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Cutting Household Expenses: How To Save Money On Cleaning Products

Updated on February 1, 2012


If you open most people’s cupboards and cabinets, I imagine you could find at least 15 cleaning products in them.

If you stroll down the cleaning products aisles at the store, it’s actually overwhelming how many products we have to clean different things.

There are products to clean windows, right next to products that clean countertops but not every countertop…maybe just granite countertops. There’s another product right next to that that cleans "multiple surfaces", and next to that a product that is just for cleaning wood….and on and on it goes.

Put several of those items into your cart and you’re probably going to spend at least $20. Now add to the cart some swiffers for dusting your floor, some dish washing liquid for the dishwasher and some dish washing soap for other dishes, some laundry detergent, some Lysol wipes for the kitchen counter, some bathroom cleaners...…

Do you see where I’m going? What is this fixation we have on cleaning products? Yes, I believe that cleanliness is next to godliness, or at least that cleanliness is extremely important, but do we need all these products? For crying out loud no wonder our landfills are filling up at an alarming rate!

Let’s look at some tips to cut the products or at least make this aspect of our life easier....with the added bonus that you can save money as well as the environment with less product usage and less plastic to get rid of!



Make a list of what you actually need to clean.

A good habit to get into is keeping things clean all along. Then you avoid huge cleaning jobs.

A little daily maintenance on wiping down surfaces, cleaning up messes can save you overwhelming tasks later on.

Always think of multiple use cleaners. Dish soap is actually a great all-purpose cleaning product because you can use it to clean tubs, sinks, countertops, appliances. Just scrub, rinse and dry if necessary.

Think of all you’ve saved by not buying multiple products for cleaning this surface and that surface!



  • Window cleaning spray can also be a great all purpose cleaner depending on what product you buy.  I buy Glass Plus (the generic equivalent) and I use that to clean appliances, windows, even wood surfaces when I dust (I don’t spray it on the wood, but rather spray just a bit on a cloth and go over the wood lightly and quickly).   I use furniture polish at other times on the wood but only lightly. 
  • Use good old fashioned SOS pads to attack things like the BBQ grill or oven racks.  They cost very little and work well with a little elbow grease.  I have a self-cleaning oven and just use a little scrub to get off anything that doesn’t come off in the cleaning process. 
  • Use detergents free of additives and fragrance and use the absolute minimal amount in full loads of wash.  Fabric softener sheets are not a necessity and you can save a lot of money not using them.....or use one multiple times.   
  • Make your own cleaning products.  You can make your own window cleaner, furniture polish, or use common items like lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar to replace expensive products.  Check out the recipes below.
  • Use less paper towels and use more newspaper to clean and dry glass surfaces. 
  • Cut up old towels, tee shirts, dish towels and other worn out fabrics to use as cleaning rags and towels, including car washing cloths.  No one should ever have to buy cleaning rags or polishing cloths!  Even use old towels and worn out clothes for painting rags and drop cloths.



Vinegar makes a great all-purpose, all surface cleaner. Use 1 part water and 1 part vinegar.

Put in a spray bottle and use it to not only clean most surfaces but also deodorize and disinfect! The only place it isn’t good is on marble surfaces.

Clean tubs, toilets, sinks with it. Use full strength vinegar in toilets to get rid of rings.

Vinegar and water solution makes a great tile cleaner and a floor cleaner. Just don’t use it straight except in your toilet bowl.

Clean counters, appliances and the kitchen floor with it.

You can use vinegar as a fabric softener. It also works as a color sealer on dark clothes. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle (instead of fabric softener).

Vinegar also cuts the skin irritants that some people have from laundry detergents.



Lemon juice works on soap scum and will also clean copper or brass. 

Mix lemon juice with vinegar and baking soda to make a scrubbing paste for stains or surfaces like sinks. 

Mix lemon juice with olive oil to make a great natural furniture polish for pennies! 

Also send it through the garbage disposal for a great clean smell.  (Or use oranges)



Instead of buying products like Comet cleanser, try baking soda. It’s cheap and it’s effective. Use it as a scrubbing cleanser.

Also baking soda as a deodorizer in your freezer and fridge.

**Remember to cycle out the boxes after a few months.

Sprinkle baking soda in smelly tennis shoes or use it to deodorize cat boxes.





  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Mix together in a clean new spray bottle. To use, remember to shake before each application. Apply a small portion to your cleaning cloth. Spread the polish over the furniture, trying to polish evenly. Use another clean cloth to polish the surface dry.



  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Using isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray glass and mirror cleaner that competes with national brands. This can also be used to give a nice shine to hard tiles, chrome, and other surfaces too!



In short, there are several things you can do to save money on cleaning products. Here are a few more:

  • Clip coupons in newspapers and on products
  • Write or email companies and ask for free samples or coupons
  • Use generic – they’re just the same as name brands
  • Try and cut out at least 1 or 2 cleaning products per month and narrow down how many you buy
  • Buy at warehouse stores if the unit price is better and divide up with friends or relatives
  • Check out the Dollar Store – sometimes it’s cheaper to buy the $1 sizes
  • Buy refills whenever possible (if the unit pricing is better) – you’re paying for the squirt bottle
  • Recycle all containers that you can (check the bottom for numbers – 1 and 2 are recyclable at the curb)
  • Store your cleaning products appropriately to avoid waste
  • Use regular mops and dust mops instead of purchasing disposable

If you have other money saving ideas on how to trim the budget when it comes to household products and cleaners, please feel free to share them with all of us in the comment section below.  


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    • profile image

      JoanMcGuire 6 years ago

      Vinegar and lemon are great assets in any house! Still, people need to realize tat mechanical cleaning is a must if one wants to avoid all of the expensive and dangerous chemicals that are sold in the supermarket.

    • AJReissig profile image

      Alex J. Reissig 6 years ago from New Richmond, Ohio

      Great hub! You have some great advice on household cleaners.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Good deal, Hanna!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Lemon or vinigar which ever I got are doing a great job.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Susie42 - I agree!

    • SUSIE42 profile image

      SUSIE42 7 years ago

      It's amazing what you can do to save money.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks chspublish for the read and for the agreement with my philosophy...I do believe across the board that less is always more!

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 7 years ago from Ireland

      It's so true what you support here - we should spend less and use more more ordinary items for cleaning. Thanks.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Om - and I hear you on the vinegar - we use it a lot when we have the puppies as puppies and it does thankfully dissipate quickly!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Lots of nifty tips here! I use baking soda and vinegar to clean my tub and toilet, too. One downside is that strong vinegar tends to have a sour odor, but luckily it doesn't take too long for the smell to dissipate. Rated this awesome. :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for stopping by, Crystolite!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Informative hub,thanks for sharing

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Glad to know someone else uses 'natural' stuff, Pamela - so many products are just toxic! Also glad I could add to your list of what to do with what!

      Eiddwen - Thanks so much and hope so!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub that I'm sure will benefit many !! Useful/up for this one.

      Take care


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      I have been using vinegar and baking soda and other household products for cleaning for quite a while now. So many cleaning products have carcinogens in them which is why I made the change. Your article is very informative and gave me even more ideas, particularly for using vinegar. Voted/rated up.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Nellie for leaving your helpful comments! I just get so exasperated when I look at the number of products we have at our disposal....and what disposal? Just too many chemicals and think we should probably get back to some of the old fashioned ways. The video above also talks about the changes with antibiotics not being effective too because of the 'sanitizing' we do. Anyhow, thanks for your support as always!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, Audrey, you got some great ideas here, I remember not having anything to clean my sink in my bathroom, so out of desperation I used normal soap! I got the bar and rubbed it all over the sink, left it for a moment then scrubbed, and would you believe it! it came out great! I always use rags for cleaning, and I tend to use the same stuff for different things, I don't like using loads of chemical things so the above is great! rated up and very useful! cheers nell

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Will - I know cleaning like the back of my hand! Or was that the front?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Another very informative and useful Hub!

      Up and awesome.