How clean is your house…?


It’s been 2 weeks since I wrote a food blog and meal planner. I was ill last week and this weekend I went away. I noticed that as I hadn’t planned the food, things went astray and old habits crept back. I spent more money than the week before and I had food left in the fridge with no plan of what I was doing with it at the end of the week. This has really enthused me to makes sure I keep my challenge going.

There were some positives though, the food I had made and frozen was used when I was ill so this was a great help. This saved us money and we knew what was in the food we were eating and it quick and easy to cook. We also tried some new recipes and I can say the ham and cheese muffins were a huge success. I’m even being brave and seeing if I can make it into a loaf as it can be frozen. I’ll keep you posted on the results but I am pleased I’m getting more adventurous.

This week I’m looking at other ways to cut the weekly shop bill. I’ve noticed that people use lots of cleaning products and there are so many available from the shops. Advertisers spend huge amounts showing us in detail all the nasty bugs that can be in our houses, lurking in toilets, kitchen surfaces and anything to do with children. They feed our natural anxieties by showing us cartoon germs; they use emotive language like ‘protecting your family’ that lead us to thinking we aren’t protecting our family if we don’t have them. There are cleaners for windows, ovens and bathrooms; showers, carpets and toilets. In fact for every area and utensil a new cleaner is invented. But do we really need all these cleaners though? On the flip side aren’t we also being told that our houses are too clean and our children aren’t coming into contact with the necessary bugs to build, test and strengthen their immune systems? We listen to this on the news and we know this yet we still want to clean like mad. I looked at cleaner prices and each one is roughly £1-£3 which if you have 5 or 6 products that’s quite a bit but put it with fabric softeners, shower gels, shampoos conditioner bubble baths and soap then cleaning your house and yourself really does begin to become quite expensive.

It got me thinking to what we use at home. I have 1 disinfectant product and washing up liquid and that’s it. I use the disinfectant spray on the bathroom, toilet, surfaces and even the carpet. I clean windows and mirrors with hot soapy water and then buff with a fry lint free cloth. I don’t use shower gel (I really don’t) and have stopped using fabric softener –I can’t honestly tell the difference with our clothes when I did/didn’t so there’s another saving. I don’t buy cleaning wipes but use and wash cloths daily. I do use liquid soaps for the boys as I feel washing hands is a must and is proven to reduce germs spreading and illnesses starting. The boys have bubble bath as you can’t be too careful with 3 boys in a wildlife filled garden, and shampoo is used to wash their hair but I don’t use soap on my body as I prefer to shower every day and let my skin have as less chemicals to recover from as possible and I am neither spotty nor smelly. Do you bath the children every day – should we? This is something I’ve been thinking about too…

So this week maybe we should look at the chemicals we use and the reasons we use them. Some you will want to keep them and should; I don’t believe in totally getting rid of all cleaning products but if you go to your cupboards and have a look at what you have try to take an objective look at how much money is sitting there doing nothing in bottles of cleaners you may only use occasionally. Maybe it’s time to break the habit of buying the brightly coloured bottles with the many coloured liquids and actually think about what we really need to clean our house. Hot soapy water is your friend, a single multipurpose disinfectant and not letting our houses get too dirty in the first place. If there isn’t much dirt, you don’t need the tough cleaners. Easy to say and much harder to do I know though!

So that’s what I’m focussing on this week. I’m going to go through the cupboards and check what I really use. I do need to research some household remedies for lime scale though, I hear vinegar or lemon juice is great so I’m going to have a go at making my own. I’ll post the results of how it goes.

Weekly meal planner, week 3

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About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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5 Responses to How clean is your house…?

  1. Margot says:

    Like you I no longer buy tons of different products and actually had great satisfaction using up bottle after bottle and not buying any over the course of many shopping trips. I use one spray for cleaning kitchen/cooker/bathroom. We are in a hard water area, so have a limescale remover for the loo, use washing up liquid to put in mop bucket with hot water. I ‘invested’ in Lakeland’s E-cloth’s for glass, which means I can clean windows and mirrors with just water and they are completely smear free and the cloth goes through the wash.

    The other big bonus is more room in cupboard under sink!

    My kids have slightly sensitive skin so I too use no fabric conditioner and see no difference and because excessive washing dries their skin out they only have a bath/shower 3 times a week, unless particularly grubby and they get dunked when needed!!

    Loving the blogs – whether food or cleaning related.

  2. Sam says:

    This was a really interesting read Emma and got me thinking to how things have changed.

    When I was 15, I was homeless and squatting in a bedsit with 5 blokes. Smelly and dirty is a bit of an understatement. Despite working 3 jobs in addition to school, money was tight and went on food and electricity. I hated the dirt and took it upon myself to clean the bedsit up using washing up liquid, hot water and a pair of rubber gloves that someone had once used when changing a cycle chain. Elbow grease and some hot soapy water was all it took and didn’t cost anything.

    Now, I have the money to buy the cleaning products but tend to stick to just a couple – multipurpose cleaner for kitchen, bathrooms and cleaning skirting boards etc and I still buy babies sterilizing fluid despite my boys being pre-schoolers because it’s cheap, it’s great to have in when the kids are sick (to soak cups and wipe lightswitches etc) and brings white grout between tiles up brilliantly!

    We don’t bath the boys every day as they have sensitive skin that dries out if we bath them too much and we only use a very gentle bath wash when they are really grubby.
    My eldest son is however a bit of a Lynx addict and has to have the shower gel, body spray. He showers every day under duress!

    I’ve somehow managed to keep our shopping bill for food, nappies, cleaning and toiletries to under £90 per week but it’s a real challenge.
    I love your blog and seeing how it engages people. Brilliant!

  3. gill willis says:

    Vinegar is a fab descaler, I use neat and also use a 50/50 mix with water in an old spray bottle to clean the bath sink and shower. White vinegar doesn’t smell so much but is much more expensive and the smell doesn’t linger long. Also no worry about getting chemicals on skin as with cleaning products especially in the bath and sink.
    It’s also great for the windows in this form, old newspaper and they’re gleaming.

    I do use bleach but again I use an old spray bottle, 1 tablespoon in 500 mls of water and is great as a kitchen spray, I always spray the insides of cups and mugs before they go in the dishwasher.

    Washing up liquid is the only other cleaning product I use and that’s it!! AND i am a bit of a clean freak and these 3 things do the job just fine.

    Check out the Superscrimpers programme this week, I think on Wednesday, some of the advice is a bit extreme but there are some good tips.

    Great blog!!

  4. Great post, Emma. We use woolwash on our towels, linen and the kids clothes instead of harsh washing powder. And white vinegar with a few drops of lavender oil is a great cleaner for the bathroom. I find a soapy washer is better than wipes for the kids after eating too! Tash

  5. wow, this has really got me thinking. I hate cleaning in my house and do it as little as possible. Mainly I think because I was brought up with a big bucket of products being pulled out of the cupboard and being made to use pledge for dusting, window cleaner for windows, glass cleaners for tv’s. then flash on floors, bleach in toilets, descaler for taps, OMG the list of stuff just puts me off. So I too now have a cleaning bucket under my sink full of products that I hardly ever touch. But (and I don’t know why) it never crossed my mind to just use one product for all. I would love to feel the satisfaction of finished a cleaning product bottle. We use Dettol disinfectant in the kitchen and I don’t see why I couldn’t use that everywhere. Like you I don’t think lots of cleaning is good for you, as you say, if there are no germs how can our body get the antibodies to deal with them. But that doesn’t mean we shoudl live in the gutter either.

    I have actually stopped using product on my hair, I just rinse with water and try and let the natural oils come back and look after the hair. It’s only been a week but my hair isn’t greasy or dirty or smelly. I have long (breast length) thick curly hair.
    When you say you don’t you shower gel… what do you use to wash your body ? We all use deodorants and makeup and perfume etc which I would think would need a little soap to wash off, or am I wrong. Is water every day with a scrubber enough?

    As for the kids, they get bathed every night but it’s part of the bed time routine. We don’t always use product either. Sometimes it’s bubble bath, sometimes it’s baby oil, sometimes it’s nothing just water. I know my kids would get terrible dry skin if they had a soapy wash EVERY night.

    I love your blogs, they really make you stop and think and reevaluate things xx

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