Spring is here – officially – and with it comes that odd compulsion to clean; the house, the garage, or even the back yard. While a lot of people will be engaging in the traditional ritual this year utilizing some of the most advanced technology and expensive cleaning products available, the rest of us will have to make do getting those chores done on a budget. We can get things done on a budget, and today we’re going to show you how to save some quick money while still accomplishing that all important spring cleaning task.
Make Your Cleaning Products to Save Money
First and foremost in the money-saving category is making your cleaning products. Believe it or not, most of your typical household cleaning products are just a mix of stuff you can get at the store and for much less than you’d spend on whatever product you intended to use. And while we’re at it, there’s a mystery that’s been bugging us for quite some time now, and perhaps you can help us out with it (feel free to leave answers in the comments section below). Ready? Here’s the mystery: why is it that the more products become “natural”, the more expensive they are? Does that seem right to you?
You can find a lot of resources on the internet that will give you plenty of recipes for making your solutions which will get rid of those grease stains just as quickly as any brand name product will.
Here are some examples (please note that mixing chemicals in your home can be hazardous and we highly recommend using every precaution necessary, including and especially working in a well-ventilated area).
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
Got hard water stains, dirty trash cans or just general smudgy countertops? Mix one part white vinegar, one part water, some lemon rind, and rosemary sprigs. Mix everything in a spray bottle and let it sit for a week. Then feel free to tackle those problem areas we just mentioned. Make sure the vinegar and water are measured equally and use as much lemon rind and rosemary as you deem necessary.
Notice anything missing from this recipe? That’s right, no chemicals! If you breathe in too much vinegar fumes, your face may contort to the point where you might look like you just ate a lemon, but that’s probably the worst that can happen. The spray bottle will cost a buck or two at most, while the rest of the ingredients cost half that amount.
DIY Household Scrubber
Want another recipe? Try this one:
1 quart of warm water.
4 tablespoons of baking soda.
And…that’s it. Mix and go after those dirty kitchen counters, ovens, the inside of your refrigerator or the dirty surfaces of other appliances. The next time you’re at the store, take a look at the ingredients on that household scrubbing product (you know the one; it’s green and powdery) and note all the chemicals contained in just that one product vs. using baking soda to get your cleaning done. It’s a less hazardous option.
DIY Glass Cleaner
Here’s a simple recipe for glass cleaner that you can make for less than the price of brand name products. This one is completely natural while other glass cleaners are stuffed full of chemicals: 2 cups of water, ½ cup of white or cider vinegar, ¼ quarter cup of rubbing alcohol that’s rated at 70% solution, and a drop or two of essential oil if you have any of that lying around the house. If you don’t have the oil, don’t worry, it’s just for giving your homemade cleaner a fresh scent. Mix everything in a spray bottle (and you don’t even halve to let it sit for a week this time). The only catch to using this particular glass cleaner is that it’s not a good idea to use on a warm glass surface, as it will dry quickly and leave streaks. If you’re going to use it to clean a mirror, spray some on a paper towel or cloth first and then wipe down the mirror.
DIY Brass Cleaner
Do you know what tends to be expensive in the cleaning product department? Brass cleaners. If you’ve got brass items or fixtures in your home that need a good cleaning or polishing then do this: mix white vinegar or lemon juice with ordinary table salt. It’ll be a natural process if you do it this way: dampen a sponge or cloth with the lemon juice, then sprinkle the salt across the moistened surface. This will help clean as well as polish all that brass you haven’t gotten around to cleaning because the price on the polish was a bit prohibitive. You’re welcome.
DIY Water Ring Remover
Having trouble with those pesky water rings? Mix an equal part of non-gel white toothpaste with baking soda and go to town (though you can’t use on lacquer, unfinished wood or antiques). Once again, this easy to make cleaner is just as valid as those spendy “all natural” cleaners at the store and won’t even cost you more than a couple of bucks. Again, make sure you don’t use it on unfinished wood, antiques or lacquered surfaces because it may cause some minor damage, but for all those other places where you’ve got water ring stains, this effective cleaner should do the trick nicely.
DIY Mold Cleaner
One more aspect of spring cleaning that many people either forget to deal with or don’t because they can’t see it, and that’s mold. Check every area of your house for mold every spring (best to do this after the rainy season has finished). Mold can cause serious health issues and lead to long term health issues. But here’s a solution (no pun intended…well, maybe a little intended) for mold that won’t cost you too much.
You know Hydrogen Peroxide is an anti-bacterial solution, but it kills mold on bathroom and kitchen surfaces. You can fill a spray bottle with household hydrogen peroxide (3%). Spray the surface with mold on it and give it about 10 minutes to set in. Scrub and remove the mold and stains. Wipe clean to get all the residual mold and spores.