Cleaning the house doesn’t have to be so expensive. When I look at the cleaning section in Walmart, I feel overwhelmed by how many different products are offered. Each one claims to be better, stronger, or easier to use, but in my experience, many cleaners don’t live up to their claims.
My first tip for saving on cleaners is to consolidate. Nobody needs fifty spray bottles hogging all the shelf space in the laundry room (or wherever you keep this stuff.) Consider what you really need to keep the house clean, and ditch the specialized cleaners that don’t really do anything.
Since 2012 or so, I’ve been buying professional cleaners that come as concentrates. I love that they clean effectively, last a long time, and save me money. One bottle of concentrate makes eight quarts of cleaner, so I rarely run out.
I use a general disinfectant for almost everything, from cleaning the bathroom to deodorizing trash cans. A foamy tub and tile cleaner takes care of the rest of the bathroom. It’s so effective that I don’t have to use it more than twice a month.
Kaboom used to cost me $3.84 for a quart, but the professional strength tub and tile concentrate costs me only $1.87 per quart. There’s also less waste since I keep refilling the same spray bottle. I have yet to replace it after nearly eight years.
Make Your Own
There are a million recipes for DIY cleaners. I recommend looking at this website to get started.
Many of the DIY cleaners only use one or two ingredients. If you have these things in your house, you’re probably set:
- baking soda
- dish soap
- hydrogen peroxide
- rubbing alcohol
The beauty of these items is that they have other uses, not just for cleaning. My favorite combinations and what I use them for:
- baking soda: I use it for cleaning up vomit. Pick up as much of the mess as you can with paper towels or rags. Sprinkle the baking soda liberally on the carpet, wait till it dries, then vacuum it up. It helps soak up the moisture and deodorizes as well.
- baking soda + vinegar: Use as an oven cleaner. Sprinkle the baking soda on first, then add vinegar until it foams. This combination helps break up the grime in the oven and won’t kill you if you breathe it in! (Thanks, Cindy, for this tip!)
- rubbing alcohol + vinegar + cornstarch + water: Homemade Windex
- rubbing alcohol: Wet a paper towel or rag with rubbing alcohol and use it to remove marker (even permanent) from walls or glass.
I can’t say enough about Magic Erasers (or the Walmart off brand) when it comes to getting little kid drawings off the walls. They work better than anything I’ve tried, even though they sometimes take off paint.
Also, this style of toilet brush (really, a toilet mop) does a much better job at getting the toilet clean. Trust me on that one.
I make most of my rags from old towels that I cut into smaller pieces. They are more absorbent than anything else. I use the microfiber cloths that came with my glasses for cleaning computer and TV screens.
A little elbow grease never hurt anyone, but spending a lot on cleaners adds insult to injury for the dirty jobs in your life. I’ll never love to clean the toilet, but at least it doesn’t cost me a fortune to do so.