Thursday, November 13, 2014


Cleaning, surprisingly, costs us a lot of money.  We have to have one cleaner for wood, another for glass, an all-purpose, an abrasive, something for toilets, etc.  That doesn't even touch on sponges, cloths, brushes, or other instruments of delivery.  Nor does it address dishes or laundry.  So let's talk about savings in some of these areas.


Have you ever tried making your own dishwasher or laundry detergent?  I haven't done laundry yet, but I will need to sometime within the next few weeks.  I have made my own dishwasher detergent, though.  I made it over a year ago, and at only one tablespoon per load, I still have about 1/3 of the batch left!  The only caveat is that I've had to buy a lot more rinse aid than I ever have before, just to keep my glassware not only clean, but also looking clean (I always find coupons for Jet-Dri, though!).  Here are some detergent recipes to get you started:

Dishwasher Detergent (this is the one that I use, but I didn't bother with the Lemi-Shine or drink mix for fragrance) (and in case you're wondering about hard vs. soft water, I have very hard water, and this works just great!)
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Cubes (I think I might try these when my powdered stuff runs out)
Homemade Laundry Detergent

On pretty much each and every tutorial/recipe/blog post I've ever read about making your own detergent, it has said that you can just find washing soda (similar to, but different from, baking soda) in the laundry aisle.  I have never seen it in a store.  Ever.  I've heard rumors that you can sometimes find it at Walmart, and it is available on their website.  However, when I got mine, I actually bought it from a friend who had bought a package of three or four boxes of it on Amazon, which seemed to be the most reliable way to find it.  You can find it on Amazon here.


Dry cleaning.  Sometimes you just can't get around it.  But it's expensive, right?  Here is a tutorial on 3 Ways to Wash a Dry Clean Only Garment.

I can't remember the last time I used a dryer sheet at home.  Not for softening, not for static, and not for fragrance.  I use dryer balls exclusively.  Dryer balls serve many functions.  They get in between all your clothes, lifting and fluffing them nicely.  That helps them dry more effectively, and helps prevent both wrinkle and static.  All of that adds up to keeping cloth feeling softer as well.  Dryer balls do need to be replaced every so often, but the savings stretch out quite a bit.  There are a few different varieties as well:

the original "as seen on TV" dryer balls
aluminum foil dryer balls (great for absorbing static electricity) (and yes, they're safe -- my MIL uses them without any problems)
wool dryer balls (quieter than plastic, hypoallergenic, and they're more eco-friendly)
3 ways to make your own felted wool dryer balls (you don't need any sewing/crafting skill for these!) (the first method is the kind of dryer balls I have and love!)

If you still prefer actual fabric softener, you can still save money on it:

Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener Recipes Tested!
DIY Reusable Dryer Sheets


General cleaning. Instead of dish sponges, you can crochet or buy your own dish cloths. Here are some ideas for where to buy dish cloths:

Fjorn Scandinavian (super cute cloths!)
Amazon (an eco-friendly option)

Who doesn't love Mr. Clean Magic Erasers?  They're like a fountain of youth for cleaning walls of homes with young children -- a miracle potion!  But they're not cheap.  Compare a four-pack of the name brand original version at $3.47/box, with the generic "melamine foam" you can buy on eBay for $4.59 for a 30 count.

Swiffers are awesome.  They replace both broom and mop for regular (not deep-cleaning) use.  But replacing the cloth can add up over time.  You can make your own with fabric and some basic stitching.  Or you can even go way simpler than that with some of the suggestions found here: Homemade "Swiffer."

Homes in Northeast Ohio have beautiful hardwood floors, which offer a classic and timeless look, but also require maintenance.  In order to preserve the beauty and construction of true hardwood, you should use a hardwood-specific cleaner.  However, you can make your own that, again, has the dual benefit of being less expensive and all-natural: DIY Homemade Cleaners {Hardwood Floor Cleaner}.

There are a lot of cleaning products that you use regularly in your home that you can probably make, by purchasing ingredients instead of pre-made solutions.  When you do it this way, you know what's going into your cleaners, and you can save money by using the same ingredient for multiple cleaners.  Making it yourself also tends to produce a higher concentrate, which means you can make your solutions last longer than a store-bought product.  Plus, you get to turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab when you mix!  Here are 32 Brilliant Homemade Cleaning Recipes for a Frugal Household.


The last thing I want to share in the "cleaning" section is a book I came across several years ago.  My mom had this book, and it was so helpful that I asked her to send me a copy of it on my mission.  Technically, I suppose that was probably contraband, but it was helpful, and in no way distracting from preaching the Gospel.  Rather, it helped me keep my apartments clean and ready for the Spirit.  It's called Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean, and it's written by Linda Cobb, who has been widely recognized as the go-to cleaning expert for such television shows as Oprah, Dr. Phil, The View, The Today Show, and Live with Regis & Kelly.

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