Cheap Cleaning Supplies Put To The Test And How To Store Them Safely
I love tidying up and have quite a lot of cleaning supplies! My love for cleaning started at an early age. I learned best practices from my parents who took good care of their home, farm and possessions to extend the life out of them. And I also had several jobs over the years working in a nursing home and a food factory where cleanliness was mandatory!
One of the best gifts I give to friends who are expecting a baby is to deep clean their home a few weeks before their due date. We also moved a few times in our lifetime out of rentals and each time the landlord asked if I wanted to professionally clean their units as a side hustle. I'm flattered! But, I think if cleaning was a job I would get paid for, I wouldn't find it as enjoyable. Cleaning is therapeutic!
Since I've been cleaning for 30 years or so (yup, and I'm still a millennial), I know a lot of tips and tricks! I am going to share with you my favorite CHEAP cleaning products with pics of how I use them in my home! And also how I safely store my cleaning products to keep them away from pets and kiddos.
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Kitchens Are The Dirtiest And Most Used Places In Your Home
One would assume bathrooms are the most used or dirtiest room in a home.
Newsflash - it's the kitchen! No matter how beautiful and cute we make our kitchens, it can be the dirtiest place in your home.
Think about it, we are touching the fridge door to take food in and out at least 3 times a day.
We are bringing in dirty grocery bags and placing them on counters. (Eww, please don't do this, keep grocery bags and purses on the floors or hang them up).
As well as the kitchen is a place for the kid's craft or science projects, household budgeting activities and occasionally teleworking for your day job!
On weekends, I'm clearing breakfast plates, wiping the crumbs away and setting it up with an activity to keep my kid busy for a few hours. As soon as I finish cleaning up that Pinterest masterpiece or fail, I'm setting up the table to eat again!
Clean Kitchen Surfaces with Water, Vinegar, Dawn Dish Soap & Disinfecting Wipes
It's easy to neglect cleaning surfaces. You just have to make it easy and keep your cleaning supplies conveniently located.
I make it a priority to wipe down the surfaces after each activity or meal with a simple water/vinegar mix and a cloth.
I bought a simple 32oz spray bottle, fill half with water, add a drop of dawn dish soap and fill the other half with distilled white vinegar (average about $4/gallon).
For cleaning cloths back in the day, I bought a few packs like this set on amazon.com for $16, but now I just look for real-estate sales. It's amazing how you can walk away with garbage bags full of washcloths, hand towels and bath towels and only spend quarters! Who cares if it's somebody's old bath towel?! Duh, you wash it before you use it!
And to be honest, some of those towels are nicer than our towels we are still using from when we first got married...
For cleaning up after raw meat or to give a deeper scrub on counter surfaces, I use disinfecting wipes (varies $9-12 for 3 depending if you buy brand name or in bulk).
I also frequently take out items in my fridge and wipe down the shelves in the fridge because again – we are bringing products that have been touched by many other hands and resting in dirty shopping carts, and putting them right in our fridge! Oh for germs!!!
Best Microwave Cleaning Hack
Let's not lie here. We all have lived with someone who has refused to cover their food when they warm it up in the microwave. And if you can't think of this person then chances are, it is you who is forgetting to cover up your spaghetti, soup or other food and are allowing it to blow up all over in the microwave!
Now let me introduce the best microwave cleaning hack: boiling water.
In a microwavable bowl or cup, heat water for 4-6 minutes. Your microwave will experience a lovely sauna of steam cleaning. Be careful when you take the water cup out to not burn yourself. And proceed to just wipe down your microwave!
I wear gloves and dip the cleaning cloth in the hot water to give it a little more extra heat with my scrub. You can also use vinegar sprays or disinfectant wipes if you feel like your microwave still needs to be sanitized. Voila. Boom. Done. Clean microwave with minimal cleaning supplies!
Cleaning Supplies For Various Kitchen Stove Tops & Ovens
So far in my lifetime, we’ve used 3 different types of stove tops. Each were very different in not only how to cook on, but also the cleaning supplies I had to use. After a few attempts, I realized which products worked the best on each surface.
How To Clean Ugly Metal Drip Pans
The first stove top we encountered was very old with gross burners. It was a rental unit and they placed foil around the metal frames, also known as the drip pans (I know, these are so cheap to replace. You literally spend more money on foil wrapping these up).
But whatever. If you want to be that cheap and not replace your burnt pans, then soak them in really hot water, with dish soap, for about a half an hour.
Take them out while they are still warm, spritz with vinegar, and sprinkle baking soda on top. Let them fizzle for a minute or so, then place a hot, wet towel on top of them. Let them sit for about an hour (don’t let them dry out or you start all over again) and scrub with a non-scratch sponge (about $8 for a pack of 9). If you don’t care if you scratch the pans, then yes use the round, stainless steel scrubbers! These run around $11 for a pack of 12, which I've had for years, they last a long time and more than one use.
The Best Cleaning Supplies For Smooth Top Ranges
The next stove top we had was a glass, flat surface. Sure, you can use wet with warm water, spritz with vinegar and baking soda method again. But, my favorite (and quickest) product was “Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth Top Ranges” which is about $9-11 depending on the size of bottle you get.
To use, you clear all food/debris off your range as best as you can with your cleaning cloth or sponge. Then when the surface is a little dryer, squirt the cleaning cream all over the top and rub it around over the nasty areas. Let the cream rest on the surface for a minute or two, then go crazy rubbing it with your sponge or rag.
It’ll shine so purrrrty!
What To Do With Gas Stove Tops
This was a new ballgame for me when we moved into a new home. I’ve never been around gas stoves before (nor knew how to cook off of them) and they burn extremely hot! Such as with my current cookware set I can fry meat on the lowest setting!
Overall, this has been the easiest surface to clean. I mainly use hot water that I have boiled in the microwave above, and wipe it down with my cleaning cloth. Or use my vinegar/water spray mix.
The burner top lids are a little different for me. I haven’t played around enough with these to figure out how exactly I should clean these to get some burn stains off of them.
I tried soaking in warm soapy water, but didn’t get great results. So, I am up for suggestions! As far as the grates (the metal frames on which your pans reside), I do let these soak in, soapy water and scrub with a sponge.
The Best De-greaser Ever For Your Oven: Jungle Jake Cleaner
You know what sucks? Forgetting to stab your potatoes and sweet potatoes enough so they don’t explode in the oven.
I am notorious for exploding all forms of potatoes. For instance, this is the remaining amount of a sweet potato in my oven:
It kept smoking and setting our smoke alarm off so I thought I’d finally better clean it out with my favorite cleaning product: Jungle Jake Cleaner and Degreaser.
We mainly use this on our oven and popcorn maker, but it has multiple uses. It’s non-toxic, non-flammable, biodegradable, non-abrasive, non-corrosive and non-phosphate.
Don’t get me wrong – anytime you ingest cleaners or get them in your eyes is a very bad thing and one should always exercise caution when using them!
But, Jungle Jake is one of the more gentle, high functioning cleaning products out there.
You can save some money and buy Jungle Jake from your local animal or farm supply store for about $10 as well as it is available on amazon.com but at an increased price due to shipping.
Here’s a few pics of before and after cleaning my oven. I’m a ping pong ball cleaner. Meaning, I start in one area, and I magically bounce and start cleaning another before I finish one area. You’ll see. Oops.
Overall, Jungle Jake is my fav de-greaser and it works wonders on surfaces that have been burnt or oiled. It’s highly concentrated, so you can dilute it with water and use a small amount for most cleaning activities.
How To Clean Kitchen Sinks
The cheap, simple concept of water, vinegar and baking soda works wonders for the kitchen sink. After I have washed dishes and scrubbed as best as I can with my dish cloth, I then drain the water and spritz with vinegar. Sprinkling baking soda adds a nice cleaning fizzle. I let this stay on for about 5 minutes then scrub off. Voila. Clean!
But, it won’t be shiny. That’s OK for me. I’m really not into impressing people with my shiny kitchen sink, but if you want a glossy metal look, you can rub baby oil with a cleaning cloth or even lemon or vegetable oil are natural solutions.
They also make stainless steel wipes for about $5-7 which I have used when moving out of rentals and want to make sure I get my deposit back!
How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Daily, I use my vinegar/water spray bottle and cleaning cloth to wipe the surfaces down of my frequently touched stainless steel appliances.
However, it doesn’t leave them the shiniest. The best quickest (and stinkiest) product I have for using on my stainless steel appliances is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner which is $4-5/can and it lasts me a couple years since I really only use it when company is coming over on short notice!
Here’s a few before/after pics of my dirty appliances.
Treating and Cleaning Wood Surfaces
Lemon oil cleaner has always been my jam when it comes to cleaning kitchen chairs, cabinets, bookcases, etc. I recently discovered Formby’s and by far, it’s my fav!
It may look a little greasy when you initially put it on, but just rub it in with a cleaning cloth (I wear gloves as I really don’t want this product on my skin). Again, I wouldn’t recommend if your kids or pets lick your furniture.
Overall, it will remove grime and keep the health of your wood furniture pieces! I will add it can be difficult to locate an in-store seller. Depending on size and where you buy from, it could range $10-17.
Best Cleaners For Hard Surface Floors & Carpeted Floors
When we had a dog, I rarely had to clean my kitchen floors! It was amazing this beast who just licked every crumb!
It wasn’t until we had a kiddo come along who started crawling around, where I’m like, “OK, we need to clean floors…daily.”
About once a month I deep clean my floors, by scrubbing with a Pinesol and water mix. A 100oz bottle costs about $6 and lasts me a very long time since I dilute it. To clean daily, I decided to upgrade to a steam cleaner for my hard surface floors and a better vacuum for the carpeted areas.
Steam Mops For Hard Surface Floors
I felt my floors were sanitized and it picked up all the hair really well! Plus, the microfiber pads are machine washable so you never have to buy replacement cleaning pads.
Unfortunately, Shark steam mop didn't successfully make the move to our new house. And so I ended up buying a Bissell steam mop which was also the same price as my Shark mop and I've been just as happy with this one.
Shark Steam Mop
Simple, fast and effective flexible move
Bissell Steam Cleaner
Steam cleans hard surface floors & has a detachable handheld steam cleaner
Best Bang For Your Buck Vacuum That Really Sucks
I actually don’t like carpet. After having a pet that would once in a while randomly throw up (likely, from all the miscellaneous food he was eating off our kitchen floor) and due to allergies, carpets are NOT my favorite.
But what do you do when you have a house that has lots of carpet, a pet or two and have kids?
You vacuum frequently.
Vacuums are another item I seem to go through quite a bit over the years! We’ve bought the expensive Dyson, and after that stopped sucking, we bought a cheaper Shark. And I love it!
The head is smaller than my Dyson, but I believe that’s intentional to get a higher power suction? I’ve had mine for almost 4 years and it’s going strong. If something were to happen to it, I would buy it again! For $130, it’s not a bad price!
How To Remove Stains From Carpeted Floors
The best way to get out carpeted stains in my opinion is to soak with vinegar water, sprinkle on baking soda and scrub.
Our dog knocked a whole bowl of spaghetti sauce off of the counter one time, let it roll into the living room, where he proceeded to lick it into the carpet in a trail about 5 feet long. It was a disaster, but no stains! Oh – and it was white carpet in that house we were in! Gah – I know!
I currently pay a carpet cleaning service to clean my carpets once a year (I know, I should do this on my own but I have to cut time somewhere!).
Some friends of ours have their own carpet shampooer which they frequently use and was only about $100. So, I’ll likely jump on board some year to save some costs and do my own as well.
Tips To Keep The Bathroom Fresh And Clean
For bathroom counter surfaces, I follow the same procedures as my kitchen counter surfaces (water/vinegar spray and disinfectant wipes).
How To Clean The Soap Scum Ring In A Bathtub
One would generally assume a guy’s bathroom is the hardest to keep clean. Nope – it’s mine. I like to take baths to relax and de-stress. My makeup, shave gel and other bath bomb products leave a horrible scummy ring around my tub.
After a shower or bath (make sure the tub/shower is wet) I spray either a scrub free bleach, or Scrub Free oxy cleaner which is about $2-3/bottle. I let it sit on here for a few minutes (until I put my contacts in and brush my teeth) and then wipe off with a disinfectant wipe or a cleaning cloth.
I’m embarrassed, but here’s my before and after pics of my bathtub with a soap scum ring. TMI. I know. Welcome.
How To Clean Bathroom Mirrors
Spray on. Wipe off.
How To Clean Toilets
Here’s an area where I do have a hack or two. You know those darn fuzzies that magically appear on top of in, and all around the toilet? If you try and wipe them with a dry paper towel, they never get picked up. If you try and wipe them with a disinfectant wipe, you just smear them around.
However, if you take the paper towel that you just used to clean the bathroom mirror off with windex, it picks up all the fuzzies amazingly! (Do not reuse paper towel after wiping your toilet. Throw away!).
I then use a disinfectant wipe after I got all the fuzzies off.
I flush the toilet once to make sure the inside of the bowl is all wet, then I squirt some Toilet Bowl Cleaner (about $2/bottle) around the curve inside. I let it sit in here for about 10 minutes. Then flush again and wipe/scrub if needed with a disinfectant wipe and wearing a disposable glove.
How To Safely Store Bathroom Cleaning Supplies
To make cleaning bathrooms easy and convenient, I keep all the basic bathroom cleaning supplies in each bathroom if possible.
DO NOT store your cleaning products under sinks! If possible, use a shelf if you have a bathroom closet, or hang a shelf on your wall.
If you must store them under your sink, or in a cabinet that can be open by children and pets, please use a baby safety lock. Cleaning products stored improperly pose a hazard and are easily accessible to kids and pets.
Also, in our old home, our dishwasher malfunctioned and flooded my kitchen. Mainly under my sink. All my paper towels and cleaning products were soaked. And gross. I basically keep as little as possible under my sinks now due to safety and in case we need to access pipes. #LessonLearned
Also, Do Not Store Paint Under Your Sinks Or In Rooms With Fluctuating Temperature!
Oops. Looks like I’m storing some paint currently under the kitchen sink.
If you have boys in your house that like to play indoor sports, I’m constantly fixing a mark or ding on a wall.
But, I should be storing this in the garage (if you have a garage that doesn’t fluctuate temps) or in my basement in the furnace room which stays cool due to a cement floor.
Other Safe Storage Tips And Organization Hacks For Your Home
I’m all for making cleaning products accessible, easy and convenient, but also safe. Even if you live alone, you can risk spills or accidents if not properly stored correctly which can harm you and damage your home.
Most importantly, cleaning supplies need to be kept out of the reach of kids and pets who do not know better and see them as chew toys or fun water toys! It's important to teach kids when they are old enough the dangers and proper handling of any cleaning products you use in your house.
Safely Store Dishwasher Liquids and Pods
Dishwasher packs are one of the most dangerous products in your kitchen.
They can be ingested easily by pets and kids!
The best place to store these is high, out of reach by all.
We keep ours in the highest shelf above the dishwasher. I actually have to jump up on the counter a little bit to grab these down. I know that if my kid was a monkey, he still wouldn’t be able to get these! If your kid is a monkey, you can install baby locks for your cabinets as well.
Safely Store Cleaning Supplies In Areas Only You Can Access
One of the reasons we chose the house we did, is because off the kitchen is a giant walk in pantry. I think the intent of this space was used as a canning room or designed to be a laundry room.
But, it’s a great place to store items I purchase in bulk, as well as my cleaning products on a high shelf.
Fire extinguishers actually should not be stored by stoves or under sinks in kitchen (likely too close to the location if you had a kitchen fire!).
We keep ours in this room as I’d be able to get to it within a couple steps. The height is about the same height as my head:
Ideally, you don’t want to be reaching cleaning products from too high above your head (in case you have an accident and it dumps on your head).
Use a ladder if you can’t safely reach your cleaning products.
Again, if you don’t have a pantry with shelves, try and put in some wall-hanging cabinets. In our previous home, we built some up above our washer and dryer. It served as a great, safe location for all our cleaning products. I even put a baby safety lock on it just in case my kid got wild!
How To Safely Store Kitchen Knives, Scissors And Other Sharp Objects
I removed all of our sharp objects out of our kitchen drawers, and either hung them up on the kitchen walls, or put them in containers on the kitchen counter.
My kid is old enough to dig in drawers now, but at least I know the most dangerous items are stored far away from his reach. He would have to push a chair really far across the kitchen in order to reach this!
I leave pull-out drawers mainly for Tupperware containers, towels and cleaning cloths. PS – this provides hours of entertainment for babies!
Favorite Cleaning Products For My Home:
Cleaning is one of my favorite topics! I could talk (or write) about it all day! These are the main, simple, cheap cleaning supplies in my home I use on a regular basis.
I hope you always consider safety as a factor when bringing chemicals and objects that could be harmful to your loved ones and pets into your home. Assess your products to make sure they are properly stored.
Below is a consolidated list of everything I mentioned in this post for quick reference. If you have absolutely zero cleaning products in your house, you can buy in bulk for some items and start adulting for around $150 for cleaning supplies and $200-$300 for a steam mop, a vacuum and a carpet cleaner which is not a bad investment!
Do you have any favorite cleaning supplies or safe storage hacks that you do in your home? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email or comment below!
- Baking Soda ($3/box)
- Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth Top Ranges ($9-11)
- Dawn dish soap ($3/bottle)
- De-greaser & Cleaner – Jungle Jake ($10)
- Disinfecting wipes ($9-12 for 3)
- Dishwasher packs ($13-14)
- Dishwasher Rinse Aid ($10)
- Gloves – Disposable ($11 for 100 count)
- Gloves – Rubber ($13 for pack of 3)
- Lemon Oil for wood surfaces ($10-17)
- Paper Towels ($20 for a bulk supply)
- Pinesol ($6)
- Scrub Free bathroom cleaner ($2-3/bottle)
- Shark steam mop or BISSEL Steamer (each is around $50)
- Shark vacuum ($130)
- Sponges – non-scratch ($8 for pack of 9)
- Sponges – stainless steel ($11 for pack of 12)
- Stainless Steel Wipes ($5-7)
- Stainless Steel Cleaner – Spray Foam; Weiman’s ($4-5/can)
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner ($2/bottle)
- Vinegar ($4/gallon)
- Windex ($3/bottle)