Beginners Guide To Stretch Your Store Bought Cleaning Products

Today everyone is trying to find ways to cut their spending. Reducing your spending on household cleaning products has probably crossed your mind.  You may have read about making your own household cleaners, laundry and dish soap but  hesitate because you love your commercial products and not sure you want to give them up, or you are unsure if the homemade versions will clean as well as the commercial ones.  

Here is a few tips that  you can do now to stretch your favorite commercial cleaning products.  This is a great way to experiment with homemade cleaners before you dive right in.  

Laundry Detergent:
Love the scent of your favorite brand, but don't love the price?  Before you give it up completely why don't you try stretching it a bit farther?  Today's laundry detergents are very concentrated and effective. You can stretch them just a bit farther and in most circumstances will work just as good.

1) For powdered detergents (and for a lot of homemade cleaners as well) let me introduce you to your two new best  friends:  Borax powder and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not Baking Soda). Both are found in the laundry aisle of your store.  Save your empty detergent box when you buy a new one.  Measure half the new detergent powder into the empty box.  Next mix in a quarter (of the amount of soap in each box)  of Borax and a Quarter of Washing Soda in each box.  Mix well.   
photo credit: instructables,.com

2) Always measure your detergent before pouring it into the machine. More is not always better.  According to Goodhousekeeping.com " Today's 2x and 3x concentrated detergents, a full cap is too much for most loads.  Adding more detergent won't get clothes any cleaner. Instead, laundry can still be soapy at the end of the cycle and front-loading washers that are sensitive to excess suds may shut down."

3) Liquid Detergent:  Save your empty detergent bottle.  Pour half of the new bottle into the old one. Fill them both with tap water. But do it SLOWLY!   (No sense making bubbles of wasted detergent and having your savings literally float away!) GENTLY shake to blend the water & detergent.   You will now have two bottles of laundry detergent. Your laundry will get just as clean for half the cost.

Dish Detergents

My personal experience with making my own  dishwasher powder totally from scratch is with mixed reviews.  At first I loved it, but then I started noticing  a dull film on my glasses.  Adding a bit of white vinegar to the rinse (where you would add Jet dry or even in the second detergent cup (you really don't need to put detergent in both of them.) will cut that down.

1) If you are not ready to completely make your own  powdered dishwasher detergent (mixing equal amounts of the Borax and the Washing Soda) then use the directions for the powdered laundry detergent  above,(adding the borax and washing soda in the same ratio as the laundry soap)  to  almost double your store bought powdered detergent.  Most people report clean and sparkling dishes for half the price.
Photo Credit: Newlifeonhomestead.com

2) Liquid dish detergent (for hand washing dishes)  Use the same meathod as the liquid laundry detergent above, after adding the water to each squirty bottle, gently shake the bottle to mix soap and water.(See bubble reference above).  

3) To stretch your dryer sheets or to make your own Click here

Liquid Scrubbing Cleansers (Soft Soap) 
(Perfect for ceramic stove tops, bathrooms, counters, sinks.....)
When you have an empty bottle of soft soap  save it and pour half the new bottle into the empty bottle or, when you have about 1/2 your soft soap gone, use 1/2 this recipe to stretch the remaining commercial cleanser.  In a mixing bowl, pour in a box of baking soda. (perfect time to use the old box out of the fridge).   Add in 1 1/4 cups dish detergent.  mix together and divide between the two bottles. Gently mix the new soft soap with the store bought.

All Purpose Spray Cleaner
To stretch your favorite brand of spray cleaner for anywhere in the house, from windows to countertops, mix a 1 to 1 ration of water and vinegar (white vinegar). Add this to your half empty spray cleaner to stretch it out. You can use this mixture all by itself. You can add essential oil,  or even lemon juice if you want to dampen the vinegar scent.  (I add a dash of pine cleaner).

Spray your cloth, not the surface.  
This may seem obvious,but but most of us are guilty.  Good housekeeping reminds us  that  spraying the cleaner on the surface of your mirrors, windows, furniture, appliances etc.  often wastes your product and leaves behind extra cleaner that requires more work to buff and remove. Who wants extra work?

Ready to jump in to the deep end?
If you do want to save time from searching for homemade cleaner recipes all over the internet, consider purchasing this downloadable e-book that contains over 30 recipes  from frugallysustainable.com

Click here
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