Household Cleaning Supplies You Can Stop Wasting Money On

December 27th 2016

Mike Rothschild

Most people would probably agree that cleanliness is important, especially, for one's living space. From both a physical and mental health standpoint, regular cleaning of the home reduces your chances of getting sick, lightens your mood, keeps appliances working better, and gives you a sense of both control and accomplishment.

But that doesn't mean you need to clean out your wallet just to achieve a clean house. One survey found that Americans spent about $500 a year on cleaning products - with high-income families spending as much as $1,500 per year.

There are a number of easy ways to save money on cleaning products, mostly by cutting out those that are either overly-expensive versions of things you can buy cheap, or simply making your own products. 

Here are some cleaning items you can skip buying, and what you can use as a substitute:

Toilet bowl cleaner

As far as things that are fun to clean, the toilet bowl is probably lowest on the list but also among the most important. You're probably using a toilet bowl cleaner to do the job, one that's full of chemicals and can easily be replicated at home. While chemicals are nothing to be avoided or afraid of, why spend money when you don't have to?

Suitable substitutes to commercial toilet bowl cleaners can be anything from a borax/baking soda combination to simply using a cup of white vinegar.

Specific cleaners for specific areas

Tile cleaner for tile, kitchen cleaner for the kitchen, wood cleaner for wood... where does it end? One good all-purpose cleaner like Clorox or Lysol can do the same job on a variety of surfaces that most of these individual products claim to do and at much cheaper cost.

Paper towels for general cleaning

You can't live without paper towels or you really don't want to - especially, when it comes to cleaning bacteria-ridden areas like the toilet. But for all other surfaces in your home, rags are a far better choice. They can be washed indefinitely, are durable, and won't waste money and landfill space on single uses.

A really expensive vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaners can run from several thousand dollars to $1 million for the GoVacuum gold-plated machine (notably, the gold doesn't add anything to the vacuum's performance, it just looks lavish).

But experts and consumer guides agree that for most people's household needs, a basic model costing between $100 and $250 will be fine. There's no need to spend four figures on a Roomba - or seven on a gold vacuum.

Organic cleaning products

While "green" cleaning products might claim to be better for the environment and have fewer chemicals, the reality is that those products can be pretty expensive, and its benefit over "regular" products is debatable. Both types of products do the same thing, and experts agree that the risk of the "chemicals" in standard products is fairly low, provided you're cleaning in a room with proper ventilation. Sales of green cleaning products are down, with the term starting to mean less to customers looking for good deals. 

Hopefully, by cutting down on these extraneous cleaning purchases you will save hundreds of dollars every year, and create just a little less waste in the world.