Working towards a zero-waste kitchen? Here’s how to make reusable sponges, better known as unsponges, from things you have around the house.
Ready to dive into your spring cleaning, but not sure where to start? Print a copy of my spring cleaning checklist, and use it as your guide. It breaks down all the essential cleaning tasks for each room.
Laundry detergent pods and tabs seem to be catching on quickly, and I can see why: they’re awfully convenient. Unfortunately, they also happen to be awfully expensive. And the thing is, they don’t have to be. There’s really nothing special about them. They’re just pre-measured laundry detergent.
I can make them, and so can you.
I spent some time playing around in my kitchen, and I came up with a recipe for laundry detergent tabs that I really like. It cleans well; it smells nice; it’s affordable; and it’s easy to make. I took all the ingredients that are commonly found in old-school laundry detergent recipes; and I modernized them by using them to make tabs.
Want to try them out for yourself? This video shows you how to make them …
Buying dishwasher detergent makes me grouchy. A bottle of the natural stuff runs $6, and if you buy the tabs or pods, that $6 only gets you enough for 20 loads – that’s not even a month’s supply for my family!
I’ve tried several homemade recipes over the years (just stuff that I found on the web), but I’ve never been impressed with the results. I always ended up with a white residue on my glasses, and the detergent would harden into a brick after I made it (even if I stored it in an air-tight container). And the fact that the recipes always contained Borax was an issue for me, too. I use Borax for lots of things, but I’m just not keen on using it on our dishes. It is, after all, toxic when ingested.
Clearly, it was time to come up with my own solution.
So, I did a bunch of research on the active ingredients in dishwasher detergent, how they work together, how to address hard water; etc.; and then I experimented until I came up with a recipe that really works. It’s all natural, just like the stuff I was buying (honestly, probably more natural than what I was buying), and it’s in tab form, so it’s really easy to use.
Because I want this recipe to work as well for you as it has for me, I’ve even experimented with the size of the tabs. These should fit the detergent compartment on your dishwasher perfectly. I’ve tested other people’s tab recipes, and that was a problem that I ran into again and again.
Ready to give my dishwasher detergent tabs a try? Here’s a video detailing the steps.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to wooden spoons, so when I find one that feels right in my hand, I try to take care of it. That goes double for my great grandmother’s wooden spoon. It brings back happy memories every time I use it.
So, I clean my wooden spoons with soap and water, just like you’d expect, but I also condition them. Because when you think about it, wooden spoons take a lot of abuse. They’re subjected to heat, plunged into all sorts of foods and then further submerged in water when you go to wash them. Pretty much everything you shouldn’t do to wood. All of that abuse leaves wooden spoons dried out and stained, and eventually causes them to split.
Whenever my wooden spoons start to feel dry, I apply some of my homemade wooden spoon butter. It’s a paste that I make from mineral oil and beeswax, and it’s just the thing to feed thirsty wood. I used to just use mineral oil, but the beeswax forms a protective coating that keeps water out and food stains at bay, so now I use the two in combination. My wooden spoon butter is food-safe and fragrance-free, and it brings out the natural beauty of the wood.
Want to make a batch so you can try it? Here are the instructions.
Dryer balls are a great replacement for dryer sheets and fabric softener. They soften clothes, speed up drying time, remove wrinkles and reduce static all without the use of chemicals. Just toss them in the dryer with your wet clothes, and they’ll work their magic.
I used this set for the last decade:
And they work great, but I’ve never really liked the fact that they were made out of PVC. When wool dryer balls hit the market a few years ago, I was thrilled to have a plastic-free option, but at almost $40 a set, I just couldn’t bring myself to order them.
So, I did what I normally do in situations like this … I figured out how to make my own. Here are the instructions.
We found some killer deals at thrift stores while we were on vacation last week, like all of these shoes that you see above. But a large number of our finds came from a store that uses grease pencil (aka China marker) to mark their prices. I hate that! Worse still, they write the prices on the sides of most of their shoes, which means the brand new pair of Keen sneakers that I found had a big $12.99 written on the side. Argh!
Still, $12.99 for a pair of Keens is just too good to pass up (they retail for around $90), so I bought them, and several other things, and decided it was high time we devised a way to remove grease pencil.
I don’t like to spend money (big surprise, right?), but I recently purchased three essential oil diffusers, and I consider them to be a great investment. Here’s a look at how I’m using them in my home.
As my mad scientist skills have improved over the years, I’ve been able to replace many of the store-bought cleaners that I used to buy with homemade cleaning solutions. Here’s a look at what I keep in my cleaning kit these days.
Stomping around in someone else’s shoes isn’t something I normally recommend, but from time to time I’ll come across a really nice pair of shoes at a yard sale that look like they were worn once. And when that happens, we’ll, they’re coming home with me.
Let me give you a few examples …
I ground some cumin in my coffee/spice grinder two weeks ago, and it still smelled like cumin when I pulled it out this morning. Those essential oils really have staying power! Not wanting the next thing I grind to smell and taste like cumin (unless it happens to be cumin), I took a minute to give my grinder a thorough cleaning. Here’s what you do.
Shower curtains tend to be treated as disposable items these days, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The next time your shower curtain gets a bit mildewy, just follow these simple steps to clean it.