The Dreaded Dusting Chore

Do you ever wonder what’s in dust? Do you care? I looked it up and common, household dust contains more than just dirt. I really don’t want to know any more details about the  dander, fibers and meteorite particles covering my furniture.

Tools have been conceived for the express purpose of moving dust around and, if we’re lucky, actually picking some of it up. I once had a feather duster. It was the perfect device to cause an accumulation on the furniture to become airborne. Swell.

My mother used dusting rags. She would spray them and dust the furniture. They were kept specifically for the purpose of dusting and were stored on the same shelf as her can of dusting spray. Periodically, she washed them and put them back on the shelf. I did that, too until I discovered dusters. Once I crossed over to dusters, I couldn’t go back.

I’m not here to bash dusters. They’re great, but there are some drawbacks to their use:

  • They can’t be cleaned because they are meant to be tossed after use.
  • They cost quite a bit to replace. My last box of 10 dusters cost $7.97. That’s nearly $.80 each. If you use one duster per week, you’ll spend over $40.00 each year on dusters.

The replacement cost prompted me to search for another solution. There are some clever people online who have designed DIY dusters that work very well. I followed this tutorial with some minor adjustments that made the dusters fit my handle better. Here is a similar duster.

duster1

When I made my dusters, I used a piece of fleece that was left over from another project. This act alone helps solve two problems in my house: the need for a frugal solution for dusters and a reduction in the overwhelming amount of fabric filling my closet. (I don’t know how I managed to collect so much fabric.)  It’s just a small piece of fabric, but I view it as another step on my journey to an organized sewing room. I do realize that I may never reach that destination.

duster2

Of course, dry dusting just moves the stuff around and scatters it in the air to settle in another place, or go up your nose and into your eyes.  A damp duster picks the mess up much better than a dry one, so spraying it lightly is good. I’ve found this recipe for dusting spray on several blogs, so I don’t know who to credit for it.

DIY Dusting Spray

1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
10-15 drops lemon essential oil
Spray bottle

Combine the ingredients in the spray bottle. Shake well.

The oil will separate as the mixture sits, so remember to shake before each use.

Happy dusting!

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Ya Gotta Start Somewhere

Years ago I started making my own laundry detergent. I could afford to buy it but I felt I was no longer getting the most for my money. Since the phosphates were removed, laundry took more time and care than it used to.

I searched the Internet for recipes and found a couple that I tried. This one is the one that I settled on. It’s easy to do.

laundry1

DIY Laundry Soap

2 cups finely grated laundry bar
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

Thoroughly mix together.

laundry2

You only need about 2 tablespoons per load of this mix. Hard to believe, I know, but it works. It’s not a laundry sensation, though. Stains still need to be treated. Colors still need to be separated. Some things may need a pre-soak to come clean.

So, it’s not a miracle cure for laundry woes but this mix wins the cost war handily.

Recently, I did some cost comparisons for laundry detergent that I might buy if not for my homemade mix.

Sun Concentrated was an affordable $.07 per load. Gain comes in at $.017 for each load. Tide Original closes the door with $.18 per load.

I am sensitive to the fragrance in many products, so I buy the type without added scents which are usually liquid detergents rather than the dry.

Purex Free and Clear rang up at approximately $.08 per load. All Free and Clear inched the cost to about $.10 per load. Tide Free and Gentle tipped the scale at nearly $.21 per load.

The DIY mix above comes in at $.04 per load and doesn’t leave any scent on my clothing.

With just the two of us in the house, we only have two or three loads of wash per week’ so our savings aren’t huge. But, at 3 loads a week, the least expensive, fragrance-free detergent would cost us $.24 per week, or $12.48 per year. The DIY mix is $.12 per week or $6.24 per year.

Is that going to move us on up? Probably not, but it’s a single snowflake in our snowball.