Home Forums Living Spaces Bathrooms Liquids as Unitaskers…

This topic contains 37 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  Mimi 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #159498

    wrennerd
    Member

    I’ve been pondering the fact that most of the clutter that remains on my drastically decluttered shelves consists of unitasking liquids I am unlikely to ever use up. For instance, who needs Windex and Clorox wipes and dusting spray when they have vinegar, which can handle all those tasks when diluted in a spray bottle? How often am I likely to need to use LimeAway remove lime scale deposits from my faucets? (Not often, I assure you.) That copper cleaning product that I bought for a pan I no longer own — am I likely to ever need to clean copper again? Rice vinegar that I bought solely to make sushi (and I have never yet made the sushi) — would white vinegar do the trick?

    I have donated many household items I don’t need, but these half-used liquids, being undonate-able, are somehow more difficult to separate from.

    Is it worth keeping these things until I use them up, or should I purge and determine never to acquire a one-purpose liquid again?

    How do others either handle this challenge or avoid this problem altogether?

  • #193376

    Ella
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Cleaning more frequently eliminates the need for heavy-duty products because things never get a scummy buildup. Since I’ve started doing FlyLady’s daily “swish & swipe” in the bathroom with liquid soap on a cloth or a brush, I no longer need to buy caustic poisonous toilet-bowl cleaners or scrubbing cleansers, and the bathroom is always fresh and nontoxic.

    The maintenance crew in my apartment building used to clean the hallway and lobby floors with Pine-Sol, and the fumes nearly did me in. I requested a change to Simple Green, which they now use. It’s not 100% perfect for the environment but still a good improvement.

  • #193377

    MTNgirl
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Maybe go ahead and use up the chlorox wipes and windex. Give away to a friend or family member the dusting spray, Limeaway, and the copper cleaning product. Could you use the rice vineger as an expensive cleaner? We have a jar of rice vinegar in our cupboard as well now that I think about it. I also have a gigantic Coscto jug of Simple Green I swear I have been using for 10 years and there is still a lot left!

  • #193380

    MTNgirl
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    KeKeD, Just added it!!

  • #193384

    luxcat
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I wonder if some of these items could be donated to a group like a soup kitchen or women’s shelter, who may need cleaning products?

  • #193385

    luxcat
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    side note… I had a bottle of silver cleaner for about 15 years and finally got rid of it… only to need it a few weeks later. the irony!

  • #193388

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Cleaners like Windex (and Simple Green) can be used to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. Clorox wipes are great for cleaning the toilet seat.

    I don’t know how much you like experimenting with new recipes, but an ingredient search at All Recipes turned up 203 recipes that use rice vinegar.

    Ugh, Pine Sol. The noxious smell makes me physically ill.

  • #193390

    bandicoot
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    yes, i’d either use them up instead of white vinegar and then vow to stick to white vinegar in future OR see if a shelter wanted them.
    with regards to rice vinegar, white vinegar is horrible stuff to eat and no substitute in sushi.
    commit to making the sushi this month, or go out for sushi and give the bottle of vinegar to the restaurant.
    OR use the rice vinegar up in salads or pickles.

    i need to go through the liquid unitaskers here again.
    they are legion and it is time for a review….i probably haven’t done one in a year and i just know there are things sitting here that haven’t been opened in that year. kerosene…..

  • #193393

    pkilmain
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I use rice vinegar a lot, I like it for salads, though DH prefers balsamic. White vinegar gets used in laundry rinses, cleaning, washing windows.

    As for the Limeaway, we use it monthly to keep the scale from building up in our washing machine, and also run it through the coffee maker and tea kettle. But our water is hard (i.e. has a lot of minerals in it).

  • #193400

    lottielot
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    White vinegar is amazing stuff! I use it on the bathroom, in the washing machine, to descale the espresso machine, you name it. Dh does complain about the smell, but if I use the limescale cleaner I’m trying to use up, it gives me a headache instantly. I really agree with the swish and swipe, but unfortunately don’t manage this in our upstairs bathroom as I hardly use it, so end up having to scrub intermittently, it’s horrible.
    I would commit to using those things up within a time frame and then chucking them out.

  • #193415

    Astreja
    Participant

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    @ JuliaJayne: I can’t stand Pine-Sol either. It reminds me of the 8 months I spent living in an ex-aunt-in-law’s double-wide, cleaning up after a leaky dog. Urrgh.

    I’ve been gradually working towards unscented cleaners and am eliminating all the leftover bottles of stuff. There is one gigantic jug of a super-concentrated industrial cleaner, with a very slight scent, that my roommate talked me into buying when it was on sale. I foresee a massive basement cleanup in my immediate future, so that should take care of most of it.

  • #193416

    Mimi
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    isn´t it interesting that we have some many detergents? i think the average household needs at least one year to use it up. why is it like this? maybe because we think “if i have this detergent the cleansing is halfway done”?

    my special liquid that i don´t seem to use up is CAMPARI. i like it a lot, but enjoy one or two glasses with orange-juice maybe every other month. i really really like it and keep it but this bottle must be very old.

  • #193426

    chacha1
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Mimi, LOL.

  • #193427

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I haven’t found a substitute for rust remover
    Bleach actually promotes it, so it’s needed.
    I use Oxalic Acid from the paint store $7 a pound (or $5 a lb on ebay)
    I use it for derusting and removing the stains on the hardwood floor and tile/tub.

    In 50 years i have never found any ONE or Two things that do everything to my satisfaction.

    I have my collection down to only a few things which i buy in gallons and put in spray bottles:
    Bleach
    Simple Green
    Windex
    Zep Pet Stain remover

    Oxalic acid which is granular.
    Vinegar I use in the laundry.

  • #193429

    Rosa
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Our Reuse Center has a shelf of paints and cleaners, many of them half-used, that people bring in & other people can take for free. I think the toxic waste dropoff does, too. So maybe they are donate-able? I have just sucked it up and used stuff (it took me like 2 years to go through the giant bottle of chlorine bleach one roomate left behind) and things we really, really won’t use I take to the toxic waste when I drop off electronics.

    I bet you could freecycle them, too. A list of cleaners with a simple “I don’t like the smell, please take!” should do it. Or, if there is a free table at your job, lots of people like Windex & Simple Green & stuff.

    As to why we have so many; my mom buys stuff she likes, when she comes to visit, and leaves it behind (I think this is a comment on my housekeeping). The house came with a shelf of unused cleaners, some of them decades old. And every roomate I ever had moved in, bought cleaners, didn’t clean, and left them behind when they moved out. That is why I have a a box of random liquids (Windex, furniture polish, Murphy’s oil soap, lamp oil, Raid) I never bought and rarely use.

  • #193431

    Anonymous

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Rosa, your Reuse Center is genius, I have to look into whether we have something like that here. Toxic liquids are the worst to get rid of and it makes so much more sense to pass them on to someone who can use them.

  • #193437

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    wrennard: white vinegar won’t do the trick – you need rice vinegar for sushi – but if you give it a try please let me know how it tastes.

    You can use rice vinegar to make Japanese pickles and namasu, picked cucumber salad. Here is a link for a recipe, but googling “namasu” will bring up lots of links. Also, it’s good in oriental dressing/sesame dressing/Chinese chicken salad dressing – although the “Sesame Dressing” at Costco is in my opinion the best.

    http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2010/02/cucumber-namasu-recipe.html

    And here are some recipes from Mizkan (premier white rice vinegar):

    http://mizkan.com/JapaneseRecipes/?action=search

  • #193438

    Anonymous

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Would like to second using rice vinegar for salad dressing. Also, just mix rice vinegar with soy sauce for a dipping sauce for gyoza.

  • #193444

    bandicoot
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    mimi, i love campari and orange too.
    and rarely think to have one, so my bottle must be ten years old.
    i recently tried yuzu for the first time, and the first thought i had was: this would be marvellous with campari!
    i’ll buy a handful of oranges today, and have a campari tonight.

  • #193445

    s
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I may be a bit behind, but, it’s really not too hard to make sushi–especially with veggies and fake crab meat. If you use up the rice vinegar, but decide to make sushi later, I believe you can mix sugar with white vinegar as a suitable substitution. (find recipes online)

  • #193446

    bandicoot
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    another sushi idea….and slightly barbaric, but just as tasty….is to make up the sushi rice and slice up the vegies, pickles, fish, and cut the nori sheets into four squares.
    put everything out in little bowls and let people simply assemble their own sushi “sandwiches”.
    this is great if you have no confidence in rolling the sushi or if you find yourself without a bamboo mat.
    (i have rolled sushi for decades and my number one sushi tip is to use latex gloves….it cuts down drastically on the amount of rice sticking to you and makes everything easier to handle).

  • #193454

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Mimi, I am a kindred spirit. Campari with orange or grapefruit juice on a hot day – bliss after a big day at work. That is one liquid i can’t do without.

    As far as cleaners are concerned. We have dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, and a mineral laundry powder. We use Enjo cloths for everything else. They were a significant investment at the time, but we have only had to replace one cloth after about 6 years.

  • #193456

    Zora
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    The roll-your-own sushi is actually popular with Japanese hostesses. Put out the fillings and squares of nori, and let people roll their own.

    http://japanesefood.about.com/od/sushiroll/ss/howtosushiparty.htm

  • #193457

    snosie
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I washed the car today with clothes washing detergent… I did buy some car washing product when I was in kmart later though!

  • #193464

    lottielot
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    JTT: those Enjo cloths are ridiculously expensive but they do work…I try not to need super cleaning cloths nowadays though, just microfibre cloths are fine if you don’t let too much dirt build up I find. When you do though, those Enjo ones are the business! We have really really really hard water, so a bit of vinegar and the odd lemon is also necessary, even with regular cleaning.

  • #193478

    Rosa
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Camellia tree, I agree, the ReUse center is genius – it started as a neighborhood project, they had crews that would go into condemned or about-to-be-renovated houses and remove the fancy woodwork, doors, fixtures, etc, for reuse/resale. I have an old house, so I’ve bought a lot of stuff there, from fancy wooden moldings, to doorknobs for 100 year old doors, to enough paint for a small room.

    Unfortunately they expanded past their organizational capacity, and when they contracted they kept their newer suburban store and closed the neighborhood one, so I don’t get there often enough to do routine dropoffs anymore.

  • #193486

    wrennerd
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    Zora –Thanks for the sushi party suggestion! Thanks to everyone for the other sushi suggestions.

    Anita, I like your list. The products I am currently actually using are: vinegar, baking soda, borax, Fels Naphtha, dish soap, and dishwasher powder…

  • #193490

    s
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    JtT & Mimi, based on your raves, and because I’m in a fancy hotel on vacation, I tried Campari & Orange as well as a Negroni (gin & Campari). Not my favorite, but very interesting! I think i’ll go back to a nice red wine or gin & tonic, but it was great to try something new!

  • #193554

    djk
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    ahhhh just got back from a holiday in Campania and Tuscany and I would love a campari orange today!

    I have a love/hate relationship to cleaners: I prefer vinegar for most things that need daily cleaning to keep down the lime scale, but periodically I need to get out the big guns for deeper cleaning.

    We use bleach for sterilizing the cat box weekly, and I finally bought a wood protector/polisher for the solid furniture.

    Then dish and laundry soap, one kind of each.

    And as there are no exhaust fans in our place and we don’t have enough closed storage, sticky yellow grimy dust is on everything and dishsoap doesn’t budge it; we use what probably translates as a multi-fat cleaner. Smells like oven cleaner and it is potent but it works in an instant on the kitchen tiles. I am afraid no amount of vinegar and elbow grease cuts this dust.

    I have to confess I love the smell of PineSol! I wish I could get it here. I always used it well diluted and never had a problem with the odour. It represents fresh and clean to me.

  • #193570

    luxcat
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    djk you might want to try simple green or one of those orange oil degreaser sprays if you can find them… smell much better/less fumes and still cuts through heavy sticky dusty grease…

  • #193591

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I was having the same problem getting rid of half-used cleaners so I decided to ask my co-workers if any of them used the stuff I didn’t want. I managed to get rid of a few that way, and even some toiletries. It was nice knowing that someone could use them!

  • #193603

    djk
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    thanks, luxcat–I will keep my eyes open for the ones you suggested. That dust makes me crazy.

  • #193619

    MTNgirl
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    I have that never-ending bottle of Simple Green as well as 2 Costco gigantic never-ending bottles of dishwashing liquid soap. When the dish soap is used up, we’ll switch to liquid castille soap. Otherwise all we use is a powder dishwasher detergent we buy in bulk, vinegar, baking soda, washing soda and borax with Dr Bronners soap bar for laundry soap (along with some bulk purchased detergent), cat odor spray, carpet stain spray, oxyclean, hydrogen peroxide, clorox wipes, grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil, and lavender oil. For stains on clothes I spray the stain with water and rub a dry bar of soap in it.

    We have a few bottles of carpet cleaner liquid to use up. We are down to the basics and are able to keep everything clean with that.

    My downfall is miracle in a bottle shampoos, conditioners, and face wash for my finicky hair, scalp, and skin. I have found that olive oil at night and raw honey in the morning keeps the acne at bay. My hair is currently liking shampoo bars and scalp Trader Joes Refresh alterating with Burts Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet shampoo. We use Kiss my Face olive oil soap for the shower and coconut oil for body lotion.

    Simple basic products keeps shelves and cupboards so tidy! I love the extra space.

  • #193724

    Mimi
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    heehee, a campari movement started 🙂 i should add a bottle of orange juice to my shopping list for the next weekend! s, if you dont like the bitter taste in general you will not like campari at all, but let me tell you, it is a question of ratio between orange juice (sour but also sweet) and the bitter campari. it is worth a test series with different amounts of every liquid. but be prepared not to be able to drive after such an experiment 🙂
    concerning the sushi, one of the most useful tipps i got is that you can put the bamboo mat in freezer bag. not very beautiful, but way easier to clean. we have three-liter bags that we call the sushibags because the size seems to be made for the bamboo mat. i cook the rice in the morning sothat it cooles down during the day and so there is just the fish and some few vegetables that need to be cut before dinner. thats as easy and quick as every other meal.

  • #193725

    Mimi
    Member

    Liquids as Unitaskers…

    aha, and for the campari-fans, try to make icecream (only for adults) from only frozen raspberries and joghurt, sugar or liquid sweetener and a big sip of campari. just put everything in a mixer / blender and enjoy!

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