If you’ve ever bought organic or “natural” anything you know that you’ll probably be spending more then any other version you could buy of the same product in the store. So, my expectation here was that by making my own homemade cleaning products I would be choosing to spend more money for a healthier and greener home. And I was ok with that. (Our health is kind of important to me.) But, as the months went by and I eliminated one product after the other I couldn’t believe it but every single time: WE WERE SAVING MONEY. Every time! Every product! We make all of our cleaning products now and it’s saving us over $1,000 a year!
Surface spray cleaner savings: $50
I am SO glad I started making my own surface cleaner spray! Before I was soaking a rag in vinegar and hitting all of my counters and tables like that so our house smelled like vinegar (could be worse) and it just wasn’t very practical. Thank goodness I finally purchased myself a spray bottle! Now I am also MUCH more aware of how much I use and can compare it now to the commercial cleaner (Windex) and see that I’m really saving us some money every year too.
Foaming hand soap savings: $36
This is a pretty conservative estimate here as some months (or years) we simply use more hand soap then others depending on what we’re doing. This winter we’ve used a TON because this has been a great year for ice fishing and to get that fishy smell off his hands Joe (my hubby) happily uses our homemade foaming hand soap 🙂 So, the more fishing we do, obviously the more soap we use!
Dishwasher detergent savings: $80
This was a hard one to figure. Back in the days before I was making my own dishwasher detergent I always purchased the pods which are much more expensive then just buying the powder form. So, depending on whether you use the pods or the powder, this number will change dramatically but you’ll still be saving money. Replacing the pods with my dishwasher detergent I was saving at least $100 a year but that savings is closer to only $30 a year comparing it to the off brand powder dishwasher detergent.
Laundry detergent and fabric softener savings: $500
Initially when I did my figures for how much we were paying for laundry detergent the savings was much higher (over $700) but, looking back at it, I have to believe that we were simply using more then we needed to be. So, I pulled that total back a little bit because we would know better now. The difference is we are now using a high efficiency washer/dryer combination unit by LG that has a very specific place and amount that we can use for each load. In the past, when we had the two separate units, we were just dumping the laundry detergent in the washing machine without even thinking about it and I know we were definitely using more then we needed to. We have also replaced dryer sheets with just a little vinegar and that was a big cost savings as well.
After that we simply do not purchase commercial cleaning products and we’re saving at least another $400 a year just by using what I already have on hand for making the above recipes. Honestly, you simply don’t need anything else. Here are the six ingredients I’m talking about.
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Citric Acid
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
What do I use on my hardwood floors? I sweep, vacuum and then mop (using this awesome mop I got on Amazon) and I just fill the sink with hot water with a little castile soap added and that’s it! Our floors turn out sparkly and amazing every single time! At some point along the way we decided we needed to add a whole bunch of unpronounceable ingredients to clean our homes. It’s just not true and those crazy ingredients just add toxins to our environment and extra strain on our bank accounts! If someone asked me if I wanted to save $1,000 a year, make less of an impact on the environment and create a healthier environment for my family I wouldn’t even hesitate and I haven’t!
So, how much time is this taking me? As a DIYer there is a question I always keep in the back of my head. If my time is worth anything would I be losing money instead of just going ahead and buying the commercial version of this product? Well, at $1,000 a year that question (in this case) is a resounding YES this is worth it. But let’s break it down. The laundry detergent takes me about ten minutes to make with an additional fifteen minutes in the middle while it cools. The hand soap could almost be measured in seconds – it literally takes me more time to gather the ingredients then to put them in the bottle. The same goes for my dishwasher detergent and my surface spray – both take me longer to get the ingredients then to make because I keep the majority of the ingredients in our laundry room which is about fifteen steps from my kitchen counter.
How often do I need to make new batches? We make enough laundry detergent to last us about 4 months, so, ten minutes every 4 months isn’t asking a lot. (The laundry detergent is definitely the more labor intensive of the recipes but its still so easy Joe usually does it for us which is only fair as he does over twice the laundry that I do.) The surface spray and the dishwasher detergent I make about once a month and the hand soap is about every two months. Of course it all depends on HOW MUCH I make at a time and I’m not even sure if dumping a few ingredients in a container and putting the lid back on even constitutes “making” something. This really couldn’t be easier and it is DEFINITELY the easiest savings I make in our home!
So, the big question, how do they all work? When I started in trying to get our dishwasher detergent to work with our hard water (and no water softener!) I thought I had met my match but with a little vinegar added to each load our dishes turn out great every single time. Our laundry detergent absolutely works better then the commercial alternative and that’s something I remain really excited about! Our clothes are in much better shape – when we were using the two separate units for doing laundry I noticed right away that there was MUCH less dryer lint! Joe is a mason so he was pretty skeptical initially and honestly couldn’t believe how much better it worked on his work clothes. I did not buy a dozen different brands of hand soap for comparison – we simply started using my recipe and hoped for the best and it works great. (Seriously my hand soap takes off the fishy smell after a day of fishing and cleaning fish so, in my opinion, it is almost miraculous.)
So, how much do we actually spend for all of this? Less then $100 a year for EVERYTHING. All of our laundry, our dishwashing, our handsoap and cleaning supplies for our entire home.