Archive | September, 2010

Cleaners and Detergents

20 Sep

Below are some of my favorite “homemade” cleaners. I love them because they not only WORK, but they are not harmful to the environment, have low or no toxicity (good if you have young children or pets around), and are SUPER cheap and easy to make. The first time I made these, it took me 20 minutes to mix up the cleaners, and 20 minutes to mix up the laundry detergent. In less than an hour and for under $15 I had everything I needed to keep our home and clothes clean for six months or MORE! Most of the ingredients you need can be bought for a few dollars at a supermarket or grocery store and will be enough to make multiple batches of each of these cleaners and detergents.

Mold killer

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • 2 tsp. tea tree oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • Combine in the bottle using the funnel and shake well before using.

Soap scum cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid detergent
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Combine 1 part Dawn with 5 parts vinegar, spray in the tub or shower, let sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean. If you do this regularly (I like to spray right before I get in the shower and then give everything a quick wipe down as I shower off), you won’t have to scrub anything! If you wait a while between cleanings, you’ll have to scrub some, but it will greatly reduce the amount of “elbow grease” you have to apply to the job!

All purpose cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • ½ tsp. washing soda (or 2 ½ tsp. borax)
  • A dab of liquid soap (Blue Dawn)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Put all in the spray bottle and shake until dissolved. This will work for cleaning sinks, toilets, countertops, floors, any surface you want to disinfect. Throw away your assortment of 405 and whatever else!

Window cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Funnel
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. liquid detergent (Blue Dawn)
  • 3 tbs. vinegar (white distilled)
  • 2 cups water
  • Combine all ingredients in bottle and shake well. Basically, this is Windex without the alcohol. Use with paper towels or lint-free cloths and it works GREAT!

Bleach alternatives

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice (unless you follow up with a water rinse, this will dry and leave a sticky film)
  • Kosher salt (a good scrubbing abrasive, but do not use on delicate surfaces)
  • All these are good especially for cleaning grout and other places that stain or gather dirt easily. Not very effective on deeply soiled spots and not for use on clothing. If you have a heavily stained area or stubborn stains, regular bleach is still the best option.

Disinfectant spray

  • Spray bottle
  • Undiluted white distilled vinegar
  • Gentle, natural, non-toxic, this is my favorite way to quickly disinfect something. Spray on counters, tabletops, or fabric and let sit for a few minutes. It also works great on baby and kid items that can’t be washed, like toys and stuffed animals. For the best results with those things, spray and set in a sunny spot to dry. The disinfectant effects of both the vinegar and sun will kill most germs. For hard surfaces wipe with a clean cloth or sponge (if you don’t it will leave spots when it dries). For fabric, just let it air dry. If you spray often on wood, you will want to be sure you regularly rub some oil or furniture polish on the wood surface to keep from drying it out (unless the wood is coated with an acrylic or polyurethane or some other waterproof finish).

Laundry detergent

  • 5 gallon plastic container with lid (like an empty and cleaned icing bucket from Krispy Kreme)
  • Long handled spoon
  • Knife or grater
  • Old and empty laundry detergent bottle
  • 3.1 oz Ivory soap bar
  • 5 cups not quite boiling water
  • 3 gallons of hot water
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • Shave the soap into the not quite boiling water in the 5 gallon plastic container. Stir until soap is dissolved. Pour in 5 gallons hot water when soap is almost melted. Stir well. Add the washing soda and stir until dissolved. Add the borax and do the same. Cover and let sit overnight. Put some in an old laundry detergent bottle and use ½ per load. Shake well before using, as the detergent is clumpy. This is GREAT soap for high efficiency washers because it is low sudsing detergent. For added fragrance, you can put a tbsp. of tea tree oil or any other natural oil essence you like in the 5 gallon container a mix well. I LOVE how well this detergent works with cloth diapers!!! I add fill the fabric softener dispense with white distilled vinegar for each diaper load and they come out SOOOO clean and smell SOOOO good. The ingredients in this detergent also keep your washing machine clean, as they help clean out calcium deposits, scum and hardwater build-up. Each load of laundry costs less than $0.01 in detergent. One 5 gallon bucket batch keeps me going for 4 months, at six loads of laundry a week or more.

Oven cleaner

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Liquid dish detergent (Blue Dawn)
  • Throw out your toxic oven cleaners! Simply sprinkle a layer of baking soda over your toughest messes, add water to make a paste, and let sit overnight. Wipe it with a wet soapy sponge of liquid dish detergent. If you still have some tough spots, repeat this process as needed. No scrubbing or scraping necessary.

Pet stain remover

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sponge
  • Old tooth brush
  • If you have pet stains in your carpet, rug or wood flooring, simply pour the peroxide over the spot and watch it foam. When it stops foaming as much, wipe up with a sponge. Scrub the spot with an old toothbrush if needed, and repeat this process until the stain is gone. It works quickly and well. Test on a small unseen area of the carpet or rug before you use on the stain to be sure it won’t bleach out your carpet. Let air dry. After using on a hardwood floor, you may want to rub oil or furniture polish back into it enough to keep the wood from drying out but not enough to make your floor dangerously slick! The pet stain and peroxide will destroy any finish if you have such a thing on your wood flooring. Be prepared to resurface and refinish it if you have multiple stains or large areas of stain to clean.

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.


Rainy Day Reflections

20 Sep

My son loves to play in the rain. His daddy taught him the thrill of puddle-splashing just after his first birthday. Since then, we have enjoyed some sopping-wet fun and what I call “Rainy Day Reflections” (pun definitely intended!).

In Matthew chapter 5, verses 43-45, Jesus tells his disciples, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (ESV)

As we dance in the puddles and James cries out, “Wet, wet!” with obvious delight, I tell him the rain reminds us that because God is good to us, we are to reflect His character by doing good to others regardless of whether they treat us kindly or not. After a few minutes, we go inside and dry off. James is too little to have enemies yet. But I hope that as we play, he learns to soak in God’s love like the rain splashing down on him, and that he will pour that kind of love out to people around him so they can know just how good God is.

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.

Favorite Quotes

7 Sep

I will add to these from time to time.

For now, here’s a selection from St. Teresa of Avila, also known as “Teresa of Jesus”. Posting her quotes may seem a bit counter-intuitive on a blog titled “Reformation Lady”, as Teresa was an ardent Catholic and founded the Roman Catholic order of Carmelite nuns, which is still in practice today (side note, of all the Catholic orders, this one is my favorite — for centuries, there have been women who have felt a deep call to a life of intercessory prayer, and though I disagree somewhat with the ways this may be carried out, I heartily embrace the passion and fervor expressed by this order to answer that call and devote themselves to such a life). Teresa wrote a number of books at the insistence of those who knew her well, and her writings as well as her person are often classified as “mystic”. However, though I disagree with some of her theology where she adhered to the tenents of the Catholic faith, I do not question her love for, devotion to, and profound knowledge of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t take reading far into her autobiography called “The Life” to realize this woman loved Christ with all of her being and sought to abide in Him as faithfully as she knew how. She contributed some very insightful writings into the heart and life of faith of a Christian in love with and absolutely surrendered to Jesus, and they are worthwhile reading for any Christian desiring a deeper walk with Christ. Her writings are truly inspiring, and will cause the faithful heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness in Christ.

Thou seemest, Lord, to give severe tests to those who love Thee, but only that in the extremity of their trials they may learn the greater extremity of Thy love ~ St. Teresa of Avìla

Reflect—for this is the truth—that to those who give up everything for Him, God gives Himself ~ St. Teresa of Avìla

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.

Book Reviews

7 Sep

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ – by John Piper

Short, sweet, and to the point. This brief book highlights the essential characteristics of Jesus. As always, Dr. Piper is faithful to the person of Jesus Christ as revealed and expounded in the Bible. A worthwhile read and reminder for any believing Christian, this would be an excellent book to use for daily meditation times or even for a longer study of a chapter a week. With an easily comprehended style, Dr. Piper paints a clear picture of just why we so love, honor and glory in our Savior. For those who question why Christians get so excited about Jesus, this book provides a clear explanation.

On Christian Liberty – by Martin Luther

This classic treatise from the great reformer is one of the clearest expositions and applications of well-known scriptures that I have ever read. Luther provides some excellent arguments against the Roman Catholic insistence of his day of “penances” and “indulgences” and its practical theology of salvation by works. Contrary to what some claim Luther advocated, he shows clearly his stance that works are not to be negated from the life of Christians, but are rather an outflowing of the changed heart of Christians. I would like to quote Luther here rather extensively as he gives some very lucid exposition on the role and nature of works in the life of both believer and unbeliever. But, suffice to say, you are better off to read it yourself. He addresses the topics of the freedom of Christians in all things and the servanthood of Christians to all men, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and the atonement, faith’s role in making a person (and therefore his works) good or bad, and the abuses of the ignorant laymen by the ministers of the Church (something, which as prevalent as it was in his day, is not entirely dead in ours – his words in much of this treatise are very relevant for our times!), to name just a few! With the absence of sectional dividers such as chapters or headings, it is best to read this treatise in one sitting if possible. Otherwise, you will find yourself (as I did) re-reading significant portions of the book to recapture the flow of thought before moving ahead. However, if a one-sitting forray is impossible, there may be some comfort to know that re-reading is worth your while. In fact, if you are fortunate enough to read this treatise in one sitting, you will probably find yourself WANTING to go back and read it again, several times through!

Desiring God – by John Piper

I read this book a few years back and think it is about time again this fall to pull it out and re-read some sections. In this large volume, which has come to be known as his signature work, Dr. Piper outlines what he calls “Christian hedonism”, the belief that what Jesus and the whole of Scripture calls us to is a life of supreme pleasure and delight and rewards, found in God Himself, rather than one of gloomy negations and dismal servitude. He makes an insightful twist to the old Westminster Catechisms’ reply to the query: “What is man’s chief end?” Dr. Piper responds by changing the “and” to “by” in the response: “To glorify God by enjoying Him forever”. He says one of the most astonishing things we can see in the words of Jesus and overarching teaching of the Bible is that God desires not so much our service but to serve us. As God, He delights in being able to lavish His blessings on those who seek Him with all their heart. He is less interested in “raining on our parade” with a bunch of “Thou shalt nots” than He is in giving us cause to experience supreme delights and rejoice and glory in Him, to the complete satisfaction of our souls. The restrictions Divinity places on humanity are not to rob us of pleasure, but to give us boundaries in which we are safe to experience the greatest delights possible that He has planned and purposed for us. In short, Dr. Piper’s thoughts are not only very refreshing, but completely mind and heart altering on occasion. Using Scripture, he excellently reveals a God who is worthy of our worship and affection, one Whom we rightly regard as our greatest treasure. For anyone who has ever doubted the goodness of God, this is a must-read.

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.