May 24, 2010

Cheaper Cleaning Products: Part 1 (Merrick)

If your bathroom cabinet and under your kitchen sink look anything like mine, you have upwards of twenty different cleaning products in there. One to clean your mirrors, another for your toilets; several to clean your sinks and showers, and a few more for wood, carpet, fabric, etc. Every single one of these cleaners in my cupboards cost several dollars, and many of them are not even being used. What a waste of my money!

I was recently reading an article on cleaning, and it brought up “Organic Cleaning.” Now, I’m not really a “green” kind of person, but when I read this I about died:

The main reason we should be keeping our homes clean is to keep our families healthy, and if we’re forking over big bucks for toxic products that are actually making them unhealthy, then we should be finding healthier and better cleaning products that are also CHEAPER.

These next few posts will cover some cleaning solutions that are much cheaper, much healthier, and still will keep your house as clean as ever.

Cleaning Solution #1: Make Use of Old T-shirts and Towels

When I do kitchen and bathroom cleaning, I use paper towels and/or anti-bacterial wipes. Even though we buy both at Sam’s club in bulk, they are fairly expensive and we go through them pretty quickly. In our house growing up, we always used sponges, which may seem like a better solution because they’re cheap and last a long time. But after a little research, I discovered the disgusting amount of bacteria that builds up on them. So really you’re just spreading germs around rather than getting your house clean. Also, that bacteria can spread to you through a cut.

But enough about that…let’s talk about a cheaper, cleaner, and healthier solution.

Tear up your old t-shirts and towels! They are free (or you can buy really cheap rags at the store), and after cleaning with them, bleach them out in the washer to kill all the bacteria. In your laundry room, have a bucket where you can store the dirty ones so you only have to wash them every few weeks (we don’t want you using up all your saved money just to run the washer and dryer!)

By eliminating, or decreasing your use of paper towels, cleaning wipes, and/or sponges, and using towels or t-shirts instead, you are not only saving money, you’re also getting huge health benefits and helping the environment! What more could a girl ask for??


Chelsea said...

That's a pretty good idea! I'll have to give it a try! I'm always on the lookout for new ways to save money.

Leslie said...

I stopped using paper napkins about a year and a half ago. I bought a bunch of cloth napkins at the thrift store (they were practically brand new) and that's all I use. Unless it gets super dirty, I use the same one for two meals. And, I buy the select-a-size paper towels. I feel like I use less of them and only use them to blot food or for quick spills.

stegersaurus said...

The other thing you can do for sponges is microwave them, which will kill the germs.

Microfiber cloths are a great solution -- they will hold up better than old T-shirts (more absorbent) and can be reused basically infinitely.

Packrat said...

"Fake" sponges can be bleached, too. We grew up using rags and most of the time I still do. (Paper towels were really expensive and there were no such thing as wipes.) Cotton knits and terry cloth work best for wet cleaning and wipe ups. Woven cotton rags work great for dusting.

Hint: If you don't want your wet rags to start stinking or mildew, rinse and wring them out really well, and drape them over the side of the bucket until they are dry. Wash when you have at least a full small load. If you bleach underwear, do the underwear and rags together.

Camille said...

Aside from the microwave, throwing that old sponge in the washer and dryer will kill germies too.
Also, leftover newspaper works just like paper towels when it comes to cleaning your mirrors and windows :)

Mary said...

What a timely post! I just ran out of paper towels and was thinking about how fast we go through them! I'll have to dig around my old dish towels and see if there are a some I can convert to cleaning rags. And I love the comment about using cloth napkins. What a smart idea! Thanks!

amber belmonte. said...

we keep a few rolls of paper towels on hand for things like messes from raw meat while cooking or anything spilled on the counter that would totally stain my rags (blueberries, grape juice, etc) but i recently ordered 'un-paper towels' from a seller on etsy and LOVE them.

as for cleaner, i go back and forth between making my own + using a concentrate of bac-out (from biokleen) and water in a spray bottle under my kitchen sink. i tend to like the bac-out more because it's also an excellent spot cleaner for carpet, laundry + lots of other things. i like that it has multiple uses + is completely eco-friendly and non toxic. i ordered multiple bottles on amazon in bulk.