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Loving Life On A Budget

Great Homemade Carpet Cleaner!

I have a room in my basement that has a door to the back yard. The dogs are constantly in and out of this door bringing with them the red dirt from our yard. After getting past the initial big red area of carpet at the door, you can follow the paw prints where they circle the room when they come inside. It has never really bothered me that this carpet looks horrible. We have been planning for a few years to split this room into a shop and a laundry room, so I haven’t bothered to take care of the carpet like I should. Bad. Idea. Now that we are preparing to sell our house, this carpet has become a nightmare. I don’t want to replace it, so I have to get it clean. This is what it looked like, and let me just say this picture is being very generous with not showing how dark those stains are.

Carpet Before


I own a carpet cleaner, but I have not been impressed by it’s cleaning ability during the maybe three times that I’ve used it. I also don’t use it often because the detergent for the machine is so expensive. By the time I buy enough detergent to clean all the carpets in my house, I could pay someone to come do it for me. I decided to give this cleaner one more chance, but use a homemade detergent instead of the store bought detergent. Here is what happened.

Carpet During

Do you see that line? I just about jumped for joy! Does my carpet look brand new? Nope. But it doesn’t scream that it needs to be replaced anymore! There are a few stubborn spots that wouldn’t come out, but they are noticeably less visible. I can live with that.

Carpet After

This homemade detergent has made my day and is going to save us so much money! The only thing I didn’t already have in my house was liquid fabric softener. So I spent $1 on some at the Dollar Tree. Considering I only used two tablespoons of it today, I think it will last me a while. The recipe does contain vinegar, and it did have a slight vinegar smell. To be honest, I was too cheap  didn’t want to buy essential oils, so I didn’t have that to cover up the vinegar smell. It wasn’t a strong smell though, so it didn’t bother me. My carpet is now dry and it does not smell like vinegar.

I now know I have a great carpet cleaner and all it needed to work properly was the right detergent. I already have it filled and ready to do the other carpets in the house. I have high hopes after the difference it made on the basement carpet. Want the recipe? Go here and try it! You won’t be sorry! 🙂


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Favorite Homemade Laundry Detergent

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried very hard over the past (almost) year to try more homemade cleaning items. For me, it’s about saving money and limiting the amount of chemicals I use in our home. Laundry detergent was actually where I started this whole adventure. Have you noticed the price of laundry detergent lately? It’s soap! It should not cost that much! Due to being an allergy sufferer (I should be in a bubble!), I do not like laundry detergent with scents. My choice detergent was All Free & Clear, because it didn’t have a scent, worked well, and has a decent price. I tell you this because this detergent is where I base my comparison for store bought vs. homemade detergent. There are tons of blog posts out there about homemade laundry detergent, and I read a lot of them. I needed it to be made of items I could buy easily and cheaply. My next problem was the fact my home has a septic tank. This makes a difference in the detergent you can use. Powder would be so much easier to make and store, however all my cost savings would go out the window plus some when we have to call people out to fix the septic tank. So, if you have a septic tank, you have to use a liquid detergent. All that being said, here is the link to my favorite laundry detergent.

It’s simple, uses items I can pick up at the store, and is oh so very cheap! I started using this in May 2013 and I am still using my original boxes of borax and washing soda as of today. I only do about 7-10 loads of laundry a week. So, if I did 8 loads of laundry for 37 weeks, that is equal to 296 loads of laundry. I only paid about $7 for the boxes of borax and washing soda at Walmart. I usually only pay less than $1 for each bottle of dawn. I wish I knew how many bottles of dawn I went through. All I know is this method is very cost effective.

How well does it clean? Very well. My husband has even noticed a difference in not only the cleanliness of his clothes, but also the fact his polos that he wears to work every day are not fading near as fast as they had in the past. I attribute the clothes staying nicer to the fact they aren’t being washed with all the harsh chemicals. My husband is also very good about getting some nice grease stains on his shirts. This detergent has really cut down on the amount of resolve I have to spray on his shirts to get them clean. I have not had to rewash near as many shirts since using this detergent.

Cost effective {check}, cleans well {check}, no scent {check}= this one is a keeper! Did I mention I make several gallons at a time in less than 10 minutes? This is a homemade cleaner you will be glad you tried! 🙂

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Favorite Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Earlier this year, I decided to start trying to make as many items possible instead of buying pre-packaged items. One item that I hated buying was dishwasher detergent. It’s so expensive! I knew there had to be a cheaper way to run my dishwasher. I had two criteria during my search: 1. it had to clean well, and 2. it had to be made of ingredients that I would normally have around the house. I found this recipe and fell in love! She even does the math to show how cheap it is to make!

homemade dishwashing detergent

I made the tabs version and they were way too thick! It took them several days to dry out. If you decide to make the tabs, be aware that you only need a small amount. I ended up having to break mine in half and I still think they may be too thick. I also stopped buying rinse aids, such as Jet Dry. Now I only use vinegar and the combination of the homemade tabs and vinegar works great! Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did! 🙂

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