Cooktop Cove: 10 hacks for your home that will actually save you some money
It's no secret that cleaning products are expensive. And the bigger your family, the faster you have to stock up on new supplies. Buying items to clean your house is likely one of the biggest drains on your household finances. But how can you save money without sacrificing the cleanliness of your home?
Homemade cleaning products. That's right; you can make your very own cleaning products for a mere fraction of the cost of store-bought supplies. So check out the list below, gather a few ingredients (make sure you have plenty of vinegar on hand) and get started!
1. Dish tablets (h/t Mom 4 Real)
Buying dish tabs is convenient, but the cost adds up quickly. Fortunately, you can easily make your own with nothing more than 1 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of citric acid and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Mix the ingredients and put them in an ice cube tray to harden overnight. Keep them in an airtight container between uses and just put one in the dishwasher whenever you run a cycle.
2. Toilet bowl cleaner (h/t PopSugar)
When it comes to cleaning your toilet, you don't want to mess around with cheap products that might not work. But what if there was a recipe for an affordable bottle of toilet bowl cleaner that works just as well as the name-brand versions? Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup liquid castile soap and 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide. Pour in 1 cup hot water while whisking the combination. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and stir until the foaming stops. Finally, put it in a bottle with a squeeze top for easy use.
3. Carpet cleaner (h/t Kids Activities Blog)
Carpet stains usually require hauling out (or renting) a steam cleaner and setting aside a huge chunk of your day to clean the carpet. But you don't have to spend all that time or money on something that could be taken care of with a simple recipe. Start with that bottle of hydrogen peroxide that's only about 1/3 of the way full and top off the other 2/3 with water. Add in 5 drops of lemon essential oil and shake it up. Spray this mixture on your carpet, let it settle in for a minute and then get to work with your scrub brush. When the stains start to lift and all of the gunk moves to the surface, use a rag to wipe everything clean.
4. Laundry detergent (h/t Pink Fortitude)
Anyone who does at least one load of laundry a day knows how much laundry detergent can affect your household budget. So why not make your own? Dissolve 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/4 cup baking soda in hot water before pouring the mixture into a 1-gallon glass container. Add water until there are a few inches left at the top of the container and then pour in 1/4 cup liquid castile soap. Finish off by stirring in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Every time you run a load of laundry, add up to 1/3 cup of this detergent.
5. Cleaning wipes (h/t Home Made Interest)
Most households go through an insane number of cleaning wipes on a monthly basis. You can always buy packages of these wipes in bulk, but making them yourself will save you even more money. Start by cutting a roll of paper towels in half and putting one half in an airtight container. Mix up 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of dish soap (you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you want to dilute the vinegar smell more), then pour this combination over the paper towels, making sure you completely soak them. Wait a couple minutes, then pull the cardboard tube out of the center of the roll. You can now grab a wipe from the middle whenever you need one.
6. Dryer sheets (h/t Smart School House)
Dryer sheets are actually pretty cheap, but they don't last long, so you constantly have to buy more. Or, you could make your own reusable ones. Put some sponges in a plastic container with a lid and pour in 2 cups of water and 2 cups of liquid lavender fabric softener. With the lid closed, the sponges will start to absorb the liquid. Whenever you run the dryer, just toss a sponge in with the clothes and let the fabric softener work its magic. After you're finished, return the sponge to the container where it can soak in some more of the solution for next time.
7. Quick cleaner (h/t Millennial Money Man)
If you need a cleaner that can be used for small, quick jobs around the house, then you don't want to spend money on different products for every job. Instead, keep a mixture of vinegar and dish soap on hand. You can use it to clean bathtubs, sinks, floors, counters and even baked-on gunk in your oven. Both ingredients can be found for incredibly low prices, and it's likely you always have them around anyway.
8. Bug killer (h/t eHow)
Plants are a great addition to any house, yard or front porch. But if you're not careful, your beautiful plants will soon become a buffet for bugs and other pests. Stop losing money on plants that won't make it through the spring and chemical-filled pest killers. Instead, combine 1.5 cups of vinegar and 15 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle, shake it up and spray it on your plants. This will keep away the bugs without any additional cost to you.
9. Furniture polish (h/t The Spruce)
Wooden furniture can look really impressive or really tacky, without much wiggle room between the two extremes. To ensure yours always looks good, polish it on a regular basis. But don't scour the cleaning aisle of your local store for the best products. Just mix 1 cup of olive oil with 1/2 a cup of lemon juice. The result is an effective furniture polish for a mere fraction of the usual cost.
10. Window cleaner (h/t Penny Pinchin' Mom)
Your windows are important because they allow you to look at the world outside your house, but also because they help draw heat into the house when it's sunny, which can cut down on your bills during the winter. So you need to keep your windows clean. But who needs the store-bought cleaner when you can make one yourself? Just mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon corn starch and 2 cups warm water in a spray bottle, shake it up, spray it on your windows and wipe them clean with a dry cloth.
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