Nifty Thrifty Week: Day #2 with Ruth Soukup

Welcome to day two of our Nifty Thrifty week featuring ideas, stories, recipes and GIVEAWAYS from five frugal guests.

(And it all started with my devotion entitled The Boomerang of Blessing. You can click here to read it but be sure to come back!)

Up today is my new friend Ruth from the chock-full-of-ideas website  Living Well, Spending Less .

I met Ruth at our recent Proverbs 31 She Speaks Intensive conference and we became fast friends.   A shopaholic turned money-saving expert, she has learned over the years that a life well lived is not so much about what we have, but who we are. On her website Ruth shares her adventure of finding the Good Life {on a budget}.  Living Well Spending Less includes recipes, couponing & budget advice, DIY projects, and household tips as well as reflections on faith, parenting, and homeschooling.  She lives in Florida with her husband Chuck and their two daughters, “Princess” (age 6) and “Trouble” (age 3).

Ruth’s post today is on making homemade cleaners and her generous giveaway is a $50 Amazon card to use to stock up on cleaning supplies.

Now, roll up your sleeves, get ready to clean and meet Ruth:

I can think of many compelling arguments to keep my house tidy.  It looks better.  I can find things.  It helps me be more productive and more hospitable.   It lets me be more creative.  It makes for a smoother-running household, kids who play better, and a husband who isn’t afraid to come home at night.  It even helps me sleep better.

A clean house also saves money.   That alone might be reason enough.

Taking care of my home and my things means I am less likely to need to replace something that gets lost or broken.  Furthermore, when my house is messy, I want only to escape the clutter.  This often means shopping, mindlessly filling a cart with even more stuff I don’t need or finding some other costly way to pass the time.

Re-gaining control of a mess house can be a little overwhelming at first, especially when life never stops moving.  It can be hard to know even where to begin.  Luckily spring is a great time for new beginnings, and if you are ready for a cleaner house, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Clear the Clutter.  For most of us, the problem of a messy house doesn’t come down to too much dirt but too much stuff.  We’re drowning in it.  To steal a line from Karen, it is time to Let. It. Go.  But I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  De-cluttering begets more de-cluttering.  Once you start, it is SO much easier to keep going!  {Get more de-cluttering tips here}
  2. Go Green & Thrifty.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that buying more cleaning supplies will somehow magically make your house cleaner.  It won’t.  (Believe me, I’ve tried that!)  Over the years I’ve discovered that just ten simple household ingredients—vinegar, baking soda, salt, olive oil, liquid dish soap, lemon juice, borax, washing soda, Ivory bar soap, and essential oils—can be combined in ten different ways to clean every single surface in my house.  This not only saves time, space, and money, but is better on the environment too.  {Get all ten homemade cleaning recipes here}
  3. Clean From Top to Bottom.  For a really deep clean, start high—with the ledges, ceiling fans, and light fixtures—then slowly work your way down, ending with the floor and baseboards, cleaning everything in between except the kitchen.  Save that for last. {Get a printable top-to-bottom cleaning checklist here}
  4. Conquer Your Kitchen.  Once the rest of your house is clean and (relatively) clutter free, you will be free to focus on the space that haunts us from behind closed cabinet doors.  Luckily those closed doors mean we don’t have to do it all at once.  Split this task into manageable chunks, one section at a time, over the course of a few days or weeks, and before you know it the kitchen you once feared will be a joy to work in. {Get a printable kitchen cleaning checklist here}
    Homemade laundry soap.

There are plenty of times when my own home falls into disarray.  Life gets hectic and I can’t keep up.  I almost always notice it in my wallet first, and that’s when I know it is time to take a step back and put things back in order.  When all is said and done, a clean house just lets me breathe a little easier.

Okay–to be entered in my giveaway here on Karen’s blog, tell me what products do you use to clean your house? Have you ever tried making homemade cleaners? I’d love to hear!


  1. I really needed this post-especially the declutter part. I do find, as you said, that breaking jobs up into smaller chunks is very helpful. I do not make my own cleaners but I do use white vinegar around the house. I find white vinegar is very good for cleaning the areas around a sink with that nasty build up of lime etc. A cleaning product I use almost daily is Lysol all purpose cleaner/disinfectant. It is possible to get cleaning agents cheap by matching coupons with sales. Also there is a product called Awesome that is available at most $ stores & does almost anything. I bought a 32 oz refill bottle for $1 & just pour it into my Awesome spray container but any spray bottle will do. I have seen this cleaner take purple juice stains out of clothes & carpet with hardly any scrubbing! Amazing & cheap!
    Thank you for this incredibly helpful list & tor this whole week of ideas!

  2. i LOVE these ideas. I’ve used many homemade cleaning solutions and love them. One they are cheap, they are way better for you. Have you noticed the prices on those all natural cleaning products. They are so expensive, why pay that much when you can pretty much do it yourself and they last just as long if not longer. You can even add your own natural scents to them like lemon or lavender. You can get those organic scents at whole foods or trader joes for cheap as well. Love, love this!! Thank you for sharing these with us. Such a blessing.

  3. In an effort to save money and green our house, I started switching to homemade cleaners a couple of years ago. We use homemade laundry detergent and laundry rinse. I also use vinegar, baking soda and essential oils for the majority of my cleaning. They work great!

  4. i love making my own cleaning products. i have littles and i worry about the toxicity of some products and by making my own cleaning products i feel better knowing what they are exposed too. thanks for the great info.

  5. I use vinegar and baking soda for all sorts of things. I did try to make laundry detergent but it didn’t seem to catch the stains that slipped past me and with 2 boys there are stains. SO I have gone back to my standard brand of detergent, but do use some homemade solutions.
    Thanks for the TIPS!!!!and would love to win the card

  6. I have been wanting to use homemade cleaners for a while. Unfortunately I had quite a stock of “toxic” cleaners that I can’t bear to just throw out. I’m trying like crazy to use them up before replacing them with more natural ones. I hate the smell they leave, especially in the bathroom where it’s small and enclosed. I can’t imagine that it’s good for my family (and especially two small kids) to be breathing in those fumes. I can’t wait to replace them…They’re almost gone :)

  7. I have always used the typical ‘toxic’ cleaners available at the store – windex, pledge,etc. But lately I’ve been reading more and more about making your own homemade cleaners. I’ve been hesitant to try them because I’m worried they won’t clean as well, but this post has encouraged me to give them a try. Thanks for all of the recipes, tips and checklists!

  8. I have been using more and more homemade cleaners and want to start experimenting more with essential oils as the kids do not like that the house often smells like vinegar!

  9. Have used vinegar, Dawn dish soap and bleach to clean different items but I want to try some of these cleaning recipes..

  10. I use Mrs. Meyers on the countertops and a combo of vinegar, baking soda, Dawn dishwasher soap, and peroxide for other household cleaners.

  11. I am really wanting to try to make my own cleaners!! Thank you so much for the recipes! Right now, I love bleach.. Just makes me feel like things are sanitized. :) I also like Clorox wipes, Pledge wipes, a feather duster, and I really like Mr Clean.. :) His bald head with flowers around it makes me smile ..

  12. Have used vinegar and bleach to clean different items but I want to try some of these cleaning recipes..

  13. One of the best products I’ve purchased is the Tupperware window cleaning cloths. Just spray surface with WATER and wipe with the cloth and it’s clean and streak free! Love it!

  14. I haven’t tried or made any homemade cleaners. But I will now!! That will be my weekend project. I usually use Lysol products that kill germs, but I’m going to try to make the switch! Thanks!

  15. Hi Karen!
    The only homemade cleanser I have ever tried is using vinegar and water to clean the floor. I have not used this since I had stone tile put down in the kitchen, because I didnt know if the vinegar would hurt the tile. So it is great to see the different cleaning products that I can make myself. I will definitely try some of these soon!

  16. for the last 3 years, our church has held a women’s day and different women share things in repeating sessions – e.g. how to make bread, child care, …
    this past year 2 women researched how to make household cleaning items – with their tips and yours, i think it’s time to try to make some of these!

  17. I recently made my first batch of cleaner with white vinegar; I love it, except for the smell! Buying natural cleaners just doesn’t fit in the budget!

  18. I have never made my own cleansers, though I have recently been looking at several cleanser recipes on Pinterest. I really WANT to try some of them, but just haven’t taken the time. As a full time teacher who brings home a lot of schoolwork, I keep telling myself that I WILL do this……. during the summer. Thankfully, summer break will be here within a few weeks. I will definitely come back to some of these recipes then!

  19. I use baking soda to clean everything from kitchen sinks to sprinkling in the laundry. Also use Essential oils on microfiber cloth to wipe a great clean scent across my fridge, stove hood, bathroom shelves, anywhere I can :)

  20. Have been using some homemade vinegar based cleaners for a little while now. It doesn’t stir up my asthma like a lot of chemical laden products I used before. Will definitely be trying out a couple of these new formulas!

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