I am a sucker for fancy cleaning products. I am easily drawn in by pretty packaging, intriguing scents, and claims such as “all natural,” “eco-friendly” and “non-toxic.” Of course it’s not necessary to drop big bucks just to get your home sparkling clean. In fact, some of the most natural and environmentally friendly products are also the least expensive. Here are a few tips to keep your cleaning costs way down:
To make your own All Purpose Spray, mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. If you’d rather not have the strong vinegar smell try adding a few drops of essential oil. You can find essential oils at most health food stores – choose peppermint, orange, tea tree, or lavender. Use this spray to clean just about anything including counter tops, sinks, kids’ toys, and windows.
Need a little extra scrubbing power to accompany your elbow grease? Make a gentle scrub out of baking soda mixed with a little water and use to clean soap residue and hard water stains, polish metal fixtures and clean stubborn messes on counter tops. As an added bonus, baking soda also deodorizes while it cleans.
Clean a cast iron pan with kosher salt and a non-abrasive sponge. The salt will clean off food residue without removing the pan’s prized seasoning.
Kosher salt can also report for cleaning duty for your wooden cutting boards. Rub the salt over the boards with a cut lemon and then rinse off the lemon juice/salt mixture. The acidity of the lemon juice will disinfect and the abrasive salt rub will get the surface nice and clean.
Using paper towels when giving your home a deep clean can make you wish you’d bought stock in paper products. Skip the pile of trash by using reusable rags and cloths. There’s no need to buy special cleaning cloths; simply save old t-shirts and towels and cut them into pieces to use for cleaning. Some people swear by using old newspaper to clean windows but I am personally not a fan of the newsprint on my hands – if that doesn’t bother you and you get the daily paper you might want to give it a try.
Save the plastic and paper grocery bags you get when you forget your reusable bags at the grocery store from time to time (or all the time!). Use them as trash bags in small trash cans throughout the house. Paper bags are perfect for corralling recyclables until you can haul them to your bin, the curb or the recycling centre. They are also great to put down as a protective barrier on a counter top when polishing silver or enjoying kids’ craft projects.
Clean Early and Often
This probably isn’t going to be anyone’s favourite tip, but the longer you wait between cleanings, the more likely dust, dirt and grime are to build up, potentially requiring the use of harsh and expensive commercial cleaning products to cut through it. Regular cleaning isn’t fun but it makes the job a lot easier!
Anna writes for the popular personal finance blog, Good Cents Savings, which helps you save money, stick to a budget, and live well on less. She is also the mother of a five year old daughter who is worth every penny!