Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to Save Money Cleaning: 4 Simple Tips

It's true.  I absolutely LOVE saving money.


This obsession love carries over into most areas of my life - clothes, furniture, decorating, eating out..... The list could go on, but I think you get the idea.

I've also found 4 simple ways to save money when cleaning around the house that I'm sharing with you today!

1. Ditch the Paper Towels

Yep.  You read that right.  Ditch'em - at least when cleaning.

Let's do a quick cost comparison, shall we? I did all of this online, and added the links for you to see. (I'll also apologize for my nerdy-ness in this section.)

I personally use Bounty Paper Towels.

On Amazon they cost roughly $2.85 per roll.

When cleaning a bathroom, I can easily go through about 1/4 of a roll or more, depending on how dirty it is.  And all of those paper towels get tossed in the trash.  That ends up being about $.71 per cleaning.  (I might add here we have 3 full bathrooms.)

A pack of basic cotton washcloths costs about $.58 per cloth.

Wanna go fancy and get microfiber cloths?

That will put your cost even lower at $.40 per cloth.

"But wait!", you say, "You aren't factoring in the cost of washing all these cloths once we finish using them!"

Well, here's the breakdown on that. (Based on what I use.)

Laundry detergent figures out to be about $.18 per load (according to loads per box).

Even if only the cleaning washcloths where in a load - all by their lonesome- it's a very minimal amount per load.  And more often than not, they will be included in a load of towels you already had to wash.

Remember, too, that paper towels are (typically) a one time use item.

So, even if you find a roll of great quality paper towels for $.40, the same cost of one microfiber cloth,  it will have been used and thrown in the trash, and you will be constantly repeating this process of throwing away money. The reusable cloths will be available for possibly years. 

2. Buy Concentrated Cleaners

It's no secret that when purchasing most cleaners, you're going to be paying for all the added water the manufacturer puts in the bottle.

I'll agree, it's convenient in some ways.  But, it's not the most cost effective.

Think about how much you paid for your last bottle of window/glass cleaner.  Or how about your last bottle of all-purpose cleaner. Or any other cleaner you have in your home.  Now think about how often you have to replace those cleaners.

Most cleaners you buy off the store shelf are going to have a high percentage of water in the bottle and very little actual cleaner.  It's necessary for the cleaner to have a vehicle, though. Many products also have dyes and fragrances added.  So the actual amount of cleaner you are paying for is very minimal. Why spend $3 on a 24 oz bottle of water with a small amount of cleaner added?

Save money by adding your own water at home to a concentrated cleaner for pennies.  Even mixing a vinegar solution is a more economical route than store bought.  (Be careful when cleaning with vinegar, though, as it is an acid and causes corrosion and dulls finishes.)

3. Only Clean What is Dirty

Can we all agree that this mirror

needs a good cleaning? (My son loves to use this mirror and leave his little prints behind!)

Pretty obvious, right?

How about this?

Yes? No? Maybe?

It really isn't a trick question.  The second mirror does not need to be cleaned.   There's nothing there to clean off the glass.

I know this sounds so simple; but, this is a place I found myself in several years ago.  I would just be buzzing right along, spraying everything in sight, and scrubbing away imaginary dirt.  Sure it made me feel accomplished, but I was just wasting a lot of time, effort, and cleaning product.

So, here's my advice.  Take a good look at what you're getting ready to clean and make sure it really needs that cleaning.  If not, move on to the next item saving you both money and effort.

4. Use the Right Cleaner for the Job (or no cleaner at all)

Cleaning up a greasy mess?  Grab a degreaser.  Toothpaste on the bathroom mirror?  Pull out that glass cleaner.  Have a tough, stuck on nasty mess?  Open up a good scouring cleaner. You get the idea, right?

Did you know that sometimes a cleaning job doesn't require a cleaner?!

Have I completely shocked you with this one?!  Yes, I know, I SELL cleaners and I'm telling you NOT to use them.  CRAZY!

But here's the deal.... not every cleaning job requires a cleaner.

Why pull out the disinfecting cleaner and liberally douse the table where your 5 year old ate a few crackers?  It just isn't necessary!!  Grab a dry cloth and sweep the crumbs into the trash and be done with it.  Cracker crumbs do not equal a 'crime scene' as a popular commercial likes to talk about.  (I personally don't know of anyone who has ever had to clean up such a thing, either.)

If a dry cloth won't clean the mess, see if a warm, wet cloth will take care of it.  It's amazing what water - a natural solvent- will do! We do this all the time when cleaning the table after meals - even when there's syrup on the table top from 5 kids devour pancakes. Once you get past the infant and toddler phases in your family, it becomes easier and easier to clean up.

The same principles apply to ovens, stovetops, glass and mirrors, and whole house and bathroom disinfecting. Find the right cleaner to clean the mess.

Using the wrong cleaner will end up wasting not only your money, but your time as well.  Several popular cleaners require you to make sure you wash your hands after using their cleaning cloths.  Many spray cleaners also suggest rinsing the area they are used to clean- essentially having you clean the area twice.  One step for me, please! (Be sure to read the directions on whatever you decide to use.)

Ok, so there you have my 4 Simple Tips for Saving Money When Cleaning.  I'd love to hear from you and know what you think of these tips or any tips you might have to share.  Leave a comment below and let me know what you liked best and feel free to share this information with others!

Keep loving Life!

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