Two favorite phrases in our household are “saving money” and “all natural or organic”. One great way to do both of these is to use baking soda and vinegar for all types of different things around the house, from cleaning to yard work to health and beauty. The best part is baking soda can be purchased in a box for less than $1 up to a bag for a few dollars.
Outside, you can use a spray bottle of vinegar to kill weeds, ants and slugs. Do not, however, spray directly on flowers and vegetable plants because it will harm them. Instead, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and place near the plants to ward of bugs. For acid loving plants such as rhododendron, hydrangea, dogwood, heather and azalea, mix 1 cup vinegar and one gallon of water and spray directly onto the soil around the base. This will help make the ground more acidic. Spray the vinegar directly on spigots and tools to clean them. Spray vinegar on outdoor furniture to help remove mold and even sanitize them.
If you have berry stains on your hand, washing them in vinegar helps remove those stains. If you have an area that you do not want the cat, spray around that area. Reapply after rain. If your dog has itchy ears, rub some vinegar on the area to soothe them.
Inside the home, run a cup of vinegar through your washing machine on the empty cycle to clean it. It can also be ran through a coffee pot to clean out any deposits. Be sure to run clean water through the cycle afterward. Wipe down metal fixtures with vinegar to descale them. Dab vinegar on perspiration stains on clothing to remove the stain. Clean any excess hair out of your brushes and combs, sprinkle them with baking soda and then soak them in vinegar to remove buildup and disinfect. Regular cleaning of your drains is easy by pouring a cup of soda and a cup of vinegar down them. It will foam up and clean deposits in your drain making them drain more smoothly.
Plain baking soda cleans so many things. Use baking soda to clean a bathtub. It tends to be less abrasive than most cleaners. If you have crayon markings on your walls, use baking soda on a damp sponge to clean them off. If you have a fresh grease stain on furniture, sprinkle equal parts baking soda and salt on the stain, rub it in a bit and let it sit to draw out the grease. After it is dry, vacuum it up. Make a sachet with the baking soda and put inside seldom used luggage to absorb moisture and odors. To deodorize a mattress, place 1 cup baking soda in a jar, add four drops lavender essential oil and shake. Sprinkle it on the mattress using a kitchen strainer. Leave it for about an hour and then vacuum off. This will help eliminate dust mites and draw out moisture, leaving the mattress deodorized.
If clothes smell smoky, remove the scent by soaking them in a mix of baking soda and water before washing. For stained plastic food storage containers, clean and deodorize them with 4 tablespoons baking soda with a quart of water. You can add lemon juice in the mixture for stubborn stains. You can do the same for sponges by soaking them in the mixture overnight. For greasy pans and cooked on foods, loosen it by sprinkling baking soda over the area and then add water and bring to a boil. Stubborn foods will lift off. If it is a cookie sheet, sprinkle soda over it, add water and heat it up in the oven. When it is cooled, remove it from the oven and wipe clean. If you don’t have spackling but have a small nail hole, make a paste from baking soda and glue. Put in the nail hole and allow to dry. You can add baking soda to shampoo to remove buildup left from other hair products, such as hair spray. Add ½ cup of baking soda to bathwater to soften skin.
You can use both vinegar and baking soda for foot soaks, air freshener, a scouring cleanser, cleaner spray, plant spray and many more items. I have included recipes for all of these things and more on my Facebook page, Karen's Couponing on a Budget, or you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
Using household items such as baking soda and vinegar can be a great way to save money, as you won’t have a need to buy so many of the other, more expensive cleaners. It also helps by being a little bit more of a natural way to clean instead of using harsh chemicals. You always want to test any new tip on a small area first but even if you can only apply a few of these tips, it can save you big, which is the name of the game.
Karen Green can be booked to teach coupon classes and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.