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Miscellaneous Household Products

Being frugal doesn't mean you only have to save at the grocery store. There are a lot of other products you can make at home for a fraction of their commercial cost and are often a whole lot better for your family and the environment. That, to me, is a win-win situation!!

Weed Killer

This is a CHEAP and CHEMICAL FREE Weed Killer for Hard Paths, Driveways and Patios

If you have areas of concrete or pavers that have an endless supply of weeds and bits of grass popping up through the cracks, you have a choice between constant weeding or trying to manage the problems with some sort of spray.

I do not like to use chemicals if I can avoid it, especially in areas where my kids and animals play. Nor do I like the shocking expense of products such as Round Up. So, imagine my joy when I read somewhere years ago that there is a simple, effective, non-caustic and pretty-darn-near FREE way of dealing with those pesky little strays without spending hours on your knees!

What is it? Boiling water! All I do when I see some bits of grass or weeds starting to emerge between the edges of my pavers or through the cracks in concrete around my patio or driveway is boil a kettle of water and head outside. I like to use a proper spouted tea kettle because it pours out a thin stream exactly where I want it. You do have to be careful both because it is obviously very hot, and because boiling water will kill most plants. So, be careful where you aim, be careful of splashes of boiling water, and take great care of the kettle, which will also be hot.


Car De-Icer (preventative)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Spray bottle that can be CLEARLY LABELED with ingredients and purpose

Method:

  1. Mix 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water in a clearly labeled spray bottle. (it is NEVER good to mix products!)
  2. Spray each car window at night and you should wake up to an ice free car.

Car De-Icer (when iced up)

Ingredients:

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 4 drops of dish soap
  • Spray bottle that can be CLEARLY LABELED with ingredients and purpose

Method:

  1. Mix soap and alcohol in a spray bottle and spray on iced car windows.

Non-Toxic Windshield Wiper Fluid

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces 90% isopropyl rubbing alcohol (this percentage is great for colder areas as it helps prevent freezing of the fluid!)
  • Water
  • 1 ounce liquid castile soap
  • Clean gallon jug

Method:

  1. Pour the alcohol into the jug and add water to fill up ¾ of the container
  2. Slowly add the soap and then replace the lid
  3. Slosh around a bit to thoroughly mix, then fill the container all the way up with more water
  4. Shake it again to make sure all is mixed and it is ready to use!

Icy Path Remedies

1. Sand

Sand is traditionally used on icy paths to create traction. It is relatively cheap, natural, and does not hurt your path or surrounding garden area when you sweep it off the path next spring. It is also safer for pet's feet. Sprinkle wherever ice has built up and you need a little extra grip.

2. Cat Litter

Cat litter is also safe to use on your concrete paths and provides good traction at relatively little cost. Like sand, it won't hurt your lawn or garden areas next to the path you are treating. Sprinkle on any desired area for better traction.

3. Baking Soda

You can use baking soda to melt ice, but it does take a lot. If you have a particular area you really need melted, this method can be great for small spots. It can take a few hours for melting, too. For larger areas, it's best to mix with either sand or cat litter (one box of baking soda to ten pounds of sand/cat litter) so that you have the combined benefits of good traction while your baking soda works to melt your ice.

4. Salt

Though a traditional de-icer, and often mixed with sand and applied to icy road surfaces and paths, this is not my preferred method. Salt can degrade your concrete paths and kill lawn and plants next to wherever it has been applied. In a pinch, it does work, but I would stick to the above methods for long term usage.

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