Cleaning Supplies: A Quick Tip

Heather says:

Many people are gearing up for Spring Cleaning.  If you are among them, please do not run out to the store and invest in the latest and greatest cleaning supplies.  Take a good look wherever your store your supplies and use what is on hand.  You may be surprised by how many half empty bottles are lurking under your sinks.

If you run out in the middle refill an old bottle with white vinegar and water.  You may also be shocked by how much can be accomplished with a little hot water, dish soap, and elbow grease.  Challenge yourself to not buy any more cleaning supplies until you have run out of everything on hand.  Pocket that five or ten dollars and use it toward something else.


  1. JayMonster on March 17, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I was anxious to chime in (but obviously others beat me to it), about how not only is your advice great (as always) but the tip on the vinegar and water is fantastic. As a couple of people mentioned, when cleaning out the old…er… cleaners, it is also a great time to consider more eco-friendly alternatives. Seventh Generation, Sun and Earth, and other companies make some excellent products (for those that don’t want to mix their own) that are also earth (not to mention breathing) friendly. So when you say good-bye to those old products, take the time to consider earth friendly products next time around.

  2. tink on March 16, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Vinegar and water is not only cheap, but cleans BETTER than most cleaners on the market.

    Streak free shine on glass, most floors and appliances, straight vinegar and a toothbrush will clean the grunge from around faucets and such in an instant. Just be sure and rinse straight vinegar well as it can work as a corrosive.

    Ivy gave me the tip of straight vinegar and baking soda to clean grungy tubs with years of soap scum and it worked amazingly well!

    We clean 29 houses per month. We’ve cut our cleaning product bill to less than a third of what it used to be thanks to vinegar and baking soda.

    Our clients are thrilled with the results.

    There are always a few who don’t like the vinegar smell. In which case we grab an empty gallon milk jug, pour in one pint bottle of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of ammonia, a couple of drops of dish soap, and fill the rest of the bottle with cold water.

    For about 75 cents – you have a gallon of great all purpose cleaner for counters, glass, stoves and such. You can also use it on the outside of windows (with a car wash brush) and just hose off to rinse – no drying at all for a streak free

    Finally, though we already used rags for much of our cleaning, we switched over to microfibre cloth in place of terry or diapers. NO lint, reusable over and over and over NO more buying paper towels, swiffer clothes or dusting sprays. (other than lemon or orange oil for conditioning wood)

    In most homes all we use now is vinegar,

    Now if I could just come up with a disposable toilet scrubber that didn’t cost a fortune I’d be rich!

  3. Debbie on March 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan is a great resource as you really don’t need a lot of chemicals to clean your home…bonus cleaning green is cleaning cheap!! Vinegar and baking soda work in most cleaning situations.
    Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)

  4. N. & J. on March 14, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I would definitely recommend that people switch out to eco friendly options once their traditional cleaning products run out. Besides Method and Seventh Generation you can check out Ecover and Mrs. Meyer’s. You could also just keep using the vinegar and baking soda.


  5. Danetta on March 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I am really enjoying all aspects of your blog but I was really glad to see when you started this line of thinking. Thanks!

  6. Lisa- Domestic Accident on March 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I am addicted to Method’s products. They smell the best. I’ve also recently tried some Shaklee cleaning products which are expensive, but go a long way.

    I am guilty of stock piling in case I run out. Every year, I gather all the extra, sealed bottles and donate it to the food pantry. Who likes spending money to clean (except me?)?

  7. Heather on March 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Heh I can’t win. If I had said more money my frugal pals would have to pick their jaws up off the floor, so I estimated low.

    7th Generation has a line of natural cleaning products. Also Method is at Target.

    I still stand by Bar Keeper’s friend, as it’s a little stronger than Baking Soda. It contains oxalic acid, which is commonly found in food, albeit not as concentrated. It’s relatively harmless and is recommended for cookstoves and stainless cookware. Obviously rinse it well before using it for cooking again.

  8. janjanmom on March 14, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I use vinegar and water for everything!! I add baking soda to do my bathtub and it just sparkles. No chemicals soak into our skin when we take a hot bath either.

    $5-$10 probably would not make a dent in most people’s cleaning supply shopping.

    If I could only find an all-natural replacement for the dishwasher, washing machine, and doing dishes I would be a happy frugal camper!!

    Thanks for these posts!! You inspire me.

  9. Mrs.W on March 14, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Vinegar & water is a great suggestion. Also baking soda is a wonderful abrasive that doesn’t ruin the finish on stoves, etc.

  10. Heather on March 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Carrie, almost worse than the hope of new stuff, is the saving of old stuff. I am really bad about “I’ll save this for when I REALLY need it.”
    As if there weren’t a million bottles of it available if I truly needed it in the future.

  11. Carrie_in_TN on March 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Guilty of buying cleaners before the old ones are done…They’re like hope in a bottle — the smell, the color, the promise of easy and efficient clean-up!
    Thanks for the nudge to break my addiction.

  12. Awesome Mom on March 14, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I am horrible about this! We are moving this summer and I plan on starting with a clean slate at the new house.

  13. malia on March 14, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Great tips! I’m definitely guilty of buying cleaning supplies I don’t really need. I’ll be Spring Cleaning (after Easter, like Ivy mentioned) and now I’ll resist the urge to “stock up” on cleaners and just use what I’ve got!

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