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Household cleaning on a dime

According to Industry Canada, the average Canadian household spends anywhere between $200 to $300 a year on household cleaning supplies. May not seem like a whole lot to some, but why spend it if you don’t have to?

Other than maybe laundry and dishwasher detergent, our family spends very little, or next to nothing on our household cleaning products. How? Simple. We make our own. It’s a fraction of the cost and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want all those fumes and harsh chemicals circulating the air. Especially if you have any little ones running around. You should see what’s in some of today’s household cleaners.

Here’s a simple household cleaner, you can make yourself

We’re not reinventing the wheel, just going back to basics – to what our parents and our parents’ parents used, before the Age of chemical housekeeping. Here’s one simple and thrifty, all-purpose, all-natural, household cleaning recipe that you can use yourself, for mere pennies.

I’ve found this solution works great on our kitchen counters (even tough grease stains), cleaning windows and does a pretty good job with our ceramic and wood floors too. On wood floors – just use a slightly damp microfibre mop and you’re good to go.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A spray bottle. You can pick one up at a dollar store if you don’t already have one.
  • White vinegar. Vinegar is cheap and you can find it at just about anywhere. Maybe even in your cupboards. This is a great time to stock up on vinegar too. If it’s not on sale now, it won’t be too long as pickling/canning season is in.
  • Tea tree oil. You can find tea tree oil at your local grocery or even online. It may seem a little pricey for such a tiny bottle. But with only a few drops per spray bottle, it’ll last you forever (or at least, a really, really, long time).

And now for the complicated instructions:

  • Fill the spray bottle halfway with the white vinegar
  • Fill the other half with water
  • Add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has been found to be effective against bacteria, fungus and viruses too. I should mention, that in some very rare cases, people have experienced allergic reactions to tea tree oil, and it is harmful if ingested, so use caution and please keep the little bottle away from children and pets. But we’re only using a few drops here, so it’s at a very low concentration.

Nonetheless, if you’d rather do without, or if you’re in a pinch and don’t have any on hand, you’re fine with just white vinegar. I just find the added tea tree oil makes for a better clean, and nicer scent. It also helps to mask the vinegar smell. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the smell of vinegar either, but the smell dissipates very quickly – within minutes – a lot quicker than some of those other household cleaning products (i.e. Lysol).

Like baking soda, white vinegar is one of those versatile ingredients you can use just about anywhere and on just about anything. I’m not about to go through the whole list of uses, looks like someone has already done that here. And according to a Heinz company spokesman Michael Mullen, vinegar already “kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mould, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).” I guess thousands of school janitors couldn’t be wrong.

So next time you’re in-store walking by that bottle of Fantastik or Mr. Clean, know you can breathe easier by making your own household cleaners and create a healthier environment for you and your family, on next to nothing.

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