When I was a kid, cleaning the house meant getting out bottles and cans of various products. There was a cabinet full of furniture polish, tub cleaner, window cleaners, disinfectant sprays, disinfectant wipes, and even a product for removing dust. Cleaning the house took forever! When I became an adult, it became clear that I didn’t need any of these products or rituals. So what are my favorite hacks to save time and money cleaning?
Sure, you can keep an empty house. Or get your kids to do the dirty work (they make most of the mess, anyway). But chances are you have a house full of stuff that constantly needs to be cleaned.
In 2017, American families spent $600 a year on cleaning products (that’s $40-$50 a month!). One of the ways we’ve reduced our grocery bill is to stop buying unnecessary (and expensive) cleaning products).
At my house, we do purchase laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. When the toilet needs a thorough cleaning, we also use toilet cleaner. But for everything else, we keep it simple:
All the products we use are:
Vinegar and water mixture in a spray bottle
Rubbing alcohol and water mixture in a spray bottle
Detergent for washing dishes by hand (e.g., Dawn)
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Baking soda and oil mixture
Microfiber cloth (or old clothes or towels)
You may have noticed that paper towels are not on this lists. As a child, I remember going through rolls of paper towels for cleaning windows and mirrors. Not any more. I also don’t use disposable Swiffer clothes – they are expensive, unnecessary, and produce waste! Instead, we use reusable cloths or upcycle old towels.
Related Article: Things I Don’t Buy Anymore
Here’s how we use them:
|Oven cleaner||Vinegar & water|
|Window and Mirror cleaner||Alcohol & water (it does not leave a streak!)|
|Stainless steel cleaner||Alcohol & water|
|Granite cleaner||Alcohol & water|
|Tub cleaner (for weekly cleaning)||Alcohol & water*|
|Sanitizing Knobs/Light switches/Counters||Alcohol & water*|
|Weekly toilet cleaning||Dish detergent in toilet (smells good, too)|
|Dusting and Wiping||Microfiber cloth or old towels|
|Removing Writing/Coloring/Scuff marks from Doors/Walls/Baseboards||Magic eraser|
|“Mopping” Laminate & Tile floors||Steamer with distilled water|
|Cleaning drains||Baking soda & hot water|
|Removing sticker residue (to upcycle jars)||Baking soda & cooking oil|
*Vinegar and water can be used in place of alcohol and water for most things. The advantage of the rubbing alcohol mix is that it doesn’t streak and the smell disappears in a fraction of the time.
By using the same products on multiple surfaces, it makes cleaning a breeze. I basically spray every hard surface with the alcohol and water mixture, then wipe it off. It’s that easy! No more gloves, caddies full of products, or switching back and forth between the proper wipe.
Not only do using these products save money and reduce waste, they also result in fewer chemicals in our home and in our planet.
Related Article: Save Money, Save the World
Keep Surfaces Clear
Have you ever noticed how peaceful hotel rooms look and how quickly they can be cleaned? It’s because they are not cluttered with stuff.
Even if we haven’t cleaned all week, my house still looks nice on a regular basis simply because we keep our surfaces clear. (This is excluding my daughter’s room, of course. She refuses to pick up her toys! I don’t know where she came from.)
Simplifying your life can save not only money (by buying less stuff), but also time cleaning and organizing.
Cleaning counters and dusting cabinets is a breeze when they are not cluttered with stuff. Every time you have to move something (or even if you’re lazy, taking the time to go around it), you are adding time and energy to the cleaning process.
Related article: How to Start Decluttering: Physical Clutter
If you’re like me and love having a clean space but hate spending time and money cleaning, keep it simple. A spray bottle with some rubbing alcohol can clean and disinfect almost any surface. It’s also inexpensive, better for the environment, and you likely already have it in your bathroom cabinet. Keeping counters clear and decluttering your house can also save time and money cleaning – because there’s less to clean!
What are your favorite cleaning hacks?