Not too many prepared cleaning products are used in our home. In fact aside from dishwasher powder and dishwashing detergent, and laundry soaker, everything else is made from ingredients I keep in the cleaning stockpile.
From these ingredients I can keep our whole home clean and fresh, and do all our laundry.
Yesterday I made a double batch of Miracle Spray. I saw it being made on TV on Saturday, and watched. Not to be picky, but if you make it the way they did on 9Honey Hacks, you won't be happy. They used the wrong quantities of ingredients. I guess that's what happens when you try to copy something, right down to the name, and don't pay close attention. If you'd like the original and best Miracle Spray recipe, you'll find it here. And you can watch me make it here. Joy submitted this recipe to the Tip Store way back in 2008, and Wendy called it Miracle Spray in 2010, so I've been making and using it a long time. Miracle Spray is used to clean the bathrooms, shower, basins, toilet, hard floors and most other things that need cleaning. I also add it to the washing for sport clothes and Wayne's dark work clothes.
This morning I half filled a dishwashing detergent bottle with water and topped it up with full strength detergent - two bottles of dishwashing detergent for the price of one and it works just as well at half-strength as it does at full strength.
These days I like Morning Fresh dishwashing detergent, and when it comes on half-price sale (two or three times a year) I will replenish the stock so I always have six bottles in the cupboard.
So what's in my cleaning stockpile?
Where do I buy cleaning ingredients?
Borax and dishwashing detergent come from Aldi (the borax is a special buy - keep an eye open in the catalogue for when it comes on sale as it's around half the price of borax from the supermarket and in a reasonably sized tub).
Laundry soap and dishwasher powder come from Coles. They are both generic. Coles have stopped stocking the You'll Love Coles dishwasher powder, and have switched to a "concentrated" powder in a blue plastic jug that is twice the price. I'm not as happy with it, it doesn't do any better a job than the $2.20 a kilo powder. I have also tried Aldi dishwasher powder, but my dishwasher doesn't like it, nor does it like the pods, so I'm stuck with the Coles powder for now. You'll find laundry soap in the cleaning aisle, usually on either the very top shelf or the very bottom shelf near the laundry powders.
Dishwasher powder is normally on the bottom shelf with the dishwasher powders.
Eucalyptus oil and lavender oil I buy direct from Bosistos. They have great sales and this year they had a 4 litre bottle that I was able to share with friends that brought the cost down to $23 a litre - the cheapest price at the time for pure eucalyptus oil.
Citric acid and washing soda come in 5kg buckets direct from Aurora Cleaning Supplies in Dandenong South.
White vinegar I buy at Aldi.
Bicarbonate soda can be bought in 5kg bags from Costco. If you don't have a Costco membership then you can buy it from pool shops under the name "ph buffer". Just be prepared to have to buy it in bulk - perhaps you could share it with a couple of friends.
What do I make with these ingredients?
There's not a lot in the cleaning stockpile. Every item has multiple uses and can be mixed with the other ingredients to keep our home clean without spending a fortune and using lots of chemical based cleaners.
This week I've added 14 jars of diced tomatoes to the stockpile, for just $3.94. I was able to buy 6 kilos of tomatoes for 49 cents a kilo, and we were gifted another 2 kilos.
I've also added more toilet paper, rice and flour - I won't add any more rice, but toilet paper is one thing I have a fear of running out of so it's still on the list for a while yet :)
Kaylene emailed and asked me a few questions, one of which was why am I building such a large stockpile, is it because I know something about the economy that she doesn't?
That certainly made me smile, I know nothing more than anyone else, and probably less than a lot of Australians about the state of our economy.
I am stockpiling first and foremost out of habit. I've had a decent grocery supply in the house for 21 years now. It started off small, just a month or so of most of the grocery items we use. It grew over time to be a minimum of six months' worth of the basics, with up to a years' worth of some things I am able to buy in bulk.
But a couple of months ago we were given advance notice of some changes to our finances, meaning we'll be earning less next year than we have for a long, long time. And that means we'll have less money to spend on anything, let alone groceries. We've gone over our new spending plan and cut back where we can, including the grocery budget.
And so I've started to concentrate on building our food storage, cleaning supplies and toiletries and first aid needs.
I'm building this not out of fear of any national or worldwide economic disaster looming, but to ensure that no matter what happens, either within our family unit, the country or the world, we'll be able to eat, stay clean and have basic first aid supplies if they are needed.
I've been in the position of not having a regular income before. We lived for over four years on an erratic income. Sometimes we'd have money coming in, sometimes we wouldn't. I had to learn to budget and shop accordingly and run our finances like a business - just as though we were self-employed.
This time around we know what is coming and can prepare as best we can. For me as the main cook and shopper that means building our grocery stockpile as best I can with what I have.
We know our income is going to go down, but that's not the only reason to have at least a small stockpile.
What would happen if you were to get sick for a four or five days and couldn't get to the shops? What would happen if you found yourself without a car for a week or so? They are just two simple scenarios that could see you struggling - would you have enough food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and medicines in the house to survive?
There are lots of households that don't have even a day's food in the pantry, they shop daily. With either of the scenarios above they'd be, to coin an Aussie phrase, up the creek without a paddle.
I don’t stockpile out of fear of anything, I stockpile to save money, time and energy, to be prepared for a hiccup in our lifestyle and as a part of keeping our household running smoothly.
I encourage everyone to have at least a small back-up of pantry basics, just a week's worth, for peace of mind if for no other reason. It just makes sense to me.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing