Not long ago, I got a request from EC reader Kelly for a make-it-yourself furniture polish recipe. She said that she uses a lot of furniture polish and it's getting expensive.
My first thought was, of course, to suggest that she time her purchases for when furniture polish goes on sale and then stock up. I recently purchased a can of Pledge aerosol furniture polish for $1.50, down from $5.49. I was harboring a $1 coupon, and when Pledge went on sale for two cans for $7, I used my coupon to buy one can (my store doubles coupons) and enjoyed the great bargain.
Kelly didn't mention environmental concerns in her desire to make her own furniture polish, but after doing some research on the matter, it may be a factor all of us should consider, and perhaps even more than cost. I was amazed to see what goes into a spray can of furniture polish. Many contain solvents, petroleum distillates, synthetic ingredients like silicone and artificial fragrances to mask the chemical smell.
All of us can create a healthier home and at the same time save a lot of money by replacing chemical furniture polish with this formula.
MAKE-IT-YOURSELF FURNITURE POLISH
—1 cup olive oil
—1/2 cup lemon juice
—1 teaspoon white vinegar
Mix until blended well. You can do this in a blender or food processor to get the ingredients to emulsify, just as you would for salad dressing.
To use, simply apply a small amount of the mixture on a soft cloth and buff the furniture to a shine. Use sparingly. A little goes a long way. It is best to start with a small amount on your cloth and add more as necessary. If you leave too much oil on the furniture, it will act as a dust magnet.
If you can find jojoba oil, you may prefer to use it instead of olive oil (look in a health food store). Jojoba is a natural liquid wax that has no scent and will not become rancid. And if you don't have lemon juice handy, use white distilled vinegar instead.
Do not make large batches of this furniture polish because unlike the canned stuff, these natural ingredients will lose their effectiveness over time. It is best to make 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 bottle or spray bottle. Label the container, and keep it out of reach of children.
It is always a good idea to first test something new in an inconspicuous place. Give yourself a little time to get used to this new polish. If you've been using aerosol commercial polishes, you may find this method to be a bit more tedious. But give it a chance. Try it for a month. I did, and I am confident that the cost savings combined with the breathable air as you clean will convince you to make a permanent change.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.