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Cleaning the house is a never-ending task. The moment all the dishes are clean and put away, someone is hungry or thirsty and makes some dishes dirty again.
The moment all the floors are swept and mopped and vacuumed, someone comes in with dirty shoes, or spills crumbs … it never stops. While we may wish we could afford a cleaning service to take care of all these daily messes, the truth is that most of us can’t afford it.
Fortunately, there are some clever ways to clean a house on a budget, so that the dirtiest, most-time consuming cleaning chores are a little bit faster and easier. Here are some DIY home cleaning ideas on a budget.
DIY Home Cleaning Ideas on a Budget
1. DIY Carpet Cleaner
Shampooing rugs and carpets is an enormous task, but you can quickly remove stains and dirt with this homemade carpet cleaner.
You Will Need
- An empty spray bottle
- Dishwashing liquid
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Warm water
- A clean sponge
To Make This DIY Carpet Cleaner and Stain Remover, Follow These Steps:
- Add 1 cup of warm water to a spray bottle
- Add 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid
- Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
- Shake gently to mix
Baking soda and vinegar together create a powerful cleaning mixture that fights stains, deodorizes, and can even kill many harmful microbes. Warm water makes the reaction even more powerful.
To Use This Solution
- Vacuum rugs or carpets to remove superficial dirt.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of baking soda on stained areas.
- Spray the vinegar solution over the baking soda. Be prepared for it to foam up.
- Use a clean dry sponge to dab at the stains, absorbing and removing the dirt.
2. Clean Your Appliances on a Budget
Over time, your dishwasher and washing machine can become dirty and perhaps even develop a smell. It’s rough when the very appliances you use to clean your house need cleaning as well, but you can keep them clean and fresh with just vinegar and baking soda.
To Quickly Clean a Dishwasher
- Place 1 cup of white vinegar in an open container (like a cup or bowl) in the bottom rack of the dishwasher.
- Place ¾ cup of baking soda in an open container (like a cup or bowl) in the top rack of the dishwasher.
- Run the dishwasher with hot water and let them do their magic.
- When the cycle is finished, allow the dishwasher to sit with the door closed for 20 minutes for additional steam cleaning.
To Quickly Clean a Washing Machine
- Add 4 cups of vinegar to the drum of a top-loading machine, or 2 cups to the drum of a front-loading machine.
- Mix a solution of half warm water and half baking soda
- Add the baking soda solution to the washing machine wells where you would add detergent, fabric softener, and bleach
- Run a hot water laundry cycle.
3. Make DIY Appliance Cleaning ‘Bombs’
You can make cleaning appliances and toilets faster, easier, and more affordable with DIY cleaning bombs. You will want to make a large batch of these at once and store them in an airtight container. It’s a great idea to keep a container in the bathroom, with a cute label like these so that guests can use them if needed.
To Make DIY Cleaning Bombs On A Budget, You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Tea tree oil
- A mixing bowl
- Portion scoop(s) (large size 8-12 ones like these) for dishwashers and washing machines, and smaller size 30-40 ones like these for use in toilets)
- Parchment/baking paper or a silicone cookie mat for drying
- In a mixing bowl, combine:
- 1½ cups of baking soda
- 3 Tbsp. hydrogen peroxide
- 10-20 drops of tea tree oil
- Optional: add a few drops of a citrus-based essential oil like lemon or grapefruit for more cleaning power and a pleasant scent
- Mix until the combination is even and feels like damp sand and holds together when squeezed. Depending on your climate and humidity, you may need to add a little more baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to achieve the correct consistency.
- Pack the mixture firmly into a portion scoop, and then portion it out on parchment paper.
- Allow the bombs to dry overnight, then store them in an air-tight container.
To Use These Bombs
- Add one or two to the top rack of the dishwasher, place a container of vinegar in the bottom rack, and run a hot dishwashing cycle
- Add one or two to a washing machine, place vinegar in the detergent compartment, and run a hot cycle
- Add a small bomb to a dirty or smelly toilet bowl and let it dissolve before flushing. You will still need to regularly clean and scrub your toilet bowl, but the oils in the bomb will quickly release a pleasant scent and prevent stains from building up.
4. DIY Magic Eraser
Magic erasers are a great way to remove dirt and stains from all kinds of household surfaces, and you can make your own for a fraction of the price. To make a DIY home cleaning magic eraser, you will need:
- Melamine sponge(s). The secret to the magic eraser is that it doesn’t use regular sponges, but sponges made of melamine. You can get them yourself much more affordably by buying them directly
- Baking soda
- A sealable container. An old margarine tub will work well, or choose containers like these
To Make Your Own DIY Magic Erasers, Follow These Steps
- Place ½ cup of warm water into a sealable container
- Add 1 tsp of Borax
- Add 1 tbsp of baking soda
- Stir to dissolve and combine
- Soak a melamine sponge in the liquid
To Use This DIY Magic Eraser
- Lightly squeeze out the excess liquid from the sponge and use it for scrubbing and cleaning
- If the sponge isn’t too dirty or damaged, return it to the container and store it in the liquid for a later time. If it wears out, add another sponge to the liquid and keep using until it’s gone.
5. DIY Budget-Friendly Tips to Keep a House Clean
Of course, the best way to keep a house clean is to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place. While nobody wants to live with plastic-covered furniture, there are some simple ways to keep a house clean that require almost no effort at all.
Soften Your Water
If you have hard water, it not only creates hard water spots on dishes and soap scum in the shower, it actually makes the house harder to clean. Hard water has minerals that decrease the effectiveness of soap and detergents, affecting nearly every cleaning task in the house, from laundry to mopping to bathrooms.
While adding a whole house water softening system can be expensive to buy and install, you can get a shower-mounted water softening filter like this one, or an under-sink water filter like this one and enjoy softer water every day. You will need to replace the filters every few months, but soft water keeps your home cleaner, makes cleaning easier, and also makes your hair and skin softer.
Filter Your Air
Air filters remove dirt, dust, and common allergens from the air in your house, reducing your need to dust and clean as often and making your indoor air healthier to breathe. You can buy fans and humidifiers with advanced HEPA filtration, but they can be extremely expensive. But you can DIY an extremely effective air purifier, as demonstrated in this video
To Make a DIY Air Purifier, You Will Need
- A box fan. The bigger the fan, the more effectively it will move and clean the air. This fan from CC Comfort Zone is a good choice, because it is large, powerful, energy-efficient, and has three speeds for different temperatures
- An air filter. Look for a HEPA filter that is the same dimensions as your box fan. While you may want to choose a very high-rated, hospital-grade MERV filter, it’s best to use a MERV-10 or higher to remove the most particles, but a MERV-13 or below to allow optimal air flow. Reducing air flow too much strains a fan’s motor and makes it less effective. Also keep in mind that less expensive filters often need to be replaced more often, every 3-6 months, instead of every 12 months that more expensive filters often recommend, so getting a good filter pays off over time. This Honeywell 20×20 MERV 10 filter is a great choice for a standard 20 inch box fan
When you have the fan and the filter, check the filter for the direction of air flow, making sure the filter is aimed the right direction. Then tape it to the front of the fan using sturdy tape, making sure that they are tightly attached. Replace the filter as the manufacturer recommends.
Keeping a house clean may be a never-ending chore, but these DIY home cleaning ideas can make it faster, more effective, and more affordable. That’s fewer things on your to-do list, every week!