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How to Turn Baking Soda into Washing Soda193
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EDIT: Before we move on, please let me take this moment to publicly apologize to Penny, from Penniless Parenting for inadvertently not linking back to her post, as she is the original author for the information contained in this post. I had linked back to her site, but because of an error in the html, the link below was rendered un-linkable on the front end of the site. Needless to say, this was brought to my attention by Penny, as well as a few other commenters, which I’m very grateful for, as it allowed me to fix the problem and publicly address this issue. I did NOT intend to withhold credit from Penny, and anyone who reads my site regularly knows that I always link back to the original post, if indeed I borrowed from another blogger. I also should clarify that after this whole issue happened, I changed some wording around to include the direct quotes from Penny, as well as added her name to the post (kind of a gesture to apologize for the broken link). Whereas before, I had summarized her words, I later changed it to some direct quotes, to make it very clear that I wasn’t trying to plagiarize her work. You may read my entire apology to Penny in the comments below this post. Thanks!

Well, as the title says, we’re turning baking soda into washing soda this week. A good number of my homemade products require the use of washing soda, but for every item I post that uses washing soda, I always get at least 5 or 10 comments asking where you can find it. It’s true, sometimes it’s a little hard to find – even I had trouble the first time around. (It’s usually in the laundry aisle or can be found on Amazon, by the way.) But for those who live in rural areas, or without large grocery stores, it’s still hard to track down. So in my search for the best place to buy washing soda for one of our readers, I stumbled upon this idea that you can actually turn baking soda into washing soda, simply by baking it!I know, it sounds weird, but just bear with me. As Penny explains,

The difference between baking soda and washing soda is water and carbon dioxide. Seriously. Baking soda’s chemical makeup is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). Washing soda’s chemical makeup is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). When baking soda is heated up to high temperatures, it breaks down to become washing soda, water steam, and carbon dioxide.

So, the steam and carbon dioxide are released during the cooking process, leaving you with… washing soda! See? Now, don’t I sound all smart and science-y?

The process is really simple. Just heat your oven to 400 F (or 200 C), sprinkle some baking soda on a shallow pan, and bake it for about half hour, until it changes composition. You should also stir it up occasionally, just so that it bakes more evenly.So how do you know when it changes into washing soda? That part takes a little more work; just a closer, watchful eye. Once you know the differences between the 2 sodas, you’ll be able to tell in no time. Penny breaks it down like this: Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains. You can see the difference below: baking soda on the left, and washing soda on the right.That’s it! See? I told you it was simple! Now you can go make liquid laundry detergent,powdered laundry detergent, and dishwasher detergent, without worrying about where to score your next box of washing soda. This post was proudly featured here:

Fabric Softener Recipes & Reusable Dryer Sheets

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Here are several quick tips for cutting costs on fabric softeners and making your own dryer sheets, each point is a separate tip. You’ll also find a few recipes and projects to try (listed at the bottom of the page). Lots here!

  1. Soak a washcloth in full strength liquid softener. Wring out excess, then lay out to dry first before using–helps prevent staining laundry the first time. To use: toss in the dryer and use again and again until it no longer works. Resoak when needed (you should be able to do a few dozen loads per soak).
  2. Using 1/4 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle can do the job. You can set aside a vinegar jug just for laundry and add about 2 dozen drops of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar if you’d like (or as much EO as you feel necessary).
  3. In a pail mix 1 gallon of water and 1 cup concentrated liquid softener. Dip a sponge or washcloth in the liquid, squeeze out excess and toss in with the load. Seal pail when not in use.
  4. Pour liquid softener and hot water in a spray bottle (50/50 mix) and lightly mist wet laundry before starting the dryer. Two or three good shots should do it. You could also just spritz a clean washcloth and toss that in.
  5. Cut dryer sheets in thirds or halves, use one strip per load.
  6. Mix equal parts hair conditioner and water and store in spray bottle. Mist a washcloth or sponge and toss in with load.
  7. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount that they recommend on the bottle.
  8. 1/8 cup baking soda added to laundry and 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
  9. Use a Downy ball if you have one–just use vinegar instead.

Here’s a recipe you can try:

1 part Vinegar
1 part Baking Soda
2 parts Hot Water

  • Place a pail large enough to hold double the amount of ingredients in the kitchen sink or bathtub. Mix the baking soda and water in the pail, stir till the powder is dissolved. Then add the vinegar.
  • Remember that baking soda and vinegar reacts with fizzing, so use a big pail to account for this. Once it’s stopped fizzing, pour into clean bottles, cap, then use 1/4 cup per rinse cycle.
  • Updated Info: The baking soda won’t be completely dissolved, just shake the bottle to mix the batch up before adding to the rinse cycle.


Cheryl sent in this one that is scented with your favorite essential oils.

I’ve had good success with this recipe and enjoy trying different fragrances just to keep things interesting. The scent is light once clothes have been dried and you can increase the amount of essential oils if the fragrance isn’t strong enough for you.


1 cup baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
8 cups white vinegar
Essential Oils


  • First mix the vinegar and water together then add the baking soda gradually, stirring the whole time. You will want to make sure to use a large pail to accommodate the fizzing activity from the baking soda and vinegar reaction.
  • Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a washed, gallon sized milk jug (plastic), add 1/3 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, cap and seal then shake well.
  • To use: Shake each time before use, adding 1/2 to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.

Thanks for sharing Cheryl!

For essential oil ideas, consider germ fighting gems like Eucalyptus or Tea Tree. If scent is what you’re after, consider lavender or even citrus favorites like orange or lemon.

Flannel Strips Instructions:
(can be reused over and over again)

Flannel pieces
4 TBS liquid softener
10 TBS water

  • Cut strips from old flannel pajamas or leftover flannel from sewing and cut into 3″ x 5″ strips (approximately).
  • Stack flannel strips in a cleaned margarine tub (large size) or plastic container (cleaned baby wipes container works well too). Mix the liquid ingredients together, then pour evenly over top of stacked flannel strips.
  • Seal container and shake well.

You can use several dozen strips with this mixture. Leave sealed for 2 or 3 days, then use one flannel strip per load–squeeze out excess if necessary (it should be just damp). Keep container sealed at all times. Wash strips after use, then use again to make another batch when needed.

Herbal Lavender Bags:
*First published September 27, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Fresh and fragrant laundry can be achieved chemical free with easy to make lavender bags. Using lavender buds gives the benefit of a natural moth repellent, sleep aid and a natural antibacterial.

Use 1/4 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle (for static cling help, up the amount to 1/2 cup if needed) and toss the herbal sachets in the dryer for fresh smelling laundry. For optimal benefit, use organic lavender.

Materials Needed:

5″ x 5″ cotton muslin or cheesecloth squares (2)


  • Sew large “tea bags” out of the muslin or cheesecloth squares, leaving an opening at the top to fill with lavender. Sew the top shut. No need to sew fancy, just place the squares together and sew a single seam along the top about 1/4″ from the edge.
  • Roughly squeeze the bags before tossing in with wet laundry. When items are done the scent is light, not overwhelming at all. Especially nice to use on loads of bedding (sweet, fragrant dreams).
  • Bags are reusable! When the lavender is no longer doing its job, take a seam ripper and open about 2″ on one end, empty the bag, refill and sew shut. For one last kick at the can, crush the used lavender and toss it around your carpet. Let sit for about an hour then vacuum.

Tip: Make more than one bag so that the same one isn’t in one load after another, alternate them so each bag has a chance to cool down before being used again.

All Purpose Cleaner

What you'll need:
  • a large spray bottle
  • 24 oz (3 cups) water
  • 1/8 to 1/4 C liquid castile soap
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • essential oils, like lemon, lavender or tea tree
Fill your spray bottle with 3 cups of water. Add the tablespoons of vinegar and the castile soap. (Make sure you add the soap AFTER the water, or it will get very sudsy and exciting.)

Now you'll add the essential oils. I like adding 10 drops of lemon and 10 of tea tree!

I use this in my kitchen and my bathroom with great success! It's amazing at getting the stove top clean, and I love how clean it gets my counters and tabletops. Also great for cleaning the fridge.

I recently started scaling down the soap and adding more vinegar. I like it a lot. I'm using closer to 1/8 cup of castile soap now. :) The extra vinegar cuts down on soap scum/residue, and using less soap has been just as effective, but with less bubbles to clean up.

This is a very easy Febreze alternative - I've seen a ton of recipes using fabric softener... but those aren't very "green".

What you'll need:
  • a small spray bottle
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
  • essential oil
  • 1 cup water
Fill the spray bottle with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol or vodka.

You'll now add the essential oils - I typically start with 30 drops and then work my way up. You can also mix oils to create custom scents. I also like using The Body Shop home fragrance oils in this mix and I've had no problems with them.

Note that you will be able to smell the alcohol, but only for a minute or so... after that things will just smell lovely. Rubbing alcohol has a stronger smell than vodka! :)

I use this on my couch, bed, curtains, dog bed, towels, etc. and the smell lingers for quite a while - for example, I sprayed my couch while cleaning yesterday and it still smells nice.

Window and Gloss Surface Cleaner

This one is easy, though a little smelly - but don't worry, the smell goes away pretty quickly and you'll have nice clean windows!

What you'll need:
  • small spray bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • squirt of castile soap (this is optional, but helps reduce streaks)
Pour the water and vinegar in the bottle, and add a tiny squirt of the castile soap. Shake it up and you're ready to clean!

Many people recommend using newspaper to clean your windows, but as I don't get it delivered, I use flour sack towels or old cut up tshirts. This solution takes a little longer to dry than your typical glass cleaner, but don't worry! It'll look very nice when totally dry.

You can also use this solution to clean appliances and countertops. :)

Step 6Drain Cleaner

This is very simple - just baking soda and white vinegar. You can also use lemon juice if you have that on hand! This works best on drains that are running very slow, but not those with standing water. If your problem is soap scum or other build up, this will break it up and get things moving again. It also works as a good deodorizer for kitchen drains.

Shake a bit of baking soda over the drain - I'd say a 1/4 of a cup or so. Push it into and around the drain, and then pour a bit of vinegar over it until you get a good bit of bubbling and the vinegar begins to pool in the sink.

Let this drain and set for 15-20 minutes and then flush with hot water.

And as a bonus, you can also clean your sink with the little bit of mixture that'll be left at the top of the drain. :D

Extra Cleaning for Pots and Pans
If you've burned food to a pan, or if you've made yourself a nice hardened, stuck-on food mess along with your dinner, there's an easy way to get it out. :)

Add about 1/4 cup baking soda to a couple of cups of water in your pan and bring to a boil on the stove for 5-10 minutes. While this is going, it helps to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

After you take it off the heat, give it a good scrub. You should have a nice clean pan! If not, rinse and repeat with a little more baking soda. This will also help remove stains for things like tomato sauces.

Additional Green Cleaning Tips
Try to use cloth towels for nearly everything. If you can't afford towels, a good way to save money is to cut up old tshirts into rags. My mother and grandmother did this when I was growing up, and I think it's such a good idea! Just clean with them, rinse in hot water, and hang to dry. I tend to hang mine on the sides of my recycling bin.

Once you've used them a few times (or for a really gross mess) they're easily thrown in the washer. :)

Also, here are some other uses for the ingredients used to make the cleaners in this instructable:
  • use water and baking soda to make a paste to clean especially nasty messes - a greasy stove top, a spill in the oven, your toilet bowl.
  • vinegar and baking soda can be left overnight in the toilet bowl and then scrubbed in the morning - gets rid of stains and odors.
  • baking soda sprinkled in littler boxes and mixed in helps control all those urine odors... I've been doing this for years with both plant based and clay litter.
  • straight vinegar is awesome at getting rid of hard water stains in showers... simply put it in a spray bottle, spray down the walls and let them soak for a few minutes, and then grab a brush and get scrubbing! I cleaned my mom's shower this way - it was all orange streaks before and the normal cream color after! It takes a little elbow grease, but it so worth it to avoid something like CLR.
  • you can use castile soap as a cheap but effective hand wash - just fill an old soap dispenser with half water and half soap. It might not suds up as much, but rest assured - it's still doing the job.

Nothing is more frustrating that dripping butter or sauce on a favorite shirt, only to leave a permanent nasty little grease spot. Here is a simple, yet effective way to remove a greasy stain . . . Simply Rub plain white chalk into the stain, the launder as usual. The chalk will absorb the grease and it will wash away. Be sure to double check before drying as heavy stains may require 2 applications!


The online article describes the stain remover mixture as consisting of one part Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with two parts HYDROGEN PEROXIDE  (which of course I have OODLES of for making my Miracle Cleaner).

Make Your House Smell Like Williams Sonoma A few sprigs of rosemary, lemon slices and a teaspoon of vanilla in a pot and let it simmer on the stove. This is a recipe that they use at William Sonoma Home stores, and we all love how that shop smells, Yum!!

House smelling weird? Put two caps full of vanilla extract in a coffee cup, then place it in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour. Within twenty minutes the whole house smells like Heaven. It's actually a common realtor trick.

DIY Deodorizing Disks

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 – 2 cups distilled water (or you can boil your water for 10 minutes.)
  • Lavender essential oil (or whatever oil you choose. Citrus would be good too!)
  • Silicone mold or muffin pan

I decided to use these cute flower-shaped silicone molds. I thought they were appropriate. Flowers vs. Stink. :-)

Add a 3 to 4 drops of essential oil to approximately 1/2 cup water. Pour the water/oil mixture into the baking soda and mix well. Continue to add water until you have a THICK paste.

Divide the mixture into your molds or muffin tin cups.

Let dry 24 to 48 hours until completely hardened. Mine took about 24 hours…but live in an uber dry state! So depending on where you live…it could take a little longer.

I love the way they turned out. Cute design for a practical purpose!  And they smell SO good!

According to Jennifer at Diapers, Dirt, etc…each disk should last about a month in a diaper pail. I’m guessing a month is also long enough to leave them in a smelly trashcan or compactor. Then when you are ready to replace it, take the OLD disk and crumble it into a load of laundry to help deodorize there as well.

Now go forth and make the world a better smelling place to dwell!

homemade air freshener

To make these little beauties, you first need a heat-proof jars (I found mine for $0.99 each at Michael's), food coloring colors of your choice, and essential oil.  You can find inexpensive essential oils of various scents at craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  I chose a raspberry vanilla scented smells delightful!

Into each jar, drop a few drops (I repeat...a doesn't take more than 2 or 3) of food coloring.  Then, put in about 30 drops of essential oil, give or take.  The more essential oil you put in, the stronger the smell.

Now for the fun part.  Gather up 4 envelopes of unflavored gelatin, a tablespoon of salt, and 2 cups of cold water.

Why salt?  Salt (or vodka) apparently help to keep the gel from molding.  Interesting fact, isn't it!

Get one cup of water boiling on the stove.  When it begins to boil, whisk in the gelatin, stirring until it's all dissolved.

Then, pour in the other cup of cold water and the salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved.

Quickly pour the hot gelatin mixture in each of your jars, and then use a disposable stick or spoon to stir it into the oil and food coloring.

Let these gel overnight, and then voila!  Air freshener!

This project takes a total of five minutes to make, is highly economical, and each jar should last you about a month.  This would make a great back-to-school gift for any teacher!

DIY Gunk Remover: Non-toxic recipe to remove sticky adhesive residue
march 5, 2012 by michelle 13 comments

I’m pretty excited about this one, folks. I’m big into making my own cleaning products and finding cheap substitutes for things I’d normally purchase…and this recipe hits a home run in so many ways.

Two ingredients, non-toxic, works great.

You know how price tags and jar labels leave a sticky residue behind that’s super tough to rub off? For years I’ve used the major brand products to fix the problem, namely Goo Gone or Goof Off. I’ve been looking for a homemade replacement for a while, both for the simplicity of one less thing to buy at the store, and because I had the vague impression that it’s something of a toxic chemical. Before publishing this, I thought I’d confirm the facts by looking up some info on their ingredients.

Both Goo Gone and Goof Off brands are required to post Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on their website for the hazardous materials they contain. Turns out these two products have quite the list of reasons not to buy them.

Here is a sampling (for full details, you can do a web search for the product you have and add “MSDS”):

  • Causes eye irritation
  • Contact with skin may cause irritation; Prolonged or repeated contact with skin may cause drying or cracking
  • Ingestion/Inhalation can cause headache, nausea, drowsiness, central nervous system depression, convulsions and loss of consciousness. ASPIRATION HAZARD. Harmful or fatal if aspirated into lungs. (Um, yikes.)
  • Extremely flammable
  • Keep away from children

You get the picture. Which is why I’m so excited to announce victory in the hunt for a good substitute. Last Saturday, I started my morning by going to one of my favorite thrift store and found, among other things, a box of pint-sized mason jars plus two big gallon jars with lids, which ranked as a spectacular start to my day. All of them had sticky labels, of course. I purchased my first jar of coconut oil last week after reading online about its many, many uses. This article in particular contained just the nugget of wisdom I had been looking for:

34. Mix with baking soda for a non-toxic “Goo Gone”.

Replacing a toxic cleaning product with one that’s safe enough to eat? Sign me up. (But don’t. It would taste awful.)

Equal parts coconut oil and baking soda makes an effective, non-toxic replacement for Goo Gone.

I mixed 1 part baking soda and 1 part coconut oil, rubbed a little on the sticky spot, and let it sit for a minute or so. Then I scrubbed the spot with a scouring pad, rinsed it off, and voilà! Good as new, gunk is gone. There was one jar that had a full label on it that barely budged when I tried to peel it off―that one took three cycles of putting the mixture on, letting it sit, and scrubbing. But that’s right on par with how much Goo Gone I would have applied as well―from my test, the two are interchangeable as far as effectiveness in getting rid of the sticky stuff. And this mixture smells like tropical paradise.

My next test was our vacuum cleaner. We’ve had it for a year and a half, and still hadn’t gotten around to getting the big giant sticker off the front. That stupid sticker has been bugging me, but I was worried that Goo Gone would affect the color so I let it be after attempting unsuccessfully to peel the thing off.

Big stupid vacuum sticker.

Sticker is gone! Ninja Bob is trying to figure out where that yummy coconut smell is coming from.

One quick caution–the baking soda is a mild abrasive, which is ideal for glass, but might leave faint scratches on plastic. If you’re concerned about plastic finish remaining perfectly smooth after you get the residue off, you might want to try something else first.

I mixed up about a tablespoon of each and had some left over after all this, because a little goes a long way. I’m going to store it under the sink for next time.

Refresh Your Home With Eucalyptus: Recipes

Eucalyptus is one of mother nature’s most powerful disinfectants, what better option to clean with!

Fresh Eucalyptus

Here are a few different homemade cleaners I have on file that incorporate Eucalyptus oil and can be used to freshen and clean your home, just in time for Spring Cleaning.

For Floors

  • Add 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap to 1 gallon of hot water and 1/3 cup Borax. Mix in 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of Eucalyptus oil.

All Purpose

  • Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 cup hot water, add 1/8 tsp liquid dish detergent (nothing with bleach), 6 drops Eucalyptus oil. Pour into a spray bottle and shake before each use.

Soft Scrub

Baking Soda
Liquid Castile Soap
Eucalyptus Oil

  • Mix baking soda and liquid castile soap until you have a smooth paste (some water can be added), stir in a few drops of the Eucalyptus oil. Take a damp sponge, dab into the paste and use to scrub over stained areas. Wipe off with a damp, clean cloth.

Kitchen Spray

  • Fill a small spray bottle with lukewarm water and add 3 drops Eucalyptus oil (ratio is about 1 drop oil to 4 ounces water). Shake. Use on freshly washed surfaces as a fragrant rinse. Store away from sunlight.

Linen Spray

1/2 cup Distilled Water
1/2 cup Vodka
10 drops Eucalyptus oil

  • Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Shake before use.

Eucalyptus Spray
*Can be used on carpets & upholstery

2 cups Distilled Water
20 drops Eucalyptus Oil

  • Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use. Can be used as an air freshener, a carpet or upholstery spray. Test a small area first for fabric discoloration and do not spray on wood surfaces.

Garbage Pail Deodorizer

  • Mix 4 teaspoons Eucalyptus oil with 4 cups of baking soda. Store in an airtight plastic container. After cleaning garbage can, sprinkle a handful of baking soda mixture on the bottom (once dry).

Tub Scrub

1 cup Baking Soda
15 drops Eucalyptus oil

  • Mix the baking soda and oil well then scrub onto bathroom tub and sink with a damp sponge. Leave sit for a bit before rinsing off with clear warm water.

More ideas:

Add Eucalyptus oil to homemade laundry detergents and fabric softeners to add a level of disinfectant cleaning.

2 Simple Softscrub Cleaners
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Here are two quick and easy recipes for making an effective soap scum buster on the tub surround or a gentle cleaner for around the kitchen and bathroom. The first is a basic recipe while the second adds a lavender scent using essential oil and powdered milk for making a smoother paste. Use these on surfaces where you need some scrubbing power that is more gentle than an abrasive powder cleanser.

Recipe #1:

Baking Soda & Liquid Soap Make An Effective, Gentle Cleaner

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup liquid dish detergent
1/8 cup – 1/4 cup vinegar

  • Mix the baking soda and dish detergent first, then add the vinegar.
  • Adjust the baking soda or vinegar amounts until you have the consistency you like working with.


  • Just use whatever’s on sale or a generic brand of dish detergent and you’ve got yourself some super cheap, yet very effective, homemade softscrub!
  • The liquid dish detergent is what you would use for hand washing dishes, not dishwasher detergent.
  • Use the amount of vinegar that gives you the consistency that you prefer. Vinegar’s a great grime buster–so don’t be shy with it.
  • If you just want to do some spot cleaning and don’t need a large amount of cleaner, give the spot a light squirt of dish detergent, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on top and scrub. You won’t need to bother with the vinegar for small spots like this.
  • Try heating the vinegar in the microwave first before mixing it in with the other ingredients. You don’t want it super hot, but a warm temperature that’s comfortable to work with.

Lavender Recipe:
*Source: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier

3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/8 cup (one-eighth) liquid castile soap
5 drops lavender Essential Oil

  • Combine all ingredients in a squirt-top bottle and add enough water to make a smooth paste. Shake or stir to mix.
  • Apply to surface, then wipe area clean with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well.

14 Bleach-Free Surface Disinfectants

A mix of chlorine bleach and water is an effective household disinfectant (and it’s cheap too!), but the bleach is pretty harsh on fabrics, skin and the environment (and a bit stinky too). The good news is that you can still make homemade bacteria busters using fresh or dried herbs, essential oils, vinegar and other basic items you likely have in your home already. These will not only fight germs and bacteria, but most also smell a lot fresher too .

First, here are a few notes:

  • Test surfaces first just to make sure the recipe won’t cause any damage or stains (especially on marble/granite).
  • When using fresh or dried herbs, select those that are pesticide free.
  • Unless otherwise noted, use a large spray bottle (16 oz) and shake before each use.
  • Distilled water is ideal but bottled or from the tap is fine too.
  • Unless directed otherwise, use regular white household vinegar.
  • The sprays can be used on countertops, doorknobs, light switches, cutting boards, etc. Avoid using on fabrics or upholstery unless you’re sure the colors won’t be affected (test a hidden spot).

Ready to get started? Here ya go…

Hydrogen Peroxide & Vinegar: (for countertops) Spray surface with hydrogen peroxide then spray a layer of vinegar over top. Wipe clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide & Tea Tree Oil: 3 cups water, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 2 TBS lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 10 drops tea tree oil.

Tea Tree Oil & Lavender: Fill a 16 oz spray bottle 1/4 full with equal parts tea tree oil and lavender essential oil. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake before each use.

Lavender Spray: For every cup of water add 20 drops lavender essential oil.

Herbal Infusion: Lavender buds, mint, rosemary, sage, apple cider vinegar. Directions: Fill a large mason jar halfway with equal parts of the above herbs (can be fresh or dried). Fill to near the top with apple cider vinegar, seal jar and allow to infuse in a sunny window for 6 weeks before using (strain first).

Borax & Water: Mix 1/2 cup of Borax per gallon of water. Shake before each use.

Borax & Vinegar: Pour 2 tsp Borax and 4 TBS vinegar into bottle then top with water. Shake to mix.

Rosemary: Mix 1 teaspoon rosemary essential oil with 2 cups of water.

Pine: Mix 12 drops of pine essential oil with 1/2 teaspoon denatured alcohol and 2 cups water.

Grapefruit Seed Extract & Lemon: 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 5 drops grapefruit seed extract, liquid castile soap (just a drop will do), 10 drops lemon essential oil.

Citrus Vinegar Infusion: Fill a large, wide mouth jar with citrus peels (such as lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits). Cover the peels with vinegar and allow to infuse for four weeks, shaking the jar occasionally. Strain then fill a spray bottle 1/4 full with the vinegar and top the rest with water. Source.

Thyme: 2 1/2 cups water, 1 handful thyme (fresh or dried), vinegar, liquid castile soap (squirt). Directions: Boil water, add thyme. Simmer for several hours over medium-low heat, covered. Cool, then strain. Pour the water into a spray bottle, top with white vinegar and squirt of soap. Use as needed. Source.

Vodka Mix: Liquid dish soap (just a quick squirt), 2 TBS vodka, 10 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops oregano essential oil, water.

Vinegar: Mix equal parts water and vinegar (or straight vinegar), spray surface.

Tip: You can substitute the essential oils as you like, here are a few that have good disinfectant qualities: cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, lavender, peppermint, pine, rosemary, thyme



  • 1 part baking soda 
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water

Mix it all in a container to spot treat or just add straight to laundry if presoaking. (I've tried it on a couple things and it works AMAZING!) You just have to shake it before you use each time.


FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012

If you’ve read my “About Me” page…you will know I used to produce a daily talk show called “Good Things Utah”.  Well, things have come full circle…because TODAY I am APPEARING on the show. :-)  Funny how life turns out sometimes.

Anyway, after talking with the producers…we decided that in today’s segment we would focus on some of the homemade laundry productsthat have been so popular on this website. In gathering up my supplies for the show…I realized that all three of the homemade solutions I was going to feature (Armpit Stain Remover, No-Grate Laundry Detergent andHomemade “Shout”) had Dawn Dishwashing Liquid as an ingredient. When you think about it….Dawn is a pretty amazing. It’s great for washing dishes, pots and pans, flatware and crystal, but all the REST of the stuff it does is what makes it really extraordinary. It’s ALMOST up there with Baking Soda as a versatile cleaning tool….almost.

Here is MY list of the “best of the best” ingenious uses for Original Blue Dawn gleaned from dozens of websites and reader’s comments I have visited:


Ever wonder why Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is the wildlife cleaner of choice after an oil spill? According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, Dawn effectively removes grease but does not cause harm to the skin of the birds. It’s also biodegradable and contains no phosphates.


According to, Dawn dishwashing liquid makes great homemade bubbles. Here is the Giant Bubble Recipe used in bubble makers at many children’s museums:

1/2 cup Ultra Dawn
1/2 gallon warm water
1 tablespoon glycerin (available at any drug store) OR White Karo syrup works too!
Stir gently. Skim the foam off the top of the solution (too much foam breaks down the bubbles). Dip bubble wand and get ready for some good, clean fun!


Kids get into the darnedest things! Like Vaseline and baby oil rubbed into their hair!  Dawn is mild enough to use on their hair and strong enough to remove the most stubborn grease.


Once a month use original Dawn as you would shampoo. It will remove excess oil from your hair and scalp and strip away any build-up of styling products without any damage. Perform this once a month and you won’t have to buy expensive salon products that do the same thing.


Soak fingers in full-strength blue Dawn. It makes the cuticles soft and easy to work with. And it removes the natural oil from the fingernails, which allows the polish to adhere very well.


A safe, effective way to repel insects from your houseplants, including aphids, spider mites and mealy bugs. Mix the dish soap with other ingredients to protect your houseplants without discoloring the foliage or harming the plant.


Try this recipe from Merry Maids: mix 3 drops Dawn in 1 gallon water and fill a spray bottle with the solution. Spritz and wipe as you would with any window cleaner.


Use it to bathe the dogs. It kills fleas on contact and is much cheaper than expensive dog shampoos.


After you have finished your automotive repair project, soak your dirty tools in Dawn before you put them away to remove all the oil and grime. Dawn also helps prevent rust from forming on the tools.


Partially fill a strong zip-type sandwich bag with Dawn dishwashing liquid, close and freeze. The liquid soap stays cold much longer and it can be re-frozen many times. It will conform to the place you need an ice pack.


Take a spray bottle and fill it halfway with white vinegar. Heat in the microwave. Fill the rest of the way with blue Dawn. Put lid on and shake to mix well. Spray on your tub and shower walls. Allow to sit for a few minutes and rinse away. It will totally melt all the gunk, slime, sludge and other stuff that builds up including a bathtub ring.


Spray counter-tops, cupboards and any other area where you see ants with a solution of Dawn and water. Wipe dry. The slight residue of Dawn that remains will not be a problem at all for kids or pets, but ants hate it. Should you see a trail of ants, go ahead and hit them with the Dawn spray.


Add a squirt or two of original Dawn dish soap to your washer and run a hot wash, then rinse until there are no more bubbles. Dawn is a degreasing agent and helps stripping by removing oily residue. Be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse until the water runs clear.


A cup of Dawn detergent poured into a clogged toilet allowed to sit for 15 minutes and then followed with a bucket of hot water poured from waist height will clear out the toilet.


Poison ivy spreads through the spread of the oil within the blisters. Washing the affected area with Dawn, especially on children who keep scratching the blister’s open, helps dry up the fluid, AND keep it from spreading.


If you have gasoline or motor oil stains on your driveway, you can use the kitty litter method to clean up the excess oil and then use a scrub broom and a solution of biodegradable Dawn dishwashing detergent and warm water to safely and effectively remove excess motor oil from the pavement.


Dawn makes a great facial cleanser for oily skin. A drop or two combined with warm water will do the trick.


Dawn combined with corn oil makes for the perfect paint or grease remover. Simply combine a little bit of both in your hands then rub it over affected areas. The corn oil and the dishwashing liquid both help to dissolve the grease and paint – yet leave skin soft, unlike harsher paint removers.


Plastic wading pools can get very gunky, very fast. Dump the water, then scrub the pool with Dawn and a sponge. More potent cleaners like bleach will weaken and dry out the plastic in the sun.


Merry Maids recommends using a drop of Dawn in water to clean ceramic tile and no-wax/linoleum floors. You can also use the spray on:

  • Bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks.
  • Woodwork, e.g., baseboards, shelves, and wainscoting.  (Dry as you go–wood doesn’t like prolonged contact with water.)
  • Tubs and toilet seats.

For oil-based stains such as lipstick, grease, butter, motor oil, cooking oil, and some pen inks, simply apply some Dawn dishwashing liquid directly to the stain and scrub with a small brush or toothbrush until the oil is removed, and then launder as usual.


Sliding glass doors, door knobs, hinges etc. It lasts much longer than any aerosol type spray that I have tried. And Its non-toxic! It does a great job of cleaning the parts that its lubricating as well!


For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks


Squirt Dawn down the middle of the pool and all of the dirt, suntan lotion, etc. will move to the edges of the pool for easy clean up!  AND it makes the pools sparkle.


Simply rub a small drop of Dawn on eyeglass lenses, and wipe clean. It will leave a very thin film that will prevent them from fogging up.


Cover greasy footprints on shower floors with a coating of Dawn; let sit overnight.  Scrub away the gunk in the morning with a stiff brush.


Mix two tablespoons Dawn to a gallon of water and put in your sprayer. Try to get spray both sides of the leaves, branches and the tree trunks. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse the trees THOROUGHLY!


Here’s a brilliant idea!  Need a hostess gift when visiting friends and family this summer? Print off this post and include it with a bottle of Blue Dawn! Talk about USEFUL ! :-)

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fruit fly trap
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It has been a crazy week around here with three afternoons spent canning and making freezer jam so the craftiness and cleanliness at our house has been suffering! So I am catching up on that this weekend. But I did find a clever and efficient way to get rid of all the pesky fruit flies that have been swarming my kitchen due to the large quantities of produce it has processed.

I remember hearing somewhere, long ago, that placing a funnel with a tiny opening into a jar containing a cut piece of fruit would make a good Fruit Fly trap. And guess what? It really works! They were all trapped within about 12 hours! I used tape and sealed the edges when I discovered some of those sneaky flies were escaping and that worked like a charm. Then when all the flies were trapped, I just released them back into the greatoutdoors.

Seeing all those flies in the jar brought back a lot of memories of my 8th grade science class. Remember Heidi? We had to breed them and then spent hours counting, sorting, charting and recording genetic traits! I LOVED it! Weird I know, but it is actually the first time I remember my interest in science was sparked. I was amazed that we could actually predict the type of genetic traits we would get. Anyways…I am sure none of you wanted to know all that!

This time of year seems to bring on the fruit fly infestations. Use this trick to remove them from your home and in the meantime, I will get some more ideas coming!

The Best Natural Household Cleaners:

There are 4 common natural products that you should have on hand because they work wonders and are safe (as cleaning products go) and effective cleaners too.

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxygen Bleach
White Vinegar

Vinegar is made by yeast or bacteria fermenting sugars into acetic acid.

Plain white vinegar is very inexpensive and almost miraculous kind of green cleaner. Vinegar is an organic mild acid that disinfects and deodorizes, it's nontoxic and is a multipurpose cleaner because you can use it all over the house.

Vinegar smells a little- vinegary, but the odor goes away when it dries.

Use Plain White Vinegar to:

Warning: DO NOT use white vinegar on natural stone, it will etch and damage the surface due to its acidity.

Baking Soda:

Bicarbonate of soda is a naturally occurring mineral called Nahcolite. It can be mined and it is also man made.

Baking soda is not only necessary for your cooking pantry, but is vital to your green cleaning arsenal.

I use baking soda a LOT when cleaning. It's an excellent deodorizer and it is an odor absorbent. It is a mild abrasive and it softens wash water and clothing so I use it in place of fabric softener for my daughter's sensitive skin.

Use Baking Soda to:

Hydrogen Peroxide/Oxygen Bleach

Hydrogen peroxide is water with an extra oxygen molecule.

Hydrogen Peroxide is created in the atmosphere when ultraviolet light strikes oxygen in the presence of moisture.

When hydrogen peroxide is mixed with other ingredients and/or applied to a stain the extra oxygen molecule is released. This extra oxygen results in a bleaching or whitening and effective stain removal of the item that is being cleaned.

As I mentioned earlier, hydrogen peroxide is the "secret" ingredient in all those "oxy" cleaners. Why not just cut to the chase and save yourself some cash by purchasing 3% hydrogen peroxide for removing small stains yourself?

Oxygen bleach is sodium percarbonate which is washing soda or soda ash mixed together with hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals are oxidizers just like hydrogen peroxide that are stable in a powder form.

When hydrogen peroxide liquid is applied or oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate) is combined with water, oxygen is released. This chemical reaction removes the stain, breaks up grime and brightens the fabric.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide/Sodium Percarbonate to:

What's In Your Cleaning Products?

I do think that when your health is concerned, you need to read labels and be aware of what you're cleaning with.

If a natural product cleans as well as a commercial product and then also costs much less, then you should use it!

So be aware while your clean your house from top to bottom, and inside and out.

Stay green, clean and be healthy.


  • Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

  • Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

  • Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking. 
  • To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up. 
  • For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting. 

  • Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic, and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.
  • Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummy! '
  • Reheat Pizza Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.
  • Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.  Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.  Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
  • Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size.  You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving. 

  • Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
  • Newspaper weeds away: Plant your plants in the ground, work the nutrients in your soil. Then wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go, cover with mulch, and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
  • Broken Glass: Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

  • No More Mosquitoes: Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away. 
  • To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. (Wonder if this works with rabbits? Sure gonna give it a try)
  • Flexible vacuum: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
  • Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip to eliminate static cling. It works! Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... Ta DA! ... Static is gone.

  • Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water when cooking. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient (peanut butter, for example) and watch how easily it comes right out.
  • De-fog your windshield: Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

  • Re-opening envelopes: If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Voila! It unseals easily.
  • Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.
  • Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

  • Get Rid of Ants with cornmeal. Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed! 
  • Wash your dryer filter: The heating unit went out on my dryer. The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material and the hot water just sat on top of the mesh; didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free, and smell good. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box? Apparently that stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! 

Read more:
35 Lifechanging Ways To Use Everyday Objects

1. Use a can opener to open sealed plastic packaging.

This tip would have saved me approximately 22.8 hours of my life.

2. Add saline solution to refresh dried-out mascara.

Just a couple of drops will do.

3. Use a toilet seat cover to blot the oil from a greasy face.
4. Use pretty wine corks to make planters for tiny succulents.

Put magnets on them and hang them on your fridge. Instructions here.

5. Amplify the volume of your iPhone or iPod by placing it in a bowl.
6. Use paper hole reinforcements to give yourself a half-moon manicure.
7. Use a banana to fix a DVD.
8. Use Jello as a lipstain.

Directions: Pour the powder mix into a bowl and moisten a Q-Tip with water. Then, being very careful not to use your fingers since the red stains stay put, dip the Q-Tip into the powder and apply it directly to your lips.

9. Use diluted fabric softener as a leave-in hair conditioner.
10. Use a lint roller to clean out the debris in your handbag.

I am the queen of cookie crumbs in my handbag.

11. Use nonstick spray on the inside of your votive holders.

When the candle has burned out, the remaining wax will just slip out.

12. Eat marshmallows to soothe a sore throat.

There's a scientific explanation behind this.

(You can also use marshmallows to separate your toes during a home pedicure.)

13. Use newspaper as an odor absorber.

You can put it in Tupperware, or the crisper bin of your fridge, or in a purse with any lingering leather smells.

14. Use aspirin to turn hair made green by chlorine back to its natural color.

Dissolve six to eight aspirin pills in a glass of warm water, coat hair with the solution, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse.

15. Use a sock to create a big perfect hair bun.
16. Use a spoon to open a sealed-tight jar.

Read more detailed instructions here.

17. Use a rubber band for perfect French tips.
18. Hang a picture using a pop tab.

The pop tab is surprisingly sturdy.

19. Use VapoRub to train your pets.

Apply VapoRub on things you don't want chewed up or peed on by your cat or dog — they're turned off by the taste and smell.

It also supposedly cures toenail fungus.

20. Use mayonnaise to erase water stains from wooden furniture.
21. Use fabric softener and vinegar in a spray bottle to release wrinkles from clothing.
22. Use a cereal container as a trash disposal in your car.
23. Add a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to make cut flowers last longer.
24. Use Alka-Seltzer to clean your toilet.

Drop a couple tablets in, wait 20 minutes. The citric acid will dissolve the grime.

25. Use hand sanitizer to dissolve ink stains.
26. Use (unscented) dental floss to cut soft cheeses and cakes.
27. Pack your shoes in a shower cap to keep the soles from touching your clothes.
28. Use raw spaghetti strands to light hard-to-reach candle wicks.
29. Use Earl Grey teabags to get rid of a sunburn.

Read the directions here.

30. Use mustard to suck the pain out of a burn.

But also, don't put your hand on a boiling kettle.

31. Rub the cut edge of cheese with some butter to keep it from getting moldy.
32. Use Scotch tape or nail polish to relieve an insect bite.

Blocking oxygen from getting into the bite will stop the itching.

33. Use a blow-dryer on a mirror to clear the steam after a hot shower.
34. Throw baking soda on a burgeoning grease fire.

It works much like a powder fire extinguisher. But don't use water, baking powder or flour, as it's likely to make the fire even bigger.

35. Open a bottle of wine using your shoe.

Maybe the most useful thing anyone needs to know, ever.



Orange peels, vinegar in a quart jar, let sit for 10 days or so...strain out the liquid and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Easy, cheap, natural, smells good!