How To Make A Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

This citrus All Purpose Cleaner is completely non-toxic and costs only pennies to make! #homemadecleaners

When my kids were babies, I would spend their nap times in the bathrooms with the vent fan running, scrubbing away and trying not to breathe the toxic fumes.  However, the day came when they no longer napped, and, even worse, they wanted to help!  I didn’t want them in the room, much less handling the chemicals in those cleaners.  So, I set out to find a better way to a cleaner home. 

Honestly, I didn’t think natural cleaners could live up to the cleaning power of chemical products.  But, for the most part, I have been pleasantly surprised.  In the cases that I do have to turn to a chemical cleaner, I simply rest in the fact that our exposure has decreased substantially.  

This citrus All Purpose Cleaner is completely non-toxic and costs only pennies to make! #homemadecleanersThe staple of a great natural cleaning arsenal is a great all purpose cleaner.  This easy-to-make cleaner combines citrus (which works as a degreaser, stain remover and freshener) and vinegar (which serves to break down mold, grease, mineral deposits and bacteria).  It’s completely safe for the kids, cheap to make, and smells amazing!  Use it to clean and deodorize sinks, stovetops, countertops, bathtubs, floors, toilets, and more. 

Grab the printable recipe below!

How To Make Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Glass jar
  • Orange peels (or any other citrus fruit peels)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of salt
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  1. Fill your glass container with orange peels. (You can save orange peels in the freezer until you have enough and are ready to make the cleaner.)
  2. Lightly coat the orange peels with salt and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. This will pull the oils from the peels for a great citrus smell and more cleaning power.
  3. Fill your container with vinegar and water. I like about half and half.
Any combination of citrus fruit peels can be used. Experiment to find a scent you love! Essential oils can also be added along with the vinegar and water.

Now that you have a cleaning product that’s safe for your little ones, check out these tips for getting your toddler to help around the house!

Do you cringe when your toddler wants to "help" you around the house? Read why you should let them help and how to deal with the messiness. #parenting #momhacks #toddlers
Are you concerned about the chemicals in your home?  Have you made any of your own cleaners?

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How To Make Powdered Laundry Detergent Without Grating Soap

Last week, as I was grating a bar of soap to make another batch of homemade laundry detergent, I decided that there had to be a better way.  So, after a little poking around on-line, I learned that Ivory soap expands and turns to a foam when heated in the microwave.  Aside from being a really cool science experiment to do with the kids, I found it to be the perfect solution to my soap-grating woes!

When removed from the microwave, the Ivory will be brittle and flaky but will retain all of it’s cleaning power.  So, it’s super easy to run it through your food processor and end up with a fine powder–perfect for the powdered laundry detergent recipe below.  Or, you can simply crumble it with your hands and add it in place of the grated soap in this liquid detergent recipe.

Do you want to make homemade laundry detergent but don't like grating soap? This post will show you how! (Plus, it's a really cool science experiment!) #laundrysoap #homemadecleaners

Remember, this only works with Ivory soap.  Oh, and be sure to check out why it works

Update:  A reader informed me that this will also work with Fels Naptha.  Just keep a close eye on it and don’t “overcook”. 

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I may (at no additional cost to you) receive a commission.  Thank you so much for your support!

Powdered Laundry Detergent 

Tools you will need:  A microwave, food processor, and a recycled container for storage.  (Here’s a quick way to remove the label.)


Place Ivory soap on a plate in the microwave and cook, watching constantly. It will turn to a foam. Once cooled, use your food processor to turn it to a fine powder. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and store in recycled container. Use 2 tablespoons per load.

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How To Make A Chicken Pin Cushion

My chicken pin cushion

Sewing is one of the many homesteading skills I’m trying to learn.  In fact, I have “become a successful seamstress” on my Bucket List.  So, when I came across these adorable chicken pin cushions, I HAD to make a chicken pin cushion of my own!

If you're looking for a beginner sewing project, these are a great place to start! They're easy and super cute! #chickens #sewing #easysewing

Of course, all of my kids wanted their own chickens, and, since we were experiencing extreme cold, snow and ice, I thought it would be a good day to introduce them to the sewing machine.  🙂  It’s a fairly simple project and Red Ted Art has a complete tutorial.  They also have tons of fun kid projects, so I have a feeling I’ll be visiting often.

I do have to caution you, though.  I have a feeling that these chicken pin cushions are going to be like their live counterparts, you can’t have (or make) just one!  It’s called “chicken math.”  😉

Here are the kids’ finished chickens:

If you're looking for a beginner sewing project, these are a great place to start! They're easy and super cute! #chickens #sewing #easysewing

Have you made these chicken pin cushions?  What do you do with your kids when your stuck inside due to bad weather?

How To Make Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls both save you money and cut down on the chemicals in your home. Plus, they are super easy to make! Here's how. #frugalliving #greenliving #homemadecleaners

After we started making our own laundry detergent, the logical next step was to find a way to replace those expensive, chemical-filled dryer sheets.  Enter wool dryer balls.  As wool dryer balls bounce around in the dryer, they separate your clothes, allowing more hot air to circulate through of all the garments as the wool soaks up moisture.  This results in a shorter drying time, fewer wrinkles, and softer clothes. 

Wool dryer balls both save you money and cut down on the chemicals in your home. Plus, they are super easy to make! Here's how. #frugalliving #greenliving #homemadecleaners

Shout out to reader, Leisha, for the beautiful pictures of her homemade dryer balls!  Don’t they make you just want to do laundry?  Well, almost…

Betsy over at DIY Natural outlines the benefits.

  • They decrease drying time, saving you money on utility bills. (Especially helpful in the winter months!)
  • Commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets are filled with harmful chemicals and perfumes that coat your clothing, eventually ending up on your skin. These chemicals can be especially harsh on sensitive skin. There are no chemicals in wool dryer balls!
  • Commercial dryer sheets can be costly, and are thrown away after use. Wool dryer balls can be re-used for years, saving you hundreds of dollars.
  • Commercial fabric softeners shouldn’t be used on cloth diapers. Wool dryer balls are perfect for keeping your cloth diapers soft and chemical-free.
  • Wool dryer balls won’t affect the absorbency of your towels, kitchen cloths, or cloth diapers – commercial softeners will.
  • 100% wool dryer balls increase fluffiness and reduce static as dryer loads tumble.
  • Dryer balls help to soften clothes naturally.
  • Dryer balls are made from a renewable resource.

With the cold temperatures outside, our highest energy usage is currently our dryer, so I can’t wait to give these a spin.  (Pun intended!)

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase something through one of these links, we may receive a commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting our blog!

What you will need:

**100% wool–NOT wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable” (We are blessed to have a local farmer to buy from.  If you don’t, try a craft store or one of these links:  Wool roving, Wool yarn, or wool scraps)
**old panty hose
**a washer and dryer
**essential oils (optional)

Stretch, twist and roll your wool into a tight ball about the size of an orange.  Tuck in the end and put the ball in the toe of the pantyhose.  Stretch the hose over the ball and make a tight knot.  Make additional balls and insert into pantyhose, separating by knots.  It will look like a pantyhose caterpillar.  🙂  Now wash you caterpillar in HOT water (preferably with other laundry) and dry completely.  (Note:  Please make sure that the dye in your wool does not run.  I’ve never had a problem with ours, but I wouldn’t want a load of laundry to get ruined!)  Cut the pantyhose off and admire your new dryer balls.  Optional:  Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on each ball.

To use, simply throw them in the dryer with each load of laundry, and let them go to work.

Do you use an alternative to dryer sheets?  How about any other homemade cleaning products?

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January Happenings, Homemade Cleaners, and Bloopers

labels for homemade cleaners

labels for homemade cleanersBelieve it or not, 2015 is already 1/12th over!  Around here, that is super exciting news since it means we are getting closer to SPRING!  And, spring means new babies (of the chicken variety) and gardening!  For those participating in the Homesteading Challenge, we have made several new homemade cleaners and started a homesteading journal!

So, today I wanted to take a few minutes to recap our adventures and catch up on anything that we may have missed.  We’ve made an all-purpose citrus cleaner, liquid laundry detergent, no grate powdered laundry detergent, wool dryer balls, and re-labeled recycled containers.  For my subscribers, make sure you check your e-mail for printable labels for your homemade cleaners and journal, as well as printable homemade cleaner recipes for your homesteading journal.  If you’re not a subscriber, it’s not too late!  Subscribe in the left sidebar for the free printables!

We also launched the Our Life Out Here You Tube Channel.  It’s been an adventure of it’s own, and I want to thank my friends, family, readers, and viewers for all of your support!  It’s meant the world to me, and I am truly humbled that you would take part of your day to read or watch the musings of this simple Oklahoma girl.  So, I put together this little blooper video to say “Thank you!”

In February, we will be planning and dreaming about our gardens, preparing our soil, and starting seeds indoors.  We can’t wait to get started and hope you come along for the ride!