Saving Money On Household Cleaners
+Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes
Are you looking to trim your grocery and household budget? Even though I’ve learned quite a bit about trimming things up with our budget, I am always wanting to hear MORE ways to save money! We can really learn from one another. So even if you’re pretty savvy with your wallet, I’m hoping some of these tips will help you out.
In this series, I’ll be sharing some of the ways that we have LEARNED TO SAVE OVER $600 A MONTH ON GROCERY AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, KEEPING OUR MONTHLY BUDGET FOR A FAMILY OF 5 UNDER $450.
That includes everything. Food, toilet paper, beauty products, cleaning supplies, etc.
To be completely honest here, I don’t stay at home with my kids because we can “afford” it. My husband has a good job (that we’re very thankful for) but it is not a two-person income by any means. We have had to learn to be good with the money we have and to steward it wisely. We’ve had to make some sacrifices and give up some unimportant extras to keep me home. And I’m eternally grateful.
It was a choice that was important to me and my husband for our family, so we make it work.
I hope that this blog series gives you some applicable ways to keep your budget lower each month so that you are able to provide the things that are important for your family.
I’m going to tackle areas where I’ve learned how to save money and keep our grocery bill reasonable, while still eating well, eating healthy(ish), and eating gluten-free.
Today’s topic is how to save money on household cleaning items.
(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, but you will not be charged a penny extra! And mama, I never recommend products I don’t love or believe in. I so appreciate your support)
Here are some practical ways we save money on household items and keep our grocery and household bill for our family of 5 under $450 a month.
1. MAKE YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS FOR PENNIES!
Today’s post is going to be filled with recipes I use to DIY my own household cleaning products.
But I want to give you some of the reasons WHY we have chosen to go the DIY route, and why this may be a good option for you, too.
IT IS VERY KIND TO YOUR WALLET
Making your own cleaning products is very budget-friendly. Using homemade cleaning products saves you a ton of money because the ingredients you purchase are super CHEAP! I’m talking cents. Pennies. Replacing your store bought cleaners with homemade cleaning products will save you a nice chunk of change every month. For example:
I make a (cloth-diaper safe) laundry detergent that costs $3.53 per recipe (112 loads) which equals 3 cents a load.
A jug of Tide Laundry Detergent costs about $17.94 (96 loads) which equals 19 cents per load (and it’s NOT cloth-diaper safe, fyi).
As a family of five, we do about 6-8 loads of laundry a week (I wash our bedding frequently because of allergies, hey-o!). But throw in a pee-accident or a stomach virus, and that number definitely goes up.
So I’ll round up and say I do 8 loads every week.
That means I do about 416 loads of laundry a year, so in this scenario I only spend $12.48 on laundry detergent a year.
If I used the above mentioned store-bought detergent, I’d spend $79.04.
IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
I may be on the crunchy-side of mom life, but after so much research, I have found that having bacteria around in small quantities is actually GOOD for you.
It boosts your body’s immune system, teaching it to kick bad bacteria’s booty (this is very scientific talk, here). Oversanitizing your home can actually be harmful.
The chemicals that are in many store bought cleaners are extremely toxic and harmful. Studies have shown that household cleaners can cause a myriad of health problems including:
- Immune system dysfunction
- Inflammation in mucous membranes
- Damage to the airways
Antibacterials actually kill good bacteria, too. Not only that, but more research is showing that the bacteria that DO survive antibacterial sprays and soaps become “super bugs,” and develop anti-antibacterial abilities. This is when things get dangerous, like with MRSA and stuff. Antibacterials have their place, for sure, but I don’t want to overuse them. I want to save them for when I really need them.
I’ll link references at the bottom of this page if you want to read more about this research.
IT IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Hey, I love this planet we’re on! I think stewarding it is a God-given responsibility. We do as much as we can to help with what we know. Making your own household products ends up helping out our planet a lot.
Again, most store-bought cleaners use ingredients that are highly toxic, and these ingredients wreak havoc on the environment. From polluting waterways, to causing hormone disruption in wildlife, most general cleaners are best avoided.
Note: The best resource to find out the dangers of products used in your home is the EWG website. Head there after reading this post to see how the products you use score.
When you make your own budget household cleaning products, you really do make a difference—every little bit helps, right?
Now let’s get into HOW I keep my house clean and save a ton of money by making my own products!
These are the ingredients I buy to make everything:
- Baking Soda
- Washing Soda
- Baby Oxi Clean
- Sea Salt
- Castile Soap
- Essential Oils
Some of the best I’ve found for multi-purpose cleaning include peppermint, lavender, tea tree, lemon, orange, clove, and cinnamon
My new favorite Essential Oil brand is from Grove. They have a great selection of organic oils for a reasonable price.
This is the list of the household cleaning products I make and no longer purchase:
Sink, Shower, and Toilet Scrub
At the end of the post I’ll give you the recipes I personally use, so feel free to skip down to those, or keep reading for more money-saving tips on household items.
2. BUY IN BULK
If you are able to buy ingredients in bulk, this is the way to go!
I get our baking soda and salt from the bulk section at my local store and just keep them in big containers at home. It’s at least 40 cents cheaper per pound, which adds up quickly into dollars in your pocket.
I’d personally rather buy a coffee with that extra money.
Purchasing white vinegar and vodka in the biggest jugs possible will give you the best bang for your buck, too. If you buy the small containers verses the largest ones, it’ll cost you. I learned the hard way.
Side note: You should see the looks I get when I’m 8 months pregnant and buying large amounts of vodka. I need a shirt that says “I disinfect my house with vodka and I have germy children.”
Buying your paper products in bulk will also usually save you a chunk of change.
And we stock up.
Which can cause a problem if you don’t have a lot of extra storage space! We’ve chosen to live in a smaller home that doesn’t have a TON of extra room, so we have to get a bit creative with WHERE we store all the extra toilet paper. Here are some ideas from experience:
- Use a shelf in the linen closet
- If you have a bed on a frame, store the extras under your bed
- Add shelves above doorways in the bathroom and load them with the extras
- Make a comfy chair out of them 😉
Talking about paper products, this brings me to my next tip…
3. USE RAGS AND CHEAP CLOTH INSTEAD OF ONE-TIME USE DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS
Now, I have not crossed over to using cloth or rags instead of toilet paper. I’m just not there. But here are things we don’t normally have in our home anymore on purpose:
Facial cotton pads
I’ve replaced all of these with a cloth version.
These same cheap washcloths can be used for facial cotton pads to apply toner or take off makeup at night.
Our tissues were replaced with either reusable handkerchiefs or toilet paper in a jiffy.
Instead of paper napkins we use reusable cloth napkins.
We also use old cloth napkins for paper towels and a lot of the icky jobs they do…like pat down raw meat, or catch oil from pan-fried foods. I keep a large bowl (almost a basin) on top of our washer where we put these cloths until I’m ready to wash a load of them—and then I wash them in hot water and dry with high heat. Just to make sure all that ick is dead.
Note on cloth-diapering
For you parents out there, we save on diapers by cloth-diapering part time. I didn’t add this to the above list since we haven’t fully replaced disposable diapers. We use cloth diapers during the day and disposables at night or when travelling. All of our kiddos have developed diaper rash if we use cloth diapers at night, and/or they leak through.
But even part-time cloth-diapering reduces our paper product usage, saving us money and lowering our waste.
Note: If you’re going to have a baby, asking for cloth diapers on your registry is a great idea! It’s what we did and I think it is the best “keeps on giving” gift we got.
Now onto the fun part: the DIY household cleaning products! I know you’re excited…
Homemade Household Cleaning Products
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup salt
- 30 drops lemon and/or orange essential oil OR 1 T citric acid
- Place all of the dry ingredients in a container, ending with the salt on top if using essential oils (salt will best absorb the oils and distribute them throughout the detergent
- Drop in essential oils and shake until fully incorporated
- Use 1 T of detergent per load as normal
- Add ½ cup of vinegar to the bottom of your dishwasher every so often for extra cleaning power
Homemade Window Cleaner
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 cup filtered water
- Place all of the ingredients in a glass spray bottle and shake. I highly suggest using glass bottles like the ones I linked when storing anything that contains alcohol or vinegar. Both can damage plastic bottles
- Use as you would normally use window cleaner
Homemade Air Freshener
- ¼ cup vodka
- Essential Oils of choice (Grove is my new fave brand, but your favorite essential oils will work perfect!)
- 1 cup filtered water
- Place all of the dry ingredients in a spritzer like this and shake to incorporate them
- Spray into the air and over furniture, shaking well before each use
Some combos to get you started:
My friend Kristen over at The Blue Gate Blog posted this Fall Blend that is divine!
- In place of vodka, use Vanilla Extract (the real deal, not imitation)
- 12 drops orange EO
- 10 drops cinnamon EO
- 10 drops clove EO
Fresh Citrus Blend:
- 18 drops orange EO
- 10 drops lemon EO
- 8 drops grapefruit EO
Lavender Bliss Blend:
- 15 drops lavender EO
- 10 drops vanilla EO
- 8 drops lemon EO
We also use diffusers throughout our home for added smelly-goodness!
- ½ cup vodka
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 40 drops essential oils (I like orange, peppermint, and clove, but tea-tree, lavender, and lemon are great options, too—if you have pets, just double check that the oils you’re using aren’t toxic to them)
- Fill a spray bottle with all of the ingredients, again, I highly suggest using glass bottles like the ones I linked when storing anything that contains alcohol or vinegar. Both can damage plastic bottles
- Shake before each use to incorporate the oils
Homemade Sink, Shower, and Toilet Cleaner
- Baking soda in a shaker (I reuse a parmesan container)
- Essential oils of choice (like lemon, tea-tree, lavender, orange, peppermint, or clove)
- Sprinkle baking soda over area that you’re cleaning, then drop on your essential oils (usually 3-5 drops is enough for a sink or toilet bowl)
- Using a dampened cloth or a scrub brush, scrub area until clean and rinse with water
- For the toilet: I like to empty the toilet bowl first by quickly dumping a bowl of water down it (I’m not responsible for anything that might happen if you attempt this!! Watch a youtube video before trying this trick! I’m not liable if you overflow your toilet ;)). Then I sprinkle it with baking soda and EO and scrub. I let this sit on the toilet bowl as long as possible. Cleaning the toilet bowl weekly is crucial so that you don’t get a lot of build up. Giving the toilet a scrub with just water every other day helps with maintenance.
- For the shower: I like sprinkling the baking soda right onto a really wet cloth and then putting the oils on top of that o that it’s more of a paste. That makes the vertical cleaning a lot easier. For extra scummy days, adding a couple drops of castile soap or wetting the cloth with vinegar, will really help boost its cleaning power.
Homemade Multi-Purpose Cleaner
- 2 T castile soap
- 2 cups filtered water
- 20 drops of essential oils of choice
- Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake
- My favorite combo is 12 drops of orange EO and 8 drops of peppermint EO
Homemade Laundry Softener
- 4 cups sea salt
- 20-30 drops of essential oils of choice (I’m a fan of lemon and orange)
- Place salt and essential oils in a container together and shake
- Use ½ cup per load. If your machine has a place for powder softener, add it there, or add it right into the load with the clothes before starting the wash
Homemade Laundry Detergent (cloth-diaper safe)
Phew! That was a lot of recipe overload, but now you are certainly ready to clean your home on the CHEAP, man! Plus, you’re getting rid of toxins while you save money.
Read More From this Money-Saving Series
If you want some more references on the danger of household cleaners, here are some articles I recommend: Age of Oversanitation Exposure to Cleaning Products Are as Bad as Pack-a-Day Smoking 10 Toxic Household Products I also recommend doing research on the EWG website to see how your household cleaners rank.