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17 Ways to Clean Your Home on a Budget

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Unless you’re a neck bearded basement dweller, we all want to live in a clean home.  But we don’t want to spend a lot of time and money cleaning and we don’t want to use harsh, potentially dangerous chemical concoctions in our homes.

Here are some ways to keep your house clean, cheap, and healthy.

1. Tidy Daily

If you spend just ten minutes before bed tidying your space, it will save you time and aggravation.  Wipe down surfaces and put things that might have migrated from their designated homes back where they belong.

2. De-Gross Your Sponges

Damp sponges full of little crevices are breeding grounds for germs.  At the end of each day, put a damp sponge in the microwave for two minutes.  This will kill 99% of lurking germs. Leave it in the microwave until it cools down a bit or you can get a nasty burn. To save money, cut every new sponge in half.  You only use the middle part anyway so get two for one.

3. Microfiber Dusters

Swiffer are the brand name but you can find store brand ones.  They’re convenient and re-usable.  When they get kind of grimy, throw them into you next load of laundry and you can use them indefinitely.

4. No Shoes!

I think it’s kind of rude to do this but some of you are probably rude.  Make people remove their shoes before coming into your home.  It cuts down on dirt and wear and tear on your carpets and floors.

5. Dishwashers

If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, fill the detergent compartment with white vinegar every few weeks and run an empty cycle.  This will clean and  deodorize the machine and help clean the gunk out of the lines, extending the life of the washer.

6. Coffee Maker

Vinegar will clean your coffee maker too.  Empty the old grounds and fill up the carafe with a mixture of half water, half white vinegar.  Turn on the coffee maker and when the carafe is half full, turn it off and let it sit for one hour.  Turn it back on so the cycle can finish.  Pour out the vinegar water mixture and run the cycle again with just water.  This will help remove the mineral deposits in the machine.

7. Vinegar: cheap and versatile

White vinegar is great for cleaning lots of things.  Metal taps, counter tops, mirrors and glass shower doors.  You can mix equal parts water and vinegar to clean the inside of your fridge so you aren’t using chemicals where you store you food.  Once it dries, the vinegar smell won’t linger.  A mixture of one part water and one part vinegar is great for cleaning windows.  Use scrunched up news paper  to wipe them. No lint from paper towels and newspaper is cheaper.  You will get news print on your hands though.

8. Coffee Ground Deodorizer

Baking soda is pretty cheap but if you drink coffee, you already have a free way to deodorize the fridge.  Put used coffee grounds into a little dish and pop them in the fridge.  Change them out every two months.  Now something that was trash has a second use.

9. Clean Your Microwave

Do you cover your food in the microwave or are you a savage?  If you’re a savage and there is splattered food dried on the inside of the microwave, squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl of water, drop the halves into the bowl and microwave for three minutes.  Leave the door closed for five minutes so the steam can loosen the dried on yuck.  Wipe the inside with a damp sponge and all that dried on stuff will wipe right off with no hard scrubbing.

10. Clean Your Blinds

To clean your blinds, put an old (clean) sock on your hands like a mitten.  Dampen it with water  and run it over each slat.  Use four fingers on the top and your thumb on the bottom so you only have to do each slat once.  Don’t forget to start from the top so any dust that gets knocked down can be wiped up.

11. Clean with Cola

Do you drink cola?  If you do, you should stop.  It’s bad for you!  But this is LMM!  We teach you to save money, throwing away perfectly good cola is wasting money.  I got chu.  Pour that nasty cola into your nasty toilet.  Leave it for an hour.  Then brush away the stains.  This works because the phosphoric ACID! which you had previously been throwing down your gullet, eats away the stains.

12. Clogged Taps

If your shower head or sink taps are covered in lime scale, fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar, rubber band it over the head or tap and leave it over night.  Once removed, the water will flow more freely.

13. Shower Tiles

Do you have grotty mildew on your shower tiles?  Mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste.  Apply to the tiles and grout then scrub with a hard bristled tooth brush.  This might take some elbow grease but it’s cheap and you won’t be inhaling noxious fumes in the confined space of your bathroom.

14. Scouring Scrub

Plain baking soda can be used as an abrasive to clean sinks, toilets and bathtubs.  Just sprinkle the soda and scrub with a damp sponge

15. Mildewed Shower Curtain

If you don’t stretch your shower curtain all the way out, it can get mildew in the creases.  I used to scrub this stuff off by hand which is gross and takes forever.  Then I learned you can throw that curtain into the laundry with a few towels and wash it on cold.  Takes the mildew right off.  Obviously do not put it in the dryer!

16. Carpet Deodorizer

If you want to deodorize your carpet or rugs, sprinkle them with baking soda.  Let sit for one hour and vacuum.  Another good vacuum tip if you have pets that venture outdoors, put a flea collar into the vacuum bag.  It will kill any fleas that you vacuum up.

17. Dusting

If you use dryer sheets, save the used ones and use them to dust television and computer screens.  It reduces the static that attracts dust and gives you a second use from dryer sheets you would otherwise throw away.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be time consuming and it doesn’t take a cabinet full of specialized cleaners.  I hope this tips will save you money and increase the enjoyment of your home.

Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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