Beyond baking soda: 5 easy frugal recipes for household products

Want to get away from commercial products but aren't sure where to turn beyond your box of baking soda? Here are easy recipes for 5 household products! Sometimes baking soda is enough... and sometimes you need something more. These are all recipes I have tried and used extensively -- with my honest opinion of them. :)

My homemade scouring powder

1. Homemade scouring powder. This takes just a minute to mix and works great. I haven't bought commercial scouring powder since trying this homemade version several years ago. If you use scouring powder, this one is worth making (unless you can get it for free somehow!). :)

My homemade laundry soap!!

2. Homemade laundry detergent. You knew this one was coming, right? :) Now, for my confession. Ever since we moved across-country almost 2 years ago, I have just used laundry soap powder in a big bucket from Costco. It's around $14 and my first bucket (which was actually a gift from my in-laws when we moved here!) lasted us 12 months! I use less than the recommended amount and it works great. No storing supplies to make my own. And for $1.20 a month? I do like 20+ loads of laundry every month!!

Ingredients for peppermint toothpaste

3. Homemade toothpaste. This one's fun to make and even tastes pretty good! I'm not still using this homemade toothpaste, since I instead am going by this dentist's advice for dental health -- which includes fluoride. No, I'm not done studying about teeth...

Homemade Dishrags

4. Homemade/upcycled/free dish cloths. Don't laugh! Seriously, these are the best dish cloths. But if you like your fancy store-bought dish cloths, then here are tips on how to deal with stinky dish cloths. :)

Homemade deodorant

5. Homemade deodorant. Really easy, effective, and affordable. Aluminum-free! This stuff is great. Do give your body an adjustment period of a week or even longer if you've been using anti-perspirant for years on end. Body odor is a strange thing some times! Another frugal deodorant alternative is a salt crystal.

Bonus mentions:

Re-purposing cheap shampoo (from when my long, thick hair said "noooooo" to the free stuff!)

Simplifying cleaning around the home! Unfortunately, I think every time we add a child to the family the definition of "clean" changes a little -- for the dirtier! Someday when the kids are older this trend reverses, right??? ;)

Getting motivated to clean! I sure need this most days. :P

My cleaning routines/tips. That post, from several years ago, is funny to read. Life changes a lot in 4 years' time, I guess!

Frugal toilet cleaner: I read somewhere that using a few tablespoons of bleach is just as good as any fancy toilet cleaner. For tears now, I've just used a splash of bleach in the toilet every couple weeks -- and use a brush to clean it. I turn on the bathroom exhaust fan when I do this, to help avoid the fumes. I keep bleach in the house for various reasons so this works for me! :)

Frugal glass and mirror cleaner: Distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. This makes a good kitchen or all-purpose cleaner as well. This is probably my most-used cleaning product -- except for dish soap! :)

My household cleaners:

Scouring powder (bathroom, kitchen)

Vinegar in spray bottle (bathroom, kitchen)

Bleach (toilet, towels occasionally)

Various soaps and cleaning cloths/rags -- for dishes, handwashing, and laundry

Do you have a recipe for a really great worth-making household product? Leave me a link or comment about it! I'm up for trying something new! :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Pantry organization finished!

This morning, the children helped me organize our pantry for this week's homemaking challenge. :)

Before: A very stuffed and not organized pantry closet! Things were constantly falling out when I tried to open or shut the door.

After: Much tidier and even some extra space on a few shelves! :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Drawer or closet challenge

This week's Making Your Home a Haven challenge is to clean out or organize a drawer or closet! Most of us probably have at least a few over-stuffed or messy drawers in our homes... so choose one that will have a positive effect in your home and tackle it!! :)

I'll be organizing our food pantry closet (you can see a photo of that closet at the bottom of this post). It doesn't look at all like that picture right now -- it's super full with stuff stuffed everywhere!! I'm sure that a good organizing will yield more space, along with giving me a good idea of what we need to use up in the near future. :)

I'll post "before" and "after" photos later when I get it all done! :)

If you want to follow along with doing this week's challenge, just leave a comment telling us what you worked on, or post about it in your blog and leave a link in a comment here! :)

1. The Southern Housewife (junk drawer)
2. Sandra
3. Shoshana (container cupboard)
4. Deborah (mics. drawer)
5. Tanya (desk)
6. Lisa (pantry and fridge)

Making Your Home a Haven: Showing thankfulness!

For today's Making Your Home a Haven challenge, I'd like to focus on encouraging thankfulness in our homes.

Some ideas of ways to encourage thankfulness:

  • Do something for a family member that shows how thankful you are for them!

  • Spend time with your family, talking about and praising God for His many blessings!

  • Brainstorm something special you and/or your children can do for someone else in need.

  • Sit down (include your children if possible!) and write or make a thank-you card for someone who has blessed you recently.

And... I'm sure there are lots more ways to help spread a thankful spirit in your home! :) If you blog about one or more of these challenges, leave me a link and I'll add it to this post. :) Or, just leave a comment about the ways you've found to encourage thankfulness in your home! :)

I'll update later with details about what we did for this challenge today. :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Mini-Challenges for this week

For this week's Making Your Home a Haven challenge, let's try to tackle several smaller projects. :)

First, I'm going to be doing my Morning Routine. (That should be a daily thing but with various "holidays" in the last week or so, I've gotten off track... again!)


1. Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on cleaning or organizing in an area that you dread getting started on. Just 15 minutes! After that you can stop if you want to. :)

2. Do something you've been procrastinating about.

3. Clean up or organize a pile. A pile of dishes, a pile of laundry, a pile of papers... whatever needs your attention most urgently! :)

4. Spend some quality time with your family. Look into their eyes and laugh with them! Do something out of the ordinary for or with at least one of your family members. :)

I already have ideas for what I need to do on each of these things. :) I'll take pictures throughout the day and share a progress report in the evening. :)

If you've completed one or more of these mini-challenges, I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment or a link to your blog post and I'll add it here. :) Have a blessed Monday! :)

1. Sam-Is-Mad
2. Leah
3. Wisdom's Pupil
4. Melinda
5. Denise
6. Tanya
7. Mrs. Adept
8. Sandra
9. Tereza (video!)

Making Your Home a Haven: Continued next week!

I decided to take this week off from the "Making Your Home a Haven" challenge, since Monday is a holiday here in the U.S., but we'll pick back up next Monday morning with a fun homemaking challenge for you! :)

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays will run as scheduled, and on Wednesday the In-Season Recipe Swap will be featuring rhubarb! :) 

Making Your Home a Haven: Piles tackled!

Despite lots of errands, odd jobs, and a daunting list of "to do's", I manage to tackle a couple of piles today! Yay! :)

The before and after pictures are for anyone who wishes to read more, keeping the front page of my blog full of beauty and order. Or something like that! ;)


First pile: Three loads of laundry. I hadn't washed anything besides diapers for a week! Yehoshua (5) is my laundry gatherer, and brought me this pile from the bathrooms.

Second pile: Remember how I said the only thing I had washed in the past 7 or 8 days was diapers? Well, here they all are! :P

After: Diapers are neatly stacked.

After: Laundry is all washed and dried. Tomorrow I'll have the children help me put it away! :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Tackle a pile!

I'm starting my week praying about various priorities while picking up the house (especially kitchen!) from the weekend.

Today's Making Your Home a Haven challenge:

Find a pile somewhere in your home and tackle it! :) This could be a pile of papers, laundry, trash, shoes, dishes, whatever! :)

I'll post again later today with before and after pictures of pile I've cleared! :)

If you blog about doing this challenge (before and after pictures are always great!), be sure to come here and leave a link to your post! :) I'll post my before and after pictures later today. :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Main living area finished!

This morning, the children helped me complete today's Making Your Home a Haven challenge. We really cleaned up the living room, put stuff away, etc...

Okay, here is what the living room looked like this morning:

Living room -- before

The "stocking" hung on the fire place is actually a diaper cover! I really need a better system for that. I don't think Joshua likes coming home to a fireplace that is draped with diaper covers.

The other side of the living room: Clothes, a few stray toys, about 7 paper air planes of various shapes/designs, pillows...

After: The bed/futon is put back together, the toys and pillows picked up, the alarm clock re-set (someone unplugged it this morning...), and all the books are dusted.

Other side after: Fireplace mantle is dusted and cleaned off, and I got out the folding moon chair and brought out the wooden train set (in brown box behind the chair) for the boys to play with.

They didn't play with the train set though. They have been running circles around and around that chair!! Also knocking it over, putting it upside down on themselves pretending they are turtles, giving each other rides on it, and so forth.

I'm not sure why Ruth is crying in that picture! She was laughing a minute before, but as I snapped the photo she started crying (probably wanted to be on the chair with her brothers!) so I put the camera down and we got ready for our walk outside today. :)

I hope you are all having a blessed Monday! :) We had guests yesterday so I worked extra hard in the morning to get ready for them. That also means I was able to start the week with a house that wasn't too out of shape! :)

Making Your Home a Haven: Main living area

I hope you all had a blessed weekend and Mother's Day! :)

I am so thankful for my mom's wonderful example to me. She is constantly giving and serving, and she's a great cook too (as you can see by the many recipes that say "My mom made this when...")! :)

I'm also blessed with a great mom-in-law. When I met my husband, he told me that his mom was his best friend! When we got married, his mom told my mom, "I feel like I'm losing my best friend." and my mom said "I am too."

Well, they haven't really lost us, but rather have gained three precious grandchildrn that we wouldn't otherwise have known. So... ;)

This week's Making Your Home a Haven challenge is to revive the main living area in your home.

Is it dusty? Cluttered? Jam-packed with stuff? Look around and decide what needs to be tossed, what needs to be cleaned, and what you can do to make your family actually enjoy that area -- together-- more. :)

I'd love to hear about your progress and thoughts/ideas/tips in the comments here! :) you can also post about doing this challenge on your blog (before and after pictures are always great!), and then come here and leave a link for us to come see! :)

This is going to be a fun one for me, since I feel as though our living room isn't much of a cozy family-togetherness room, and I have a few ideas already... :) I'll be back with pictures and an update later in the day. :)


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