Author Topic: How can I save money on cleaning products?  (Read 19773 times)

EngGirl

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How can I save money on cleaning products?
« on: December 11, 2012, 07:30:03 AM »
My husband and I are self-admitted clean freaks. I didn’t really have a problem with this, until I realized that a sizeable chunk of every grocery store purchase goes towards cleaning products. Then I got thinking about the environmental impact of our actions…

Anyone have any recommendations on cheaper and/or home-made cleaning products? What are some products that we can live without (i.e. I discovered dry dusting works okay). Where is the cheapest place to buy cleaning products (should I venture into Wal-Mart?). I should also admit that I prefer cleaning products that smell nice – I don’t want my whole house smelling of vinegar. I will suck it up if that’s my only option, but I’m hoping that the MMM community has more ideas.

(Sorry if this information is elsewhere… haven’t stumbled across it yet.)

arebelspy

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 07:36:46 AM »
You said one key thing: homemade.

Google the name or type of product along with homemade or DIY and you'll find a host of recipes to try and tweak until you find one you're satisfied with.
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trammatic

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 07:56:42 AM »
You can also buy commercial grade cleaners in large sizes.  They clean as well as consumer types, but are typically in little packaging and much cheaper.  You have to be especially careful in not mixing ammonia and bleach, as they might not have as explicit warning labels...

starbuck

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 08:01:12 AM »
I've made laundry detergent for years now. Easy to put together (I usually make a triple batch when running low.)
 
1 bar fels naptha, grated
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/4 c. oxy clean (or similar)

I don't even add the oxygen bleach any more and I don't notice a difference. (Admittedly, we're two adults who work normal office jobs and don't get filthy dirty, so YMMV on this.)

In our house, it's basically combinations of vinegar, baking soda, and dawn dish soap. I didn't know there was another way to dust OTHER than dry dusting. Sweep, vacuum, and wiping down the kitchen counters with a sponge about covers everything else. I have a friend that uses windex to wipe down her kitchen counters. I find it quirky. Soap and water is good enough for me.

I would recommend evaluating what products you actually NEED to clean your house to your standards, and seek out replacements one at a time as you run out of each. Then it becomes habit forming. I don't bat an eye at making laundry detergent anymore. Takes a few minutes every 6 weeks or so? And there will be substitutes that you won't be happy with, for sure. I just made dishwashing detergent that does an okay job, but I'll probably switch back to store bought once my batch is done.

I've been finding a lot of replacement DIY recipes here:
http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/category/homemade-solution/cleaning

I also find the microfiber cloths from Trader Joe's to be indestructible (and can be laundered!) Cut in half, that's what we use for sponges/cleaning bathrooms etc.

Tom Reingold

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 08:01:20 AM »
You can get a gallon jug of Simple Green at the Home Despot or similar place. You dilute it. It's pretty useful.

I recently read you can make a replacement for Pledge by mixing oil and lemon juice. I don't remember the ratio.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 08:04:22 AM »
We've been using homemade cleaning products for years, and are very satisfied. We originally got the recipes from a book in the library

We use homemade versions of:

"soft scrub"
floor cleaning (wood floors)
"fantastic" cleaning spray
wood polish
we clean the toilet with white vinegar
we wash our windows with selzter in a spray bottle

GuitarStv

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 09:07:20 AM »
White vinegar is pretty close to a miracle cleaning solution:

- Salt + vinegar in a thick paste = great for scrubbing stuff to a shiny lustre (faucets/chrome)
- Spray down a bathtub or shower with vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, and then toss some baking soda on and scrub.
- Spray it directly on counter tops and wipe.
- Soak particularly dirty/stinky laundry in vinegar overnight before washing to have the smell and many of the stains come right out (I used to do this with by Jiu-Jitsu gi, and it really works well).
- One cup vinegar per gallon of water works well as a floor cleaner

mustachecat

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 09:11:22 AM »
If you don't like the smell of vinegar (although I find that it dissipates pretty quickly), you can add a few drops of some essential oil to the spray bottle. Lavender, lemon, whatever you like.

madgeylou

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 10:19:00 AM »
I've made laundry detergent for years now. Easy to put together (I usually make a triple batch when running low.)
 
1 bar fels naptha, grated
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/4 c. oxy clean (or similar)

I don't even add the oxygen bleach any more and I don't notice a difference. (Admittedly, we're two adults who work normal office jobs and don't get filthy dirty, so YMMV on this.)

i have been making homemade laundry detergent, too, and i love it! my recipe is slightly different.

2 cups of grated kirk's coco castile soap (i love the smell -- it doesn't smell like anything, just smells clean)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda

this works great for us ... we put a cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener slot, too, which helps everything rinse out and stay soft.

around the house, baking soda works great as a gently abrasive cleaner -- i use it to clean my porcelain kitchen sink and it works great.

you can get pretty fancy making homemade stuff if you want, but it's not necessary -- a few tablespoons of vinegar with a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with water makes a great all-purpose cleaner. 

Bakari

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 10:25:30 AM »
Gradually cutting down on cleaning, just a tiny bit at a time, until you get over being clean-freaks?


If the place is cleaned regularly, there probably isn't that much to clean each time, so you could likely get away with cleaning with just plain water most of the time.

eyePod

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 10:43:31 AM »
http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/02/no-grate-homemade-laundry-soap.html

My mother's used this and loves it.  We haven't made the conversion yet, but it's in the plans.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 10:44:24 AM »
Are you clean freaks or germ freaks?

If you are clean freaks, a drop of soap and a half cup of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle full of water will do the clean-and-shine thing pretty nicely.

If you are germ freaks, a spray bottle full of water plus a tsp or so of bleach is the most cost effective sanitizer. Don't buy those wipe things.

MountainFlower

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 12:27:04 PM »
I love the book Organic Housekeeping.  I got it from the library, but I ended up purchasing a used copy because it's a great reference and full of all kinds of useful information.  There is a recipe in there for oil/lemon juice furniture oil that works great.  I don't have the ratios. 

EngGirl

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 01:33:27 PM »
Thanks everyone for your comments. This is why I love the MMM community – we have similar goals but come at it from different perspectives, making this forum rich mind fodder to help us solve problems. I’m going to try many of these suggestions above.

A special thanks to Bakari for putting a twist on my question. The best solution is often the simplest. Do I really need to live in a house which visitors have called sterile? We want to have kids some day and I don’t want to be that parent chasing after their kid with disinfectant wipes. Cutting back to what is essential is the whole mustachian philosophy is it not? I guess our fix comes in the form of cleaning products rather than designer clothes. Time to kick the habit.

Maybe I should start a cleaning company on the side – do something I enjoy in a productive way for others (rather than an obsessive way for ourselves), and pocket the spare cash for early retirement. I could even use some of the suggestions above! Sweet…


Gerard

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 03:16:06 PM »
We want to have kids some day and I don’t want to be that parent chasing after their kid with disinfectant wipes.

Not to mention, your future kid will be a lot less likely to poison itself by getting into the vinegar!

Bakari

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 03:37:41 PM »

Maybe I should start a cleaning company on the side – do something I enjoy in a productive way for others (rather than an obsessive way for ourselves), and pocket the spare cash for early retirement. I could even use some of the suggestions above! Sweet…

At least where I live, people are willing to pay extra for all that "eco" / "green" non-sense!
I was just offering the truck for deliveries, and it just so happened that I ran the truck on biodiesel, and wouldn't you know it, the clients just love that

squeak

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 04:23:24 PM »
I use vinegar, baking soda and dish soap for just about everything. For a nicer smell, I soak citrus peels in vinegar for a few days then dilute with water in a spray bottle.

My homemade laundry soap is the liquid version, which I prefer.

1 bar Ivory, Fels Naptha, or Zote soap, grated
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda.

Grate the soap and mix into 6 cups water in a pot. Heat until soap is completley disolved. Add the borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Pour 4 cups hot water in a bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir.

Add 18 cups of water and stir.

(I usually add about 1/4 cup lemon juice to the mixture for extra whitening)

It will gel by the next day. Stir it up again and you're good to go.

Use about one cup per load.

salmp01

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 05:51:18 PM »
My wife is a Norwex consultant (all natural cleaning stuff).  I don't know much about it but she is very passionate about the product.  I'd recommend checking this out. We recently had a baby and threw out all our cleaning products.  Now we just use the Norwex cleaning cloths and water.

JulieB

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2012, 04:41:20 AM »
I find reusable paper towel tutorial on pinterest and it seems a very good and appropriate idea.

http://thatshortgirlsblog.blogspot.fr/2012/04/reusable-paper-towel-tutorial.html

I plan to learn to sew in 2013,  I'll begin with this project because it seems so simple. I'll use old fabric from my mom so the cost will be under control.

frompa

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2012, 05:57:47 PM »
For years I've used the book Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan.  It's full of recipes for every kind of cleaning product you could possibly use, and mostly uses baking soda, and vinegar.  These days, probably most of these notions are available for free somewhere in the virtual world.  And ditto to everyone who makes their own laundry detergent - I've been doing it for many years.  The stuff is cheap, easily made in bulk, and does the job.  I can't remember the last time I bought commercial cleaning products. The homemade goods really work.  Have fun!

salmp01

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2013, 09:25:40 AM »
thanks...these products are great!

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2013, 12:12:38 PM »
Good thread!  I'll second vinegar and water, especially on hardwood floors. We open the windows for a little bit until the smell dissipates.

Any suggestions for granite counters?

SIS

You can use vinegar on granite, no problem. It's marble that's a big no-no as it reacts with the vinegar.

livetogive

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2013, 01:30:38 PM »
Plus one for white vinegar.  It's $3 for a monster container at Costco and it's a fantastic laundry detergent for towels and or other often wet things.  It's also wjat I use to clean my veggies,  clean the dishwasher,  clean the appliances,  blah blah blah

netskyblue

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2013, 02:19:03 PM »
I can't really say I use vinegar much for cleaning, but I do find dish soap (the cheap stuff, bought in bulk), and bleach do about everything for me.

Toilet gets a glug of bleach, scrub with the brush, let it sit a few minutes, then flush.  Outside, sprayed with a weak bleach solution and wiped with our general-purpose cleaning microfiber rags.  They get rinsed, then washed in the hot water cycle with the bath mat & toilet mat.

Kitchen also gets sprayed with a weak bleach solution if there was raw meat or something germy touching a surface.  Otherwise, sponge & little bit of dish soap, dried with a clean dishtowel (for things like food splatter from cooking).

Shower gets dish soap on a sponge, scrubbed down & sprayed off with the shower hose.

I have a bathroom cleaning sponge, and a kitchen cleaning sponge, separate.  Kitchen sponge goes through the dishwasher with my dishes, bathroom sponge goes in the laundry with the rags.

Basically all the "germy" rags are white microfiber and go through the laundry in one load, on hot, with bleach.  And I use rubber gloves when cleaning the germy stuff.

blissmonkey80

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2013, 03:26:58 PM »
I use vinegar a lot, too, but my favorite frugal cleaning product is Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds in foaming soap dispensers.  You can dilute it heavily and it lasts a really long time.  You can also make citrus vinegar cleaner by juicing enough lemons or oranges so that your peels fill up a mason jar.  Cover with vinegar, put a lid on it, let it sit for a few weeks.  You can then put some in a spray bottle, dilute it, and it's a better smelling twist on your traditional vinegar for cleaning.  Vinegar and Sal Suds are the only cleaning products I use!

dragoncar

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2013, 03:33:24 PM »
Clean less and also be less messy/dirty :-)

stripey

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2013, 04:22:55 PM »
- I do use home-made laundry liquid (mentioned in several threads on MMM) or soapnuts.
- Creamy cleanser (for kitchen or bathroom): laundry liquid above with enough baking soda mixed in to make a nice creamy paste. Has the advantage of not really leaving much residue.
- Bathroom: to prevent mould, spray with water with a little clove oil added (if you like the smell- clove oil is an amazing anti-fungal) or 1:1 vinegar: water plus some eucalyptus oil (also works well). Spray after the last person has a shower for the day, every day.
- Home-made citrus cleaner: peel a heap of citrus fruits, place in jar and cover with white vinegar then leave for a month in a warm place. Smells great, works really well as a spray-on cleaner (I dilute it 1:1).
- Floors: 1/2 cup of above citrus cleaner into bucket of water.
- Toilet: 1/2 - 1 cup of washing soda (not baking soda, not washing powder) leave 1 hour then flush

Regarding the vinegar smell: the smell with dissipate by the time the surface dries so don't get too discouraged by the idea.

MrsPete

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Re: How can I save money on cleaning products?
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2013, 04:43:10 PM »
I love the homemade laundry detergent from the website How Does She . . . .  ?  The ingredients are a bit hard to find, but once I have them it takes about 30 minute and $20-25 to make a year's worth of detergent.  Nothing I've used -- store bought or homemade -- has been as good. 

I use other homemade cleaners too, mostly based on white vinegar, baking soda and Dawn original dish detergent.  I don't mind the vinegar smell at all; regardless, it dissipates quickly.  The one thing I have not found is a decent dishwasher detergent. 

If you're cleaning all the time, I suggest you make a schedule so you won't be repeating work constantly.  For example, say that you'll do floors on Mondays, change the bed sheets on Tuesday, give the kitchen a thorough cleaning on Wednesdays, etc.