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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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