It’s easy enough to run to the store and load up your cart with cleaning products and tools, but sometimes, it’s simpler, cheaper, or just more satisfying to come up with your own DIY approaches to getting things done, including cleaning the house. I enjoy trying out new cleaning hacks and am always pleasantly surprised when one of them works. I’ve preached the gospel of making your own cleaning products before, but what I haven’t really thought about before is how I could make my own tools for cleaning, too. So I did a bit of thinking and a little research, and I came up with a few ideas that are worth a try.
Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose
This one’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s a basic idea that can definitely help you save on cleaning supplies. Get some microfiber cloths (you can usually find them in the car-care section of any big-box store) and cut them into whatever sizes you please, then use them to do all of your household cleaning: wipe up spills, dust the shelves, polish the furniture, even scrub the dishes. Rather than going through tons of paper towels, you can just pop them into the washing machine and re-use them. And while you’re keeping things out of the trash can, next time you’re ready to replace your toothbrush, don’t toss it out: Keep it and use it as a tiny scrub brush. Toothbrushes are especially good for cleaning grout between bathroom tiles, but they also make great jewelry-cleaning brushes and can fit into just about any other dirty nook or cranny in your house.
It’s pretty tempting to buy those cans of disposable cleaning wipes, since they’re just so convenient for quick cleanup jobs. But they can be pretty pricey, so one good idea is to make your own. First, buy one can of wipes and use them up, but save the can. Then, use a roll of paper towels and your favorite cleaning solution to refill the container. Just make sure to take your time pouring in the cleaner: You can add more if the towels are too dry, but it’s harder to take it away if you’ve added too much. When you’re done, pull the cardboard tube out of the center and you’ll be able to pull the towels out the top just like store-bought wipes.
Double-Duty Vase Scrubber
I know I always have trouble cleaning out the insides of bud vases; they’re just so skinny. But here’s an ingenious idea: First, get a sponge and cut out two small pieces. Next, cut a slit in the side of each piece, insert a small rare-earth magnet, and sew the slit shut. Now, you can soak them in soapy water or cleaning solution, then put one inside the vase and the other on the outside. They’ll attract each other through the glass, so you can move the outside one up and down and clean the inside and outside at the same time!
No Swiffer, No Problem
A lot of people like those little Swiffer dusters, but who needs those when you can make a great duster yourself? Just get yourself a bit of fleece fabric and cut it into bits, then use a hot glue gun to attach them to a short wooden dowel. Not only is this a great DIY substitute, but you won’t have to keep buying refills for it. Just toss it in with the laundry when it gets too dirty to use.
Get Crafty, Get Clean
Here’s something I had no idea you could make yourself: scrubbing pads to get your pots and pans clean. If you know how to crochet, these are pretty easy to make (and if you don’t know how, this might be good motivation to learn). All you need is some nylon netting cut into strips and a crochet hook. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of making these, but once you get used to it, you’ll be able to make them quickly and easily for yourself or as gifts.