Things I keep on hand always...
Plain white vinegar
Washing soda (This is different from baking soda, and is usually found with the cleaning and laundry supplies. I have used baking soda in a pinch, though, and it works just fine.)
Soap (I use Ivory, because I've never been able to find anything else, but castille and Fels Neptha work well, from what I understand, too. Just make sure it's pure soap, nothing perfumed, with lotions, ect.)
Essential oils (I keep tea tree oil, my absolute necessity, on hand, as well as lavender.)
Here are some wonderful recipes I use to make our dollar stretch:
Homemade baby wipes
Our youngest children have all had reactions to diapers, wipes, something. They're rather sensitive in that area. When we use the homemade baby wipes, we have been able to cut WAY down on rashes and the like. Also, a great treatment for yeast infections occuring after a round of antibiotics!!
2 Cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5-10 drops tea tree oil
5-10 drops lavender oil
Mix the above, and cut a roll of paper towels in half. (Bounty seems to hold up best.) Find a container that fits the half roll of paper towel (a lot of people use old disposable wipes containers. I use a square plastic container I got at WalMart, and pour the solution in there. Then, stick your paper towels in. Cover, and let sit at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight. The solution will wick up through the paper towels. When it's done, remove the cardboard insert, and pull the first wipe out through the center. The tea tree oil and lavender are wonderful for your skin, and the tea tree oil kills bacteria and yeast.
This is what your wipes should look like from the top, with the center being pulled out:
Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent
Last week, we ran out, and I had to do a quick search to find some. This is what I found, and it works well enough that my husband wants me to keep on making it!!
1/2 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup salt (Sea salt works well, as it's rather course, but I've been using table salt, and it works well, too.)
Mix the above in a container, and add around 2 Tablespoons to the containers in your dishwasher. I also add vinegar to the rinse container. Vinegar makes a WONDERFUL rinse agent, whether for your dishes, or for your laundry!!
Homemade Laundry Soap
This one I got from the Duggar's book and website. It works really, really well, is safe for front loading HE washers (which I have), and lasts my family of 7 (2 still in diapers) for around 5 months. To not have an issue with copyright laws, I'm not going to repost it, but you can link to the recipe here. (There's also a wonderful recipe for powdered laundry soap that works quite well with top loading washers, too!) The only thing I do differently is add some lavender essential oil, for smell. I also use vinegar in place of fabric softener in my laundry. It ensures that all of the soap washes out (good for whether you use this recipe, or any soap, for that matter!), and leaves the clothes smelling and feeling wonderful!
She... strengtheneth her arms. Proverbs 31:17
Find a spray container (you can get these at the dollar store, usually, WalMart, or many hardware stores) and fill 1/2 way with plain, white vinegar. Fill the rest of the way with water. Add any essential oils for scent (my husband likes us to use lavender and tea tree oil, although occasionally, we'll substitute the lavender for peppermint). I use this in the bathroom and kitchen, although it doesn't work so well on mirrors and windows, I think due to the essential oils. For that, I tend to use just plain vinegar, undiluted. You can also add borax, from what I understand, but I've never tried that. I do hear it tends to clog the spray bottles.
I hope these ideas bless you as much as they've blessed our family!