My Cleaning Made Simple

Instead of keeping specific cleaning things for specific jobs, I have learned to "generalize" my supplies. So now, I keep on hand the following things for cleaning any room in the house.

  1. General cleaner (409 or whatever brand you use): I keep 3 bottles. One in a spray bottle, and 2 larger refill bottles.

  2. Window cleaner and paper towels: Again; 3 bottles. One in a spray bottle, and 2 larger refill bottles. I also keep 3 rolls of paper towels, one that is in use, and 2 spares.

  3. Scouring powder: 2 cans; one in use, one spare

  4. Furniture polish: 2 cans; one in use, one spare

  5. Ammonia: 2 bottles; one in use, one spare

  6. Disinfectant: 3 cans; one in use, 2 spares

  7. WD-40: 2 cans; one in use, one spare

  8. Oven cleaner: 2 cans; one in use, one spare

  9. Drain opener: 2 cans; one in use, one spare

  10. Febreze: 4 bottles; one in use, 3 spares

These 10 items will take care of any household cleaning that needs to be done. I keep spares according to how much the item is used. For instance the general cleaner, window cleaner, and disinfectant are used all over the house and get used up fast so instead of one spare, I keep 2 spares. And the Febreze is used literally everywhere; furniture, drapes, carpets, rugs, etc, so it REALLY gets used up fast.


Cleaning tools:

  • Paper towels: I buy packages of 8-12 rolls (I look for no less than 2 ply, and check the number of sheets per roll and get the package with the most). When I get down to 2 rolls of paper towels, I know it's time to buy another package.

  • Rags: I made a large bag out of canvas with a handle on it and hang it on the shelving unit. I keep a separate smaller laundry basket specifically for these to go into when dirty because with the different chemicals that get used with them I don't want them in with my regular laundry.

  • I have a scrubber with a telescoping handle that I use for cleaning the showers and the tubs. It saves strain on my back.

  • I also have an electric steamer that sprays a strong jet of steam onto what I am trying to clean. I use this to clean shower doors, shower stalls, tubs, and around the toilet. (For an added bonus, this steamer is the best thing going for cleaning stains off the carpet!)

  • Another huge time and effort saver I have is my Roomba vacuum. When I get done cleaning a room every day, I put the Roomba in there and close the door and let it run till its battery runs down. Then I simply pick it up, empty its cup and put it back on it's charger. To keep the living room looking presentable every day, before I go to bed each night, I set up the virtual walls that come with it and turn it on just as I'm heading into the bed. When I get up in the morning, all I have to do is pick up the virtual walls.

Now For My Actual Cleaning:

Instead of trying to keep the whole house clean all the time, I've learned to let the house look "lived in". I give one room each day a good general cleaning. Once every 4-6 weeks instead of a good general cleaning, it gets a good thorough cleaning.

The difference being a general cleaning means basically "surface" cleaning. Wiping counters, sinks, tubs, showers. Putting scouring powder in the toilet and swishing with the toilet brush. Cleaning the mirrors. Vacuuming, mopping. Wiping inside appliances. Feather dusting.

Thorough cleaning takes longer. This is when I bring out the big buckets and give everything a good scrubbing. I also get under the sinks and clean, then straighten. This is when I do the windows (insides only, outsides have their own day). Also this is when I bring out the furniture polish and really polish the furniture. I also get down with a pumice stone and really scrub the toilet, followed by a dose of bleach in it to disinfect it.

By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

Editor's Note: Here is Cricketnc's cleaning schedule, posted previously:

cleaning bin
August 31, 20090 found this helpful

Wow. This article made my thrifty head spin. A Roomba vacuum, paper towels, and 409. All too expensive for me. Lol.

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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

I printed off your entry as I am moving soon & I will take the list to the market. Thanks!

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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

I like all your cleaning tips except the last one. I recently learned that pumice stone actually contributes to a toilet that will get dirty faster because the pumice scratches the porcelain. I use a very fine water sand paper about once every six to eight weeks in the toilet followed with a product called amaz. Apply the amaz with a finer version of the green scotch pad, let dry and wipe off. It does a much better job than the pumice stone.

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September 1, 20090 found this helpful

Doesn't it bother anyone to use that many chemicals to clean a home? Try some vinegar, baking soda, borax and other things for a cleaner, more natural home. Also, use rags in place of paper towels and newspaper for window washing. This person spent way more money on her thrifty cleaning than I do in a couple of years!

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September 4, 20090 found this helpful

As someone else said, you can get by with a much shorter list of cleaning "staples" instead of buying all of those individual cleaners. I would stock a couple boxes of borax (1 for the laundry), baking soda, dish detergent, white vinegar, Bleach and Several spray bottles.

The only specific things that I insist on splurging on is glass cleaner (because I've never gotten vinegar and newspaper to work for me), oven cleaner, and scoring powder. But other than that, I can do all of my cleaning with he staples listed above and making my own general spray cleaners.

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