Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks
I’m a sucker for brand-name cleaning supplies, and while it’s no crime to be brand-loyal and use what works best for you and your family, often times there are shortcuts that can cut back on cleaning time – and out-of-pocket expenses. The July issue of All You Magazine had several inspiring ways to get your cleaning jobs done for less. Here are my top picks, along with some additional ways to stretch that dollar!
1. Sanitize your Sponges
Synthetic sponges and kitchen cloths are super-convenient to have on hand, but we all know that after just a few uses, they can get a bit funky-smelling. Instead of throwing them out and buying new ones (a total waste of money), or just tossing them into the wash (which doesn’t always work,) why not use this clever tip from? Fill up your kitchen sink with hot water, add one cup of bleach, and toss those stinky things right in! Bacteria will be gone for good, leaving your sponges fresh-smelling again. (You’ll also have a shinier sink to show for it!)
2. Measure it
Are you using 2x or more concentrated detergent? Chances are good that the products you use today are twice as potent as the ones we used years ago. Pay careful attention to measure out only what you need to get your cleaning tasks done efficiently (read the label and the fill lines, first.) Not only are you saving money by avoiding unnecessary over-portioning, but you can save your clothes and other household surfaces from an early demise. Too much cleaner can be harmful!
3. Sweep it up
I know a trick for using that popular sweeping tool without buying the expensive refill cloths. Simply cut old polar fleece clothing into the same size and shape as your brand-name, disposable cleaning cloths, and use them to pick up all the dirt, lint, and hair that plagues your hard-surface flooring. Toss them in the wash to use again and again! (Another snazzy trick is to try used dryer sheets in the same way – only using them once for their new purpose, of course. Talk about getting extra miles out of your cleaning products!)
4. No shoes allowed
There is a very good reason to ask your family and guests to leave their shoes at the door. Not only does it guarantee that dirt and mud won’t get tracked throughout your home, but it can give your carpeting and hardwood floors an extra lease on life (less scratches, snags, and general wear-and-tear.) You’ll rest easy knowing that you’re also contributing to a healthier environment inside your home – the soles of your shoes can carry more icky germs than a typical toilet seat!
5. Pare down your Cleaning Arsenal
There really are one-size-fits-all cleaning products on the market, one of them being my personal favorite, Oxy Clean. The all-purpose cleaner is available at most any store, and it isn’t more than $4 or so for a 1.5 pound tub (I also reuse the empty containers to store clothespins, kids’ crayons, or random nails and bolts.) Advertised with having over 100 uses around the home, I’ve really only tried about 10 or so. I can say that the best use for the stuff is removing those “impossible” stains. (Recently my daughter sat on a melted blue crayon in the backseat of our car. After letting the colored wax cool and harden, I scraped most of it off with a knife, then dampened the area and sprinkled it with Oxy Clean. After working the product into the denim with an old toothbrush, I rinsed it in cool water and threw it in the wash. You can’t see any signs of the offending crayon!) Bottom line: If you find a versatile cleaning product that fills the needs of more than one routine, consolidate – don’t duplicate!
6. Get floors spotless with the power of steam
I’m a huge fan of the steaming floor cleaner. In fact, I’ve had several models in my lifetime (not because they wore out, but because I love trying new models!) A good steam-powered floor cleaner will leave your floors sanitized, squeaky-clean, and streak-free within minutes, and the best part is that they require no chemicals or additional product: just the pure ingredient of water! Investing in a $85 – 120 model may seem like a chunk of change, but when you factor in the cost of floor cleaners over the life of the steamer and consider how much safer and environmentally-friendly your new mop is, the cost is justifiable. Most mops also come with everything you need to do several rooms with a moment’s notice – including enough microfiber cleaning heads to get you started. There is no waste, and water is the cheapest cleaner we know of!
You can find other cool household tips on All You’s Budget Home section, like how to fight tough stains around the house, effective ways to reuse household items, and the secret to streamlining your kitchen with clever storage spaces.
If you have a cleaning hack of your own please share them in the comments!