This post was sponsored by P&G as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
Several weeks ago I shared my household supply closet stock list. If you missed it, it’s not too late to grab the free printable. After I published that post, I had a few people write to me asking about the specific items I stock so I decided to share a detailed breakdown of my everyday cleaning supplies along with a cleaning cheat sheet to make daily chores easier. And since I have one kid in college and three more behind him, I pinch my pennies wherever I can so I’ll be sharing some money saving tips with you as well.
I know some people have laundry days, but with a large household of active kids and pets, if I don’t do laundry every day, it quickly overwhelms me.
- Laundry detergent (I use Tide PODS so I don’t have to stock a brightener as well)
- Liquid chlorine bleach (I haven’t found anything else that can whiten whites as effectively)
- Stain remover (Tide PODS includes a stain remover, but for tough stains I still pre-treat)
- Dryer sheets (I use Bounce Outdoor Fresh for its multitasking – fabric softener, static electricity fighter, odor control)
- Keep a sorter in your laundry room and teach family members to sort their laundry (you’ll still have to double check, but this will dramatically reduce your sorting time)
- Special – towels, jeans, delicates
- To remove yellow underarm stains – bring 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 baking soda, and 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot. Add stained items to the pot and boil for 1 hour.
- Used dryer sheets are great for cleaning baseboards! Their anti-static ability helps prevent dust from sticking to baseboards longer.
- Don’t forget to clean the outside dryer vent to not only improve drying efficiency, but to prevent fires too!
Doing dishes is a never-ending chore. Since I attempt to feed my family three well-balanced meals each day, the kitchen sink sees a lot of action.
- Dish washing liquid (I use Dawn Platinum Advanced Power because it works awesome on stuck-on food)
- Dishwasher detergent (Like laundry, I love the 3-in-one power of the pacs so I use Cascade Complete Action Pacs)
- Heavy duty AND no scratch sponges (I’ve tried using washable dish cloths and I just don’t feel like I get the same cleaning power so I still use sponges and disinfect them for 2 minutes in the microwave after each use)
- Nylon pan scraper (to scrape off food from stoneware and non-stick cookware)
- Baking soda and white vinegar (I use these every couple of days to clean the sink and garbage disposal)
- Paper towels (to dry and oil cast iron and to line sink with vinegar during cleaning)
- Before you begin cooking, fill one side of the sink with hot, soapy water so you can clean as you go.
- Once a month, run the dishwasher empty with vinegar in lieu of detergent to clean away build up and eliminate odors.
- Establish a family habit of each person clearing his or her plate from the table, scraping scraps into the garbage and loading dishes directly into the dishwasher.
I don’t clean my entire house every day, but every day I do try to do some cleaning. Daily tidying and cleaning keeps clutter and dust from collecting.
- Duster (You can use a feather duster but I prefer Swiffer Dusters since they trap 3 times more dirt which I can then throw away)
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (these handheld miracles are handy almost everywhere – I use them mostly to clean the walls though and the occasional scuff on the floor)
- Swiffer Sweeper (to sweep away crumbs, pet hair, and dirt – a broom would work too but like the duster, I like that Swiffer catches more dirt)
- Disinfecting wipes (to wipe down doorknobs, light switches, phones and other surfaces that get touched a lot)
- Vacuum at least one room each day using attachments to remove dust from lamp shades, curtains, seat cushions, and baseboards. This will prevent dirt from building up and ruining floors and furniture and will cut down on your overall dusting and vacuuming time.
- Most of the dirt in a house comes in on our feet so make good use of floor mats at entrances and consider a no-shoe policy.
- Clean top to bottom – Dust first and wipe in straight lines not circles. Vacuum last starting in the farthest part of the room from the door.
- Use a timer – If you know you only have 30 minutes to clean, you will do it more efficiently. Plus, if like me, you tend to get caught up in non-essential tasks like reorganizing the linen closet, a timer will keep you on task.
- Try to adopt a “one touch” or “one minute” rule – Rather than moving items from one pile to another, if it will take less than a minute, put them where they belong right away.
How to Save Money on Cleaning Supplies
The cost of cleaning supplies can add up quickly. You don’t have to live in filth though for the sake of saving money. Here are several ways to save money on cleaning supplies so you can enjoy a clean home without going broke:
Buy in Bulk
Cash in on volume discounts by buying in bulk. For example, the Dawn Platinum Advanced Power dishwashing liquid I buy costs $2.80 for an 18-ounce bottle (14 cents per ounce) at my local grocery store. At Costco, I can get a 90-ounce container for $9.59 (less than 11 cents per ounce). Three cents doesn’t sound like much, but think about how often you do dishes and how much soap you go through in a year. Those small savings add up over time, especially when you’re saving a few cents here and there throughout your home.
I get a lot of my cleaning supplies at Costco where I can get several months’ worth of cleaning products in a single trip and at tremendous savings. Here’s my latest haul:
I keep the large containers in my supply closet and use them to refill smaller containers that I keep where I use the cleaning products (e.g. dish soap at the kitchen sink, Tide PODS in the laundry room).
Another reason I do my bulk shopping at Costco is that they often run special offers on cleaning products that are automatically applied at checkout, in addition to the coupons they mail out periodically. On my recent trip, my receipt showed a $3.20 coupon discount on the Cascade Action Pacs I purchased (reg. price $15.99).
I also clip coupons from my local paper (am I the only person in America who still gets the paper delivered?). The P&G Saver always has tons of coupons for the cleaning supplies I use.
Aside from not wanting to realize that I am out of dishwasher detergent until the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes, the main reason I keep a supply closet is so that I can buy products when they are cheapest, rather than being forced to pay full price because I need something NOW. Stock up while items are on sale so you have what you need when you need it without paying a premium for it.
Use Multitasking Products
In my cleaning supply list you’ll see a lot of items that combine multiple functions into one product. Tide PODS might be more expensive than a liquid detergent, but they’re less expensive than detergent plus brightener plus stain fighter.
Take Time Savings into Consideration
In many cases, I opt for products that even though they might cost more than an alternative, they save me so much time that they are worth it. Your time IS valuable. I’ll gladly pay a few cents more to use Dawn Platinum Advanced Power dish liquid instead of a store brand because over the course of a month, it saves me hours of scrubbing.
Take Amount Used into Consideration
I used to buy bargain dishwasher detergent because it was so much less expensive than brand name detergent and I didn’t think there could be that big of a difference between products. I was wrong. I usually ended up either running the dishwasher twice to get the dishes clean, or I had to basically hand wash dishes before loading them into the dishwasher meaning I also lost lots of my valuable time, plus ran more water and used more electricity in addition to using twice as much dish detergent. Now I use Cascade Complete Action Pacs and I don’t have to pre-wash to make sure my dishes come out clean.
Before I switched, if I had run the dishwasher with the dishes looking like this, I would have been scraping those food specks off after the cycle ran and then run the load a second time. You can’t tell from the picture, but those bowls are even filthier on the inside (it was pasta night).
It seems counter intuitive to clean more often to use fewer cleaning supplies, but it works. Think about carpet spills. It’s so much easier to clean a spot on the carpet if you catch it when it happens, before it can soak deep down into the carpet fibers, collect dirt, and dry into a permanent stain.
If you’ve ever tackled a set-in stain, you know how much product, elbow grease, and persistence it takes to try and eliminate it. Washing dishes before food dries onto them is much faster and requires much less dish soap. If you establish good cleaning habits, you’ll save yourself many hours and you’ll use fewer products over time.
To help you stay on track, I’ve created a Daily Cleaning Cheat Sheet with several of the tips I’ve shared in this post. You can laminate it (or keep it in a page protector) so you can check off items during the day and wipe clean the next morning to use the sheet again rather than waste paper printing a new sheet off each day. After a few weeks, you’ll find that most of the tasks have become habit and you’ll no longer need a cheat sheet.