How to Save Money on Spring Cleaning
The sun is coming out, the snow is finally melting for good. You know what that means … Hey wait! Come back!
Yes, it’s spring cleaning time. Everyone’s favorite list of sweaty, back-breaking chores, like “scrub the bathroom”, “empty the garage”, and “finally go and see what died in the attic.”
But just because you’re breaking a sweat doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, too. We reached out to a whole bunch of experts to get their advice on how you can get your spring cleaning done without also cleaning out your checking account.
Getting Your Supplies
If you’re trying to save money on your spring cleaning, it starts with buying supplies. Here are some tips from Victoria Heckstall (@wahmjourney91), CEO of Unique Words & Giveaways 4 Mom (@Giveaways4Mom), for getting all your cleaning supplies from Dollar General for only $40-$45.
First, Heckstall says that you should “Check for their free shipping codes. Right now they have a spring code that allows you to get free shipping when you spend $40 or more.”
Next, says Heckstall, you should “Go to the cleaning section on the website and select the categories that you need products from (i.e. all-purpose cleaners, cleaning tools, bathroom cleaning). Sort by price so you will see the cheaper items first.”
She advises that you shouldn’t “go for the name brands. It’s the label you’re paying for, the cheaper cleaning products work just as good as the big box names.”
Here some examples she gives of all-purpose cleaning products that are just as effective as the big name brands for a fraction of the cost:
- LA’s Awesome Cleaner – $1.00 “I usually like to get two to three of these so I won’t run out quickly – and before use them I like to add a few drops of essential oil to the cleaner to tone down the chemical smell.”
- Mean Green – $2.15 “I usually get about two of these since I only use it for those tough stains.”
- Fabuloso $1.00 “I also get two to three of these and it works great on floors as well.”
- PineSol – $2.00 “I purchase two of these to make sure I have enough.”
- DG Home Disinfectant Wipes – $2.00 “I suggest two of these as well since they can be used for a variety of things including cleaning dressers, televisions, and bedroom electronics.”
“In just this one category that’s potentially 12 products for $18.30, which also can cover the majority of your spring cleaning,” she says.
Fixtures & Glass
“If you catch rust early in your kitchen or bathroom, you can create a thick paste out of salt and lemon juice. Using equal parts, you’ll get a solution that’s acidic enough to scrub away the rust without scratching your metal surfaces. When it comes to chrome fixtures, most rust can be removed with light scrubbing from a rag that’s been dipped in cola.”
“Limescale builds up when your fixture is routinely in contact with hard water, so a prime problem area is the shower.
“For shower fixtures made of stainless steel or chrome – or those with coated metal – turn to white vinegar. The easiest solution is to fill a sealable, plastic bag with the white vinegar and place your showerhead or faucet in the bag. Seal it as best you can and secure it with rubber bands. After approximately an hour, remove the showerhead from its vinegar bath and polish it gently.
“If you have a brass or bronze shower head, get ready to scrub. These finishes can be damaged because of their delicate nature, so start by rubbing them with a soft cloth and some warm water. Bronze is especially finicky, so always carefully check any cleaners before you use them. If you’re having trouble with a brass fixture, the secret may be in your fridge.”
“This is another bathroom maintenance problem, but with the right solution, your chrome no longer needs to look dingy. The easiest way to break down soap scum is to simply scrub the fixtures with a dryer sheet. Whether the dryer sheet is used or unused, they should start cleaning immediately. Another option is to try putting a small amount of cooking spray on the fixture. However, look for plain cooking spray options that don’t have a lot of add-ins. Coat the chrome fixture in your cooking spray and then wipe it clean with a gentle cloth.”
“Most people think newspaper is best for cleaning windows and mirrors but a clean, dry microfiber cloth is actually better,” says Larry Patterson, franchisee of Glass Doctor (@GlassDoctor1) in Dallas, Texas. “Newspaper quickly deteriorates when wet and can leave newsprint spots on your mirror frame and window sills (not to mention your fingers).”
Patterson says that “If you’re looking for a DIY solution to clean your glass shower doors, mix one cup of warm vinegar with one cup of a dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Then, spray the mixture directly onto the door and wipe with a soft sponge. If there is any residue left on the glass, use a glass cleaner to give the doors a final wipe.”
According to Nicola Croughan, Fabric Expert at Custom Curtains (@InteriorGoods), “Every kitchen contains an array of natural remedies for tackling dirt and dust, which means you needn’t part with lots of cash.”
She advises that “When it comes to stains on your curtains, cushions, and blankets, use salt to soak up the mess soon as it happens. This also works for larger pieces of furniture.”
“For older stains, I recommend rubbing with a solution of white vinegar (2 tablespoons), washing up liquid (1 tablespoon) and warm water (700ml),” says Croughan. “Blot dry before putting in the wash on your standard setting. If it’s the fabric on your furniture, use a steam cleaning after applying the solution.”
But Croughan also warns that there are limits to the DIY approach. “Of course, if the stain is particularly stubborn and your soft furnishings were very expensive, it will be worth just biting the bullet and taking them to the professionals!” she says.
“The most crucial ingredient when removing gum from carpets is patience. Scrape away as much of the gum as possible, using a dull object like a spoon, and apply a dry-cleaning solvent such as Goof Off. After allowing time for the solvent to soften the gym, use a white cotton cloth to pull or wipe away the gum from the carpet and repeat this process until the gum is completely removed.”
“If there are large amounts of ketchup (whether fresh or dried-on), remove it by scraping lightly with a spoon, and use a white cotton towel to blot any residual ketchup. Next, mix a solution of one teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one cup of water, and apply the mixture to the stained area. Starting at the outer edge and working inward, work the solution into the stain and rinse by dabbing with water. If the stain remains, you can attempt to remove it with a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution, but be sure to first test it on an inconspicuous part of the carpet to ensure it’s safe to use.”
“Whatever you do, don’t rub the stain, as rubbing will not only cause the stain to be driven further into the carpet, but it could also cause damage to the carpet’s fibers. Wipe or blot the stain from the outside in using a non-acetone nail polish. If the stain remains, you’ll need to call a cleaning professional.”
“Start by removing any excess lipstick by lightly scraping it with a dull object. Then, working from the outer edges of the stain and moving toward the center, apply a dry solvent to the stain, blotting with a white cotton towel. This may take multiple attempts but the dry solvent should do the trick. Once the stain is removed, rinse by dabbing the area with a dampened cloth and blot with a dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible. To speed up the drying process, you can use an electric fan.”
“First, as with most of the previously mentioned stains, scrape away residual crayon with a dull object, and then cover the remaining crayon mark with a white paper towel. Next, heat the area with a blow dryer, which should melt the crayon and help it absorb into the paper towel.”
If you aren’t planning on cleaning out your dryer vent as a part of your spring cleaning plan, then it’s a task you should definitely add to your list.
“Did you know that dirty dryer vents cause 15,000 home fires a year?” says Valerie Stewart, owner of Mr. Appliance (@MrApplianceCorp) of Littleton, Colorado, adding “Yikes!”
In addition to that risk, it’s costing you money to dry clothes twice just because you haven’t had your vent cleaned in awhile,” says Stewart. “On average, if a homeowner whose dryer typically takes two cycles to dry clothes has their dryer vent professionally cleaned, they can save nearly $150 a year.”
Another appliance that you should keep clean as a matter of safety is your oven, as a greasy oven is a common cause of kitchen fires.
Stewart advises that “an easy way to clean your oven and avoid this danger: sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the oven then spritz it with water from a spray bottle. Let it sit overnight and then remove it easily in the morning with a damp sponge.”
Richard Ciresi, owner of Aire Serv of Louisville, Kentucky (@ASLouisville), says that “Blocked airflow reduces your air conditioner’s efficiency, so make sure you spring clean your outdoor unit, as well.”
Here’s his advice for cleaning it out:
“Using a soft broom, gently clean off the fins on your outdoor condensing unit. (That’s that big metal box outside with the fan in it for those of you scratching your heads.) Clear away weeds, plants, leaves, and other accumulated debris to increase air flow.”
Overall, says Stewart, you should make sure to “Take care of appliance and keep them clean to keep them working efficiently.”
“The harder an appliance has to work to do its job,” she says, “the more energy is wasted in the process.
For example, failing to clean the coils on your refrigerator, which can become covered with dust and dirt, will force your appliance to work harder to keep the temperature stable and prevent food from spoiling, costing you in the long run,” she says.
Lastly, Stewart also advises that switching to cold water washes could save you up to $60 a year.
Sarah Giller Nelson (@LessIsMoreSarah) is a professional organizer and the founder of Less is More Organizing Services. Here are some of her tips for using spring cleaning to get rid of excess home clutter:
- “Find space in your kitchen by discarding mismatched food storage containers. If it doesn’t have a lid or a bottom, recycle it. Use your largest container to store the lids. Stack the remaining containers inside each other.”
- “Raid the recycle bin: Glass jars with or without lids can be used to store almost any small collection of items, including craft materials, cotton balls, pens and pencils, dried beans, grains, or buttons. Use warm water and a scouring pad to loosen the glue residue left once labels are removed.”
- “Shoeboxes are an ideal, inexpensive solution for corralling undergarments, socks, and tights inside messy drawers. Place them on a shelf in your linen closet to organize medicines, bathroom supplies, and other personal care items.”
- “Make your bed every morning. It only takes about two minutes! The bed is the central focus of your bedroom. When it is made, the whole room will seem more serene.”
Have some spring cleaning tips of your own that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear ‘em! Let us know on Twitter at @OppLoans.
Richard Ciresi is the owner of the Aire Serv of Louisville, Kentucky (@ASLouisville). Aire Serv is a global franchise company providing installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and indoor air quality systems. With over thirty years of experience in both commercial and residential heating and air conditioning, his technicians now serve the communities of Indianapolis, Southern Indiana, Louisville and Lexington. His company is known for exceptional customer service, employing the most innovative technology and the widest selection of product lines to provide custom solutions with outstanding results.
Interior Designer and Fabric Expert Nicola Croughan has 10 years’ experience in buying, design and interior styling. She has worked with a diverse range of clients and boasts an impressive portfolio of both commercial and home projects. Nicola now works as an in-house fabric specialist at Custom Curtains, advising the purchasing department and providing assistance and after care to clients.
Glenn Gallas is the Vice President of operations for Mr.Rooter Plumbing (@therightroad). Glenn began his career at Mr. Rooter Plumbing beginning in Feb. 2000, as a franchisee in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Because of his success and achievements, he was offered the opportunity to become a Franchise Consultant before being promoted to Mr. Rooter Plumbing, Vice-President of Operations.
Victoria Heckstall is the CEO of Unique Words & Giveaways 4 Mom. She is also a mom of three messy boys, which is why she is always trying to get the maximum amount of reach from her money
Sarah Giller Nelson is the founder of Less is More Organizing Services, LessIsMoreOrganizers.com. Less is More has been organizing busy families in Miami and Chicago since 2010. Before becoming a professional organizer, Sarah was a curator and art historian.
Larry Patterson is the owner of Glass Doctor in Dallas, Texas. Glass Doctor is a global franchise company providing home and auto glass repair, maintenance and installation. Larry has been a franchisee/business owner of Glass Doctor since 2003, served on the company’s leadership council and was named Franchisee of the Year in 2011.
Valerie Stewart is the owner of Mr. Appliance of Littleton. Mr. Appliance is a franchise providing expert residential appliance repairs. Valerie’s mission at Mr. Appliance is, “To create encore experiences that customers can’t wait to share with others.” Prior to opening her business in 2015, Valerie enjoyed a career in Human Resources. She held several strategic executive leadership positions in a variety of industries, including gaming, insurance, commercial real estate and manufacturing. Valerie is a member of the BNI chapter Higher Ground, in which she holds a leadership position. Valerie graduated from Adams State University.
As Vice President of Technical Services, Jack White is responsible for training, technical services and support, as well as, research and development for Rainbow International.
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