DIY Tips Around the House

We’re all looking for ways cut costs these days and the belt tightening usually begins at home. People are increasingly turning to homemade products whether it comes to washing clothes or making the family meal. That can mean not shelling out for expensive laundry soap or buying that expensive smoked salmon you like. It’s time to get creative!

How to make your own laundry soap

This is so simple that you’ll kick yourself for having paid the extortionate prices for store-bought detergents. Using a few basic ingredients you’ll be able to do wash after wash for less than a cent. All you need is a soap (try Fels Naptha), washing soda, and Borax. All these are relatively easy to find in grocery stores and on the laundry aisle. Grate a third of a bar of soap into a large pan and heat with six cups of water until the soap melts. Then add half a cup of both borax and washing soda and stir to dissolve. Pour 4 cups of water into a small bucket, then add the soap mixture and stir before adding a gallon and six cups of water. Stir and leave to gel for 24 hours. You’ll only need around half a cup per load of laundry so even though it’s more effort than usual, your wallet will be thanking you, especially if you do large loads of laundry. And it’ll work with all kinds of washing machines including commercial equipment like unimac washing machines

How to make your own ‘posh’ air freshener

Perhaps you own pets, you’re a smoker, or you've just got a partner who comes back from the gym and stinks out the house. Well, homemade air freshener is a great money-saving way to get rid of those unpleasant smells. These are great for small rooms but if you want more of a fragrance in a bigger room then they’re cheap enough that you can dot a few around the place. All you’ll need is some bamboo skewers (easily found in the grilling aisle), a small vase (you could even use an old jar), and either some essential oil (try peppermint) or a cheap air freshener oil from the dollar store. Soak the skewers in a little oil and put a little in the base of the container with the sticks. Simple, right? And here’s a quick tip - put it near an open window or fan to help the smell travel faster. 

Homemade BBQ Barrel

What if cleaning clothes and making the home smell better aren't top of your priorities list? What if you just love smoking meat but don’t want to pay top dollar for a full-blown smoker. Did you know you can make a serviceable smoker using a cardboard box and a few other items lying around the house? Take your box (make sure it’s not too big, 4x2 should do) and cut a flap in the side with the hinge at the bottom. Next insert some wooden dowels through the box to hold the racks you’ll use for the food. It’s best to have one set for the food rack and one to hold a drip tray. As your heat source, try using a cast-iron pan on a portable stove – fill the pan with wood chips and heat until they smoke. Close the box and leave your food to smoke for as long as required but remember that you might have to add more wood chips when the smoke stops. It’ll take some monitoring with a temperature probe but those smoked ribs will be worth it!

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