Simplifying Your Cleaning Supplies

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My husband deployed for the second time in 2010.  To save money and pay off debt, I put most of our belongings in storage and moved in with my mom while he was gone.  In the month before he returned, I secured a new apartment for us and started stocking up on supplies to clean it.  When I packed up my Jeep in mid-December for the long trek home, I had at least an entire box of cleaning supplies to clean our new apartment before moving things in.  I’m not exaggerating.  I had bottles and bottles of Windex, Resolve, Pledge, Pine Sol, oven cleaner, and just about any other kind of cleaner you can think of.

How things have changed!  Today, I strongly believe that less is more.  Read on to see what cleaners I use.

I use the following cleaners and store them in a single basket from HomeGoods in my linen closet:

  • Cleaning vinegar.  Vinegar is my primary cleaner, and I keep two gallons at all times in my closet.
  • Baking soda.  I use this for scouring power and for homemade carpet powder.  I sometimes use the baking powder left over from my refrigerator and freezer boxes.
  • Dawn. I use this (and hydrogen peroxide, which stays with our first aid kit) for removing stains from clothing and linens.
  • Windex.
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap.
  • Resolve.
  • Febreze.  I use this primarily for spraying down my child’s sleeping bag and airing it out on the clothesline.  I paid $25 to have the sleeping bag dry cleaned earlier this year and have decided that Febreze is a better option for now.
  • Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner.  I use this for cleaning my stainless steel cookware. It’s magic!
  • Generic magic erasers.  I buy these in bulk from Amazon.  I cut them in half or sometimes in fourths.  So far, I have stretched a 20-pack of sponges for more than 18 months.
  • Brillo pads.  I typically buy 8 pads at Dollar Tree.  If you watch the inserts, you can find a couple of coupons each year to reduce the cost even more.  I use these pads to clean my glass Pyrex, among other things.
  • “Bar mops”/cleaning rags.  I use the heavy old black socks my husband had 5+ years ago in the Navy.  They don’t show stains, and they have endured over 5 years of cleaning with no issues.

Just for reference, I have wood floors and just a couple of rugs.  I do have a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner, which I would buy again if I weren’t going to buy the Ryobi Strut when it hits Home Depot.  I also have a Dirt Devil mop, which I would NOT recommend to anyone and am looking forward to replacing with an OXO.

Regardless of what cleaners you use, I recommend simplifying so that you have fewer cleaners and less hassle.  Since I already used Murphy’s Oil Soap for my wood floors, I started using it diluted in place of Pledge to clean my wood furniture.  Since I already used Dawn as a dishwashing liquid, I started using it in place of stain sticks for clothing.  And since vinegar cleans just about everything, I replaced many of my cleaners–Pine Sol, for example–with it.

So take some time and determine how you can streamline not just your cleaning routines but also your cleaning products.

A final note:  If you’re going to try making your own cleaning supplies, I would suggest the book Clean House, Clean Planet.

What Do You Use?

What cleaning supplies do you use in your home?  Let me hear from you in the comments!

Blessings,
Bridget | Ordered and Organized

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