Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Portion Control....Soap Style

I have had a monumental revelation,lately! It is getting really expensive to run a household. Of course, it doesn't help that utility, gas, and food prices are on the rise, but just keeping the basic non food necessities around really adds up (especially when you have a houseful of kid's). I have stopped buy most cleaning products. Opting to use home made cleaners, vinegar, baking soda, and micro fiber cloths.I pretty much only buy the ingredients to make my cleaning supplies (much cheaper and earth friendly). I do still buy Lysol wipes (I have a houseful of males......enough said!). I have been really paying attention to cost per ounce (or count) on the  personal hygiene and the household products we use. Most of the time it works out that the largest or warehouse size is the best price (praise be to Costco's coupon books).  I am great at  portioning out just about anything and trying  to use the least amount possible to make them stretch just a little further. However, the rest of the family not so much! Their philosophy seems to be that those big bottles and boxes of , whatever, are bottomless and FREE (silly, silly family)!

So to up the ante on portion control compliance, I have had to get a little creative. If you take the guess work out of it, they will comply....most of the time!

I switched from regular hand soap dispensers to foaming soap dispensers a long time ago (the day Child #3 pumped an entire bottle of regular hand soap on the bathroom floor). Now I refill my foaming soap dispenser by filling the dispenser 2/3 full of water and adding 1/2 tablespoon antibacterial soap. Shake to mix the soap and water. Then add more water to the fill line if necessary.


In fact, most antibacterial dish soap's can be used in place of hand soap. They also happen to be cheaper the regular hand soap refills, too.


My kid's can go through a bottle of shampoo in record time. Since the majority of the people in this house have hair an inch long, they really don't need a palmful of shampoo to wash their hair (or make bubble bath). To save money on shampoo I buy it on sale, and  then pour it into a pump bottle that we have been reusing for years.


To ensure that they don't use an unholy amount with each shampoo I twisted a wide rubber band underneath the head of the pump. Now the pump will only go so far before stopping. Giving them enough to get their hair clean, but not enough to waste. 


The same goes for dish soap. In my continuing efforts to produce marketable members of society, I have been making my kid's wash the dishes that won't fit in the dishwasher by hand (or if they are getting a little sassy...all the dishes).  I have been refilling a one liter plastic soda bottle (with a salvaged dish soap bottle lid on it) from the Costco size dish soap bottle to make it more manageable, but squeeze bottles = free for all + waste, at my house.


 So now, I refill a 20 oz plastic soda bottle (with a salvaged pump lid from a bottle of hand sanitizer) from the mondo container of dish soap.  Two pumps is enough soap to fill the sink with lots of bubbles!


Bar soap seems to be the Achille's heel. I have encased many bars in legs of worn out nylons. This method works great......if they remember to hang the soap up after their bath!!!  I guess some things are a work in progress!


How have you, My Dear Bloggy, Friends, been stretching your household supplies? I'd love more ideas!

8 comments:

  1. Clever, clever ideas. I am taking notes and especially love the hand soap ideas and the rubber band stopper. Now I am reassessing all the bottles and tops in the house to see what can be switched around for our benefit. We already reuse lotion pump bottles and each have one small hair spray bottle that we refill from a large sized one. You are the bomb! Thanks for sharing all your clever ideas!!!

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  2. I loved reading all of your awesome frugal ideas! I have been wanting to try the hand soap thing for a long time...now I need to go do it.

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  3. Rock on mama! The bar soap is going into a knee-high nylon as soon as I get done typing this. And I'm going to put all those little tidbits I've been collecting in there too. I'm so excited!

    As for us, I use Dr. Bronner's in foaming hand pumps for hands and dishes. We only have pots and pans that need to be hand washed usually, so I fill the biggest pan about 2/3 full of water and a couple pumps of the foam soap. I wash the pan and then dump the water into the next smallest pan and so on. If I've rinsed the pans out first or scraped them well the water doesn't get gross as it's only 3-4 pans and I'm not running a whole sink full of water.

    With cleaning, vinegar is my friend. Right now, I've got the bathtub soaking in super hot water and a cup of vinegar (it's been a realllly long time since I've scrubbed the tub). I'll go up with a scrub brush and the soap scum should come off pretty easily. With the toilets, I dump some vinegar in and let it sit 20 minutes or until the next time I need to go to the bathroom. Just swish and it's clean. I even use a vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle for carpet stains. I squirt the stains and give the kids toothbrushes and they scrub the stains out. I come back later with a towel and soak up the wetness and it works well-much better than Resolve or those other chemical cleaners.

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  4. Great tips. My one soap tip for bar soap is this: unwrap the bars when you buy them. They dry out in the air and last wayyyyyy longer. Plus they don't get mushy if accidentally left in the tub or a puddle of water on the edge of the tub. I read this tip years ago, and have done it ever since.

    Now toilet paper.....we seem to eat it in my house. I would love to save on that.

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  5. This is fantastic - I NEVER thought of doing any of these things.

    Confession: I only recently started checking the instructions for how much laundry and dish detergent to use in my machines.

    Must. Be. More. Mindful.

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  6. Great ideas. I'll be borrowing these! I'm contemplating portion controlling toilet paper. Our 4 year old goes through a whole roll pretty much every time she goes. I might pre-rip and fold for her and leave it in a basket. But who is to say she wouldn't just grab handfuls like that. *sigh*.

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  7. Good idea! Shame you couldn't save the extra hand soap bag but a very clever and simple way to fix up the bathroom! Thanks for sharing.

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