Money Saving Standbys

Does it seem like every trip to the supermarket includes buying another cleaning product? For every household cleaning chore there is a product especially made for that chore. There are window cleaners, glass cleaners, and mirror cleaners. Also, wood floor cleaners, tile floor cleaners and carpet cleaners. For the kitchen, there are special cleaners for the oven, stove tops, counter tops, refrigerator and so on. Then there are the bathroom cleaners. The list goes on and on.

Money spent buying these products quickly adds up. If you have limited storage space, having so many different sizes and shapes of containers can also be a problem.

There are some old fashioned tried and true products that can clean most surfaces without breaking the bank or overstuffing your cabinets.

The most useful product is ammonia. A half gallon of ammonia costs usually less than two dollars and will last for months. Just a few of ammonia's amazing uses are:

For cleaning surfaces around your home. Dilute 1/2 cup of ammonia with 1 cup hot water for normal surfaces such as refrigerators, sinks, bathroom, ceramic and tile floors, garbage pails, and counter tops. You can use this for mirrors, windows and glassware too.

To make blankets fresh add 1 cup of ammonia to your laundry load.

Set a dish of ammonia inside a dirty oven and leave overnight. Messy spills should wipe off easily the next morning.

The biggest drawback with ammonia is the odor. Lemon scented ammonia is available. Better yet, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or fragrance oil to your diluted ammonia/water mixture. People with sensitive skin may want to wear rubber gloves to protect their hands. Opening windows helps to dissipate the odor.

Another inexpensive product is vinegar. Add 1/2 cup plain white vinegar to a pail of water and you have one of the best window cleaners available. Wet a paper towel or clean cloth in the mixture and wipe. It is that easy. You can then, if desired, dry the glass with a clean paper towel for a streak-free result.

Baking Soda can be used for stains on a variety surfaces. Adding a little to your toothpaste will help whiten your teeth. Baking Soda can clean pots & pans and counters without scratching. Go to for more information.

Bleach is not only for white laundry. It can be used to clean most household surfaces, but DO NOT use full strength. Use a solution of 3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Wipe the surface and let stand for 10 minutes. Then rinse with clean water and let dry. To clean and deodorize your toilet bowl, flush, then pour in 1 cup of bleach. Scrub with brush and let stand for 10 minutes and flush again

You can combine these products to make a cheap but effective wall cleaner. For wood or painted walls, use this solution: 1 cup ammonia,1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, per 1 gallon water.

So, to save money and space, the next time you need a cleaning agent grab one of these useful standbys instead of heading to the store.