Q: I really need to do a deep clean of my house, but I have no money. Are there any budget tips you have for getting things squeaky clean without spending money I don’t have?
A: I’m of the firm opinion that you really shouldn’t have to spend extra money to get your house clean. And while specialty cleaning products are often useful, they’re rarely necessary.
Most of what you need to accomplish can be done with things you likely have around the house: hot water, dish soap, rags or sponges, a mop, and a broom or vacuum. I use a lot of white vinegar for cleaning, but that’s pretty budget-conscious, at about $2 a gallon.
- A mixture of hot water, vinegar, and a squirt of dish soap will clean pretty much any surface, including counter tops, showers, tubs, toilets, refrigerator shelves, stovetops, and most other hard surfaces.
- Mop your floor with boiling water. Seriously, it’s like low-budget steam mopping.
- Clean your glass with vinegar and old, lintless rags (like a T-shirt too stained to wear anymore). Lots of people suggest newspaper for glass, but ink transfers onto your hands and often the glass, non-printed newspaper costs money unless you have an in somewhere, and it’s sort of more of a pain than a trick.
- Vinegar and hot water will clean anything in general, but especially anything that comes in contact with food preparation, like teakettles and coffee pots. It’s also good for wiping down cabinet fronts, but make sure your rag is barely damp, not wet. You don’t want warped wood.
- Don’t have a vacuum? You can totally sweep your carpet. Generations of Old World grandmas, including mine, swore by it.
Cleaning without specialty products takes a little bit of extra elbow grease, but it’s totally feasible and, once you get on a regular schedule, no more difficult than doing it with all of the gadgets and gizmos. No one should see their empty wallet as a reason or an excuse why they can’t have a clean house.