A Mom's Guide to Saving on Groceries


Today I take aim at a certain germicidal spray that is safe to use on all surfaces called Anywhere Hard Surface Spray, put out by Clorox, in a blue bottle. Sounds like cool stuff, huh? It is! And it costs over $3, closer to $4, if I remember correctly.

I bought one quite a while back, but (because I was distracted by a screaming toddler) didn’t read the label. I was completely dismayed to learn upon doing so that the only active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite. Yup, it’s a 1% bleach solution. The other 99% is water, and some buffering agents, which you do not need. Good gravy!  I can't decide whether the person who came up with this spray should get a raise and a corner office or be indicted!

As consumers, we need to be educated, and read those labels, that's for sure.

Having been in the restaurant business, I can tell you that a solution of bleach and water is nothing new! Now, I use that bottle to make my own. A couple of tablespoons of bleach, a couple drops of detergent, and water. Poof! Nearly free, and even more effective, at more than a 1% solution.   Use on counters and cutting boards, and let set for a minute, then rinse.  I don't care what anyone says, bleach shouldn't be ingested and food won't taste good if it tastes like bleach.

Another great disinfectant: hydrogen peroxide, which costs about 50 cents, and can be sprayed the same way.

A bonus with the peroxide: Stain remover!

Put about a quarter cup in a non-reactive bowl. Add a couple drops of dish detergent. Swish. This is your new stain remover. Wear gloves, because it is strong enough to eat away at your hands after a while (like bleach, it is basic, the opposite of acid which works the same way, like lye). Nothing serious, but can be uncomfortable if you are doing more than one item.

Rub on stains with a cloth, and watch them disappear. Wine, blood, even mildew, and safe as can be. I’ve never bleached anything yet, and I’ve used it on everything: colors, heirlooms, the works. Wonderful for baby’s spit up, helps to preserve those special outfits.

Pet stains on carpet:

Pour peroxide/detergent directly on the stain, and it will kill the bacteria that cause odor, as well as remove the stain. Saturate the area well, and let it soak in overnight. Next morning, blot up, and you will be very happy with the results.  If you are worried about your carpet, test in a hidden small area.  But I've never had anything at all bleach out with this solution, so I feel pretty good recommending it.  Just test if you are at all worried.


As our population grows, and the food supply chain grows accordingly, the odds are greater and greater that food will be contaminated.  Add to that, the fact that hundreds of people per day are touching the vegetables and fruits in the market before they buy them- or not.  How many people have touched that tomato before you buy it?  

Unfortunately at the moment, this is a fact of life.  So I think the real question is how do we get our fruits and vegetables clean once we buy them?

This article was very interesting:
Peroxide is safer than chlorine, and I use that on my vegetables, then rinse it off after it does its job.  It's not fool-proof, but it helps.  You can also clean with vinegar and use baking soda as a scrub. 

Beyond growing your own, I really think the best overall solution is to buy fresh fruits and vegetables locally from people you know.  Support your local growers.  The positive side to the energy crisis may be a sort of localization of the food supply.  But why not start now?