Don’t you feel like you’re always cleaning your kitchen? I do! Clean up after the dog who likes to take a few kernels of food out of his bowl and put them on the floor (he saves them for later!), cleaning up after cooking, after kids, after “people” who spill stuff on the floor/counter/fridge and don’t clean it up right away….the list goes on. Then there’s just the daily maintenance cleaning of dishes, wiping down the countertops, handles etc. Just think how much money you spend on cleaning supplies in a year just for this one year, not to mention your whole house!
I spend very little on cleaning supplies. You really don’t need to buy window cleaner, floor cleaner, all purpose cleaner or room deodorizers. Just having the following simple ingredients on hand will help you squeeze a few more pennies out of the budget. Really! Price a big jug of vinegar or plain ammonia against any commercial cleaner!
White vinegar (apple cider vinegar can stain)-kills germs, mold & bacteria
Lemon Juice (a mild acid that has mild bleaching properties)
Ammonia ( I’m sure you all know not to it with bleach)
Essential oils (a few drops -optional) – Lavender and Tea Tree oil have been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties – plus the nice smell makes cleaning just teensy bit more enjoyable.
First, I’d like to recommend that you stop using sponges! Clean rags are much more economical because you can reuse old worn out items you already have. I have two sets of rags. Ones that are in good condition and that you wash again and again; the other is the kind you use for really messy jobs and then throw away (holey underwear for instance). Also, be sure you label your spray bottles!
Greasy Cabinets – 1 tablespoon dish washing liquid to 1 gallon of hot water
Fridge Cleaner – 1 qt. warm water & 1 dash of liquid soap or 2 tablespoons of baking soda & 1 qt. of warm water
Microwave Cleaner – a drop of lemon juice or white vinegar in a cup of water – boil in the micro and the let it sit for a while. The steam will softened any spills. Wipe the inside with a rag, rinse with a clean rag.
Floor Cleaner – 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for vinyl and laminate floors. I have Pergo floors – just be sure you don’t get laminate flooring sopping wet.
Glass Cleaner – plain vinegar works great on mirrors. Try putting a little dish washing soap in the vinegar spray first to get the chemicals and wax from your old cleaner off the glass otherwise you might have streaks the first time.
All Purpose Cleaner – Ammonia diluted according to directions on the bottle or mix one part vinegar to one part water (do not use on marble)
Toilet Cleaner – Flush the toilet, sprinkle sides with baking soda, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, let it sit for a while (it’ll foam a bit) and then scrub
Sinks & Tubs – Some dishwashing liquid mixed with a bit of vinegar or sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with vinegar and scrub
Homemade Soft Scrub – mix a small amount of baking soda with a liquid detergent until you have a smooth paste. For stains that need a bit of bleaching, I put some baking soda on a half of lemon and rub that on the area
Carpet Cleaner/deodorizer – when we shampoo our carpets we just use vinegar mixed with hot water in our carpet cleaner. The vinegar smell dissipates. You can also sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum.
Room Freshener – open the windows and let the fresh air in if you can! A few drops of vanilla on a cotton ball placed strategically in a room works also.
These are just a few recipes that I use to get you started. There are loads of books out now that have non-toxic homemade cleaning recipes, mostly the “Green Living” kind. You can even make your own dishwasher detergent! I’ve found that I sometimes need to let the cleaner sit for a bit or use a bit more elbow grease than I would with a commercial cleaner. But I think it’s worth it!
Not only can you save money, but you can control the amount of chemicals that are used in your home!