November 3

Today, I am going to tell you all about how I save money on my cleaning supplies.

My cleaning supplies are going to sound really ‘green’.   And they are.   I use them not because I subscribe to ‘going green’, (there is nothing wrong with that at all) but because ‘going green’ is very cheap tightwaddish frugal.

My cleaning supply list looks like this.

  • vinegar (disinfectant)
  • ammonia (degreaser)
  • baking soda (mild abrasive and deodorizer)
  • hot water
  • alcohol (disinfectant)

You can clean anything with these products.  Notice that I don’t use bleach to clean with.   Vinegar is a much better anti-bacterial than bleach.   It cleans deeper than bleach and is less toxic.   Plus I don’t much care for the smell of it.  The only down fall is that it takes longer for it to disinfect than bleach.

You don’t have to purchase ‘green’ cleaning products.   Make your own.

My basic cleaning recipe is this.

To one gallon of hot water, add…

  • ½ c. ammonia
  • 1/3 c. vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. baking soda

Many people don’t like the smell of ammonia.   The smell dissipates, but for those that want to make it smell ‘clean’ or what the advertising companies have deluded you into thinking ‘clean’ smells like, you can use essential oils.

These are the ones that I use. (I also use the Lavender oil for the girls hives.   I put it straight on her skin and it instantly relives the itch)

I use this to mop floors, wash walls, clean sinks, toilets, anything and everything.

Anything and everything except the tub.

The tub is my weakness.   I have bad knees, and to clean a tub, you must get on your knees.   I know I could purchase one of those long handled thingies, but that is just another expense.

For my tub, I use Comet’s tub cleaner. (It is what works for me) I also use a mesh scrubbie thingie to scrub the tub with.   It does all the work for me, so I am not on my knees any longer than necessary.

I have priced this at all the Dollar stores, and even Odd Lots.   It is cheaper to purchase it at Stuffmart for me.   It might not be so in your area.

And while we are talking about Dollar Stores, for me, they don’t save me any money.   Just about everything in the Dollar stores are at least .03 cheaper at Stuffmart. (except for gift wrapping supplies~~I heart the Dollar store for that)  Three cents might not seem like a lot, but over time it adds up.

For windows, I pour 1 cup of alcohol (or vinegar) into the bottom of a 32 oz. squirt bottle (found in the cleaning isle of Stuffmart or reuse a rinsed out Windex bottle) and fill it up with water.   Alcohol provides a streak free shine…so does vinegar.

Dusting~~sigh~~I hate dusting.

So…whenever I do actually dust, ~~blech~~ I use a wool duster on everything that isn’t antique or real wood.   For those,  I use 1 c. olive oil and ½ c. lemon juice or vinegar.   The juice/vinegar pulls the dirt out of the tiny cracks and crevices in your wood, and the oil feeds it.  Put this in a squirt bottle, making sure you shake it before each use.

I really need to dust this house….double blech!

Now for laundry.

I have tried almost every brand of laundry soap, I have even made my own, and what I have found is that Tide is the best laundry soap out there.   I purchase Tide in bulk, when it goes on sale, with coupons.   I don’t purchase it any other way.  When I’m in a really bad way, or have a coupon, Purex is my second choice.

Also, if you notice there is a black line on the lid of my Tide.   I only use ½ of the least recommended amount.  I do this with everything.  You don’t need to use all that soap.  Just because the manufactures have a ‘recommended’ amount, doesn’t mean that is exactly what you should use.   This only serves them.   You use more, so you purchase more, so they make more money.

Suds don’t necessarily equal clean.    Your washing machine can not get all that extra soap out, unless you do extra rinses.   What mostly gets your clothes clean is the agitation of them.

I only wash in cold.   Hot water is twice as expensive as cold water.

I also use Clorox Bleach.   I have tried no-name brands of bleach, but each and every one of them tend to yellow my clothing.   Clorox doesn’t do that.   I want my clothing to look nice.

There is also a bottle of vinegar up there.   I use vinegar as a rinse for my towels.  I scent my vinegar with Rosemary and Mint essential oils.     Liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets leave a film on towels and cause towels not to be able to absorb as much liquid.

You can use vinegar as a rinse for all your laundry, but uhhh…I’m still a Princess in hiding, and I like my clothes to smell perfumed.

Mrs. Stuarts blueing.    I use it in my whites.    I dilute 3 drops in a cupful of water and put it in during the rinse cycle.   This makes my whites look whiter.   Your great-grandmothers used this too.

Last but not least, I make my own stain remover.   I have used this for well over 12 years now, and it gets everything out except for tomato based stains.   For tomato based stains, it lightens them.   If anyone knows of a product that gets out tomato based stains completely let me know.

Here is what I use.

Equal parts of

  • Tide
  • water
  • vinegar
  • ammonia

Mix and put in a squirt bottle.   Squirt your stains and scrub them lightly between your knuckles.

I use a solar dryer.   It is the most frugal way to dry your clothes, and it is better for the environment too.

These things are what works for me.   They are frugal (mostly) and non-toxic (mostly).

What works for you?

What do you do in these areas to save money?

What are your favorite frugal cleaning products?  I’d love to know.

Especially what you use in your tub.



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Just an average wife, mother, and homeschooling woman

23 thoughts on “November 3”

  1. Thanks for the great info! I just bought all natural cleaning products that were basically what you have just described. I think that I will just try and make them myself next time. And it’s not all-natural, but the only thing that I may not give up is “The Works” for the tub and shower. It’s the best thing that I have found to clean our water stains.

  2. I use alot of the same cleaners as you. The detergent that we can use so not to active allergies is the detergent from Aldi’s. Of course, always use half the amount called for. Cold water wash also does not fade the clothing.
    For dusting -allergies rule again- we spray window cleaner on the cloth and dust away. It does not hurt your furniture in the least. And there is none of that waxy build up on it either. Have used it in my home (and furniture store) for years.
    The tub cleaning is off limits to me as it just needs harsh chemicals sometimes. So Hubs usually does it for me when I am out of the house for a few hours. Allergies rule again but for once its an useful way! lol

  3. Lots of good tips…I’m taking note.

    I certainly agree with you about the name brands Tide and Clorox…I don’t mess with anything else. My clothes last forever…longer than I want them to.

    Recently, I started making my own bathroom personal cleansers, but that’s too personal so I’ll stop right there.

  4. I simply cannot tolerate the smell of ammonia, no matter what it’s scented with.

    Everyone should be aware that you never, EVER mix ammonia with bleach. The resultant gas that’s created will kill you. Seriously.

    I love to use the bottled Lysol. The Farmer says it smells like a hospital but it does a good job.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  5. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers have changes my life when it comes to the bathtub. No more scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing, *sigh* and scrubbing some more. These aren’t exactly frugal but beats soap scum like you wouldn’t believe.

  6. We use lavender oil for the skin too. Also for relaxing. I use peppermint oil almost every day for sinus and headache relief. It is also good for a stomach ache. My friends just got into the essential oils and she has an oil for everything:)

  7. I’m making almost all my stuff these days. I make my own window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and I scrub my tubs with baking soda. I just bought, from etsy, things that I can reuse with my swiffer sweeper, duster, and wet-jet (when my current stash is gone). I still keep commercial laundry soap and dishwasher det. around to use occasionally, but I also use less than the recommended amount. I love making my own and hopefully it will save tons.

    We have a surplus store in our town that sells dented canned goods el-cheapo! I love it!

  8. I didn’t know about the bleach and ammonia gas secret. I almost did it this summer, until my mom stopped me. Good thing! (I’m 30+ and I didn’t know this!!!) In my apartment, I have a glass shower. It has hard water stains all over it and I don’t know how to get it clean. I know there’s a commercial product in the US that’s good for that but I can’t get most commercial products here in South America. Got any vinegar/baking soda/ammonia like suggestions for that?
    Love your blog!

  9. hey cc loved your post. Can I copy all your comments to print off as well as your post today? I need all the help I can get – thanks for the info!

  10. I use vinegar as my rinse.
    I also use half or less of what any cleaning product says, including dishwashing power and toothpaste.
    Until a couple years ago, I only used Tide detergent. Now I use Costco’s brand. It is much, much cheaper.
    I have no bathtub tricks….I use Comet and my kids like to clean the tub.

  11. I noticed you are still using toxic cleaners, but you can still get a good deep clean with ALL natural products (promise!).

    For your tub? Try this recipe: get a 22 oz squirt bottle and fill it to about the 18 oz mark with water, add 3 tablespoons of liquid soap (ivory or Dr. Bronner Sal Suds, any liquid soap without surfactants-they create unnneccesary suds)and 2 tbsp. vinegar, shake this up and you’re ready to go except for one more ingredient (and it’s magical)…baking soda! You spray the liquid onto the tub or toilet or sink (anywhere like that) and you sprinkle on some baking soda, scrub away and no more stains! And this is coming from a Comet user of 32 years! Sometimes I use only baking soda and that works wonders as well. Baking soda is a wonder scrubber, it even got spray paint off my car (that my 10 year old was experimenting with)! I got this recipe and a bunch of other amazingly “green” and very useful recipes from a book called “Clean House, Clean Planet”. Try it…you’ll love it and save a ton of money! (promise)

  12. Wow!! I am printing this and plan on making my own cleaning products. Thanks!!

    Do you pick up those Lavendar scents at Stuffmart/was that surfmart ((the memory is gone)) too?

  13. De-Solv-It is the best for getting out tomato or grease stains. Even when you have those dark shirts and you pull them out of the dryer and notice grease stains? Just spray the spots with DeSolvIt and wash again. Stains disappear! It is non-toxic citrus oil. I find it at Stuffmart sometimes, Home Depot at others. It’s worth hunting down…

    Enjoyed reading about your cleaning solutions…I, too, use hardly any chemical cleaners.

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