DIY Cleaning Products: All Purpose Cleaners

Today’s topic is All Purpose Cleaning. I like to keep things simple using just one or two spray bottles for quick touch ups. Honestly, I don’t seem to need to deep clean that often (believe me, my boys are not clean!). These simple recipes are all we need to keep things tidy.  Don’t ask me where these recipes came from, I have no idea.

Mold Killer and Disinfectant:
2 cups water
1 tsp. essential oils such as grapefruit, tea tree, sweet orange, lavender or clove

I spray this in my shower and it really does kill any mold or mildew. Also dissolves hard water deposits on faucets, and eats through stubborn soap scum. Works well for touching up finger prints on walls too.

All Purpose Cleaner with Ammonia
1 quart rubbing alcohol
1 cup ammonia
1 tsp. dish washing liquid
3 cups water or 409

Mix it up in a bucket and put it in a spray bottle. One version of this recipe uses 409 instead of the water. I think it works well with out it (I refuse to buy any pre-made cleaners anymore!). I generally don’t use the rubbing alcohol either, but it does help the water to evaporate. You be the judge on this one.

All Purpose Cleaner
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. Borax
1/2 tsp liquid dish soap
2 cups hot water

Combine all ingredients in a bucket for general cleaning. I have only used this once because I never seem to have Borax around when I need it. It does work well though.

Use baking soda mixed with liquid dish soap, or try perfume free HE laundry soap. You can also just use Oxy-clean on a damp cloth.

For hardwood floors, I recommend just white vinegar and water. Murphy’s Oil Soap is another alternative, but I have heard that it dulls the finish on your floors.

I also read that you can use olive oil and lemon juice to polish your furniture. I can’t imagine wasting good, expensive olive oil on wood, but it is an option. I prefer mineral oil or even linseed oil, but it is a bit smelly.

By the way, if you haven’t tried these Micro-fiber cleaning cloths, you simply must get some. They are wonderful! Each color is designed to be used for a specific purpose. The blue cloth is used damp for cleaning glass and mirrors (no chemicals required!). It’s great! No streaks at all! The pink is for general cleaning, the orange for stainless steel, and the yellow for dusting. You can find them at Walmart or Target. I love that I can throw them in the washer when I am done cleaning.

I keep everything for cleaning in this little tote that I haul from room to room. Occasionally, I use a feather duster, a microfiber duster for shelves, gloves, a squeegee, vacuum bags and a handy little plumbing snake. My mop is one of those little flat numbers with a terry cloth cover that can be removed and washed. That’s it! Less is more, right?

Designer Mom

DIY Cleaning Products: Toilet Cleaner

Does your bathroom smell like a urinal? Living in a house of men has helped me to understand the science of the bowl. I dislike regular toilet cleaner for many reasons, mainly because most of the time you still have to scrub, and I really hate the smell of it.

There are lots of alternatives. My favorite is the dump and swish method.

You dump a cup of bleach in the toilet and swish it around. That’s the dump and swish. Even the most stubborn dirt comes off instantly. Plus bleach is super inexpensive, around $1.50 a gallon I think.

For those who prefer not to use bleach, here’s another idea.

Add 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and about 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil to your toilet bowl. Tea Tree Oil has antiseptic properties, did you know that? Swish around and watch the dirt get flushed away. You can also use a few drops of Grapefruit Oil or Lemon Oil for a sweet smell.

I read somewhere that clean has no scent. Interesting concept isn’t it? We are so used to clean having a powerful smell that we think that’s normal. It’s not. If something is clean, it shouldn’t smell. Only dirt has a scent, because it’s dirty. Hummm, something to ponder for the day.

Designer Mom

DIY Cleaning Products: Drain Cleaner

Drain Cleaner is easy to make, without using chemicals.   I was going to blog about cleaning today, but there is too much to put in one post so I am doing a small series on DIY Cleaning Products. Hope you enjoy!

 Unclog a sink without chemicals.|Designers Sweet Spot|
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support.

Drain Cleaner Friend or Foe?

Thursday is cleaning day at our house. I must admit that I am not very good at cleaning. It’s probably because I dislike it so much. I would rather be doing just about anything else around the house except cleaning. Perhaps it also has to do with my severe allergies to most cleaning products. Anything with perfume or chemicals in it gives me a nasty reaction.

Ironically enough, I was employed as a janitor for a number of years. I was amazed at how much better commercial cleaning products are compared to the over the counter variety available in the grocery store. One drizzle of the blue or pink commercial liquid and a swoosh of a brush would instantly produce sparkling sinks and toilets. So, how come cleaning at home was so much work?

Cleaning your home used to be more efficient. Remember the days when you could take the rust off of nails with Pine-sol, Mr. Clean or Top Job? My mother used to use Top Job when stripping furniture. It would eat through anything. Not so any more. Environmental concerns have ruined any decent cleaning products on the market, and the amount of perfumes and deodorizers in them is staggering, not to mention the hefty price tag. Do you notice how bad the soap isle smells at the grocery store? Yuck!

I first began to realize how much we were affected by chemicals after we moved into a house that had been a rental. It was completely filthy inside, and I went out and bought tons of cleaning products to cut through the crud and sterilize the germs. We were sick for weeks on end with runny noses, sore throats, watering eyes, coughs, headaches and asthma. I finally came to the realization that it was the cleaning products that were making us sick, not the germs. I began to box up all the items we had accumulated in a few short months. In a small home of 1200 square feet with only 1 1/2 bathrooms, we had been using 5 large boxes of chemicals. I was shocked! Here I thought we were only using a few things! I put the boxes out on the front porch and posted an ad on Craigslist for FREE cleaning supplies. They were gone in less than hour. I actually felt bad for whoever picked them up, they had no idea what they were in for! I am sure they thought they had hit the jackpot!

Finding Alternatives

I began to research organic alternatives. Buying organic cleaning supplies was even more expensive than the regular ones, so that wasn’t an option. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all I really needed was a few simple ingredients, and some old fashioned recipes. I will share more of them the next few days, but today let’s focus on drain cleaner.

Make your own drain cleaner with baking soda.|Designers Sweet Spot|

This drain cleaning recipe came from a late night TV show that I saw years ago, don’t ask me which one because I have no idea. You can purchase the products needed by clicking on my affiliate links below:

Drain Cleaner Ingredients:

•1 cup baking soda

•1 cup salt

•1/4 cup cream of tartar

• 2 cups boiling water

Clean your drain with salt.|Designers Sweet Spot|

Combine the salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix.

Add the 1/4 cup cream of tartar. I find these little containers in the spice isle at the grocery store. They are rather like single serving containers, almost a quarter cup. Close enough in my book.

Combine all the ingredients.

Put 1/4 cup of the dry mixture down the drain.

Drain Cleaner Directions:

•Place 1/4 cup of the mix down the drain.

•Follow with about 2 cups of boiling water. See how it foams and steams? Hard to get a good picture through a cloud, but I think you get the idea. It works great!

I use this treatment about once a month for all our drains, and I use a double treatment for the bathtub since that seems to be where we get the occasional clog.

So simple that even your kids can do it. You’ll never need Drano again, not that it ever worked that well anyway. Several plumbers have told me that Drano is the worst thing you could possibly do to your pipes, not to mention the environment, so why use it? I think the last time I priced it in the grocery store it was in the neighborhood of $6.00 a bottle. This little DIY drain cleaner recipe costs you pennies by comparison.


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Day 13: Nutella Pudgy Pies

I am dreaming of camping once again. This time it involves the pudgy pies we used to make with the kids over the campfire. Not familiar with pudgy pies? They are the simplest things ever. 
Here it is: The pudgy pie maker, bread, Nutella, cherry pie filling, butter and Nutella.
Here’s the inside of the pudgy pie maker. They have been in storage for a while, so I cleaned them up with wire brush and a light coating of canola oil. They are cast iron after all, and need to be seasoned like you would your cast iron frying pans.
Butter one side of the bread slices. You will need two for each pie, one for the top, and one for the bottom.
Coat the other side of the bread with Nutella. I briefly wonder if they make pudgy pies in Italy? Or if they go camping? Or, oh never mind.
Place the slices of bread inside pudgy pie maker with the butter side down. Add a tablespoon or so of the cherry pie filling to each. Then close them up and wait.
It’s the waiting that is so difficult. I let them cook on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side. Traditionally you would put the irons into the fire while your kids impress each other and their friends with ghost stories, camp songs, and late night humor. But if your at home grilling, you can peak and see if the bread is getting brown and toasty, and if the insides are all melty and gooey and warm, then you will know they are done.
Pop them out and prepare to savor the flavor. Nutella and cherry, definately a hit around the campfire.
You can purchase a pudgy pie maker at Walmart, your local sporting goods store, or at the Amazon link below.
They run about $15.00 each for the square ones, or you can buy a set of two round ones at Walmart for $28.00. However, I don’t like the round ones as much, it’s far easier to put square bread into a square iron. 
Love it!
Designer Mom

Nutella Day 8: Oatmeal Nutella Bars

There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles.
Author Unknown

I found this quote today, words of wisdom from some unknown source. I am adding another chocolate find to my 31 Day List of Nutella recipes. I have been making this recipe for years in different formats, I love the Nutella version the best. It’s very rich, you only need a little piece, but look out you may not be able to stop at just one.

The ingredients you’ll need are:
3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter
2 eggs
1 cup each brown and white sugar
1 cup Nutella
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Start with the oatmeal,
then add the sugars,

the flour, and baking soda. Mix it all together, then add the eggs and cut in 1 cup of the butter.

The dough will be crumbly.

Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Pat 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan to make the crust.

Meanwhile dig out your double boiler. Add 1/2 cup of butter,

the sweetened condensed milk,

and 1 cup of Nutella.

On medium heat, stir until everything is melted and gooey and chocolaty. 
Pour the filling over the bottom crust while still hot.
Sprinkle the remainder of the crust over the Nutella filling.
It’s ready for the oven. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
It comes out all golden brown.
Designer Mom