Using homemade creations to clean the house not only will save money cleaning but is a great way to protect the health of your family
Sometimes people will ask me if I really save money cleaning by using household items instead of just going out and buying the pre-made store products. They imagine it takes loads of time mixing stuff together and that the homemade cleaning items never live up to the hype.
So is it worth it to make your own homemade cleaning products and do you really save that much money?
Absolutely, Without a Doubt, Unquestionably and…YES!
From necessity to saving money cleaning
I began to clean with homemade creations years ago when out of necessity. Finances are tight with any new family and I found that the cheap store cleaners were so weak I had to use twice as much and a lot of elbow grease. I developed some real “guns” on these arms but was spending way over budget.
Then all the news about the ozone layer started coming out and I thought, “If the chemicals in cleaning products are able to do that, what are they doing to my family by breathing them in every day?” It was a real wake-up call.
Looking into some of the homemade cleaning alternatives, I found that I could save a ton of money, get the house cleaner than it ever was and take care of my family’s health – all with the one proverbial stone (though I would never think about killing two birds with it!)
My favorite homemade cleaning creations to save money cleaning
One of my favorite ways to save money cleaning is by using aluminum foil instead of dryer sheets. A roll of aluminum foil is a dollar at The Dollar Store and I can re-use the same sheets for weeks. I tear off three pieces of foil and crumple one into a little ball, shiny side out. I then crumple another sheet around it, again shiny side out, and then repeat with the last sheet. This goes into the dryer and will get the static out just as well as any store-bought static sheet.
I can purchase 80 sheets of dryer sheets at the Dollar Store for $1 but the entire box only lasts a couple of weeks because I have to use at least 3 sheets to get the static out. One ball of aluminum foil lasts just as long and costs almost nothing.
Another trick I have used over the years is citrus peels; oranges, lemons and limes. Do not throw these away – anymore than you would throw a dollar into the trash can. Put them in your blender so they are chopped up well. Put it in a pint jar and fill the jar with vinegar. Put the lid on nice and tight and leave for a few weeks. Give it a good shake every few days to mix up the peelings and vinegar. After three weeks, strain it with some old hosiery or a strainer and put the liquid in a spray bottle.
Now here you do need to be careful on what you can use vinegar to clean. I have read some places that say vinegar can take the shine off of your wood floors, but others say it’s safe. I would ere on the side of caution. I use this mixture only on my counter tops, kitchen appliances, windows and glass. But they shine beautifully and smell wonderful. Understand though that twice as much vinegar does not equal twice the cleaning power. When using a spray to clean picture glass, spray on the cloth first and then wipe the glass. Otherwise you run the risk of water getting under your glass and ruining the picture.
The orange peels are free since I love to eat oranges anyway. The vinegar is $1.69 for an entire gallon and I only use one cup for the homemade cleaner. That means I pay about a dime for my spray cleaner, how much does yours cost?
Cleaning with rubbing alcohol can be just as good a disinfectant as anything you find at Walmart. Put just a little disinfectant on a clean cloth and wipe down any changing tables, cribs, bathroom or anywhere else germs are going to lurk. Using a spray bottle to disinfect baby toys, wiping them off and letting them air dry, is a great way to keep germs from getting your baby sick. Using a pair of cleaning gloves isn’t absolutely necessary but I like to anyway.
Never throw away those old T-shirts, flannel shirts or towels. These are your basic cleaning supplies and have saved me from buying cleaning rags since Reagan was President!
Cleaning your wood surfaces is a little trickier. A very lightly water moistened towel should be used and that's all. Water is not a woods best friend. You can use a cap full of vinegar dissolved in water for your dining room table but that would be about it. Then wipe off the solution with a damp towel and air dry. Again, do not saturate the wood on the table. Just try to use coasters under drinks, and felt pads under anything that will be sitting on your wood furniture.
As with a lot of ways to save money and live frugally, you are not going to be going to Tahiti on the money you save by making homemade cleaning creations but it does save money cleaning every week. I haven’t spent on store cleaning products in ages but can tell you I save at least $5 a week from what I see other people spending. That adds up to more than $250 a year and is one of my biggest money savers.
I hope it helps you save as much as it’s helped me. The Frugal Grandma
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.