Wendy had asked me some questions that I wanted to answer about med’s cleaning supplies and how we manage those sorts of things in our home.
For cleaning supplies I like 7th Generation. I use their dishwashing liquid because it’s one of the few that doesn’t make my hands break out in tiny blisters and patches of itchy skin.
I don’t make my own cleaning supplies, except for using vinegar & newspaper to clean windows and mirrors. Also I make my own spray starch for ironing. The instructions are on the bottle of Liquid Starch, found in larger supermarkets and sometimes K-Mart. But right now I have a can of store-bought spray starch that my Mom bought me a while back.
For cleaning we use this really powerful stuff called “Spray 9”. It’s available at hardware stores. Fred buys it in gallon jugs. Then we dillute it. A jug lasts a couple of years and it cleans better than anything I’ve ever used in my entire life. It gets rid of dirt and grease that normally only steel wool will remove. Saves a lot of elbow grease on my part.
I use bleach in my dishwater and sometimes in my laundry. I buy the cheapest liquid laundry soap I can find. I used to use the powder because it was cheaper, but it didn’t dissolve all the way in our water, so now I just use liquid. We don’t have sensitive skin in our family, except for my hands, so any type of laundry soap works fine for us. We have a washer on it’s last legs and a dryer that’s still going pretty strong. When the washer konks out on us, we’ll have to buy a new one. I’ve had to wash clothes by hand in the past, and hang them up to dry. This was before the kids were born, and we didn’t have a washer or dryer. It was a lot of hard work. I think when there are only a couple of people to wash for, or if you have help, then washing by hand is definitely do-able and can save a lot of money when necessary. I admit to enjoying the convenience of my automatic washer and dryer. For anyone who finds they must wash their clothes by hand here’s a tip. Using a (clean, preferably well scrubbed and bleached or new) plunger can make the work faster. It works especially well on heavy jeans that are hard to wash otherwise.
The main chemicals I keep in the house are Spray-9, Ammonia, Cheap Generic Pine Cleaner, Bleach, Vinegar, Comet, Baking Soda, Liquid Starch, Dish Soap, Laundry Soap & Bars of Bath Soap. Since Fred stays at lots of hotels when he’s out of town we get free bath soap all day long. I keep it in a decorative bucket under the sink and it’s currently overflowing.
I usually use Ammonia to wash my floors. It seems to get our tile especially clean. I use baking soda to scrub all the sinks except when I’ve let them go too long and they are really scuzzy, then I use Comet. Same with the bath-tubs. Actually I use a store-brand equivalent. I get most of my cleaning supplies, except the dish soap and Spray-9 from Dollar General. They’re cheap, cheap, cheap and the quality is good.
Fred’s in charge of scrubbing the toilets, I think he uses Spray-9 to do it. When I wash the outsides and floor around the toilet I use whatever’s handy. Usually a little ammonia in a bucket of water. I like ammonia because it works well, it’s easy to use and it’s cheap. The only drawback is the smell, but Lemon Scented Sudsing Ammonia, the kind I use, doesn’t smell as strong as regular. I like the Sudsing kind because it makes soap bubbles, which makes me feel like I’m really cleaning.
My mom prefers Pine Cleaners, which is why I have it in the house. She buys it and uses it when she cleans things. Oh, I just remembered, I have Murphy’s oil soap too. I use it on all the wood and for dusting. I don’t dust often enough, but when I do I have found that Murphy’s Oil Soap works wonders on wood. I’ve tried Orange Oil cleansers for wood too and they sure smell good. In my area the Murphy’s is cheaper so it’s what I prefer to use.
For shampoo and conditioner I use whatever’s cheapest at the dollar store usually. Tom uses Ultrabrite plus whitening for his toothpaste. Jamie uses whatever is available, as do I. Fred only uses Listerine Toothpaste. I’m not particular about toothpaste, so I just buy whatever’s cheapest and that’s what Jamie and I use.
As for Medications. I always use store-brands and house-brands. Name brands are a waste of money to me. I keep the following meds on-hand most of the time . . .
- Chewable Zoo Animal Shaped Vitamins
- Motrin (Ibuprofen)
- Migraine/Headache Pills (plus caffeine)
- Chewable antacids
- Sudafed (I once overheard a lady say that it was easier to score cocain in the parking lot that it was to buy sudafed at the pharmacy.)
- Hydrocordizone Cream
- Acne Cream
- Acne Cleansing Pads
- Bactroban (prescription ointment similar to neosporin, our doctor keeps us in stock)
- Can of cloves (for toothaches)
- Doggie and Kitty earmite medicine
- Doggie and Kitty worm medicine
In addition all of us but Tom take prescription meds. Fred takes 4 or 5 of them plus insulin. I take 4 now, but sometimes 5. Jamie takes 1. We have little weekly pill cases that I found at the Dollar Store for $1 each. They have really simplified the daily routine. There are 14 little lidded compartments, 2 for each day of the week, AM and PM. Fred and I are both happy with these little contraptions as they make taking daily meds much, much easier. Besides prescriptions and a daily vitamin, we don’t take over the counter pills very often. A large bottle lasts well over a year. We have a bottle of Niquil that is 2 years old that is just now getting to the bottom of the bottle. There’s about 1 dose left.
For colds my favorite remedy is 2-tablespoons each lemon juice, whiskey, and honey. Then stir in 1/2-teaspoon ground red pepper and take by the spoonful as needed. It cleans out the sinuses, soothes a sore throat and makes you a little bit sleepy so you can sleep off the cold. I also administer chammomile tea to everyone when they get sick. The boys don’t especially like it, but I give it to them anyway. Mint tea is excellent for mild indigestion and nausea. Fred sometimes battles insomnia because of his work schedule. I recently bought him a homeopahtic remedy from our local Health Food Store, I wish I could remember the name of it. It’s made up of valerian root, passion flower, california poppies (the kind without ‘milk’) tryptophan, 5htp & something else I can’t remember. It works pretty well. I took valerian root when I was nursing a colicky baby (tom) and it helped him tremendously.
We also use chapstick and Carmex. I can’t think of anything else though. Oh, doggie shampoo. We buy special shampoo for Fred’s dog because he has itchy skin. It has oatmeal in it and it helps the poor dear. Also we have hand cream and “wrinkle fighting face cream” which I use on my feet. It makes my feet very soft and keeps them from cracking, which hurts (a lot). The hand cream is “Lubricating Hand Lotion”. It’s a big square bottle, I think from Dollar General. The face cream is from Dollar General $1 for a 12-ounce jar. And it works really well on tootsies.
I’ve been as thorough as I can. If there are any questions, please let me know. I think we’re pretty average as far as med’s and cleaning supplies. I don’t make my own because of laziness and since most of the ones I do buy are very inexpensive. Also, we like modern medicines and we feel like using them doesn’t make us “sell-outs” or drug abusers. Modern med’s are one of the great advantages of our time, along with running water, indoor plumbing, the vacuum, automatic washer & dryer. I use these things and they add to the quailty of our lives.