In 2014, I spent over $500 for the year on different varieties of soap to keep the things in my life clean. When you think about it, that’s an average of $40-$50 per month on cleaning products. The largest share of that budget, by far, was for laundry products. But still, as an overall expense I was a little shocked at what I had spent.
I had started looking over my expenses for ways that I could trim down my household budget in order to free up the cash for a new set of wheels. When I realized that $40-$50 dollars per month was going to cleaning supplies, I knew there was an opportunity to trim it down.
There are still areas that I can work on to trim the expenses down a little bit more, but there are still a few products that I haven’t found a good alternative for. I won’t give up a product for an alternative that doesn’t work at least as well as the product that it is replacing. And, I won’t make the switch if it requires loads of prep or extra time out of my already busy life.
Breakdown of What I spent on Cleaning Supplies in 2014
- Windex Multisurface Cleaning Spray (average price $3.25/bottle) = $39.00/year
- Liquid Dish Soap-Assorted Variety (average price $3.97/bottle) = $47.64/year
- Mr. Clean Floor Cleaning Product (average price $3.97/bottle) = $3.97/year
- Pledge Furniture Polish/Dusting Spray (average $4.77/bottle) = $19.08/year
- Dishwasher Gel Detergent (average $5.96/bottle) = $35.76/year
- Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner (average $2.64/bottle) = $7.92/year
- Shower Cleaner (average $3.97/bottle) = $47.64/year
- Magic Cooktop-Glass Stove Cleaner (average $4.99/bottle) = $35.88/year
- Gain Lavender Laundry Detergent (average $14.97/bottle) = $119.76/year
- Gain Fabric Softener (average $4.99/bottle) = $59.88./year
- Bounce Dryer Sheets (average $6.48/box) = $19.44/year
- Shout Laundry Spot Treatment (average $5.68/bottle) = $11.36/year
- OxyClean Laundry Booster (average $7.49/tub) = $14.98/year
- Wood Floor Cleaner/Polish (average $8.49/bottle) = $25.47/year
- Vinegar (average $1.08/gallon) = $1.08/year
Total Spent on Cleaning Products in 2014 $488.78
Plus, an extra $20-$30 on products new brands that I tried, but did not like
At the time, I thought that I had streamlined my product selections down to what was necessary. But, after looking at the list again…one full year after changing up my routine, it seems crazy that I was buying all of these products.
Changes that I made in 2015
No. 1 – Swapped commercial laundry detergent and fabric softener for a simple and effective DIY product using washing soda, borax, and Zote soap. Without the chemical fillers in the commercial detergents, I found fabric softener to be unnecessary. This one change cut my spending from $179.64/year to $5.57/year. $174.07 per year in Savings!
No. 2 – I walked away from fancy marketing on liquid dish soaps that promised to cut the grease and keep my hands soft, in favor of a time-tested classic, the original blue dawn dish soap. I now buy dish soap exclusively at the bulk store. By sticking to one product and buying in bulk, I cut spending on this product from $47.64/year to $20.94/year. $26.70 in Savings!
No. 3 – I invested in a shark steam mop and quit using chemicals on my vinyl floors all together. I am so much happier without the sticky residue, and this tool was only a small $59 investment up-front, but has completely eliminated spending for products to clean my floors because it only uses water. At least $3.97 in Savings!
No. 4 – I replaced surface cleaners, dusting sprays and furniture polishes with a simple DIY cleaner made from diluted vinegar and blue dawn dish soap. The small amount of Dawn that I use in this cleaner is factored into my usage listed for this product above. I buy a little more vinegar than I did before, but seriously, it is way cheap. I no longer buy Pledge products (again, I don’t miss the sticky and greasy chemical residues), Windex products, or shower cleaner. I have also dramatically reduced the amount of Gel Toilet Bowl cleaner and Magic Cooktop cleaner that I use. I cut spending for these products from $113.64/year down to $3.00 per year. $110.64 in Savings!
I also no longer buy stain removers, laundry additives like OxyClean, or carpet cleaners. Varying combinations of vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap are more effective at removing stains and much cheaper. The rest of the difference between what I spent in 2014 and what I spent in 2014 and 2015 was by learning to use vinegar and baking soda to clean pretty much everything in my home. I still use some products like Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Magic Cooktop once in awhile, but I no longer need to use them 1-2 times per week.
My total expenses for cleaning products in 2015 came in at just $82.77.
When I compared that to what I had spent just one year before, I was blown away at well I had done. The best part was that the changes that I made were all very easy and the products work so well, I never missed their pricey, commercial counterparts.