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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.
- Murphy’s Oil Soap.
- 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!