Lemon Cleaner from Used Lemons (You read that right!)

Who doesn’t love lemons?? And the summertime is the best time to buy them! But what do you do after they’re used?

You make cleaner!! Even better, it’s chemical free.

But first, let’s use those lemons. I was thrilled to purchase lemons on sale (I scored them for 5 cents each), and the teen was happy to set about making some fresh lemonade. Until a little over half way through, then I took over juicing duties as her arm and hand was “seriously, about to fall off”. The lemonade was great and we enjoyed a refreshing glass with dinner.

Now, for those pesky, left over, juiced out lemons.

You need:

  1. Juiced out lemons (minimum of 10)
  2. 8 oz white vinegar (I buy mine either at the dollar store or I’ve often found a bottle for around 70 cents at WalMart)
  3. Container with lid
  4. Funnel, or really good pouring skills
  5. Water
  6. 32 oz spray bottle (about a dollar at any store you go to. The first several times I made this I used an old Lysol spray cleaner bottle that had been emptied and cleaned. It worked great until I accidently *exploded the bottle (see below).

First, put the lemons in a container with a lid. Add water until the container is full (I always have seeds and pulp floating around in mine, it seems. You can strain them out easily but I just don’t bother with it). Let them soak for 24 hours.

My blurry phone pic.

Place lemons and water in a container with a lid and allow them to soak for 24 hours. My apologies for the blurry phone picture.

After 24 hours, grab your funnel (or show off those amazing pouring skills) and fill a spray bottle with 8 oz white vinegar.

Next, pour the liquid from the soaked lemons into the container. Dump your leftover liquid in the sink (really cuts sink odors), and discard the used lemons.

Screw on the lid, give it a shake, and you’re good to go!

Cleaning tip: If you need a little more “oomph” with this cleaner, I’ve found sprinkling baking soda on the surface and spraying it before scrubbing works really well.

I’ve used this successfully on ceramic and tile, stainless steel and porcelain sinks, and glass top stoves.

I don’t love the scent of this straight out of the bottle (it’s the vinegar), but the vinegar odor doesn’t last long and every time I use it my family and any guests always comment that the house has a great lemon-clean smell to it.

*DO NOT add baking soda to the bottle. I tried this once, to make a ‘stronger’ cleaner. The bottle seems fine… until you don’t touch it for 72 hours and it explodes under your sink from the pressure built up inside the bottle. I left it open for several days beforehand to allow the pressure to vent out and thought it was safe to seal back up. Oops.

Here’s the cost breakdown of this particular batch.

15 lemons @ .05 each= $0.75

1 vinegar @ .70=  $1.45

I already had the bottle and the container. 🙂

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Saving on Laundry Detergent: Making it myself. (Adventures in Laundry)

I had been eyeballing various DIY laundry detergent recipes on Pinterest and have been very intrigued. Problem was, I didn’t want to make a liquid detergent. I’ll be honest, it seemed like too much of a pain and I didn’t feel like going through all the trouble- plus I didn’t have anything large enough to hold 10+ gallons of liquid laundry detergent!

I finally came across this little gem on Mommy’s Kitchen and decided to give it a try.

DIY Dry Laundry Detergent Recipe

  • 2 Cups Laundry Bar Shavings (Fels-Naptha had great user reviews across the web || 2 cups = 1 bar)
  • 1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Use 2 TBS or 1/8 Cup of detergent for top loading machines.

Here we go! I’ll admit to being a little nervous.

First, I bought and assembled all my ingredients. Looking at the recipe I guessed it would come out to 4 cups or less, so I rummaged the tupperware cabinet until I found an old container that held up to 5 cups.

Borax: $3.38, Washing Soda: $3.24, Laundry Bar: $0.97

Borax: $3.38, Washing Soda: $3.24, Laundry Bar: $0.97

-I had found many pages talking about using any bar of soap but found many longtime users of DIY mixes cautioning against it because of long-term laundry effects. And apparently stains do not remove as well with just plain bar soap.

Next, I got out my cheese grater and went at it. Remember to advise any family member walking through that it’s not cheese.

grated laundry bar 1

It feels (and looks) like you are grating a bar of cheese.

grated laundry bar 2

Not cheese (either going to be a horrible practical joke or an embarrassing ER story, the hubs and I couldn’t decide which).

Then, I had to grate it into powder. The web suggests using a blender or a food processor. Seeing as how my blender is rarely used, I decided to make it feel loved and use it to powder my laundry bar gratings. It’s probably the first non-margarita substance it’s ever encountered, to be honest.

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2 Cups Laundry Bar shavings

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After the bottom part was powdered, it kept making holes in the center of the shavings. Never fear, that stops and the blender begins to suck it like a vacuum down to the blades.

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Falling into the hole.

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Husband came in to investigate and began tapping on the sides of the blender to knock the shavings down into the center faster.

 Now, to combine all my ingredients into my super-fancy plastic bowl. The hardest part was opening the box of 20 Mule Team Borax, no matter how hard I pressed on the “press here to open” tab it wouldn’t budge. It finally succumbed to a butter knife.

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Powdered laundry bar. I used my fingers to get out all the little bits of laundry bar stuck to the bottom and sides of the blender.

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1 Cup borax (and the butter knife I attacked the box with).

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1 Cup washing soda and stir. I used my box opening butter knife.

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Final product. Probably could have gotten the laundry bar grated a bit better but this seems fine.

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Well, that was easy.

 I threw in an old tablespoon to keep with the mix for when I do laundry. The recipe calls for 2 TBS (1/8 of a cup) for top loading machines. The whole process took less than 5 minutes to make.

Now, let’s look at the savings.

  • Previously I was paying $2.78 for laundry detergent. I buy it every two weeks and by the end of the year was spending almost $72.00 a year for laundry detergent.
  • By making it myself I am spending $1.77 for laundry detergent. If I use 7 bars of laundry soap, 9 cups of borax (leaving a ½ cup in the box unused) and 7 cups of washing soda (the box) I am making nearly a years worth of detergent for $13.31.
  • That’s a savings of $58.69 a year. Combine that with the savings by making my own pancake mix, and I am saving nearly $100/year by making just two items on my own. Umm, I’ll take it.

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** Update:**

We have been increadibly happy with this laundry detergent!! Both the husband and the teen have commented how great our clothes smell and how clean they look.

-So far it is lasting longer than the store bought detergent was. It took over three weeks to use two cups of this batch.

-Our clothes are coming out brighter and whiter than before (I actually got makeup stains, that I had decided were permanent, out of white washclothes in one wash with NO bleach or additives. Husband was speechless when I showed him the results).

-The original smell of this is very overwhelming in the container. Our clothes smelled good though. I went ahead and I added one $.49 small bottle of essential oil (add the whole bottle, stir around, and let it sit overnight), which really helped improve the smell. Our clothes smell even nicer now. Win!

Closet Issues: The Teen

Oh the teen girl’s closet. I’m convinced she has enough clothes and shoes for the entire state of Texas. We keep clearing out and donating and selling stuff and people just keep giving her more. We faced closet problems in the last house that were solved when we moved into this house. Well, except hers. She has no closet in her bedroom. Ahh, the ups and downs of older homes.

Her bedroom is actually a tiny room off of a bigger room. The bigger room has a door into the kitchen and a hallway to the bathroom. Their is a door that can be closed there too, but then that blocks off the family access to the only bathroom with a shower. Plus, it’s the main bathroom in the house. However, the bigger room has a closet. But hubs and I needed to store some stuff in the bigger room because we had no where else to keep it. We also did not want her bedroom to be right off the main bathroom- because it would block our access to that bathroom when she had her doors shut- and we didn’t want us and/or guests to accidently barge into her bedroom. Many delimma’s indeed.

Luckily for us, she like small spaces. So we decided to give her the small space and work with the big space for closet issues. Her bedroom holds her dresser, bed, night table, rug, and a small trashcan.. Anything else in there and the room would explode. Her bed stretches from one wall to the other and is up against a wall. Her dresser goes from the end of the bed to another wall. Her nightable goes from her bed to the doorway. Oddly enough, it’s cozy. Even better- she loves it.

We decided to make the big room her “changing/entertainment” area. We put the tv, dvd player, and the wii in here. We also put her gamer chair, matching fold out chair, an extra rug she has, and a few of our items that didn’t fit very well elsewhere in the house (including our dresser, which was not needed in our bedroom, and one of our many lamps that we have an odd abundance of- and no I still haven’t solved that mystery). I solved the privacy issue with a curtain, which she likes because she still has a quick access to “her” bathroom without cutting through the kitchen. I’m happy because that is still a main bathroom so she has to keep her makeup and hair stuff picked up without argument (a win for this mum!).

teen closet

I utilized a blackout curtain to block off the hallway and give her privacy when she is in there (as you can see from my highly detailed rendering).

All in all, it works. We made an agreement with her that the big room is a family area and since we have stuff in there we have to have access to it, meaning doors open, and it must stay clean (another win!). We also told her that if the door connecting the big room to the kitchen is closed we will respect her need/want for privacy and will knock before entering- so it is her bedroom in a way. And she really likes having two bedrooms.

Space and closet issues resolved. Thank goodness!

Closet Issues: The Adults

We just moved into a different temporary home (still searching for that permanent one, but found a bigger place with cheaper rent in the process and I’m all about saving money) and the unpacking process has begun. I’m now convinced the best way to get rid of items you don’t need is to move a few times.

In our first house, my husband and I shared a closet that he built himself and it was quite roomy. At our last house, we shared one so cramped we had to keep our jackets in the closet in the spare bedroom (our poor teen’s clothes didn’t even all fit in her closet and we had to get creative with storage while her jackets joined ours in the spare bedroom). In the latest house- we seem to have more space than I can dream of (yay for older homes!) but only three closets. Oh, and two of those closets are in the master bedroom while the teen has no closet in her actual bedroom (?? I know, old house. I’ll tackle that in another post). Let the organization begin!

I will be the first to admit, I like having two closets in the bedroom. I wasn’t sure if I would at first or not but it has been nice so far.

First of all we have my husband’s side. He organized it himself and swears it looks fine. This is the difference between guys and girls, right here.

What you can't see is the hats, bags, and box above his clothes. Oh wait, you can see the strap of a bag. ;)

What you can’t see is the hats, bags, and boxes above his clothes. Oh wait, you can see the strap of a bag. 😉

He was very considerate and hung all my stuff up on my side of the closet so all I had to do was get in there and organize it.  He offered to take the closet at first, seeing as how it had a set of drawers in the middle of it and thought I might want more room for hanging things, I eagerly said no thanks- I was excited about those drawers! I threw a few baskets in them and they became the perfect spot for my socks, undergarments, sleep pants, and bathing suits.

Next, was tackling that top shelf. Seeing as how my floor space was taken up with the shelf (and the spots on the sides of the shelf weren’t convenient) I decided to move my shoes up. I used a homemade shelf leftover from a friend for the shoes I wear the most, and stored my tactical boots and wedding shoes in the boxes next to it. I shoved a childhood friend into the remaining space and decided he could wear my lake/yardwork hat until I needed it. A basket on top of the shelf held my hats/belts/purses nicely.

Looking right

Looking right

To the left of the shelf I put my boxes containing dress shoes and sandals, and threw my snow/mud boots on top of them for lack of a better place. I change my sandals out with my closed toe flats on the shelf during the summer months.

Looking left

Looking left

Feeling satisfied with the top shelf I moved on to the hanging of the actual clothes. My husband says I’m anal about this but I call it organized.

I found a great pin on Pinterest about using shower curtain hooks to hang scarves, purses, hats, belts, etc., in a closet. I have an extra set because we moved from a house with two bathrooms into a house with one and a half. I must say, shower hooks work perfectly. I looped the longer scarves through properly, but the shorter scarves I just looped through.

Since the area over the drawers has less hanging space, I used that area for the my scarves, pants, and skirts. A few of my sleeveless shirts also hang over it.

The scarves- hung on shower curtain loops.

The scarves- hung on shower curtain loops.

I hung jackets on the far right, then sweatshirts, then my dresses, skirts, and pants. On the far left I hung my long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, and sleeveless shirts/tanks. I think it worked out well!

The finished product.

The finished product!

Now whose side looks better? 😉