15 Smart Cleaning Tips That Will Save You Money

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

You’ve gotta spend money to make money. Or so they say. Well, you’ve also gotta spend money to clean your kitchen. This second one isn’t actually a saying, although it is certainly true. You’ve got to buy sponges, brushes, rags, cleaning solutions, etc. It adds up! And most of us reading this would probably rather spend our money on, say, fun ingredients or a cool new sheet pan.

That’s why we’ve come up with this list of smart cleaning ideas that will save you money.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh/Kitchn

1. Opt for multi-purpose cleaning solutions.

There are so many types of cleaning solutions out there! There’s oven cleaner, glass cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, granite cleaner — the list goes on. Sometimes you do really want a specialized cleaner (window cleaner, for example, is formulated so it doesn’t leave streaks), but for the most part, an all-purpose cleaner will get the job done.

2. Skip the specialized tools.

It’s hard to believe that you don’t in fact need that intricately angled brush or, say, a mop that’s also a radio. But lots of messes at home can be cleaned with the simplest of cleaning tools. For instance, many smudges can be cleaned with — wait for it — a dampened rag or microfiber cloth. And an old toothbrush that’s been boiled in water can be repurposed as a teeny tiny scrubber.

3. Use hot water.

Hot, hot water is more effective than you’d think. It can clean up spills and splatters from your stovetop, counters, and cabinets. It can clean messes on the floor. And it can even flush stains out of fabrics.

Credit: Cat Meschia

4. Use vinegar.

A bottle of vinegar can be the answer to many of your cleaning needs. Whether you need to clean the oven, descale the coffee maker, remove hard water spots from the dishwasher, or a number of other tasks, vinegar is likely up for the task.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Make your own cleaner.

Aside from using straight-up vinegar, you can use it to make your own DIY cleaner. You can also make your own drain cleaner, floor cleaner, and window cleaner.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Don’t use more than you need.

Sometimes, less is more! This is especially true when it comes to your dishwasher. Use too much detergent and your dishes could come out cloudy and filmy. And then, not only did you waste detergent the first time, you’ll probably have to run another load to undo what you just did.

Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

7. Buy in bulk.

Signing up for Amazon Subscribe & Save for the things you regularly use — hand soap, dish soap, multi-purpose cleaner — will save you 15 percent. (Just make sure to shop around for the best overall price per unit, first.) You can also purchasing items in refill packages. Using large bags of baking soda, jugs of distilled white vinegar, and industrial-sized containers of dish soap for re-filling your spray bottles and other dispensers brings the cost of your products down drastically. 

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8. Get the most of a lemon before you toss it.

So you’ve already juiced and zested a lemon during dinner prep? There’s still more life to get out of it before you toss it. A few ideas: Toss them down your sink’s disposal to refresh it, put the halves in a bowl with some water to steam clean the interior of your microwave, or use it to scrub a wood cutting board.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Clean things up right away.

Cleaning up spills, stains, and messes as they happen keeps the problem as manageable as possible. This, in turn, means being able to use the most basic cleaning method, product, and tool possible — which cuts down on costs. For instance, a fresh spill on upholstered furniture may only require some gentle blotting with a white rag and water but set-in stains may necessitate a call to the professionals. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Don’t skip daily cleaning.

In a similar vein to cleaning messes when they’re small, this is another instance of a stitch in time saving nine. Regular cleaning keeps your furniture, cabinetry, flooring, appliances, and tools in good condition so they last longer and stay in good-looking and well-functioning condition. 

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

11. Ditch disposables.

Though it’s tempting to be able to toss that gray duster cover straight in the trash, the allure is quickly lost when you consider how much waste you’re producing and how much money you’re throwing out. Using dusters, mop heads, and rags that you can toss in the washer cuts down on storage space, money spent, and garbage. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

12. Buy generic Magic Erasers.

Magic Erasers can make mincemeat out of some otherwise arduous cleaning jobs. However, rather than buying the name brand when you really need to reach for the powerful stuff, opt for generic and far, far cheaper melamine sponges

13. Unclog your own drains.

A clogged drain doesn’t always mean a trip to the store for expensive drain cleaner. Try homemade solutions instead for a less expensive alternative. Manual solutions and prevention are also key to preventing clogged drains and potentially costly problems and repairs.

14. Know what can and can’t go in the dishwasher.

Put something that doesn’t belong in the dishwasher through a rinse cycle one too many times and you may end up having to replace that item. That’s a waste of money! If you’re ever not totally sure if something is dishwasher safe, take the time to wash it by hand.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

15. Clean your fridge’s condenser coils.

This one is going to feel a little different than the rest of the items on this list, but it will also save you money in the long-run. Chances are, it’s been a while since you’ve pulled your fridge away from the wall. Do that soon, though, and vacuum the condenser coils. If they’re dusty, they’re likely working overtime and raising your energy bill. (Here are a few other ways your fridge may be costing you money.)

Got anything else to add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.