DIY Cleaning Products: My Motivation

I posted last week that I was attempting to make my own cleaners and such rather than buying pre-made products at the store. This is a whole new game for me. I’m not a DIY-er. At all. In fact, if I could afford a cook and a maid you bet I’d have one. So the idea of making my own anything is a drastic change.

One thing I’ve learned from couponing over the last few years is that those pinched pennies add up. A 35 cent coupon may not be worth the time it takes to cut out. But if you use a 35 cent coupon for 10 items and your coupons are doubled at the store and those items happen to be on sale – you’re saving a substantial amount. $7 just from the coupons, plus the 25-50% off sale price. Do that every week and you’ll see a significant decrease in your grocery spending.

I’ve taken that idea to a whole new level with making my own products. Couponing allowed me to save 50-75% on cleaning products. What if I could cut my “coupon price” in half by making them myself? Here’s the thing – my time is valuable too. As a stay at home mom, no I’m not making money with the way I spend my day but I am investing my time in keeping our home, in cooking our meals, and (most importantly) in raising our child. If I spend an excessive amount of time making laundry detergent that only saves me $1 it isn’t worth it.

So, my criteria for making my own products are 1) that it actually save money. If it costs more to make it myself, I’ll probably just buy it already made from the store. 2) that it be quick and EASY. A few ingredients are all I can handle. If I find a recipe with too many ingredients or steps I immediately look for something different. As valuable as those pennies are, so is my time. And 3) homemade products have to work well. It doesn’t save money (or time) if it doesn’t work.

There are other benefits to making your own products. Many people have environmental concerns as their motivation. Usually you can make your own products with simple ingredients that are environmentally friendly versus the contaminated stuff on the store shelves. Plus there’s less packaging waste. Homemade products often allow you to reuse the same container or reuse a container from another product that you might’ve thrown away (like an empty milk jug, for example).

There are also health concerns. Many products have been loosely tied to health risks. Anti-persperant deodorant, for example, has (loosely) been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. (I say loosely because I haven’t really researched this for myself and I don’t know how substantial those findings are.) Whether those claims are entirely true or not, using natural (often edible) ingredients in your home or on your body has to be healthier than using the chemical laden stuff you buy in the store. Right? Right.

Whether you want to save money like me or perhaps you have a more noble motivation of saving the environment, making your own cleaning products is a great way to start. I have been really happy with the stuff I’ve tried so far and I can’t wait to share more details with you. I’m trying to thoroughly test things out to make sure there aren’t any surprises before I tell you to go pour vinegar in your laundry. (Sounds crazy! I know!)

In the mean time, I have two websites you should check out. The first is Homestead Revival. This is a lovely blog by a lovely family with a lovely house and many lovely DIY tips. They really take DIY a lot farther than I probably ever will – raising bees and chickens and such. But, I love the mission and the spirit of this blog and it’s a great motivator if your thinking about making anything yourself.

The second is DIY Natural. Matt and Betsy Jabs share a TON of DIY tips and recipes and ideas. Great place to start if your looking for easy recipes to make your own products.

Ever thought about making your own cleaning products? What would be your motivation? Or your concern?


5 responses to “DIY Cleaning Products: My Motivation

  1. unknownjim May 14, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Excited to see how this works out for you! I’d love to save some $$ and use safer, more environmentally friendly products!!!!

  2. Pingback: DIY Dishwasher Detergent « Chrystal Murphy

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