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.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven
Never Put These 8 Things in a Microwave Oven

A microwave can be a busy cook’s best friend. But heating certain things in a microwave can cause disaster.

7 Ways Coupons Waste Your Money and Time
7 Ways Coupons Waste Your Money and Time

Here’s why I hung up my scissors and quit clipping coupons.

5 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security ASAP
5 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security ASAP

Experts often recommend postponing claiming your Social Security retirement benefits. But there are situations in which you should start taking the money sooner.

Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age
Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age

Millions of Americans may be able to prevent an incurable cause of blindness by making a basic change.

9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care
9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Veterinary Care

Medical care for your furry friends can be expensive. Here are some tips to take a bite out of vet bills.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
Social Security Checks Likely to Grow This Much in 2021
Social Security Checks Likely to Grow This Much in 2021

The federal government recently released a key statistic that gives clear insight into what next year’s COLA will be.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

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.

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.