Budgeting since my retirement means reevaluating exactly where I want to spend my dollars. A couple of months ago, I had one of those terrible weeks where every cleanser in the house came up empty. I hate it when all of my sprays and scrubs run out at the same time because they eat such a huge chunk out of our grocery budget. Even with coupons, the cost of Scrubbing Bubbles, Pine Sol, and Windex added together on one bill translates into less to eat for the week. I started fearing that my emaciated body would keel over from starvation as I scrubbed the tubs.
Last month, I refused to buy another round of cleaning supplies. Instead, I grabbed the largest jug of white vinegar I could find with one hand and a gallon plus container of bleach with my other hand. (Poetic license here, of course, because these two items perch on shelves in totally different aisles of H.E.B). I recycled a bottle from one of my old cleansers and loaded it with straight white vinegar. The rest is history! My love affair with the power of white vinegar has grown daily. I clean my kitchen countertops with it. Hard water stains? Vinegar and salt mixed together takes care of that. Is that a barfed up cat hair ball? Spritz and spray with vinegar, and it comes off the carpet without leaving a mark. My living room and kitchen floors (especially the grout) look new again. My windows glisten and the mirrors practically glow! Add a little baking soda to vinegar to make a paste that can clean almost anything. Although vinegar has a strong scent, the odor dissipates quickly and leaves the rooms smelling chemical free.
I have a healthy respect for bleach. It doesn’t matter how careful I am, I always manage to splatter a little dot on my clothing. When I began using bleach as one of my major cleansers a couple of weeks ago, I hauled out an old pair of shorts and an already bleach spotted Aggie t-shirt to use on my bleaching days. I douse paper a wad of paper towels with bleach and wipe down every surface of both bathrooms. I disinfect the toilets, sinks, and tubs. I scrub the garage floor with a diluted mixture of bleach and water, and I use it in the kitchen to kill bacteria. With bleach, I make certain I keep the room well ventilated, but that’s easy to do.
The combination of using these two cleansers (which you never combine when actually cleaning) has impacted my ability to buy more at the grocery store. Because white vinegar and bleach are so cheap, I can purchase gallons of each for very little money. With both items in my arsenal, my house stays spotless for less.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman