Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cheap Mama Cleaning Products

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I gave up the cleaning lady and listed how I broke down my cleaning into daily chores to make it more manageable.  What I didn't write about were the products that I actually use to clean my house.  I'm going to attempt to do that here without putting us all to sleep.  I admit, blog posts on cleaning can be as dry as sawdust so I'll do my best to keep this short and sweet.

The bottom line is the products I use to clean my house now (as opposed to BEFORE when I had a cleaning lady) are not only CHEAPER but GREENER.  As One Cheap Mama, I have to admit I'm more impressed with things that are cheap than green but all of the items that I use because of their cost savings are also better for our families and the environment.  Holla.

(If you are like some of my friends and can't bear the thought of parting with your cleaning service, you can still cut your costs by purchasing these products and asking your cleaning person to use them in place of other more expensive, harsher products.  You'll save money and be using safer products in your home.  Again, holla.)

Let's get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

If you don't yet know of the wondrous things that vinegar does, check out vinegartips.com.  Vinegar will do just about everything but put your kid through college.

I have a spray bottle of equal parts vinegar & water which I use in place of other cleaners to:
  • Clean kitchen countertops
  • Clean bathrooms sinks
  • Clean windows
  • I also use vinegar as a fabric softener.  It removes all of the detergent residue and is safe to use in HE washing machines.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is another one of those wonder products that has a million uses.  I like cleaning with baking soda because while it cleans like a machine, it is sudsless which makes it easier to wipe clean.
Here are just a few of the ways I use baking soda.
  • Sprinkle on my stainless steel sink and cooktop and wipe clean with wet sponge (won't scratch stainless!)
  • Sprinkle on tubs and showers and clean with a sponge
  • Sprinkle on carpet prior to vacuuming for a natural odor remover and refresher

Borax is another great product for cleaning and for use in the laundry room.  I use 20 Mule Team Borax which can be found in the laundry aisle.

In the laundry room, Borax can be used as a
  • laundry booster 
  • laundry stain remover 
  • and to soften hard water
As a cleaning product, Borax can be used to
  • clean toilet bowls
  • clean garbage disposals and drains
  • clean carpet & rug stains
  • as a dishwashing booster
There are recipes on the back of every Borax box for each of these uses.  I personally use Borax to clean my toilet bowls using the instructions listed on the box.  For the hard-to-clean streaks and stains in my toilet bowl I use the toilet stone.  Never heard of it?  It's that gray, rectangle-shaped stone in the picture above.  It can be found in the cleaning aisle of most stores.  This cleaning stone will remove any toilet bowl stains from hard water, etc without any harsh cleaning products.  It requires elbow grease and an up close view of your toilet bowl but believe me, it works!

The bottom line is that it doesn't require 20 products to keep your home clean and the products that are the safest are also the least expensive.

If any of you out there have other great cheap, green cleaning tips I'd love to hear from you!  Post a comment and share your knowledge!

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