little system and keep him safe, we really like this natural all-purpose cleaner.

Adding extras like lemon essential oils give the cleaner a “classic clean” scent, as well as add the benefits of the essential oil’s cleansing properties.

If you choose to add citrus essential oils to your cleaner, be sure to either use a glass spray bottle or a plastic bottle specifically designed to hold essential oils. Otherwise, the citrus oils can eat through the bottle, and then you would have more things to clean up.

Tub Scrub

homemade shower cleaner

photo credit and recipe from One Essential Community

This shower cleaner mixes together in about a minute, and lasts for a long time. It leaves the shower soap scum-free.

We don’t currently have hard water, but this spray would still be just as effective as if we did have hard water.

I love how cheap this shower spray is to create and use. Paired with a scrub brush from the dollar store, this is super affordable and it just works.

Window Cleaner

homemade window cleaner

photo credit and recipe from Farm Girl Inspirations

When I was little, my grandma taught me to use plain vinegar in a spray bottle and wipe down the mirrors and windows with a crumpled up page of newspaper. It leaves the glass with a streak-free shine, but also leaves the room smelling like vinegar.

This version doesn’t smell as harsh, especially if you add a few drops of essential oils to the mix.

I’ve still not found anything better than a crumpled up piece of newspaper when cleaning glass though. I imagine something like a Swedish dish cloth would be the best reusable option that won’t leave behind pesky tiny fibers all over your clean surface.

We have two Swedish dish cloths and I absolutely love them. They are so incredibly absorbent (one dish cloth recently soaked up 4 ounces of orange juice with ease!), strong, and even dishwasher-safe.

Air Freshener

homemade air freshener

photo credit and recipe from Bren Did

Story time: When I was in college, my lab partner and I stayed at school late so we could spend more time on our dissection. However, we had a social function after that, and we smelled strongly like formaldehyde. So we drove to Walmart and bought a bottle of Febreze and sprayed ourselves heavily with it, like a preteen boy who has just bought his first can of Axe.

This was obviously before I became the crunchy hippie I am today.

That story makes me horrified at my younger self.

Now we use a homemade air freshener, and we can create our own scent blends for pennies on the dollar.

This is also good for spraying in shoes, gym bags, and other stinky things.

Wood Polish

homemade furniture polish non-toxic

photo credit and recipe from Mom 4 Real

Did you know that homemade wood polish not only smells great and is a very effective dusting spray, but also that it helps buff out scratches?

It’s true!

During the packing process from our Iowa-to-Nevada move, we scratched up the floor to our living room in one. long. scratch. down the center of the room.

After I spent over 20 minutes trying to color it in with 4 different colors of crayons, I remembered that olive oil on polished hardwood blends scratches in like normal. And voila, 2 minutes later, the whole room looked brand new.

Toilet discs

diy toilet cleaning tabs

photo credit and recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee

If there’s one chore I hate, it’s cleaning the toilet. Thankfully, my saint of a husband doesn’t mind, so he cleans them for me. One thing we agree on though is the use of toilet discs. The fizziness helps clean the toilet with minimal effort, without adding all sorts of harsher chemicals to the air.

I like this recipe especially because you don’t even need a mold for the tabs, you can just dry them on parchment paper. Super simple and super cheap.

Stain remover

diy stain remover

photo credit and recipe from My Frugal Adventures 

Can we please take a moment of silence for all the adorable baby clothes and accessories that have been sacrificed to baby poop or pureed broccoli spit-up?

So many cute clothes and bibs. Why they even make white baby pants and onesies is completely beyond my comprehension.

This recipe contains Dawn dish soap, so it’s not completely “all natural,” but it is a simple and effective stain remover for sure.

Keep it in a squeeze bottle (old ketchup or mustard bottles work) and apply to stains before washing. Don’t forget to air-dry stained clothes until maximum stain removal is complete, as heat will set in the stains.

Related: How to do laundry when you don’t have hookups

Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies

Don’t forget about your other cleaning supplies! Paper towels are truly harmful to the environment and honestly an unnecessary expense. I much prefer washable options like old socks (awesome for dusting!) or old work t-shirts cut into rag size.

I love this idea of using old towels to make reusable swiffer pads from Natural Nesters!

diy swiffer pads

I always hated the wastefulness and expense of single-use mop pads, so this option is much better for the environment and your pocketbook. The instructions require very minimal sewing, so anyone can do it, even if you don’t have a sewing machine.

If you just really hate sewing, I’ve also gotten away with tucking long rectangles of old t-shirts into the tuck spaces of swiffer dusters. It works very well, requires new sewing, and unhemmed jersey knit still holds up well to repeat washings.

While I haven’t ever personally used Norwex cloths, I’ve heard from multiple friends that they are awesome. I like the idea especially since you just use water and then can wash them. I’m all about washable options.

Be sure to check out this post for more ideas on paper towel replacements and other zero waste cleaning supplies options.

I love to find ways to make our lifestyle more eco-friendly, zero waste, and healthy. By making our own cleaning supplies we can limit the trash created by the repeated purchase of plastic bottles and containers, limit the exposure of our children’s systems to the harsh chemicals of standard cleaning products, and still ensure a clean living environment for our family.

And when a box of baking soda is $0.62, it’s also a crazy-cheap way to live, which I’m all about.

Do you make your own cleaning supplies? Drop a comment with your favorite recipe!

If you found this information helpful, please help me help others by hitting one of the share buttons below to share with your community!

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9 Homemade Beauty Products That Make Perfect Frugal Gifts for Her

easy diy gift ideas for her

I grew up in the 90s, when every girl got either a shower gel gift set from Bath and Body Works or a collection of Lip Smackers lip balms as a gift for basically any occasion.

As nostalgic as these things make me, the ingredients make me shudder.

I have a (general) rule that if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t use it.

I’ve been on the hunt for some frugal homemade beauty products to make as gifts for the ladies in my life, especially as Mother’s Day draws near.

One of the biggest struggles of my mom life has been doing those simple things to feel pretty again. In between the constant spit-up, dirty diapers, and the need for showers to last under 3 minutes, it has been  difficult to give myself some pampering.

And also, can we please take a minute and talk about how expensive buying natural products can be? I’m all for organic, vegan, locally-sourced skin care, but I’m not about to fork over a bunch of money for it, especially when I can make my own.

So when I found these recipes, I was overjoyed! And bonus: You probably already have most (if not all, depending on your current level of commitment to the natural lifestyle) ingredients in your cabinets.

9 Frugal Homemade Beauty Products (That Make Perfect Gifts!)

Coconut Oatmeal Sugar Scrub

diy exfoliating coconut oatmeal sugar scrub

photo credit and recipe from Meg O. on the Go

Sugar scrubs are a super easy DIY project, and completely customizable. Choose between white and brown sugar, customize the oil (for body scrubs I prefer avocado, coconut, or jojoba), and even add in some essential oils if you want (but please avoid citrus oils as they can make the skin photo-sensitive).

I really like this recipe because of the addition of the oatmeal. Oatmeal is gently cleansing, as well as soothing to dry or itchy skin.

This scrub is perfect for sensitive or dry skin.

Plus, it smells like oatmeal cookies. Totally a plus.

Homemade Rose Water  diy rose water

photo credit and recipe from Frugal Family Home

Did your grandma ever talk to you about rose water?

Mine didn’t, but I learned about it on my own. And apparently it’s a classic addition to the skin care routine.

Rose water balances the oils on the skin, gently correcting oily skin. It’s also soothing, and aids the skin in healing in case of sunburn.

Word on the street is it plays a big part in smoothing out the skin and shrinking the appearance of pores.

15-Minute Lip Balm

easy diy lip balm

photo credit and recipe from A Better Way to Thrive

My husband and I are addicted to lip balms. But ever since we realized that the alcohols in most lip balms and chap sticks actually dry out the lips (great marketing, I guess, since it means you need more?), we became much more careful of what we actually purchase.

I prefer to make them at home to keep the costs down, plus I like to play with different essential oils and create my own.

Also, one time I melted some chocolate in my lip balm concoction and it was one of the best life decisions I’d ever made. So keep that in mind. Maybe create a Thin Mint-style by melting some chocolate chips and adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil.

DIY Dry Shampoo easy diy dry shampoo recipe

 photo credit and recipe from Living Well Spending Less

As I stated above, showers for me in this stage of life are about 3 minutes long before Mr I’m-ONLY-Happy-When-Mommy-Holds-Me is totally over me not holding him.

It’s for this reason that I love this recipe for homemade dry shampoo.

I’ve used this recipe for a while and it blends well. I don’t have anything to compare it to as far as store-bought, because I’ve never been a fan of aerosol-powered products, but I really like this recipe. And I smell like a cookie, so that’s perfect for me!

Homemade Bath Bombs

easy diy homemade bath bombs

photo credit and recipe from A Beautiful Mess

Are there really moms who have time to take a bath? If you happen to know one, add a few of these beauties into her gift. They are gorgeous, easy to make, and perfectly customizable.

Plus, since they are dry and won’t “go bad”, your supply will last a long time.

Which is good, because I don’t know many moms who have time for regular baths.

Aloe and Green Tea Facial Scrub

easy diy aloe green tea facial scrubphoto credit and recipe from Sweet Simple Living

Every good skin care routine includes an exfoliating step to scrub off the dead skin cells and bring the fresh new cells to the surface. So of course this step should do double-duty!

Aloe and green tea are both so beneficial to the skin. Aloe is hydrating, and the caffeine in the green tea stimulates blood flow to the cells. Combined, these are an anti-aging powerhouse.

Maybe don’t mention that it’s anti-aging when you gift it, but consider your audience.

My tired-as-a-mother eyes would be allllll about anti-aging right now. 29 is too early for wrinkles, thank you very much.

Lavender Milk Bath
homemade lavender milk bath recipe

photo credit and recipe from My Frugal Adventures

 

 

Another bath recipe? I know, I know, but this one is so soothing and relaxing, I had to include it! If there is one thing I know from navigating motherhood alongside my friends, it’s that just because we are sleeping, that does not mean we feel relaxed.

Sometimes Mama needs to chill.

Milk in the bath is an age-old tradition, meant to aid the skin in restoring fatty acids and soothe irritated skin.

Along with milk, this recipe also calls for magnesium-containing epsom salts, which help the muscles relax, as well as aids with a gentle systemic detox.

So basically, if you know a stressed-out and over-exerted mama, this is your go-to gift for her. And also, maybe offer to watch the kids for an hour while she soaks.

Peppermint Foot Soak

homemade peppermint foot soak

photo credit and recipe from A Cultivated Nest

Another pampering classic, the foot soak is amazing after a long day of chasing little people, or working outside the home, or when you’re just in need of a reset.

Since the feet have the largest pores on the body, they are a great choice to utilize when you need to detox (or give your body good things, like magnesium).

Foot soaks can be scented or non-scented. The peppermint in this recipe is both soothing and energizing, restoring your feet to their best function.

Cinnamon Vanilla Whipped Body Butter

diy whipped body butter

 photo credit and recipe from A Cultivated Nest

And finally, I couldn’t have a homemade beauty products roundup without including the number one beauty gift classic, the body butter.

Whipped body butter is lightweight, nourishing, and moisturizes the skin without leaving it feeling heavy or slick.

Because a little goes a long way, it’s an inexpensive gift as well. There is no need to give someone more than 4-8 ounces of body butter. It will probably take them a long time to use it all up.

Wrap It Up

So there you have it – my top 9 frugal homemade beauty product gift ideas. Gift them to your mom, mother-in-law, college bestie, or yourself (I won’t tell).

I may or may not be making some of these again for myself this week during my GYST day. All the recipes are so simple, they will be easy to add to my day, and the benefits will last for months!

If you found this article helpful, would you please share it? I would be so thankful!

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Ditch the Paper Towels: 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Ditch the paper towels and start using one of these eco-friendly alternatives! #ecofriendly #greenliving

When it comes to making the transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle, one of the easiest changes to make is to stop buying paper towels. Not only does this save you quite a bit of money, it reduces a huge strain on the environment caused by the paper towel industry.

Don’t believe me? Here are some quick facts about the impact of using paper towels:

  1. Paper towels cannot be recycled. This means an estimated 6 million pounds of paper towels wind up in landfills every year.
  2. Paper towels account for an estimated 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water, just to produce.
  3. Rolls of paper towels cost an average of $1 per roll. That adds up quickly, especially for an item that you don’t even need!

So what can you use besides paper towels? I’m glad you asked!

Rags

When we were first married, our total income for our first year of marriage was a whopping $16,000. Obviously, there wasn’t room for superfluous purchases like paper towels. We cut up ratty old clothes to use as rags. Depending on what we used them for, we either washed them to reuse over and over again or we threw them away. This is obviously the cheapest option, but might not be for everyone, especially if you don’t wear cotton. Polyester and linen wouldn’t absorb very well, and wool is generally water-repellant.

Related: How to do Laundry in an Apartment – Without Hookups!

Newspapers

Do you still get the newspaper? For smaller spills, cleaning up with old newspapers is a way to use them again before they hit the recycle bin. Also, windows can be cleaned with that beautiful streak-free shine using old newspapers and some vinegar in a spray bottle.

Looking for more ways to save? Download my free ebook!

Washcloths

I used to babysit for a family who used washcloths for everything from napkins to cleaning up spills. Generally, you can find bundles of washcloths for less than $12, so this would be an option that would probably be more absorbent than old t-shirts.

Wood cellulose towels

We received a supply of Swedish towels in our MightyNest subscription this month and we love them! They are made of wood cellulose, painted with adorable patterns using non-toxic paints, and reusable for several months. When they finally wear out, we can throw them in a compost bin and return them to the earth. All the convenience and feel of a paper towel, but without the waste.

MightyNest is my current favorite subscription! For just $10 a month, you get a new item or two that help you transition to a non-toxic, eco-friendly lifestyle. Sign up with my link to get a set of 3 dryer balls or 2 sheets of beeswax reusable wrap for just $3!

Unpaper Towels

For families with frequent messes (or just looking for the convenience of a paper towel with a single investment), there is the “unpaper towel,” made of cloth. My favorite part of this option is the convenience of it. They have snaps so all the towels snap together like regular paper towels, and you can even put them on a standard paper towel holder! When you’re finished using it, just throw them in the washing machine. How awesome is that? If you sew, these can be made in an afternoon. If that’s not your vibe, Etsy has plenty of options for you, like this classy wood grain patterned set of 12 that fits any kitchen decor.

I have actually never purchased paper towels in my adult life. I don’t even miss them, even with a toddler! Using sustainable options for cleaning up messes is one way that we save money and decrease our impact on the earth.

Do you use paper towel alternatives? Leave me a note in the comments and tell me what you use, and share this post with your friends who are looking to save money and live green!

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Get Your Sh*t Together: How to get it all done

how to get it all done, how to do it all, how to be efficient, efficiency tips, working mom tips, time management, meal planning, meal prep, time management

Have you ever wondered how to “get it all done”?  Or if “getting it all done” was even possible? I work full-time, I’m a wife and mommy to two very active little boys, and I’m building this blog into a full-time gig. There is never enough time for all the things I want to, but I have had a lot of people ask how I manage to handle everything that I do accomplish on the daily.

The thing is, I didn’t always get everything done. I used to be extremely disorganized, hardcore procrastinator, and okay with just surviving my days. I thought being late or disorganized or constantly behind was fine (even normal) because I was working and had a baby, but I realized the legacy I was teaching my son was just to survive. I decided just surviving wasn’t going to be one of the life lessons I wanted to leave my son, and I could actually accomplish so much more with my life if I just applied a small amount of diligence. Discipline and reaching goals are definitely traits I want to teach!

With a little big of planning, I’ve figured out how to actually put the tedious parts of life on autopilot to create space for the best moments. I call this weekly practice my  “Get Your Sh*t Together” (or GYST day), and it’s become my favorite day of the week!

I realized that the things that took up the most time in my week were small, mundane events I had been avoiding or didn’t plan ahead for during the week. Since Monday is a new work week, Sunday seemed like the best time to GYST.

Between my family, my work, and building this blog, a lot of my time and energy is focused on big things. I tend to procrastinate the shorter tasks during the week (like paying bills, renewing library books, etc). I know they are important and only take a tiny amount of time, but for whatever reason I’m just not as likely to take the time to do them during the week.

Basic Food Prep

My GYST days start with food, because of course it does. I loooooooove food! And coffee. But you already knew that.

We usually do our grocery shopping on Saturdays, so I start off Sundays with a fully stocked kitchen. I go through all the groceries and create a basic (flexible) meal plan and start to prep some breakfast foods. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I like to have plenty of options ready for me to create a big meal quickly. Typically, my breakfast involves my coffee, a smoothie, and some sort of baked goods. On Sundays I like to do all my baking for the week, so I’ll usually make at least one batch of muffins or breakfast bread (usually either pumpkin or banana, depending on what I have on hand). Once the batter goes in the oven, I clean up the kitchen and will either start a batch of brown rice or throw a few chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.

Need some help with meal prep? Download my free ebook, Meal Planning for Busy People!

The Necessary Computer Work

With the food going in the kitchen and the kitchen cleaned up, I’ll sit down and pay the bills. This only takes a few minutes and takes a huge load off my shoulders. It’s amazing how important financial fitness is to mental health!

Since I’m sitting already, now is the time I pull out my planner and look over the week. Any appointments, social events, and deadlines are reviewed and planned for appropriately. I have a running list of blog topics and networking opportunities going on a page in my planner, and I review those and map out the following week. January was all messed up with illnesses, but thankfully we are getting back on track in February and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s safe to say I love routine and I thrive on checking off my to-do lists!

I also take this time to do any necessary paperwork, or prepare mail to be sent. Any important documents, handwritten notes to friends, or blogging paperwork is prepped and ready to be taken to be sent on Monday.

Self Care

After all of this is done, it’s time for some self care. When I was single, Sunday used to be my home spa days. Now with two little boys creating chaos over here, usually the best I can do is maybe a bentonite clay mask and filing my nails. If I get really lucky, sometimes I can get my nails painted, but I only risk that if both boys take a nap at the same time. Whatever I do, it’s important that I set aside at least 5 minutes for something just for me. I’ve noticed a direct relationship between how I feel about myself and how I react to stressful situations or interact with my little family. If I feel gross and run-down, I’m not as patient or giving as when I have taken a minute to prepare myself mentally and put myself together.

The best part about GYST days is that they are relaxing while being incredibly productive. The idea is not to start the week in a stressful way with a long list of to-do items, but to calmly prepare for a good week by taking care of a few key things before they have a chance to become problems.

Obviously, the decision of what to include in your GYST day is completely up to you, but I would recommend at least some basic meal preparation and something for self-care. This sets up your week for success immediately.

The benefits of a GYST day are exponentially increased when you are intentional about each day. Creating a functional morning routine and an evening routine gives you even more success and space throughout your days to reach whatever goals you are working towards, and will absolutely skyrocket your productivity (and keep you sane through it all)!

Do you have a weekly routine that helps you? Leave me a comment!

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Completely Honest Review: ThredUp online thrift store

ThredUp review, online thrift store, buy kids clothes online, buy womens clothes online, how to buy clothes from thrift store

This post is sponsored by ThredUp.

When I started my first job at a clothing store at the mall, I became responsible for my clothing budget. Wanting to stretch my money as far as possible, I decided to check out the local Goodwill. $20, an hour, and a few bags of clothes later, I was completely hooked on thrift store shopping.

The thing about thrift store shopping is the time investment. I developed a system to streamline my time looking through clothes and then trying them on.  Now that I’m a mom of two, one of whom is quite mobile, I can’t spend as much uninterrupted time meandering through the aisles of the thrift stores. The baby in the carrier also inhibits me gathering armloads of clothes. It’s okay though, I love them.

So when I found ThredUp, I was intrigued. An online thrift store? With all the brands I would snag at Goodwill, but all were previously evaluated for quality and organized by size, brand, and price? This might be too good to be true!

ThredUp Online Shopping Experience

I spent a long time perusing everything in my size on the website. I had to hold myself to a strict budget or else I would have ended up with 3 pairs of Banana Republic jeans, a Michael Kors vest, and a Coach diaper bag (but even all that was only around $150 total). I finally settled on a green tunic and pair of Banana Republic wool pants.

I also love shopping for my boys, so I looked around in their various sizes. I found a pair of Hugo Boss pants, a shirt that says “my big bro is my hero,” and a pair of overalls for Dean and I squealed with excitement when I found this perfect condition Spider-Man hoodie for Tristan. My excitement paled in comparison to his reaction when it arrived! He loves it and only answers to Spider-Man while wearing it.

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My total for all of this? $52.93! The Hugo Boss pants for Dean and Banana Republic pants for me were on sale for only $3.99. I couldn’t pass them up, even though I don’t actually have a “need” for office wear anymore. But, you know, if something business casual comes up at some point, now I have something to wear!

My favorite part was going through all my favorite name brands (at 2am). Before marriage and babies, my closet was stuffed with Banana Republic, J. Crew, Gap, and Express. Now that I’m getting back to being able to wear my pre-baby clothes, it’s so fun to spruce up my wardrobe with some new items in my favorite styles. I was especially tempted with all the Lululemon they have stocked right now!

Selling Through ThredUp

ThredUp makes it super easy to clean out your closet, too. Just request a “clean out kit” on their website, and the package will arrive in a couple days. The “kit” is just a big, polka dotted, postage-paid bag. Fill it, close it, and put it on your porch for your mailman to pick up. Since I tended to drive around for weeks with my car full of clothes to donate, this was especially handy. While the payout isn’t very high, it’s such a handy service, and I’m all about convenience right now.

I mean really, not only can you go thrift store shopping, but you can also send your items in for consignment, all without leaving your home? This secondhand-loving mama says, “yes, please!”

ThredUp has a special deal for you all that I’m so excited to pass on to you! The first 100 readers to use the code CRUNCHYHIPPIELIFE at checkout get 50% your first order, up to $50! This code is good through March 2018.

Be sure to share this post with your secondhand-loving friends!

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