We'll start with things such as cleaning supplies. Do you know the best place to purchase premade cleaning supplies? The Dollar Store! Yeah, any dollar store, Dollar Tree, 99 Cent Store, whatever is near you. Believe it or not, the price of a cleaning agent will not affect the effectiveness of the product! Trust me on that! The dollar stores are also the best place to save money on things such as personal hygiene items, greeting cards, gift bags and gift wrap. I would skip things like vitamins, though. You want to make sure you get the right balance, otherwise, your body will just dispel what it doesn't need and you're right back to wasting money.
Want another way to save on cleaning products? Make your own! Yep, that simple. I prefer to use things such as vinegar, tea tree oil, or even just plain old Dawn or washing soda to clean with. Baking soda is much better for your surfaces than, say, Comet.
Here's a list of my fave homemade cleaning products:
Liquid Laundry Detergent
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha (Zote or Ivory works well, too. Just nothing with moisturizers in it.)
1/2 C Washing Soda
1/2 C Borax
Grate soap and put in a pan. Add 6 C of water and heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and Borax until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 4 C of water and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 C of water and stir. (16 C = 1 gallon). Let sit for 24 hours. Now, the directions say to use 1/2 C per load, but I tend to use more for my kids clothes. Maybe just a full C. I also use baking soda or vinegar for stinky clothes or sheet. BUT NOT BOTH! lol
Dry Laundry Soap
I don't tend to use dry soap because I can NOT get all the crystals to dissolve. But:
8 C Borax
8 C Washing Soda
2 bars grated Fels Naptha
1 C Pyrex Crystals
Several Drops of essential oil. (the smell doesn't stay after the clothes are washed. If you want the clothes to be fragranced with essential oil, but a few drops on a dry cloth and throw it in the dryer with the clothes)
2 Tbsp per load
Add vinegar to towels or soiled sheets
If you line dry your clothes (saves SOOO much money on electricity) use vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep the clothes from getting stiff and crunchy while drying. The smell of the vinegar fades as the clothes dry.
3-1 Household Cleaner
(All purpose, Window/mirror, Air freshener)
1 C White vinegar
2 C water
1 Tbsp dish soap
30 drops of essential oil
I just funnel these ingredients into whatever empty spray bottle I have. I've been using a 409 bottle for years, but you can go purchase a new spray bottle if you'd like and just write or print out a label of what's in the bottle.
I tend to use lavender, orange, or lemon in my cleaning products. But recently I started adding peppermint. Over at Housewife How-To's she said peppermint helps to deter mice, ants, and even roaches. I live in the country and I can tell you the peppermint has definitely helped with the ants! Haven't seen one in months!
Household Disinfecting Wipes (reusable)
Mason jar or some sealable glass jar (wide mouthed)
2 C water (distilled preferably)
1 C white vinegar
Your choice of essential oils. My fave is:
15 drops lavender
5 drops lemon
5 drops Tea Tree oil
cut up squares of fabric of your choice. I cut up an old flannel nightgown, but you can use t-shirts, washcloths, etc.
Just put the squares of fabric in the jar, Mix the ingredients in a bowl and pour the cleaner over the cloths. You can just throw the cloth in the wash after each use. No more land fill waste, no more wasted money.
If you're worried about using soap or essential oils on your glass or mirrors just use vinegar and water with a microfiber cloth.
Here are some sites with natural and homemade cleaning products that I love:
Houselogic - This site has a comparison of different laundry detergents and how they worked for her.
Housewife How-To's - She has great money saving tips, cleaning tips (love her book on the 30 days to a clean house), and how to build a schedule among other things!
Keeper of the Home - has a ton of homemade cleaning products, as well as tips on housekeeping, children, cooking, etc.
Do you have a favorite cleaning recipe? I'd love to hear it! Just share it in the comments!