DIY Home Money Saving Tips

10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products

10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products
Written by Irina Vasilescu

Somewhere along the line, we decided that we couldn’t do without certain products – but what if we could? Your monthly grocery shopping will be a little cheaper, and it all adds up!

In the Kitchen

10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products

1. Kitchen towels

Yes, those paper towels are handy, but a cloth or a sponge would work just as well. Just remember which ones you’ve used on the floor and which ones are for counter tops. Old clothes made from absorbent fabrics also make great helpers for mopping up mess – and they’re absolutely free!

2. Anti-septic detergents

A couple of decades ago, we had ordinary detergents only, and somehow, we all lived to tell the tale. Antis-septic detergents are way more expensive than the regular ones, and you seriously don’t need them. Still worried? Bleach kills all germs, and it’s cheap. Just dilute it with water and you’re ready to give everything an antiseptic wipe-down.

3. Drain unclogging aerosol

You really don’t need this. Half a cup of baking soda dissolves any fat that might be clogging your drain, and a good old-fashioned plunger does the trick now, just as it did for your grandma.

4. Stove cleaner

Nothing sucks up grease as efficiently as cornstarch. Make a paste with a little water and use it to clean stovetops and other spots that attract grease – and it has other uses too. Sprinkle it onto carpets dry and vacuum it up to remove odors.

In the Laundry

10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products

5. Washing machine cleaner

You may clean your clothes in your washing machine, but apparently even after they come out clean, the machine needs cleaning. Those specialized cleaners are expensive! Try using 2 cups of vinegar and run your machine through a wash cycle instead.

6. Fabric softener

You actually don’t need this product at all, but if you find your towels a little scratchy after they’ve been through the wash or want to add a little fragrance, it’s easy to make your own. Try adding half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, and perfume it with a couple of drops of essential oil. Vinegar has hundreds of uses around the home, so it’s worth buying in bulk.

7. Stain remover

Got vinegar? Rub it into stains just before washing. Chances are it will remove most stains quickly. For oily stains, a little of your regular dish detergent should do the trick. And ordinary chalk is great for oily stains too.

In the Bathroom

10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products

8. Air freshener

Almost all air fresheners contain harmful ingredients, and they cost you money. Make your own potpourri or scented wooden blocks with a few drops of essential oil. A little baking soda perfumed with essential oil works well too. If you simply have to spritz something, make your own herb-infused boiling water, add some essential oil for extra odor masking power and a tablespoon of vodka to keep it fresh. Pour the lot into a spritz bottle, and you’ve got air freshener!

9. Toilet cleaner

Bleach is good stuff for cleaning toilets, but although it doesn’t smell any stronger than regular toilet cleaner, you can also try mixing two tablespoons of baking soda with four tablespoons of white vinegar as an all-natural option.

10. Face and body scrub

Face scrubs are particularly expensive, and as for body scrubs, a face cloth does the same job. To make your own face scrub mix equal parts of sugar and olive oil (or coconut oil) with a few drops of essential oil for a face scrub, that’s as luxurious as anything you’d get in a store. Feel free to mix up a whole batch; it’ll last for two months or even longer.

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10 Inexpensive Substitutes for Cleaning Products

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About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • I use a lot of baking soda and a lot of vinegar in my home. I have found vinegar the best thing for cleaning windows and mirrors. Simply spray some on a piece of newspaper and clean away, the results are fantastic and completely streak-free!

    • Ah yes my mom doesn’t even buy windex she mixes vinegar and water. She is the one who taught mt the trick with the newspaper and it works very well! I don’t make my own cleaners but I use rags for cleaning and re wash them for I don’t use all my paper towel.

  • It annoys me when I see just how much cleaning products cost in stores, because I know just how cheaply you could make your own at home! I will be sharing this with plenty of other people, as I started to save a lot of money as soon as I stopped buying cleaning products from the store, and I know that many others will be exactly the same, too!

  • Vinegar is my all-time favourite domestic cleaning ingredient – I even condition my hair with it! I buy white wine vinegar in bulk and then decant it into a spray bottle for cleaning of surfaces etc. I sometimes add baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda, I think it’s the same thing).

    I didn’t know that cornstarch would absorb grease n the way you describe – I shall try that out.

    I use essential oils and incense to keep the place smelling good.

  • I really shoud start using kitchen clothes instead of paper towels and save myself some good money. It is habit I have been trying to get rid off. I totally agree vvinegar always takes the stain away much quicker.

  • I try to incorporate more DIYs into my life because it is cost efficient. I currently make my own laundry detergent, lotion, deodorant, scrubs and much more. However, I think making cleaning products with natural ingredients is a lot safer when you have small children. I have a 1 year old son and he loves to open my cabinets and grab things.

  • It seems like vinegar is the go-to for alot of cleaning options! Glad I was able to stumble across this. I just recently washed some clothes of mine and noticed that a make-up stain didn’t come out of my shirt! I will wash it again and add vinegar this time! As far as paper towels vs sponges, I typically have and use both.

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