- furniture polish
- tile cleaner
- carpet cleaner
- grout cleaner
- toilet bowl cleaner
- “soft” cleaners
- abrasive cleaners
- Clorox wipes
- bathroom spray
- kitchen spray
- wood oil
- oven cleaner
- dish detergent
- dishwasher soap
- Jet Dry
- and more!
Oi! It’s enough to make your head spin. And your wallet empty. To say nothing of the space it takes to store all of these specialty cleaners. And the toxic chemicals.
That’s not even doing down the laundry aisle; that’s tomorrow’s ball of wax.
I was tired of having a different cleaning product for every job in the house. I teach in my book, Get Organized This Weekend, that you should store things where they’re used. (Why should you constantly have to shuttle a bucket of cleaning supplies between the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, yadda yadda yadda?) So that means several sets of cleaning supplies. Not gonna happen with all those expensive specialty cleaners!
So I decided a few years ago to seriously simplify my cleaning supplies.
Did you know that most of these cleaners can be made with a few simple ingredients? White vinegar and baking soda will clean almost anything. White vinegar has natural anti-bacterial properties, so it makes a great cleaner. A simple solution of water and vinegar will clean and disinfect almost any surface – mirrors, toilets, countertops, tile floors, you name it! It even makes a great spot-remover from glasses, so it’s a great alternative to Jet Dry.
And vinegar is super cheap! I get a large bottle at Costco for less than $5 and it lasts forever.
If you need a “specialty” cleaner – like carpet cleaner or an abrasive cleaner for a really tough job – it can still be made from vinegar and a few other simple ingredients.
A simple Google search for “DIY Cleaners” will bring up tons of great information. My favorite one is 1001 Uses for Vinegar. With categories like Cooking, Gardening, Cleaning, Laundry, Health, Automotive and Pets, you’d be hard pressed to find a cleaning need you can’t use vinegar for!
The one drawback to using vinegar is the smell. I hear ya there. The smell does dissipate after about 30 minutes. Just don’t do it right before company comes over 🙂 If you really hate the smell, you can always put a few drops of essential oil in the bottle to give it a more pleasant scent.
So, the implement my new, simplified cleaning regimen, I got a few spray bottles from the dollar store and a huge bottle of vinegar. I keep a vinegar/water solution in each bathroom, the kitchen and the laundry room. I’ve been able to get rid of almost all of my specialty cleaning products, and saved a ton of money, hassle and storage space. I think Pledge is the only other “cleaner” I use, besides dish soap and laundry soap. But we’ll talk about the laundry tomorrow (you can use vinegar there, too!)
The best part about simplifying your cleaning routine is that it’s thrifty and eco-friendly to boot! I know I “warned” you in the beginning that Simplicity did not always equal thriftiness or green living, but here’s one area where those 3 goals definitely work together!