Curbly Recession Busters: Cleaning Your House on the Cheap!

Curbly Recession Busters: Cleaning Your House on the Cheap!

The wisenheimers among us might say the best way to save money on cleaning supplies is not to clean. That, however, is not an option. You can be broke and clean. (Just ask any depression-era housekeeper.) In an effort to embrace those wise and frugal practices, here’s 14 little ways to save big bucks on cleaning day.

  • First, the obvious: Make your own cleaning supplies. The internet is replete with websites featuring homemade–and very likely earth friendly–cleaning solution recipes. Among some of my favorites are Care2, Green Your and Easy-Homemade-Recipes.
  • Don’t want to make your own cleaning supplies? Stop getting nickled and dimed with all those ‘specialty’ cleaning products and buy one concentrated, all purpose cleaner and use it everywhere. One of my favorites is Home Soap.
  • Skip furniture polish completely. Okay if you have heavy sticky finger print marks, you could make your own, but for most applications a damp micro fiber cleaning cloth is all you really need.
  • Make your own Swiffers. You can make them out of fleece or even knit or crochet them. Can’t afford the fleece? Not to worry; you can use an old terrycloth face cloth or even a section cut from an old sweatshirt. And yes, you can make your own Swiffer Dusters too!
  • Using newspapers to clean mirrors and windows is an old money-saving idea, but I hate doing it. The newspapers don’t get into the windows’ corners, for one thing. Instead, I still use paper towels with the aid of an old terry face cloth. By doing this,  I can clean all the windows in my house with about 4 paper towels. How? I give a quick, preliminary clean with window spray and paper towel and then follow up with a very light spray and then a rub down with the terry cloth. It works great as it buffs out those inevitable streaks when using paper towels alone.
  • Skip the expensive toilet bowl cleaner. And the brush for that matter. Yes, really. Don a pair of rubber gloves, sprinkle some inexpensive abrasive cleanser in your porcelain bowl and use a paper towel to get in there and get cleaning. Per the ladies on How Clean is Your House? (BBC), using a toilet brush means always having leftover ‘fecal’ matter on the brush, which means cooties incubate in your brush & brush holder. Okay, everyone together now....Ewww!
  • Addicted to those very handy cleaning wipes? You can make a homemade version of those too.
  • You can make your own carpet deodorizer,
  • and lemon-scented air freshener, as well.
  • Clogged sink? Before you spend the cash on spendy Drain-O, try a simple vinegar and baking soda technique to unclog those drains. To freshen them, drop some citrus rinds in the dispose-all.
  • Taking a cue from those depression-era folk, you could skip the automatic dryer and dry your clothes on a clothes line. You can’t much ‘greener’ than that.
  • Spot clean ASAP! When you see an offending mark on upholstery and carpeting, you really need to address it immediately before it sets. It’s the best way to forestall a call to the expensive pros.
  • For the non-allergic, you can re-use vacuum cleaner bags with the help of an exacto-knife and some duct tape.
  • And finally, the best way to save cash on cleaning: Implement a no shoe rule. Make a sign to let everyone know that, although they are welcome, their shoes are not. Your floors will stay cleaner longer, which will not only save you money, but time as well.

If you have money-saving cleaning hints to add to this list, we’d love to hear them!

'Make yourself at home!' courtesy of allposters.com. 'Please Remove Your Shoes' courtesy of oceanic.com.


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DIY Maven on Nov 06, 2008:

Thanks jimoppihle! That's great advice. I'd encourage you write up it up as a regular post so more people see it!

jimoppihle on Nov 05, 2008:

ive been saving  30 plus per month by puting an extra surge protector on my desk top.I plug it into regular one. in the first one i plug in modom,surge protector and wireless router. the second one has all other plugs for tower,monitor etc. to run man desk. I leave printer unpluged while not in use.these all run on stand by and use power. feel the top of your monitor when off    its hot .     leaving printer unpluged also keeps the ink from drying out from the heat. I just flip the switch on the second surge protector when not in use   save   save   save    good luck   jro

bravelittlesoul on Nov 04, 2008:

Great post. I also use washcoths on my swiffer. They work way better and really pick up stains faster. I also use baking soda and vinegar in my drains once a month.

DIY Maven on Oct 28, 2008:

My pleasure, dewonangus!

dewonangus on Oct 28, 2008:

Great post ... thanks! 

DIY Maven on Oct 28, 2008:

Thanks belle! Glad you like it!

bellesouth on Oct 28, 2008:

This is awesome. Especialy since I suck at cleaning and always find myself buying way-too-expensive cleaning supplies.

I'm loving/stumbling/sharing/whatevering this post for all my lady-friends.


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