Raid your closets…
Instead of running out to buy new cleaning products, look for nearly empty bottles hidden in the back of the sink cabinet that you can use.
You may have other supplies that can be reused. Baking soda and vinegar are a favorite with cleaners and can be used to freshen drains or to clean windows or a mattress, among other tasks.
Steve Payne of Sleep and Snooze bed retailer says that if you want to clean a mattress, vacuum it first, then spray it with white vinegar. “Don’t worry about the slight vinegar smell, it will go away when it dries,” he says. “Next, get a strainer and use it to sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the mattress. He wants the entire surface of the mattress to be covered. He lets the baking soda and vinegar go to work absorbing any musty smells. After an hour or two, you can vacuum up all the baking soda, making sure it gets into all the crevices in the mattress.”
Tina Simpson of Triton Showers advises using the same two items to thoroughly clean a moldy shower curtain. “Add laundry detergent and a half cup of baking soda to the drawer and start a 30-degree wash, stopping before the rinse cycle,” she says. “At this point, add a half cup of vinegar to the detergent drawer and start a final rinse, before hanging back in the shower to dry.”
Bathroom retailer Drench suggests there’s no need to save shaving foam for faces: use it to clean mirrors, with no streaks and no subsequent fogging. It can also be used on carpet and ceramic hob stains: “Try covering the hot plate with shaving foam and leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe and the dirt will be gone.”
… but be careful
When extolling the virtues of these alternatives, people sometimes say they don’t have “harsh chemicals” like custom-made cleaning products, but they wouldn’t work without them.
Abigail Yearley, a spokeswoman for the website TopCashback, says that cleaning a microwave or oven can be made easier by “putting some lemon peel or juice in a bowl (or baking sheet, if cleaning the oven) of water. Heat your appliances, then let the receptacle cool down. This will help remove stains (and relieve elbow grease).”
Although lemons can be used elsewhere, “their citric acid can corrode metal, so use with care,” Yearly warns.
Other cleaning alternatives also come with a similar warning. While some people suggest that vinegar can be used to deep clean a dishwasher, it is acidic and can damage rubber seals and other parts. Which? has a guide to things not to clean with vinegar, including dishwashers along with mirrors and granite or stone kitchen countertops.
Do some research if you’re not sure, rather than risk making a costly mistake.
use natural forces
Opening your windows can eliminate musty odors and make your home feel fresher for free. If you have an outdoor space, dry your clothes there; the sun will help whiten your white clothes, at no cost. Airing duvets and pillows outdoors can freshen them up without washing them.
Create your own storage
“People always start thinking ‘I should buy storage solutions’ because that’s the fun part, but you don’t have to,” says Lizzie Grant, professional organizer and decluttering expert at website Vinted. She suggests that you use “a shoebox, a [mobile] phone booth, cans – anything where you can group things together so you know everything has a home.” Don’t buy a label maker, she says, as any decal will do. You can make the boxes more attractive by decorating them with scraps of paper or fabric.
Repurpose items: An old fruit crate could be used as a tray, while a rolling suitcase with a broken handle could be used for under-bed storage.
Vacuum storage is not something you can do, but it will help you maximize the space in your home, so it could be a good investment.
Buy equipment at the best price
Shop around before you buy big-ticket items, like a vacuum or pressure washer. According to cost comparison website PriceSpy, cleaning equipment prices tend to be competitive between now and June, so you can get a good deal. Their site allows you to compare prices on specific makes and models from a large number of retailers. If you’re an Amazon user, CamelCamelCamel shows you the price history of items on the site, so you can see how today’s offer compares. It also allows you to sign up to receive an alert if the cost of an item is reduced.
Items like carpet cleaners are unlikely to be worth the money or the space, but they are commonly available for rent. RugDoctor cleaners start at £24.99 per day, while HSS charges from just under £21 for the same period. If you don’t have many rugs to clean, you can join a friend.
A stuff library usually has these kinds of items; there are several in London and across the country. In London, a steam cleaner can be hired for £9.50 a day, plus a small membership fee.
Or you can see if a friend or neighbor has a machine that you can borrow. Try your neighborhood social media page or ask a local WhatsApp group if it’s part of one. If you pay them with a nice box of chocolates or something similar, you will still have saved money.
clean your cleaners
You will get more efficient use of appliances and they will last longer if you take care of them.
With your vacuum, take care of the filter. If it is washable, clean it and you will find that there is more suction power when you put it back on. If the machine has a bag, do not let it fill completely before changing it.
Clean your dishwasher filter; again, you just need to wash with hot water and a little liquid detergent. If the machine smells bad, wash it with hot water, either empty with a store-bought cleaner or when you’re doing the dishes.
If you live in a hard water area, descaling your washing machine will help it run longer and more efficiently. To do this, you will need to purchase a specialized product.
Tafari Smith, director of savings at RCI Bank, suggests you also vacuum the refrigerator coils and remove lint from the dryer, if you have one, and defrost the freezer. “This simple maintenance saves a considerable amount of money on water and energy bills, while avoiding unnecessary repair costs in the future,” he says.
Earn money dismantling
You may be able to offset the cost of anything you need to buy by selling some of the things you no longer want. For clothing, eBay, Gumtree, and Vinted are among the options, while for vintage books, CDs, DVDs, and games, musicMagpie is another site to check out.
Clothes that aren’t good enough to sell or donate to charity could be reused: old t-shirts can be cut up to use as overalls, or the fabric can be used to decorate boxes for storage.