Save money & (the planet) household tips
Updated: Jan 10
I thoroughly loved writing the last blog about eating well and saving money and thought,
hang on a minute! I've got more to share.
So here goes.
With another lock down here in the UK, many have been made redundant, furloughed or in businesses with diminished sales, so budgets are leaner than before. Even if budgets are not limited, saving pennies in everyday living can all add up. So every penny counts.
In this blog, I'm going to share tips on some household hacks that can help save a penny or two whilst also reducing the impact on the planet.
Making own household products are not for everyone but it's definitely a good back up option too with lock downs and no delivery slots in supermarkets, these are easy hacks to have as a back up plan!
With basic ingredients, some switch to food uses too so it's not a bad idea to have these products in the house.
Make your own lemon cleaner with used lemons
So I hate waste, especially food waste and I bake a lot, use lemons a lot, and the skins are still full of some healthy goodness so I've found a brilliant way to use them as a cleaner.
Its easy, smells great ( not too vinegar smelling) and great for baths and showers!
Letting lemons skins sit in some vinegar for a few weeks actually gets the oils out of the lemon and the result is a lovely sheen on places like sinks and counter tops!
Not only is this really cheap to make, there are no nasty chemicals, no packaging and no waste, as the lemons can just be composted. This is also a good option for those who are looking to cut down chemicals in their cleaning products for families with allergies for example.
2-3 used lemons and a jar of white vinegar
Put a few used cut lemons skins in a jar then fill to the top with white vinegar, put lid on &
let it sit for 2 weeks and then when you're ready to use, dilute the solution 4:1 with water in a spray bottle Then clean away! Can dilute less according to your requirements.
One word of caution though-please do not use this on granite or marble tops to be safe- stick to surfaces that are good with using vinegar!
Microwave lemon clean method
2-3 cut used lemons
bowl of water
Easiest thing to do - put some used lemons in a bowl of water and microwave for 4-5 mins you can hear it hissing and steaming but I guarantee you, after using a hot cloth to wipe down the sides and microwave plate, you'll have a sparkly lemony smelling clean microwave.
For tougher stains, you can repeat the process and the lemons get 'steamed' in the microwave and at the same time steams away dried bits of food.
Then lemons can be composted. No brainer really. No packaging, no waste, composts well and you get a clean lemony smelling microwave.
Faith in Nature
My favorite brand of laundry wash is called Faith in Nature, they are a British company that produce good natural, organic, cruelty free cleaning, toiletries, household and beauty products.
I have been using Faith in Nature laundry wash for around 4 years and the main reason being for a 5 Litre size laundry wash for around £21, this has lasted me for under a year.
So were in November now and I just checked when I last ordered and it was April 2020 and Jan 20. So this time, it's well over a year.
With the light scent of Aloes and Rosemary, it's organic and if you read the label it only has around 7-8 ingredients and just simply goes on forever ( label says 150 washes), being cruelty free they are also an earth-friendly company in other ways too. They have just introduced a new send back scheme for their 5 Ltr & 20 Ltr containers by free post which means they get to reuse the packaging via their packaging suppliers. So to sum up Faith in Nature is:
Free post 5 Ltr packaging recycle service
Low on chemicals ( so good for allergies)
Made in UK
I must admit I also use an Eco - egg that I was trying out ( I got mine for £12.99 a good long time ago!) but found using just an Eco - egg was not enough for us. I found the combination of the two with Faith in Nature works. The Eco Egg action 'pounds' the clothes in the drum so is also good at getting dirt out.
So realistically for around 20 months ( I still have laundry wash to last till end of year!) the combination of an Eco Egg and 2x Faith in Nature works out to a total of around £55 so ends up costing around £2.75 a month on laundry wash.
That is a huge saving!
(This is an example of my savings a good while ago - prices may differ now depending on different retailers.)
Conker Laundry wash ( like soap nuts)
Whilst were talking about laundry, I have also discovered that conkers are also a great way of making own clothes wash liquid. The first time I made this I was pleasantly surprised by how fluffy my cottons were! This formula brings out the natural saponins in the conkers and is also a great one for allergies and of course FREE! They have a similar ethos as soap nuts but my friend recently told me about how the countries where soap nuts are produced are now missing out as it's become a popular thing in the west where demand has grown! I haven't followed this up but it doesn't surprise me so let's stick to local produce from the ground! A few conkers can go such a long way! For those who like fragrance on their clothes I highly recommend using essential oils. I use Young Living for their therapeutic grade and you can find more info on this here.
Conker Laundry wash recipe
5-6 Conkers ( around 40g)
500ml of hot water
** Optional** 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil ( favorites are lemon or lavender)
Collect some conkers and store in a tray and dry out on the radiator ( I leave a small bucket on the window sill) when you are ready to use - cut 5-7 and put in a jug. Top 500ml of water and let the water sit for 30 minutes or so. When the water has cooled down and started going cloudy, pour 80g per wash. This can be used straight away but I have found that letting it sit in the fridge for a few days has made the liquid give a frothier wash! ( So I recommend storing the rest in a large jar or bottle for a later load) The solution can be stored for about a week in a fridge. Makes a lot of washing solution ( around 10-12 washes or so) so best to keep in the fridge till you need it. You can also reuse the conkers after the first soak but soaking it longer for about an hour or overnight to get the cloudy liquid out. I often make this in a big batch and store it in the fridge.
If you find that too much work you could ( for a light wash) cut up the conkers and put the pieces in a muslin and wash clothes right away, but there will not be much froth.
Please note this is a detergent and there is no fragrance - so I like to add a few drops of essential oil when loading the washing liquid. ( I'm not a big fan of commercial fragrances in washing detergent so this suits me fine as I'm not a big fan of unnecessary chemicals.)
My biggest pluses in this are:
My cotton clothes just came out SO fluffy!
No nasty chemicals
Better for people who have allergies to chemicals
Kids love collecting the conkers!
A note on buying bulk
I've never been a big fan of bulk buying things but in the last few years, I find it more time-efficient & economical to do so.
After buying 5 Litre laundry washes a few times, I noticed that it was so much more convenient to have this stuff without having to throw out packaging all the time. It also saves a lot of time and effort to shop in the supermarket! Especially these days!
The 2 main items that I always make sure I have enough of in the house are a tub of Sodium bicarbonate which is great for cleaning, getting smells out of furniture & carpets, and also cooking, and White vinegar - the uses range from cleaning to pickling! ( both links are also food grade products too which helps in cooking also!)
Carpet cleaning ( or some soft furnishings - test patch first!)
Shake around 10-15 drops of essential oils - I love lemon or orange - in some sodium bicarbonate (around 1.5 cups ) and sprinkle it on carpets, leave for about 15-20 minutes then vacuum the powder up!
I once had to clear up an awful baby incident in the car ( yep - it wasn't pleasant!) and I thought I would never get the smell out. But 6 years later, my car is fine and this stuff works! It's my go to remedy for absorbing of smells. I can never have enough Bicarb of Soda in the house! ( You can get some white vinegar here and some Sodium Bicarbonate here. )
How often have I said I need to nip to the shops for bicarb, or vinegar or citric acid, etc..to make random household items? The thought of going to shops, parking and looking for the items is sometimes frustrating - I'm not a big fan of shopping unless it's books!) These little trips add up so every bit helps! I'm personally not a fan of storing bulk things unless I have space for it, so I would only pick items that you 100% will use then fire on ahead!
So to sum up buying some items in bulk means:
You can save on packaging so a bit more eco friendly
Multiple uses (Items like white vinegar and sodium bicarbonate can be used from cleaning to food to creative pursuits ( like making bath bombs!)
Its saves time and petrol
Peace of mind that if you ever run out of cleaner you can make your own as an alternative
Less chemicals that can cause allergies which are not ideal for good health!
Please note that whilst these are cleaning tips, sanitization is a totally different thing, so whilst cleaning removes germs, sanitizing kills germs, so that's worth thinking about especially in the super sanitized climate we're currently living in. For dishes, I also use biodegradable Faith in Nature washing up liquid which again lasts forever ( nearly!) and the Freepost 5 Litre packaging recycle service applies.
I will be writing more on everyday money saving themes as it's been an awkward year and who wouldn't like to save a bit of cash here and there for a better future?
Keep safe and healthy till next time!
- A small commission may be received on clicking on my affiliate links above at no cost to you.
- Please do shop around and test products for sensitivities no responsibility will be taken for any actions taken from this written article and all experiences are the author's own.
-notes on faith in nature laundry - in italics -have been edited since the original article.