Save the earth and mucho dinero

It’s really hip now to do “green” stuff. I just like to call it sensible, logical, smart. ;-0 Well, I mean, at least in the cases where you save yourself a bunch of money at the same time! Here’s what I’ve done so far this year to make some thrifty and environmentally friendly changes around our house:

*I bought a bunch of microfiber towels to use as much as possible in place of paper towels. The paper towels will probably never completely be replaced, but the microfiber towels are great for cleaning and wiping up stuff. I think they work better than the paper towels. I bought the microfiber towels at Dollar Tree! They came in packs of 2 for $1, so this was not a big investment (I found this photo online. The ones I bought are blue, not neon green)! I am thinking about purchasing some cloth napkins to use, but haven’t yet.

*I hacked my Swiffer. I’ve been using a Swiffer WetJet for years. It works well and is really handy. The problem is that the disposable cleaning pads and the cleaning solution are quite expensive in comparison to other methods of cleaning. I have tried to buy them when they are on sale or with coupons. I had heard about other people hacking their Swiffers, but just finally tried it myself and i don’t know why I waited so long. They make the solution bottles so that it is hard/impossible to remove the cap. So how did I hack my Swiffer?

  1. I took a Swiffer cleaning solution bottle I had used up and put the end with the cap in warm water for a couple of minutes and it came right off! I then put my own cleaning solution in the bottle. I’m using some Mr. Clean we already had, which you only need to use a small amount of mixed with water. I put the cap back on and it works just fine! When that runs out I may switch to a vinegar, water, and tea tree oil mixture. This alone will be much cheaper than buying more bottles, and also cuts back on the waste of all those bottles.
  2. I took one of my Dollar Tree microfiber towels and cut it in half to fit the bottom of the Swiffer. It sticks right to the velcro! I’ll be able to throw these in the washer and use them over and over. Not only is this better than throwing away all those disposable cleaning pads, I won’t have to spend another dime on them either!

*This may sound like a no-brainer, but I switched from buying the disposable toilet bowl cleaners to going back to the old-fashioned toilet brush. I had bought two different kinds of cleaners because of coupons originally and also because it seemed cleaner and I hate cleaning the toilet! In the end I just couldn’t justify the trash they contributed and the extra cost of the refills.

*I have been making my own daily shower spray. My friend Sarah showed me a link to this site with lots of different “recipes” to try. I have tried two of them. Both of them worked much better than any of the ones I’ve bought at the store. I am not exaggerating. We have noticed a big difference and think our tub is the cleanest it has ever looked! So it’s greener because I am not buying more and more plastic bottles of shower spray and using a bunch of harsh chemicals, and it’s also extremely cheap to make. It helps that it actually also works better! Here are the two that I have made. I made the first one one time but switched to the other one because we didn’t like the vinegar smell. The one we are using now is virtually odorless.

Spray #1:  Mix together 1 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar, the juice of half an orange and 1 tbsp. of dishwashing soap. Pour into a spray bottle and shake gently to mix.

Spray #2: Combine 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol, 2 tsp. of liquid spot-reducing dishwasher rinse and 6 drops of dishwashing soap. Stir to mix, but not so much that a lot of of bubbles are produced. Pour into a spray bottle and spray the shower daily. Do not rinse.

I hope this has given you some ideas of areas where you can make changes too. Let me know if you have any other ideas to share with me or if you have any questions. 🙂



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5 responses to “Save the earth and mucho dinero

  1. Um, you would love Norwex products. Seriously.

  2. Becca

    I just bought some Norwex microfiber towels and I’m waiting for them to come in the mail. They were a lot more expensive than your dollar tree find! I would like to see how they compare. (obviously the Norwex will probably be better, but for the price I might be able to handle the difference)

    This is an awesome post. I need to start some of these things. I’m sick of the cost and waste of my cleaning products…with the exception of the toilet brushes. I love them and don’t know if I can give them up! The regular brushes seem so yucky to me!

    • karin

      Becca, I used the Clorox toilet brush most recently, but also used a different one before that and that kind had flushable cleaners. SO convenient! The regular brush does seem yucky, but when I switched back to it I realized it’s really not so bad. I use the Scrubbing Bubbles toilet bowl gel that I replace once a week that keeps it mostly clean, but then use a toilet brush and cleaner before I attach the new gel. It’s been working out fine, and in the long run will save me money.

  3. Karin, thanks for the tips! I was just thinking yesterday that I should look up a homemade shower spray, and haven’t caught up with your blog for a little while. Perfect timing!

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