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Homemade cleaning solutions

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:30 a.m. CST

Some people in my life have been trying to get on me to use less and less store-bought chemicals around the home.

“You’ll live longer,” they say. “You don’t know what’s in that stuff, and what the long term effects are.”

Yes, but neither do you. You can cite vague studies, tell me about chemicals that neither of us can pronounce, but at the end of the day, if a lot of this stuff was proven to be bad they would take it off the shelves, right? ..... Right?

“Your home is going to smell better,” is the next one. “Who wants to come home to that nasty chemically sterile smell.”

Well, that’s true enough, but I’m not the biggest fan of walking into a blast of vinegar in my kitchen either.

So, after hearing enough of this over a period of several months, I decided to give it a try. What could it hurt after all?

Not my budget for one. The most drastic difference between home-made cleaning products and store-bought ones would have to be the price point differential. Why pay $3 or more for some “all-around” cleaner, when I can pay 50 cents or less to load up an up-cycled spray bottle with vinegar, water and a scented oil?

Granted, that $2.50 isn’t going to put you in the Ritz, but over time, the attitude and thought processes that led to the $2.50 decision just might.

The next value would have to be the smell. There’s nothing worse than walking into a room that’s just been doused with Lysol, bleach, or some other cleaning products. It gets in your nose and it’s stuck there the rest of the day. Just the thought of the smell makes me cringe. I know some people like it, but those people are strange, and probably clean-freaks to boot.

The next benefit would have to be the “health gains.” Again, this is mostly immeasurable. A lot of people live their whole lives using all of these products and you’d be hard-pressed to prove that there had been a negative impact on their lives or health because of it. But, it cannot be denied, that there is at least a small impact, a higher risk to using chemicals.

So, when I had a few gnats buzzing around my apartment courtesy of my window air conditioning unit, rather than hose them down with some poison that would leave me airing the apartment out for two hours and scrubbing all my dishes down to be safe, I went a more “natural” route. One bowl of red wine, a splash of vinegar and the tiniest two drops of dish soap and those buggers couldn’t get more excited to come and die.

Just like that, the need for hazmat suits was averted, and at a fraction of the cost.

So, my endeavors to go more “natural” around the house have paid off. For the most post, I’ve seen only a small drop in the effectiveness of the products that I make compared to the ones that I used to buy.

If there is enough interest, I can put some of the simple “formulas” that I’ve used in this column next week. If you just can’t manage to wait, go out and Google home-made cleaning products. There is a thriving community of people on the internet who get terribly excited about it and there is a wealth of information at your fingertips.

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