This post is about money.  The “M” word.  Most of us think about money  or lack of money multiple times a day.  In fact as I sit here typing this, I just remembered that I need to get a bill in the mail by tomorrow… When I start talking to someone about changes they can make in their kitchen a common remark is ” I just don’t have the money to buy organic or natural products.”.  Well that is where I come in.  I have made it a challenge and mission to figure out what is worth your money and what isn’t.  New Pioneer Co op, while wonderful, is also insanely expensive when it comes to some product and as I have mentioned before, I only shop in select areas of the store because a lot of what they offer isn’t as natural as it claims to be.  I can tell you what is cheapest to buy in bulk online, at Stringtown in Kalona, from a local farmer and what isn’t worth the money to buy organic.  But most of all, I tell clients this: You have to reallocate your money.

I shudder when I think about the amount of money I used to spend on cleaning supplies.  I was a 7th Generation devotee and stocked up on their cleaners whenever they were on sale.  Sale being still around $3 per bottle.  Oh and then the laundry detergent.  I live in a house with a firefighter and two girls who seem to create an endless amount of laundry.  Endless.  I tried to do the right thing and buy fragrance free detergent and ones with the longest list of what wasn’t in the bottle chemical wise.  But again, I was happy with getting 100 HE loads (50 standard) for $10.  But don’t forget the hand soap!  If you are buying all “natural” soap then you are excited to get a container for less than $6. The same goes for shampoos. And the list continues.  While you may not be buying these items on a weekly basis, they still add up. They also seem to run out at the least opportune time.  And that is what brings me to why I decided to write this post now.

Yesterday morning was Sunday.  And it was a planned “get crap done” Sunday. My laundry was sorted and waiting begin  the the day long cycle of wash/dry/fold/put away ( those last two never seem to happen until days later).  But alas, I was out of laundry detergent.  This is when making all of your own cleaning supplies kicks butt. When I run out of laundry detergent I don’t have to jump in my car, drive to the store, find the aisle, buy the overpriced detergent, back in car, home and now I have wasted an hour of my day.  Nope.  Instead, I reach up to the shelves above the washer and dryer, pull down my 3 ingredients, and 5 minutes later I have a new batch of laundry detergent for the price of maybe 0.05 cents per load.  Now do me a favor and sometime today or the next time you do laundry look at the ingredients of your detergent.  Even if you are buying ‘all natural’ detergent, I will guess that you are going to find yourself reading more than 3 ingredients and reading ingredients that you don’t recognize.

This goes for all of your cleaning products.  If you don’t know what the ingredient is, then it doesn’t belong in your house, on your clothes, counters and in the air you breathe.  Now this mostly applies to conventional cleaning products, but trust me, there are plenty of not very natural chemicals in your natural cleaners as well.  My hand soap is just peppermint or citrus castile soap and water.  I will maybe spend $10 every other year on hand soap.  All other cleaning products consist of vinegar,water, tea tree oil, baking soda, borax, lemon juice and salt.  My home is clean, very clean actually due to deep cleaning being a stress reliever for me, but it is clean without a chemical residue left in the air or on the surfaces.  You do not need harsh chemicals.  You also do not need to spend more than a handful of dollars on cleaning supplies for your house.  I happily spend my money instead on good food.  Organic local produce, organic bulk ingredients and grass fed meats and dairy products.

Intimidated by making your own cleaning ingredients?  Don’t be!  I include help with making your own cleaning products in all of my packages and can arrange a separate consultation if you wish on DIY cleaning products. See my Services page for more information.

Now for making your own laundry detergent you will need to have on hand 3 ingredients that you can buy at most stores and online.  Borax shouldn’t cost more than $5.00 and the same goes for the washing soda.  Be aware of what bar of soap you choose.  I had a hard time at co op finding a bar of soap without fragrance or added ingredients.  Dr. Bronners has a bar of soap that would work great too.  I use vinegar as a fabric softener, it worked great when I was hang drying my clothes this summer.

No matter if you are on a tight budget or not, making your own cleanings supplies is a smart economical decision that really does not take any more time than going to the store and buying products. You can now free up money to spend on good REAL foods.  Reclaim your kitchen and how you clean!

Homemade Laundry Detergent-dry

1 bar of soap-grated. (I just use my cheese grater and have had no problem with washing it afterward) 

1 cup Borax ( I use 20 Mule Team brand)

1 cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer) 

Mix together and store in a jar or container with a lid.  Use 1 Tablespoon per load.  That is it, doesn't get much easier than that! I use extra borax as a prewash treatment on stains and vinegar for fabric softener.  I have made liquid detergent before and used tea tree oil in it for a natural fragrance.