DIY Natural Cleaners

Problem: Trouble scrubbing soap and water stains off my toilet bowl’s body and my bathroom walls. My bathroom’s grout also had the same stains. These stains come in little brown to black spots on the toilet bowl’s body and the bathroom’s grout, and as little streaks on the bathroom walls and the shower curtain. They were not super gross but still, the sight of them really bothered me. My reliable cleaning buddies, Zonrox Plus and Zim All-Purpose Cleanser cannot take them off.

Because I’m now trying to move to a simpler, less waste, and more sustainable lifestyle, I want to get rid of my commercial cleaning products. Thus the desire to go green and make a cleaner using natural ingredients. When you search online, you’ll soon discover the three most powerful all natural cleaning ingredients: vinegar, baking soda, and water. I was so amazed at all the uses of vinegar and baking soda that of course, I was excited to try them and to get rid of my bathroom dilemma, too.

Vinegar cleaner

There are a lot of DIY vinegar cleaners out there and they all pretty much have the same ingredients, but vary with the amount of vinegar used in the cleaner. I figured I can try the recipes but experiment on my preferred ratio of vinegar in my cleaner.

Overall, my trials using vinegar were a success. All recipes come in liquid form so you would need a spray bottle to dispense the cleaner.

Trial 1: I used 3/4 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup water. I used this cleaner to clean the bathroom and the kitchen sink. I also used it to clean the mirror. It was effective, but it still was not able to scrub the soap and water stains off the toilet bowl’s body and the bathroom’s grout. Also, even though I love vinegar, the odor of the cleaner was a bit strong for me, but still tolerable.

Trial 2: I used 1 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid. I used this cleaner to clean the bathroom again. It was effective. It was easier for me to scrub off the stains on the bathroom walls and on the bathroom floor. It still left a bit of stain on the toilet bowl’s body, grout, and bathroom walls, though. This vinegar cleaner, minus the water, was just too strong for me. I could not tolerate the odor.

Trial 3: My winning recipe! 🙂 I used 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and about 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. (I’ll try this again using tea tree oil next time.) I used this cleaner to clean the bathroom and the kitchen sink again. It was effective. I used it on the toilet bowl’s body, on the bathroom walls, on the grout, and on the shower curtain. This time, I left it on the surfaces for about 30 minutes before I scrubbed it off. On the kitchen sink, I left it only for about 15 minutes, then I wiped it off. Because of the essential oil, the odor was pleasing to me. I love vinegar, though so I still don’t know if you’d find the odor for this ratio tolerable.

Baking Soda cleaner

Vinegar alone was not able to solve my problem. I figured I needed another powerful ingredient: baking soda. I used Arm & Hammer because it was the brand that was available in our local grocery. I poured baking soda to a small bowl, added just a bit of water to it, and then stirred until it formed a paste.

I sprayed my vinegar cleaner on the toilet bowl’s body, on the grout, and on the bathroom walls first. I let it sit for about 30 minutes. Next, I dabbed my scrubber to the baking soda paste and then applied it to the areas to clean. Scrub away and prepare to be amazed.

To my delight, the soap and water stains on my toilet bowl’s body, on the grout, on the bathroom walls, and on the shower curtain were scrubbed off! I was so happy. They’re all so shiny and clean now, and pleasing to my eyes. Yay! 🙂

Room spray

I usually buy a room and linen spray to deodorize my room. I finished my last bottle, so I reused the empty bottle and made my own room spray instead.

Here’s how: Pour warm water on the spray bottle. I used about a cup only because it fit about half the spray bottle and was enough for my current use. I added drops of essential oils. I used peppermint and rosemary on this trial. Spritz away, sniff, and smile.

I love all these DIY natural cleaners! The ingredients are all cheap, available in the local grocery store, multipurpose, and of course, environment-friendly. Right now, I’m thinking of making my own dishwashing liquid. I’ll keep you posted on that one.


Sharing with you three blogs that I am following and am loving the content. I also found my cleaning recipes here. They all have social media accounts, so go ahead and visit their sites and subscribe or follow them.


Mamang’s Tips for Practical Living (Part 1)

There are three things that pacify and inspire me these days: minimalism, zero waste, and sustainable living. I spend my free time online searching and reading about these topics. Seeing images of simple, uncluttered spaces with plenty of white details calm me. Reading or watching about the journeys that people take to meet the minimalist, zero waste, or sustainable lifestyle inspire me.

My journey to minimalism started when Grief first arrived. When I started grieving, I lost interest in a lot of things. I started to care less about having or owning more. I wanted to make fewer but more important decisions. I wanted to live a simple and practical life, which is the kind of life Mamang also enjoyed.

As I continue to learn more about becoming a minimalist, going zero waste, and living sustainably, I rediscover that many of the tips and advice about these topics were already shared to me by Mamang. Mamang is tidy, organized, and practical. She ran and kept our house a home for the three of us. Even when I was young, she started teaching and showing me ways about how to live practically and independently. She raised me to be somebody who knew how to run her life and how to keep things in order.

During our teaching and training moments when I was young, she used to tell me that she did not want me to be overly dependent and ignorant on the ways of living when I get older. Of course I did not understand that intention back then, but now, I am ever more grateful to my life coach and superhero for the many things she taught, showed, and inspired me to do.

Sharing with you Mamang’s tips for practical living. There are a lot of tips form her but I’ll share these for now because I can now attest to them and I am practicing these tips in my life now.

  • Clean as you go. I grew up in a home that did not postpone cleaning the table and doing the dishes after meals. I grew up in a home where it was always kept clean and tidy after using its spaces. When I was young and played at home, Mamang did not simply clean up after me all the time. She cleaned up with me. She assigned me little tasks so that it was fun and not a chore for me. She showed me where to put all my toys after playing with them. She did not force me to do anything with her but then, she always had this force around her that I always wanted to be a part of. I tagged along with her through every task, and when I got lazy, I’d sit there, watch her, and keep her company, but hey, I still learned.
  • Fix your bed. Mamang has strong opinions against people who go out looking all made up, but do not fix their beds. When I first had my own bedroom, she told me to always fix my bed when I wake up. As a result, up until today, and I imagine for always now, I never leave the bed without fixing it first.
  • Segregate. Compartmentalize. Assign. Or from Marie Kondo, “Designate spaces for every thing.” I grew up in a house that practiced this, too. We had a special place for the keys when inside the house, a secret place for it when we go out, and other designated spaces for items and activities in the house. We respected spaces, too: the bedroom was a private space and thus, not a dining place, the dining table was for dining and was not a work area, although there were exceptions sometimes, and so forth. In fact, even Mamang’s bags had smaller bags in it with corresponding items. I inherited this practice from her. I did not even know that this was a quirk until a friend pointed out to me how I had so many mini bags inside my bag. Well, it kept things organized in my bag and made it easier for me to find items. Like Mamang, I am not a fan of mixing things up. For us, mixed up things equate to clutter. In our house, every thing had its own designated space. We got things from its designated space, returned them to it, and maintained it that way.
  • Buy a big water container with a lid. Save and store water. Just in case. When I was younger, I quickly dismissed tips that started with “just in case” and “you’ll never know” simply because I thought it was impractical and unreasonable. When I started living alone and far from home, Mamang told me to buy a water container and that I should store water because I’ll never know when I might run out of water. Of course she knew that one of the many things that easily angered me was having no water and not being able to take a bath. I did not follow her advice until early this year when there were two days straight that the area I live in gut cut out from having water supply. Since then, I’ve stored up water and true enough when our place ran out of water again one day, I was not all that angry because I had water to use for my bath. Thanks, Mamang! 🙂
  • Buy a thermos. Save electricity. I got my love for coffee and hot drinks from Mamang. Back then, we can have up to five cups of coffee a day. We were coffee buddies. But in our house, we had a thermos so it wasn’t all that difficult to start a cup. Naturally, when I started living alone and away from home, one of my essentials is an electric heater. Mamang would always tell me to buy a thermos so that I can save electricity and effort, too from having to keep boiling water for use. I did not listen and follow her advice. But now that I make my coffee using my coffee press, I realized how Mamang is of course, right. I cannot help myself from having coffee, but I can save electricity and effort by just making coffee once and then saving the rest of the coffee for later in the day. I still did not buy a thermos, though but I bought an insulated tumbler instead. I have been using it to save my leftover coffee, and true enough, six hours later, I can still enjoy a hot cup of my favorite perk-me-up. Thanks, Mamang. 🙂
  • Reuse what you can. Mamang never easily threw anything away. If it can be reused, she kept it. I think pretty much all mothers do. My officemates and I would joke around how when we were young, we were always fooled that there was ice cream in the freezer. In Filipino homes, ice cream containers were reused as containers for meat or fish, easily fooling hungry kids wishing for ice cream. I don’t know if all Filipino mothers do this, although most of my friends’ mothers do, but well, that’s one old school sustainable living tip straight from our mothers’ wise ways.
  • Plan meals ahead. Cook rice or meals once. Save electricity. Mamang always made meal plans, but only in her mind (because I never saw an actual list). She went to the grocery and supermarket during the weekend and bought everything she needed to cook our meals for the week. And mind you, she cooked all our meals in every day of the week. She said that by doing that practice, she can save fare, effort, and most of all, she no longer needed to worry about these items during the week. Also, she would cook rice only once, but enough for all the meals in the day. She said we can save electricity by doing that. Now that I live alone, I usually cook just during the weekends. I plan my meals for the weekend on Friday, and then shop for what I need. I cook the meal only once during the day and because I find it difficult to cook for one, I end up saving the rest of the meal for dinner. But hey, that helps me save money and electricity.
  • Take naps. Mamang was always busy around the house and yet never missed any chance to spend time with me, but she also never missed taking naps. She loved to sleep and nap. She used to tell me that I should take naps throughout the day because that would also help energize and recharge me. Of course, I never listened. Hey, we all never did want to sleep when we were young, right? But now, I happen to enjoy naps. I have trouble sleeping early. I usually sleep at around 2-3am and so am definitely not a morning person. But when I come home from work, I am usually tired (but not tired enough to sleep through the night), so I usually take a 15-30 minute nap to rest my eyes and my mind. When I don’t have work and am just staying in, I take around 2-3 naps throughout the day, too.

How about you? Any practical living tips from your mothers, too?


Naririyan ka ba sa abot-tanaw?
O ako ba ay nananalamin lang sa aking pangungulila?


How does God decide that you no longer need a mother? Or that a mother no longer needs a daughter? Or that a mother no longer needs to continue to do some mothering?

If this were a project, I would have asked next: What are the criteria to be motherless? What made me qualified to be without a mother?

Last week was my seventh year at the company I work in. Work anniversaries are not that big of a deal to me, but it is for Mamang. Would you believe that she keeps a notebook about important dates in my life? She keeps tabs on when I started work, when I got my flu vaccine, and other things, things I would always forget. She keeps tabs not to control me, but to celebrate me or remind me. Every year she never fails to greet me for my work anniversary. She’d call me first thing in the morning to congratulate me and to give me well wishes. She’d tell me how proud she is of me and how happy I make her.

I forgot my work anniversary this year. I remembered during the middle of the day, and after which I immediately went to the bathroom to puke. I couldn’t cry. For some time now, I’ve forgotten how to really cry. I would have wanted to have a good cry. Does she remember my work anniversary still?

I am relapsing. I am becoming a monster. I am even scaring me.

I am not the depressive kind. I am a generally angry person. I got so angry with a lot of people for all sorts of crazy reasons. I got off social media because I can no longer control my anger towards people and whatever content they are posting. It angered and disgusted me. My automatic reaction towards anything, especially lately, is anger.

I often get angry at work. Today I got angry again. I was mean, rude, and almost unprofessional. I did not care. I got home and thought about it. I was still angry, but also scared. What have I turned into? I suddenly am incapable of empathy and kindness. I can manipulate these emotions when I need to, but they no longer come naturally from me, like how I did before. Is this still me grieving?

For years, at the end of the day I would always talk to Mamang. I’d tell her everything. To me, love means being corrected. Mamang loves me so much she listens and corrects me when necessary. I am always in awe at how she does it. How well she balances the right amount of care and affection, and firmess and correction. She is never one to sweeten anything that she sees needs correction about me. She tells me as it is. And even if I react to her words, I learn. And I know I am loved.

How does God decide you no longer need this love? How does God determine that you’ve had enough love over the years, and that you no longer need to keep receiving it? How does God identify that you no longer need to be continuously supplied?

At the end of the day, there is nobody here. Nobody to call.

How much stored love do I still have? It’s quite inaccessible. I think I am running out.


In our dialect, kalayo [û.] can mean:
-remoteness (n.)
-away (adv.)
-fire (n.); flame (n.)
-distant (adj.); far (adj.); remote (adj.); yonder (adj.)


The Chaos of Grief

The Kübler-Ross model is inaccurate and unreliable. There is no order in grief; only pure chaos. Surprising myself. Holding up. Not getting enough sleep. Not wanting to wake up. Not wanting to go to sleep. Longing. Sorrow. Unbearable sadness. Pretending. Pain. Pain in the chest. Pain in the stomach. Puking. Not wanting to be around people. Trying to be around people. Getting even sadder being around people. Disconnecting. Getting annoyed by everyone’s lives and social media updates. Getting off social media. Getting confused. Being intolerant. Being uncaring. Being numb. Being indifferent. Enjoying the curse words again. Being a lousier and a worse friend. Being selfish. Feeling happy then immediately feeling deeply sad. Loneliness. Self-pity. Not depressed. Anger, lots of it. Drinking. Getting irritated and angry so easily. Wanting to start fights. Being rude and mean. Violence and murder in my mind. Feeling guilty for being angry at a lot of people. Crying for no reason. Not wanting to cry anymore. Heavy heart. Darkness. Of course, I am okay. Binge watching TV series. Breaking down on weekends. Memory flashbacks. Losing purpose and meaning. Losing interest in writing. Losing interest in reading. Losing interest in any hobby. Losing interest in church. Losing interest in planning for the future. Losing appetite for color. Wanting to go away. Wanting to quit my job. Feeling empty. Feeling exhausted. Generally so lost. Having no idea what I am even doing anymore. Wondering why I seem to be wasting my life. Wondering what to do with my life. Accepting I will be alone for always. Expecting not to be cared for and not to be cared about. Expecting people not to like me. Expecting not to be loved. Expecting not to be missed. Being surprised and confused when people are nice to me or try to care for me. Forgetting. No home. Refusing to use the past tense in any sentences about my mother. Remembering my mother. Picturing my mother. Begging to be in a dream with my mother. Mamang. Self-care. Chris Evans. Aromatherapy. Just breathe. Show up. Continue. Hope. Life goes on. We all will die anyway.