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Four Easy Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle Kitchen Hacks
Clark County Extension Service
Amy Simpson, HorticultureCindy Ham, 4-H and AgJoAnn Vann, Family & Consumer SciencesPhone: 870-246-2281Email: email@example.com
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Once a month, I go around the house and refill all my storage containers and cleaning
supplies. This month, I thought I would share some handy kitchen ideas that have improved
our self-sufficiency, saved us money, and reduced the amount of non-biodegradable
waste we produce in the kitchen.
1. Invest in reusable scrubbers
Ditch the disposable sponges and concerns over bacteria buildup by switching to a
silicone scrubbing pad for general purpose and non-stick surfaces. A stainless-steel
chainmail scrubber and a natural fiber brush (see photo above) for cleaning cast iron
works great. Using these is also pocketbook friendly because they are long lasting
and inexpensive. The chainmail I use on my cast iron is well over two years old now
and still in perfect condition for a cost of less than $5. I recently added the $3
silicone scrubber (also pictured) but anticipate it will last several years before
2. Store in bulk using half gallon jar food storage
Keep food easy to access and fresh longer by storing bulk ingredients in half gallon
canning jars like the ones storing pecans, almonds and granola pictured above. I purchase
basic ingredients in bulk and refill by jars as needed eliminating a large amount
of packaging waste and the decrease in foods going stale saves money as well. Interested
in long-term food storage? Make plans to attend our Spring Self-Sufficient U Workshop on April 30th.
3. Make your own DIY dishwasher pods
Homemade dishwasher cubes (shown above) are the newest addition to my DIY cleaning
lineup. These were easy to make, cheap, and work well in my electric dishwasher. I
like that there isn’t a plastic package to dissolve or extra packaging from buying
refills. Best of all, the ingredients are basics I keep in my green cleaning kit so
no need to buy additional supplies. I make them up a month at a time and store them
in a sealed jar to keep moisture from causing them to crumble. There are many recipes
available on the web, like this DIY dishwasher detergent recipe which I used.
4. Use refillable dispensers
Switching to refillable containers (as shown above) and making at least some of your
household cleaning products is a fantastic way to reduce dependence on the store supply
chain, eliminate harsh chemicals and packaging waster, and save money. I love having
an effective all-purpose cleaner for freshening up counter tops, tables, and appliances.
My degreaser recipe takes science and puts it into practical application with oil
dissolving oil. Add the all-purpose cleaner and degreaser to the hand-soap recipe
I shared last time and you are well on your way to green cleaning! Ready to start your own
“Green and Clean” homemade cleaning kit? Need recipes? Link to the full article on green cleaning. Please note: DIY green cleaners are not recommended for disinfecting against the SARS-CoV-2 virus,
the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. Get the full list of EPA approved disinfectants.
Mix together in a spray bottle and shake well.
To use, spray surface and allow to sit for 5 minutes or longer to begin dissolving
the buildup. Wipe clean. Remaining mixture is shelf-stable and can be saved for later
Alternative: Use warm water and at 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead of essential
oils. This mixture is not shelf stable so discard any leftovers.
Tip: For larger or smaller batches, mix in a 1:8 ratio of oil-based soap to water.
Grow Your Own Groceries:Gardening from the Ground UP: Beekeeping - Apiculture in Arkansas Take the Hobby and Small Flock Poultry in Arkansas course Arkansas Food Freedom Act for homemade food salesArkansas Emergency Preparedness Food Preservation:
Podcasts: Around the Homestead Podcast: Beekeeping Basics Podcast