Category Archives: housekeeping/cleaning

homemade natural febreeze substitute for when the smell of your kid’s hockey equipment brings you to your knees

this is what the back of my car will look like for the next 7 months

Have you ever smelled the inside of a kid’s hockey bag? Or their skates, after they’ve gone from cleaning horse stalls straight to hockey practice and traded boots that smell like barn for skates that smell like.. well, dead skunk. That, my friends, is a level of funk that will bring a grown man to his knees. And speaking of grown men, even I am not brave enough to open his hockey bag.

My problem this weekend was two-fold; I have a car that smells like hockey bags and barn boots and a house that still smells a little like caramelized onions. And while the onions smelled great while they were cooking (and tasted even more amazing on pizza), by day 5 I was done with the smell. I went looking for something to help with it all. I don’t have any Febreeze in the house – I’m not a big fan of the chemical smell and it probably isn’t great for us anyway, plus I knew I could probably make something better for us to breathe in and possibly antibacterial as well.

I looked up a few sprays that other people have tried and this is what I came up with for my own use.

Homemade Natural Febreeze

  • 2 tbsp vodka (whatever you have – the cheaper the better)
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 cup filtered water

Add everything together in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. Spray on stinky stuff and allow it to dry.

The vodka serves a few purposes – it’s antibacterial, will act as a preserving agent and is an odour destroyer in itself. The essential oils you can play around with and use any scents that you like in a mixture of about 20-30 drops. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and would be perfect for this. I just used what I have on hand. The baking soda also helps with the odours.

It worked really well for the house – I loved the eucalyptus smell, and it dissipated within a couple of hours and took any lingering funky onion smell along with it. The car and the hockey bags are tomorrow’s job. The dad doesn’t know it yet, but he is detailing my car tomorrow.

Linked to A Pinch of Joy. Frugally Sustainable, GNOWFGLINS, Mind Body and Sole

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homemade dishwasher soap powder

I ran out of dishwasher powder recently and figured that it was as good a time as any to try making it myself. I’m very slowly eliminating or at least cutting back on the chemicals in the house by attrition. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to make a change – just run out of other options. I’m not about to waste anything that I already have and the others are more likely to accept the new ideas if they have no other choice. So, homemade dishwasher soap was born at our house.

And I’m almost certain that nobody else even noticed this small change. The dishes look exactly the same as they did with the old dishwasher soap.

I had a plan in motion to make this as soon as I ran out, so I ordered some citric acid on-line from (no shipping charges in Canada). The rest of the ingredients I already had on hand from making my peppermint laundry soap powder.

If you are wondering what the little sachet thingie in front of the powder is for – citric acid can clump up, so I read a suggestion about adding rice to the powder to absorb moisture. My diswasher doesn’t have a food grinder and food tends to circulate around in it if the dishes aren’t scraped off, so adding some rice to the powder didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Instead, I cut the toe out of an old pair of pantyhose (haven’t worn pantyhose in years) and poured some rice in it and knotted it. I just keep it in the jar. Problem solved. Also, if it clumps up a bit, just shake it vigourously with the lid on or stir it around a bit.

Here is how to make it (I found this at DIYnatural):

Dishwasher Soap Recipe

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a jar or empty container of some kind and shake to mix. Use 1 tbsp per load of dishes.

They recommend using vinegar for a rinse agent. I don’t. I have hard water, BUT I use a water softener and have never found the need for a rinse agent. I also only use 1 tbsp per load (even when I’m using the regular store bought powder – because I’ve never found that you have to fill up the whole little well for the dishsoap – my dishes have always come out clean using the bare minimum. No need to waste extra soap.

It’s been working great (better than having my husband do the dishes) – the dishes are clean and there has been no residue left behind.

Now I just need some hints to keep my kids from disappearing before they get the dishwasher loaded.

Linking to A Pinch of Joy, Addicted to Recipes, Frugally Sustainable, A Delightful Home, Like a Mustard Seed

my paperless kitchen

Switching to paperless hasn’t been too hard for us. We used to use paper napkins and paper towels for the sake of convenience, but I haven’t found life without them any less convenient.

I had a drawer full of linen and cloth napkins that were only used when we had company for dinner. We just started using them every day. They don’t really take any extra time to wash, and I hang them up to dry and don’t iron them. The hanging works out most of the wrinkles. The rest I just ignore. Folding napkins is a great kid task – any kid can learn to fold a square in half a couple of times. It also makes the table look nice and we deserve something that looks nice.

Cloth napkins are cheap to pick up at thrift stores and yard sales. I’ve done both, inherited some, some were wedding shower gifts and some (I’m almost certain) just bred in the dark napkin drawer and produced more. We have more than enough napkins to keep us going for a couple of weeks if the laundry basket doesn’t make it all the way back upstairs in that time. Sometimes if we didn’t really get them dirty, we just fold them back up and leave them at our places at the table. Easy enough.

For drying hands, I have tea towels that always hang on the refrigerator door handle within easy reach of the sink.

For cleaning, I’ve always used rags. Every time a t-shirt gets too holey or a sheet gets ripped I cut it up into rags. I don’t sew or neatly serge the edges, just throw them in the rag drawer. They don’t need to be pretty, just functional. I use them for everything from cleaning dog barf to wiping chocolate out of 8 year old hair and ears. I wash them after use. Occasionally I have to use them for something so nasty that I just throw them out, but usually they just get washed.

The dad has noticed the lack of paper towels, but only when we cook bacon. I keep saying, “Oops, we must be out.” He copes.

Linking to Sorta Crunchy, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Frugally Sustainable

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