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!

Bridget | Ordered and Organized

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