What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Cleaning

When I was growing up fall cleaning signified the official end of summer. At one time it was common to do a complete attic to basement cleaning twice a year usually in the spring and in the fall. By complete cleaning I do mean complete from sweeping out the cobwebs in the attic to scrubbing down walls and ceilings. All the light fixtures were cleaned and polished, screens were removed from the window then after the windows were sparkling clean the storm windows were put into place. Floors were stripped then re-waxed. In the spring winter clothes and bedding were put away with the reverse in the fall. Quite often a couple of my Mom's friends would come over to help with the cleaning and in return she would help with theirs.

I continue to follow the tradition of seasonal cleaning to a bit lesser degree as do many older folks but for the most part this type of seasonal cleaning has gone by the wayside for the younger generation. Now that's a shame because seasonal cleaning greatly lowers the level of germs and allergens in your home. It removes any droppings that may have been left behind by little visitors and vacuum up any spiders getting ready to set up home.

My cleaning products are: concentrated Simple Green, Murphy Oil Soap®, baking soda, vinegar, liquid Bar Keeper's Friend®, ammonia, Mr. Clean® magic erasers and rubbing alcohol. I of course have dishwasher detergent and dish soap for hand washing. I have 6 commercial grade spray bottles with the dilutions on them bought for less than 6 cheaper spray bottles at the dollar store would have cost. I make the Simple Green concentrate (1 gallon, $8.99) into 3 different strengths depending on the use. One gallon of Simple Green goes a long way! Cost per ounce works out to less than the cost of dollar store cleaners. I bought the Murphy Oil Soap® (96 oz,) so long ago I forget the price but it would have been well under $10. I bought the bulk bag of baking soda at Sam's Club ($4), cheapest white vinegar (4 L, usually $1) at no frills, jug of ammonia (1.8 L, $1.50) at no frills, magic erasers 8 pk (Sam's Club) and rubbing alcohol (450 ml) at the dollar store. Murphy Oil Soap® is a must as much of our main living area is wood as in wood wainscoting, wood cabinets and wood ceiling and all dusting is damp dusting not dry. I have six solutions I make from these ingredients - mild/medium/heavy Simple Green® solutions (one 32 oz bottle each), one 1:1 vinegar solution, one of rubbing alcohol and one of Murphy's Oil solution. Here's my reason and why I think these are frugal choices for me:

  • Simple Green®: great, low cost indoor/outdoor multi-cleaner that can even be used as a laundry booster, concentrated, non-toxic eco-friendly
  • vinegar - cheap, best solution for washing ceramic tile and many other surfaces, has anti-bacterial properties
  • Murphy Oil Soap® - safe for all wood surfaces, ideal for damp dusting to prevent allergens from becoming air born
  • baking soda - cheap, idea for cleaning shower stalls and bath tubs, used for removing burnt on food in stainless steel pots, a good all purpose stain remover and deodorizer
  • ammonia - the ultimate de-greaser that works great indoors and out, strips wax build-up
  • Bar Keeper's Friend® (liquid) - less than half the cost of the smoothtop cleaner yet works better, can be used to shine up stainless steel or polish other metals
  • rubbing alcohol - kills most biologicals not just bacteria, the true way to a sparkly clean surface especially windows, mirrors, ceramic tile and faucets, a little goes a long way
  • magic erasers - overall quite inexpensive yet work well without chemicals
Garden Gnome