The cupboard under my kitchen sink used to be crammed with cleaning supplies–dozens of different products I had purchased in hopes of finding that “miracle product” that would lighten my cleaning load.
But like many people, I’ve come to realize that the glitzy advertisements and fancy packaging of those cleaning supplies were mostly just cleaning out my pocketbook! All the glam of the products didn’t necessarily make them work any better (or make my job easier) than simple ingredients I had around the house –that cost me next to nothing.
Save Money When Cleaning
Cleaning is a big business! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, household cleaning products is a $168 billion dollar industry–which equates to the average American spending more than $650 per year on cleaning supplies.[i]
I started by investing in a few sturdy spray bottles purchased at a local janitorial supply store (also found at most home improvement stores) and began to make my own homemade cleaning supplies that are natural, nontoxic, kill bacteria, and are economical to make.
I learned that vinegar, lemons, ammonia, and baking soda have some serious cleaning superpowers!
Here are few of my favorites:
All Purpose Household Cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with 2/3 water, 1/3 vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. This works well on most household surfaces. (Do not use on granite countertops as the acid in vinegar can take away granite’s luster).
Glass cleaner: I like to add two tablespoons of ammonia, and ½ cup of rubbing alcohol. Fill up the rest of the spray bottle with water and mix well. You can also make a great class cleaner with one part vinegar to one part water.
Pest deterrent: To keep ants at bay, spray undiluted vinegar in your doorways and windowsills (inside and outside), around appliances or wherever the ants are coming in.
Sink Cleaner: With its’ mild abrasive power, baking soda wins hands down when it comes to cleaning sinks. And as a side benefit, as you clean, the baking soda going down your pipes has the ability to help unclog drains.
Grout Cleaner: You can make a paste of one part lemon juice & one part baking soda to clean grout. Scrub the paste onto grout with an old toothbrush and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off.
Save Time When Cleaning
I love to find ways to cut expenses in the household budget. But I also love saving TIME (and the older I get, this has become even more important). I’d rather be with my kids at a local water park than scrubbing a shower all afternoon!
So let’s tackle how to save TIME in household cleaning. The single greatest way I’ve been able to curb the time I spend cleaning each week, was to install a water softener. Like most people (85 percent of the US), I live in an area that has fairly hard water.
Hard water meant that I spent a lot of time…
- Scrubbing white film or scale may off of fixtures, showerheads and tile.
- Polishing spots from dishes, glasses, counters, and floors– even after I had cleaned!
- Working hard to remove laundry stains. (Staining on clothing is tougher to remove when laundered with hard water).
- Pouring lots of laundry soap into my washing machine. Despite all that detergent, I hardly saw any suds! (Hard water reduces the sudsing action of many detergents).
- And the glass door on my shower perpetually was cloudy even though I tried to wipe it down with a towel after each shower.
Ugh! No matter how much time I spent, there was still more to do. Then, we got wise to our hard water problems and had a water softener/conditioner installed, I honestly couldn’t believe the difference. Now that I had softened water, I spent far less time cleaning and scrubbing. My dishes came out of the dishwasher crystal clear rather than cloudy. My laundry looked brighter and whiter and I used less soap (which saved me money AND time from scrubbing stains). Sink fixtures began to sparkle again, and that shower door looks amazing.
So if you’re trying to find me, I’m probably not home cleaning, but out doing something crazy fun with my kids (and spending all the money I saved by making my own household cleaners!)
To find out if you have hard in your area, talk to a local water treatment professional and download this free Hard Water Guide. With easy-to-understand visuals and graphics. The guide will explain how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hard water, help you understand what hard water is, where it comes from, and why it’s costing you money and time.