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How to save on cleaning supplies

By Paula Pant ·
Monday, February 18, 2013
Posted: 7 am ET

March is around the corner, which means many people are starting to think about spring cleaning. But cleaning products can be pricey.

It's not common for people to discuss how much money they spend on sponges, paper towels and Windex, but these different cleaning supplies can add up to several dollars.

How can you save money on cleaning products? Here are three frugal ways.

1. Avoid specialty products

These days, products are marketed for every specific surface in our home. Stores sell individual cleaners for stainless steel, granite, windows, wood, tile and tubs. The list feels endless. These niche products can get expensive quickly.

Be judicious about buying surface-specific products. Try a "multisurface cleaner," which is formulated to clean many surfaces, including desks, countertops, windows, tile, tubs and appliances.

Use discretion, though. Some surfaces, such as wood, genuinely require a particular type of cleaner. This is because wood is porous, and waters and dyes can harm it.

2. Be wary of brands that lock you in

I recently spotted a new type of mop. The "squirting" mechanism is built into the handle, so you need to buy a compatible cleaning solution cartridge from the same brand. You also need to buy compatible mopping pads.

Once you buy the mop's base unit, you're locked into buying the same brand's accessory products. Another company's design might not be compatible.

That's a problem, because it means you can't compare prices. You're stuck.

Avoid these types of products. Buy versatile cleaning hardware, even if it costs a little more money upfront. You want the freedom to be able to shop around for the accessories.

3. Subscribe and save

Remember, you don't need to buy cleaning supplies from the store. Websites such as often carry basic household cleaning supplies, like kitchen sponges, at a fraction of the price that you find on your local shelves.

You can save even more money by using the "subscribe and save" option, which gives you an extra discount if you "subscribe" to these supplies. I have a 24-pack of kitchen sponges delivered to my house once every six months. The sponges cost significantly less than they do at the store, and the delivery is free. It's a win-win; I enjoy low prices and convenience, and the merchant gets a repeat customer.

Paula Pant blogs at about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental units and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @affordanything.

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January 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm

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February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

Hey Paula!

Not to affend you here but...NEVER EVER use sponges, they are a bacterial nightmare. I buy bulk wash cloths at my local discount store. They are inexpensive, washable easy to sanitize and don't break the budget. I get an average of 30-35 uses per each cloth before I have to throw them out. I agree about the cleaning product you warn about above. I made that mistake. But I found a solution to the problem. I hated the cleaning solution to be used with this item so when the bottle was empty I cut a hole in the bottom used my cleaner of choice and recycled a wine bottle cork to seal, WORKS GREAT! I also found a generic refill pad at half the cost that works with the unit. Through me an e-mail and I will tell you were.