4 Ways to Slash the Cost of Housecleaning

Keeping your house in order shouldn’t cost a bundle. If you do the cleaning yourself — instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars annually on cleaning services — you’re way ahead of the game.

Use the following tips to create a tidy, comfortable living space while giving your budget an extra break.

Switch to DIY cleaning supplies

Die-hard frugalistas make their own laundry soap. “3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing” tells all.

Erin Huffstetler, who blogs at MyFrugalHome.com, goes one step further: She makes her own four-ingredient dishwasher detergent. It takes only a couple of minutes to mix together the washing soda, kosher salt, baking soda and lemon juice, and portion it into molds.

The cost works out to 4 cents per dishwasher load, and there’s no borax or questionable chemicals.

Baking soda and vinegar can replace many other commercial cleaning products.

The first is great as a nonabrasive porcelain scrub, deodorizer, tarnish remover, laundry brightener, oven cleaner, carpet freshener and grout de-grimer, among other things. See “8 Handy Household Uses for Baking Soda.”

Vinegar is magic. It can keep drains open, clean even the greasiest stovetop, shine windows and mirrors, de-gunk showerheads, and remove hard-water stains. For more information, see “27 Money-Saving Ways to Use Vinegar in Every Room of Your Home.”

Don’t waste water

You need plenty of water to clean a home properly, but don’t waste the stuff, especially if the water utility charges by the amount you use versus a flat rate. You likely also pay a sewerage fee for the water that goes down the drain — yet another reason not to overdo the H2O.

Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full, but avoid pre-rinsing dishes when possible, as we detail in “9 Bad Habits That Are Running Up Your Water Bill.”

The same holds true for your clothes washer. Run full loads whenever possible. If you must do a smaller batch, adjust the load size; no need to fill up a “super” load of water when a “full” or “small” load would do the trick.

Let everyone in the house know this rule.

Air-dry dishes and clothes

You don’t have to rely on electricity to dry your dishes and duds. Turn off the dishwasher before it gets to the drying cycle, and let your plates and cups dry by themselves.

If hanging laundry to dry outside is allowed in your area, put up a clothesline or create a temporary one with bungee cords. In my household, we also drape towels and sheets over deck railings and — in the winter — atop interior doors.

We also use three large drying racks during winter and inclement weather. Two of them spaced about a foot apart can hold one queen-sized sheet, with the second sheet draped over the other rack, plus a wooden chair. They dry within a few hours.

We have a smaller drying rack for socks and underwear, and put shirts and T-shirts on plastic hangers. All four racks fold neatly into a closet when not in use.

Two other benefits of air-drying:

  • Your clothes last longer when they’re not bounced and tumbled (and shrunk) at high heat.
  • The smell of sheets and pillowcases dried in the sun and wind makes for some truly luxurious slumber.

For more savings, find out if your region has off-peak utility rates. If so, run the dishwasher and do your laundry at those times.

Save money on commercial brands

If you don’t want to make your own soaps and cleansers, at least work at spending less on the store-bought stuff. Watch for sales at supermarkets and drug and department stores. You’ll generally spend a lot less if you shop for cleanser, bottled ammonia, vinegar and baking soda at the dollar store.

The dollar store is also a good place to buy some of your cleaning equipment. Seriously, how much do you want to pay for sponges, dustpans, mop buckets, brooms and the like?

Be sure to pick up some microfiber cloths, which are absolutely magnetic when it comes to dust and dirt — and unlike those disposable dusters, the cloths can be used and reused. Just give them a good shake (outdoors!) to rid them of the dirt, and launder them now and then if you like.

A true frugalista lifestyle is all about repurposing. For years, I used a discarded detergent tub as a mop bucket. Newspapers are great for cleaning windows and mirrors, used with some of that vinegar-and-water solution mentioned earlier. Socks worn-out at the heels? Use them as dust cloths by wearing them over your hands.

Get creative and save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet
7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet

For some, the golden years are a time to increase the gold — but their reasons for delaying retirement vary widely.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45
10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45

Make a fresh start with these affordable Amazon buys.

9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them
9 Forgotten Frugal Strategies — and How to Resurrect Them

These time-tested methods can help us live smarter today.

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family in 2021
The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family in 2021

These states have big advantages or disadvantages when it comes to choosing a home for your family.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

9 Millionaires and Billionaires With Surprisingly Frugal Habits
9 Millionaires and Billionaires With Surprisingly Frugal Habits

Some of the world’s richest women and men drive modest cars, clip coupons and love a bargain.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.