Opinion

Vinaigrette on the Coffee Table

Not long ago I got a request from reader Kelly R., for a DIY recipe for furniture polish. She said that she uses a lot of it and it is so expensive. My first thought was, of course, to suggest she time her purchases for when furniture polish goes on sale, and then to stock up. I recently purchased a can of Pledge aerosol polish (reg. $6.49) for $2.50. I was harboring a $1 off coupon, and when Pledge went on sale for two for $8, I used my coupon, bought one can and enjoyed a great bargain.

Kelly didn’t mention environmental issues in her desire to make her own furniture polish, but after doing some research on the matter, that may be something all of us should consider, perhaps even more than the high cost.

I was amazed to see what goes into a can of spray furniture polish. Many contain synthetic ingredients such as silicone, solvents, petroleum distillates and artificial fragrances to mask the chemical smells.

All of us can establish a healthier home and at the same time save a lot of money by replacing chemical furniture polish with this homemade formula: 1 part olive oil and 1/2 part lemon juice. Mix it all together until blended well. You can do this in a blender or food processor to get the items to emulsify in the same way you would make salad dressing.

To use, simply apply a small amount of the mixture with a soft cloth and buff to a shine. Use sparingly. A little of this mixture will go a long way. It is best to start with a small amount on your cloth, adding more as necessary. If you leave too much oil on furniture it will act as a magnet to attract the dust you’re trying to avoid.

You may prefer to use Jojoba oil instead of olive oil, if you can find it (look in a health food store). Jojoba is a natural liquid wax that has no scent and will not become rancid. No lemon juice handy? Use white distilled vinegar in place of the lemon juice.

Do not make large batches of this furniture polish, because unlike the canned stuff, these natural ingredients will lose their effectiveness in time. It is best to make up a small batch in the amount you will need at the time, or no more than you will use in a month. Store in a very clean container like a squeeze or spray bottle. Label the container, and keep out of reach of children.

It is always a good idea to test anything new in an inconspicuous place first. Then give yourself a little time to get used to this new kind of furniture polish. If you’ve been using the aerosol-type commercial furniture polishes, you may find this method a bit more tedious. But give it a chance. Try it for a month. I did. I am confident that the cost savings together with breathable air as you clean will convince you to make the change permanent.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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