Thursday, April 28, 2022

ABC Post 20 --Ask Aunt Dorcas--Moms and Product Pressure--Part 4--Homemade Cleaners and Mopping Up the Conversation

 As promised, we end this series with recipes for simple, homemade cleaners.

The conversation wandered far and wide since Part 1, especially on Facebook. We discussed the motivations of the MLM moms and entrepreneur moms and moms who have no desire to earn money from home. We touched on stinginess, frugality, privilege, inequities, identity, and much more.

I hope it made Kayla the letter-writer and other pressured moms feel understood and affirmed.

I confess I became overwhelmed, especially when there were 200 comments on one post and more coming all the time. I appreciate all the engagement, and I hope to go back and catch up. We certainly didn't all agree, and I don't think we all understood each other all the time, but I hope you felt safe in speaking your mind.

Instead of sitting with a fire hose aimed at the computer this week, I decided to have tea with a niece, get the dahlias ready for planting, meet with my writing group, and have lunch with an old friend. 

The responses tell me that mom-pressure is a subject we should keep talking about. We should also think about living out the Gospel in daily life, knowing why we do what we do, caring for our families, and following our personal calling rather than the crowd. We should balance the benefits of fitting in, custom, and tradition with a clear view of the perils of the same.

Oddly, even with all the discussion, I never got a good answer for why I get so many private messages from the MLM sellers. I still wonder. Maybe I seem like everyone’s indulgent aunt that is always wanting to help. To everyone who has messaged me: I would love to help you as a good aunt should, maybe not with your online party, but with making you feel like you are loved, valuable, and capable of finding your way.

For now, though, let me help instead by giving you some easy recipes for homemade cleaners.

Remember: if you prefer, it's perfectly fine if you keep things clean with water, an old t-shirt, and a bit of soap. But these might work better for specific tasks.


Here are a few benefits of making your own cleaning products:
1. They cost a lot less than purchased mixtures.
2. You know what goes into them.
3. They’re less likely to set off your asthma, psoriasis, and so on.


Shower Cleaner

[Good for any surface with hard water and soap stains and buildup]

Mix equal parts:


Dish soap [blue Dawn, if you can]

Spray it on your shower or sink and let it sit a while. The soap provides sticking power to the vinegar, which dissolves minerals and soap scum. Wash with lots of water and a bit of scrubbing. Rinse and dry.


 Aunt Dorcas's All-Purpose Cleaner

This is great for dissolving gunk on the kitchen counter, like when someone dripped a bit of egg or made a shake at midnight and set the blender in a little puddle of goo that dried overnight.

Mix and put in spray bottle:

2 cups water

1 t. dish soap

1 t. ammonia

1 t. borax


The Best Cleaner for Greasy Grills

Baking soda

That’s it. Shake it on liberally and scrub with hot water and a plastic or metal scratcher.


Grandma Yoder’s Window Cleaner

Mix together and pour into a spray bottle:
2 cups water [soft water is best]
3 T. ammonia
1 T. vinegar
2 T. rubbing alcohol
a few drops food color, if desired


Mrs. Smucker’s Laundry Detergent

Get a big kettle that holds at least 3 gallons.

1 bar soap (Zote or Fels-Naphtha, available at grocery stores)

Pour 4 quarts/1 gallon water into the kettle.

Sprinkle the grated soap into the water.

Heat it slowly until dissolved. Stir now and then if you wish, but ignoring it is ok too.

Add: 1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda

Stir. Bring to a boil. Stir again.

Turn off heat.

Add 2 gallons water. Stir.

Let it cool overnight.

Use approximately ½ cup per load. Works best in warm or hot water.


Ant Poison

Mix: 1 box Borax

5 lb. sugar

Sprinkle all around your house's foundation.

 Or dissolve it in water and set it out in little jar lids.

Here are some ideas from Facebook commenters:

Wanda Sensenig:

If you want soft tanglefree hair, apple cider vinegar is an effective, cheap conditioner!


Susan Miller

I do house cleaning for a living. My favorite solution is:

1 c. Water

1c. Vinegar

1 c. Rubbing alcohol

2-3 drops of dish soap (some swear by dawn, I use whatever I have on hand)

If you don’t like the scent of vinegar and rubbing alcohol you can add couple drops of a favorite scented oil...

I use it for all glass things and on most floors.

The April Blogging Challenge is coming to a close. Phoebe posted yesterday about RV parks in Texas, and Emily posts the final ABC post tomorrow.

Aunt Dorcas puts out the last embers and heads for home.


  1. I really appreciated your time & efforts that you put into this series. My child is 27 & so the days of young mom pressure is in my past. But in some ways your careful dissection of the multiple factors involved in mom pressure & MLMs leaves me with even more questions. But as you said, you hope it made Kayla the letter writer & other pressured moms feel understood & affirmed. I think it did.

  2. Thanks, Dorcas! I really enjoyed these very informative sessions! I am one of those moms that tends to feel guilty about not doing better for my children, but as you know, such things get expensive. Also my husband is not a health freak, which is a good thing! We also give our children vaccines; I prefer to steer far away from people who speak otherwise on that subject, lest I become too confused. (And our children are reasonably healthy anyway!!)
    I use free & clear laundry soap, usually Tide, also free & clear dryer sheets for my dryer, plus only certain soaps to shower with. My skin is sensitive, and I get awfully itchy if I use anything different. Not a fun problem! So far none of our children seem to have that problem, thankfully! I have never made homemade laundry soap, but I have considered it. My question is: does that work as well as other soaps? Especially for the clothes of a farmer/mechanic??
    I cannot express how much I appreciated these MLM posts! Whenever I am no longer certain where I stand, I will come back and read these again. Thank you, Dorcas!

    1. My husband adds a bit of borax for certain loads!

    2. I made our own laundry soap for years to help save money. There were certain things that i felt like it wasn’t always the best for though, like teenage boys stinky socks and whites over time tended to get dingy. But it definitely is cheaper.

  3. I'm sad that blogging month is coming to a close. I so enjoy reading whatever you write, and these days, you're so busy that you don't post nearly as often as I would like! (It's all about ME, you know... :-) ) Have a great summer, be busy, do fun and useful things and things that make you happy...and throw us a line once in a while! <3

  4. I’ve loved reading these posts! In my younger years I used to be so much more dogmatic about the “right” things, but I also cared more about others opinions than I do now. I thought “quiver full”, Bill Gothard ideology, and “Babywise” were doing things “God’s way” (cringe). I was skeptical about vaccines and secretly or not so secretly thought you were probably a better mom if you home birthed and home schooled. Then I spent time overseas, became a nurse and got married. I learned about attachment theory and traumatized kids. We used hormonal birth control for a time, sent our kids to public schools and got them fully vaccinated including HPV and Covid. I use Walmart cleaners, but love my own mixture of ammonia and vinegar to clean windows. I buy the occasional Tupperware and Mary Kay products but don’t feel obligated to buy MLM things that I don’t want or need. In summary, we do what works for us, we’re all in good health, happy and well-adjusted. 😁 I wish young moms wouldn’t feel so pressured and feel sorry for them.

  5. I clean lots with vinegar and dawn but I quit the equal parts cuz of all the suds... I'd like to know how you find it.... Or tell me what I'm doing wrong...

  6. The Baritone4/30/2022 3:17 PM


  7. Such a good series. Mom shaming/pressure is such an issue in any circle. Christian or not. I see it in my Southern Baptist church and I see it among my non-Christian friends. I felt it myself when my son (now 24) was little. I'm now 54 and wish I could go back and tell my younger self that it would all work out ok even if I didn't always use cloth diapers, or made my own baby food or kept him on a schedule or didn't. That the important thing was for my son to know he was loved. That my husband knew that he was loved. That my family and friends knew that they were loved. You can use all the organic cleansers/food etc and your family still feel unloved. If using cleaners from Walmart and feeding your children frozen chicken nuggets for lunch saves your sanity as a young mother, or makes it so that you can spend time with the littles doing something fun, then I say, "Go for it" God did not call us to be "organic" Nazi's or to judge each other's ability to take care of our families. If I look at a woman and I see that her family is happy, healthy and they feel loved, then the details of how she makes it happen are none of my business. To all you young ladies out there, you do what God calls you to do. You don't have to please anyone but Him. If making everything from scratch causes you to be cranky, irritable and not enjoy time with your family, don't do it. If you love it and it is your calling, then do it. It's like me and my best friend. She loves to grow and can veggies. I only love to grow flowers. I can't think of anything more boring than taking care of a veggie garden and then spending weeks standing over a hot stove canning the harvest. I, on the other hand, love to take care of my house. I get a huge sense of pride an accomplishment from a clean/tidy house. Despite these differences we have been best friends for over 30 years. She shares her garden bounty with me and I go over and clean her house once in a while when she's overwhelmed.

    Shannon Combs

  8. Love it! Screenshotted (is that a word?) your recipes! I make my own deodorant out of coconut oil, cornstarch baby powder, and baking soda, and it works great. Lots of recipes on the internet, but go easy on the baking soday when starting out to lower chance of a bit of a rash until skin gets used it. Can also add a few drops of essential oil. Saves quite a bit of money.