Practical Thoughts and Tidbits

As the initial purpose of this blog was to share some practical, domestic tidbits, designed to encourage making things from scratch and to minimize cost, I thought it was about time to share some more household recipes and ideas.

Multi-Purpose Stain Remover:

1 part dawn dish detergent (I use the blue kind), 1 part ammonia, 1 part water

I usually use 2 oz each part and I mix it in an old kitchen cleaner bottle (great way to recycle!).  This recipe was given to me by a friend from college (Thanks Hannah F.!) and I’ve used it on everything from clothes to carpet.  This has removed even the toughest stains from clothes, some of which have even been there for a while. 

All-Purpose Disinfectant/Cleaner:

1 part water, 1 part 91% strength rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, essential oils

I’ve posted this recipe before, but I really love this cleaner and wanted to share it again.  I recently discovered that the 91% strength rubbing alcohol helps with evaporation, which is fabulous for windows/glass.  I don’t really measure the white  vinegar, but because it is a natural disinfectant, I like to pour some in.  Essential oils are great to make a fresh smelling cleaner.  Some of these are also natural cleansers.  My current favorite combination is rosemary-mint.  I usually mix this in 8-16oz volume.  I’ve used this cleanser on just about everything from floors, to table tops, to windows and bathrooms.

Things I sometimes just have to buy…

Mr.. Clean Magic Eraser…

Though not very eco-friendly, I couldn’t do without my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – Well, I buy the generic form, but it works great.  We had our bathroom floor tiled back in the fall and I love it.  But, I had no idea how fast tile floors could get dirty… the residual dampness that comes with a bathroom seems to make everything stick to the floor.  The magic eraser does wonders for cleaning the tile – even better than my homemade cleaner. 

Baby Wipes…

Though I love the concept of cloth baby wipes and have used them in the past, I simply don’t have a great enough volume to do this on a regular basis.  The perk of disposable baby wipes is that they can clean a mess pretty quickly, not to mention, they are great for cleaning poo off baby bums.  :-p  When I’m crunched for time, I’ll often use a baby wipe to clean the kids off after a meal and then clean the table/high-chair tray. 


Now, you probably saw this coming, but I have to throw in a tidbit about cloth diapering.  I’ve mentioned before that I love cloth diapering and wish I had started out with them.  Initially, I made the change over to cloth because I was fed up with the increasing price of disposables.  Literally, every diaper change was like throwing away money.  This became entirely wasteful.

However, after several months of cloth diapering, I’ve realized that the perks of using cloth far surpass saving money.  While I still use some disposables (mostly on Patrick at night time), I actually find cloth to be far more convenient.  It is great do simply do a wash rather than run to the store every time we’re running low on diapers.  Ironic though it might sound, I love doing the cloth diapers wash and stuffing/folding them when the wash is done.  It is extremely rewarding to see the colorful stash of diapers ready to go.   :)


There is also a huge environmental perk to using cloth.  Lest  you think I’m about to go off on this “green” tangent, I’m not.  Truth be told, I’m not much into the “green movement”, but I do believe in following the Biblical principles of good stewardship.  Good stewardship looks different for different people – this falls into the vein of Christian liberty – but after doing some research, I’m convinced using cloth diapers is part of taking care of the world we live in.

Just last week, I read an article put out by a cloth-diapering company.  I learned that disposable diapers are made of chemicals that turn into gel when it is wet and wood pulp – therefore disposable diapers increase the unnecessary cutting of trees.  Though this could be a long-term issue, this is the lesser of the two problems created by the exclusive use of disposable diapers. 

In my mind, the big issue brought out by the article is that ‘sposies take 500 years to decompose.  How gross is that?!  500 year old poo-gel.  Disgusting…

Landfills are already a problem and the exclusive use of disposable diapers (or feminine hygiene products!) drastically increase the volume of these landfills.  I read on another blog several months back that it is suspected our generation will leave two things behind for  archeologists many generations in the future to find – disposable diapers and feminine hygiene products.  I do take this with a grain of salt, but I do believe there is a grain of truth to this statement.

Do I think it is wrong to use disposables?  No.  Do I think it helps take care of God’s creation to maximize the use of reusable products – diapers and otherwise?  Yes. 

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day.  Hope you enjoy.  :)

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