10 Green Living Ideas for Frugal Families


Make Your Own Household or Beauty Products

Why not make your own cleaning products?
Why not make your own cleaning products?
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

The idea that every spaghetti spill on the floor needs a sanitizing-deodorizing spray that kills 99.9 percent of germs, including Ebola and hantavirus, is starting to seem a little outdated (not to mention harmful for forbidding our bodies to be exposed to germs and thus develop immunities). The truth is, many cleaning products can be made exactly where they're used: at home. Both environmentally responsible and an easy way to save money, DIY cleaners also lim the exposure of little ones to toxins and polluted air.

Want to clean up your red sauce on the linoleum? Just mix four tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water and wipe up. Have a slow drain? Forget the toxic, bright blue sludge you poured down the tub in the past. Instead, use a half cup baking soda, one cup white vinegar, one gallon boiling water and half a used lemon to clean the clog. If you're looking to replace expensive products, the Toxic Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts has an excellent database for both looking up recipes and seeing results of lab tests from their do-it-yourself cleaners [source: TURI].

Also consider replacing your expensive beauty and health products with homemade solutions. Use olive oil to replace expensive make-up removers, and opt for baking soda shampoos and vegetable oil conditioners. These are no longer just the purview of your hippie friends; they're serious, sustainable ways to save money while avoiding chemicals and manufacturing pollution. Check out sites like PlanetGreen.com to find homemade beauty and health treatments that are effective and simple to make.

Now you're making products at home, are you missing the urge to shop? The next page will give you tips to satisfy your shoppers' heart, and your environmentally and financially conscious head.