6 Cleaning Hacks to Stretch Your Budget

Disposable household cleaning items—everything from specialty liquids to paper towels and sponges—can eat up a huge chunk of your monthly budget. If you’re ready to simplify your cleaning arsenal and make your grandma proud, try these six hacks to save cash.


  1. Head to your kitchen pantry to use white vinegar, baking soda, and lemons to clean almost everything. Did you know there are over 50 cleaning uses for white vinegar? And a small amount goes a long way. Be sure to keep it away from hardwood floors and waxed furniture, though. Corn starch is another often-over-looked ingredient great for cleaning windows, polishing furniture, and shampooing carpets and rugs.


Try this from-scratch all-purpose cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon water. Store in a washed-out milk jug.


  1. Use crumpled up newspapers to clean your windows instead of paper towels. Combine water and, you guessed it, vinegar to get those windows sparkling. Before you apply elbow grease to those windows, check to make sure the newspaper doesn’t use petroleum-based ink, which smears and stains. You want a paper with soy-based ink. Test your newspaper by holding a sheet between thumb and index finger for a minute. If your fingers come away stained, it uses petroleum-based ink and is no good for cleaning.


  1. Microfiber cloths are your second-best friend next to vinegar. Dusting? Use a microfiber cloth. Scrubbing with soap? Microfiber cloth. Cleaning electronics? Microfiber cloth. A variety of sizes, blends, and weights means they can easily replace disposable paper and “dusting cloth” products.


  1. You can wash all your clothes in cold water to save on your energy bill. Thanks to advances in washer technology and detergent science, cold water is perfectly effective at cleaning 99% of your laundry. The exception is using hot water to sanitize laundry.


  1. Club soda removes stains from carpet and most clothes, and with a dollop of gentle dish soap cleans jewelry. All at a fraction of the price of specialty cleaners. Dish soap alone has 101 uses: it can be used as a laundry stain remover, window cleaner, surface spray, carpet stain remover, and fruit and veggie wash.


  1. Measure soaps and detergents. Most people use way too much of these cleaners, meaning they literally throw away cash. With portion control in mind, clip sponges, steel-wool pads, and dish scrubbers in two so they last twice as long. You can even half the amount of shampoo and body wash you use to clean you!

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