How to Save On Cleaning
If you haven’t tracked what you spend on cleaning supplies like soap, cleansers, and the like, you might be surprised how much is literally going down the drain each month. Below are a few suggestions how you can save on those things and more.
Let’s start with bar soap. You can buy all kinds at prices from economical to astronomical. But think about what’s in it. Despite what the manufacturers say, it’s all pretty much the same except for scent. Yes, some may have a very small amount of “special ingredients” like face cream, rose scent, or germicides, but those are nothing that you probably have already and at a much lower price than you pay to have the tiny amount blended into a bar of soap.
Liquid soap is actually easier to use, not as messy, and can be cheaper if you know how to make your own. It’s easy, inexpensive and you can make it to suit your own tastes in scent, contents, and bacterial action. Here’s how.
Start with bar soap. Most begin by using the little tag ends of a bar of soap when they are too small to be easily handled in the shower. You’ll need a small plate, a food grater and a bottle with a pump like any other liquid soap. I was fortunate to find a miniature grater that is perfect.
Grate the soap onto the plate. Use the small part of the grater because finer pieces have more surface area and will liquefy better than large pieces.
Depending on the size of the container you’ll be using grate enough to fill it about 1/3 full. Add water, scent if you like, or even face cream. If you want anti-bacterial action, as I do, put in a small amount of rubbing alcohol. It won’t take much. Cap the container, swirl it around to mix the ingredients, and let sit overnight.
If it’s too thick, you will have to add more water. Often, after a day or too, it seems to thicken even more as the soap shreds totally liquefy. If it’s too thin, add more shredded soap. Voila! You have liquid soap that you can use in the shower, for dishes,and general cleaning. If you used those little ends of bar soap that you were going to throw away, it has cost you almost nothing. When the little ends of soap are used up, buy inexpensive bar soap and shred it. You’ll find that your soap lasts longer this way because you don’t need as much of the liquid. Just a squirt into your palm will work better than rubbing away cash with a bar soap.
Some Other Uses
If you have any experience with liquid soaps, you know how convenient and easy they are to use in the shower and for hand-washing. But here are a couple of other tricks with them. I have been using everything I suggest here myself, so I’m confident they’ll do well for most people. But we all have to keep in mind that, “Nothing is so perfect that someone, somewhere won’t hate it.” So if it doesn’t work for you, do something else.
How much a year do you spend on deodorant? Way too much? Well, good news! The liquid soap works fine as an antiperspirant. Yes, just squirt a little into your palm and rub a thin coat onto your armpits. If you have a favorite cologne you can spritz a little on afterward. I don’t know that this contributes much, but if it’s something your significant other likes, why not? More on that cologne follows. You can save a lot there, too.
Besides the savings on deodorant, there are other things I’ve found useful for liquid soap. It makes a nice hair cream or gel. If you’re a guy that uses some variety of “Shinycream” to keep those luxuriant locks under control, you may find that a small amount of your almost free soap rubbed into your hair when it’s wet after a shower, works as well as anything else. I don’t know how well you women would like it, but it’s very inexpensive to try, so why not?
About That Cologne
I’m going to treat cologne and after-shave as one item. There really isn’t any difference between the two except maybe price and we’re going to cut that way back anyway. Think about what’s in them. In order of percentage it’s water, alcohol, and scent. So you’re mostly paying for water.
Most after-shaves/colognes are way too strong in the scent department so I’ve been diluting them with alcohol. After all, that’s what relieves the burn after shaving and gives you that “refreshing” feeling.
You can easily make your own aftershave or cologne by buying a large bottle of your favorite scent and mixing it with alcohol and water to the strength you like. You’ll save a lot of money on it and no one will know the difference except that you seem to have more beer money.
Some people have been adding their private mixture to the liquid soap and perhaps making it a private soap brand. Please remember my commission if you do this. ☺
Another Cleaning Goody
How about a cleaner that will clean, sanitize and deodorize all in one step, costs almost nothing and does at least as well as any commercial product you can buy? Sounds too good to be true? This time, it’s really true. You’ll need the following:
A spray bottle
Fill the bottle almost up with water. Add bleach and leave a little room for the soap and sprayer tube. For most uses, you won’t need more than about 5% bleach in the mixture. If you know that you’ll be using it on something that will be damaged by bleach, substitute alcohol in a slightly stronger amount. Add the soap, close the bottle and swirl it around to mix everything.
You’ll find that this is great for cleaning dishes, countertops, stoves, refrigerators, white side wall tires, everything in the bathroom and anywhere you can use it without the bleach fading something you’d rather not be faded. Even better, left to sit for a short time, it kills bacteria, and the soap makes things easier to clean. I use it on kitchen counters and wipe once with an old towel and presto! All done.
One added feature I found by accident is that most insects avoid areas where you use it. When I first moved into my current condominium, there were lots of ants. Being in a warm climate, ants, roaches and insects were always present. Now seeing an ant is a very rare event and I cannot recall the last time I saw a roach or other creepy crawly. I spray the mixture under the sink, around the stove and refrigerator and in the area of the pet’s food dishes. If it would only get rid of the noisy pest downstairs…. Well, nothing’s perfect, is it?
Curses, Foiled Again
Don’t throw away that aluminum foil you used to cover leftovers, line the stove burners or oven. It makes a dandy polishing tool for chrome on your car, silverware, candelabra, or anything metallic that needs a shine.
Keep That Shine
You hate polishing stuff? Here’s a way to make your efforts last. Coat the polished object with car wax. After it dries to a haze, lightly wipe it with a soft cloth. The wax will help prevent the air from causing the finish to tarnish so fast. On indoor objects that aren’t exposed to sun and rain, they should be able to go six months or more between polishing. Isn’t that better? Is so!