I've been reading up on natural/frugal cleaning products at Passionate Homemaking and have decided that although I don't have "environmental" qualms with harsh cleaning products, I do have "health and well-being" reasons to look into natural AND frugal cleaning products. I'm not completely sold on the whole "natural" cleaning thing as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Clorox Clean-up and will never stop using that in my bathrooms and kitchen to make sure all the cooties are killed, HOWEVER, today as I was cleaning my bathroom, I sprayed vinegar all over the mirror and didn't have to be concerned that it was landing on the toothbrushes. That brings me peace of mind. I want my children to grow up as healthy as possible, and I can definitely see the benefits of limiting their exposure to toxic chemicals. Soooo, that said, I've ordered myself some Soap Nuts and have decided to give them a whirl.
I'm quite sure that I'm going to go the cloth diaper route with this baby, so I have been looking at different laundry detergents and have discovered that Charlie's Soap is a fantastic product; inexpensive, non-toxic, biodegradable, etc. It's also highly recommended for most cloth diapers...so I bought some of that. I tried Charlie's Soap and I tried Soap Nuts for my laundry. I have to be fair and say that I've only used Soap Nuts ONCE, vs. using Charlie's Soap regularly lately. I'm a big fan of Charlie's Soap for laundry. My clothes look good, they smell good...and I know that this TINY bag of laundry detergent is going to last me a very, very long time.
Okay, back to the Soap Nuts vs. Vinegar thing. So today I decided that I'd clean the bathroom counter and toilet with Soap Nuts--I'd made the concentrated liquid about a week ago and it's been sitting around in the fridge waiting for me to put it into a spray bottle. So I did...and I'm glad I did. I used vinegar on the mirror (not sure how soap nuts would work on glass, I haven't tried that yet), and soap nuts on the toilet. It worked great on the toilet...didn't leave streaks, and it looks nice and clean (as I said above...I'm a bit of a germaphobe and would not feel confident using SOLELY soap nuts on my toilet--but I wanted to see how it would look), then I went to the bathroom counter. The counter always seems to be dirty...go figure with 3 children and 3 (sometimes 4) adults sharing one bathroom!! So I used soap nuts on one half and vinegar on the other. I had already convinced myself that vinegar would be the way to go...but lo and behold!! I was NOT a fan of how the vinegar worked versus the soap nuts! The vinegar was pretty similar to using straight water (although I know it was doing more than what water would do), I don't like when I wipe something down, for any watery stuff to stay on the counter. With the soap nuts spray, it wiped neatly, left no streaks and looked wonderful. Here I had convinced myself that maybe soap nuts were just not for me...I am now a believer! Now I just need to find MORE ways to utilize them, tangible ways that I know I'll use them (because I'm not sure about using them as shampoo!).
Next on my agenda will be to try to make my own dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent (this may have to wait until we move into our own home). I also just ordered the entire Homestead Blessings DVD collection and am looking forward to trying my hand at soap making and yogurt making among other things...so stay tuned!