Introduction: Make Cleaning Up Easy and Cheap With These Tips

Picture of Make Cleaning Up Easy and Cheap With These Tips

Cleaning around the home or or office can be frustrating, and cleaning supplies are often expensive. I want to share some super cheap, effective, and convenient fixes for cleaning up.

Step 1: Fix That Annoying Sprayer

Picture of Fix That Annoying Sprayer

This is such a no-brainer that I was astounded that I'd never seen it done before. Every spray bottle is made with the same simple flaw. If you try to spray downward onto a horizontal surface, you soon find yourself sucking air. As the pictures illustrate, the only thing you need to do to never experience this again (unless the bottle is nearly empty) is to bend the straw. Simple. Frustration over.

Step 2: Cheap Cleaning Solutions

Most brand name cleaners are very expensive. This is because they are specially formulated, and contain things which a regular consumer couldn't reproduce for less money right?


Most cleaners contain one or two ingredients which can be bought in bulk and are diluted with water.
Some non-conventional cleaners work better than the big names too, and can be purchased for less money.

Before I get into this part of the instructable, a


Some chemicals are severly dangerous when mixed. One should never, for instance, mix an ammonia based cleaning agent with a chlorine bleach based cleaning agent. The results can be a fatal cloud of toxic gas filling your bathroom and killing you and your whole family in a nasty, painful way that is even forbidden to armies under the Geneva Convention... so don't do it.

On to the next step for some cleaning agent recipies...

Step 3: Cleaning Glass

Picture of Cleaning Glass

I once worked repairing copiers and scanners and stuff like that, before I decided to get a real job and went back to school but I digress...

We had a solution for cleaning the glass and mirrors which worked magnificently for smudge and streak free glass.

Isopropyl rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth.

We used 90%, but it isn't really necessary to clean around the house with that kind of exactness. The 90% evaporates completely and leave no residue in about 1min. For my money, 70%, available on the cheap at any drug store, works magnificently.

Put it in a spray bottle and it works as a disinfectant for surfaces and a deodorizer for some smells... I remember one guy suggested waving a towel with a bit on it to clear up a fart smell before the customers noticed you'd smelt up their break room.

So the recipe for "Pir8P3t3's SuperKlear glass cleaner and surface disenfectant"

Pour 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol into a clean reused spray bottle

Step 4: Tile, Tub and Mildew Cleanup

Picture of Tile, Tub and Mildew Cleanup

Lifeguarding for a public pool was another thankless part time job I once had. We had a hot tub and shower room and were made to clean them as part of our duties. We therefore had to keep an MSDS on a certain Dow Chemical product we used for the job. The sheet was revealing in that it disclosed through its various warnings and whatnot that the spray tile cleaner was in fact notheing more than a weak solution of chlorine bleach and surfactant.

Surfactant is a word which means soaplike substance... you know... like ... soap.

So I tried it at home, and found that a 1/10 solution of bleach with a squirt of liquid hand soap was as good as the brand name tile cleaner which was going for something like $3.50 per 20oz bottle. My "refill" was costing me somewhere around $0.05!

so here's the recipe for "Pir8P3t3's TileKleen"
Mix in a reused sprayer bottle:
1/4 cup chlorine bleach
1 squirt (~1 tsp) liquid hand soap
water to near top

McAdwell comments that he makes a similar tub scrub by adding baking soda to make: "McAdwell's TubScrubb"
1/10 bleach and water mix
baking soda until paste like consistency

I'm not sure if he uses soap in this though, but it probably can't hurt


blackweb (author)2014-03-24

Vlass cleaner. Vinegar and water and use rumpled newspaper ---streak free and. Heap

migueldesousa (author)2011-05-13

Home made Bio War, for your fence dispute

somethingwicked (author)2010-01-10

Those were very useful tips, I'll make sure to try them out next time. My flatmates and I are trying to cut costs and if that works we'll be left using maybe 1 or 2 regular products.

One of my lifesavers is a mix of 1/10 rubbing alcohol, 1/10 ammonia, and water. This dissolves the grease in your kitchen like mad, and is infinitely cheaper than the brands that market themselves as the ultimate thing but then keep you rubbing for ages. If you use a microfibre cloth soaked in this you can get rid of almost everything I can think of. I even got spray paint stains out of some shoes!

Darcy777 (author)2009-08-13

Thank you! If I ever clean, I'll try this - no promises on getting to the cleaning tho.

If one has hard water deposits in the toilet bowl, one can use (not sure of the proper name) sheet rock sanding paper. It isn't traditional sand paper. It looks like a screen. Get the softest strength. Get it at the local home improvement store. It comes in a long rectangle. I cut them in half for ease of use for this purpose. I also drain the toilet bowl but you wouldn't have to, it's just a bit easier not having to worry about the water splashing. To drain as much of the water as possible out of the toilet bowl, turn off the water supply to the bowl. Flush the toilet and keep holding the handle down until the water stops draining. You are draining the water from the bowl and the tank. Then, get a large bucket, 5 gallon size and fill it as much as possible. Pour that into the bowl quickly and it should drain most of the water out. The small section at the bottom of the bowl will still have water. Then, wearing cleaning gloves, wet the sand paper screen and scrub away. The water here is very hard and I suck at cleaning. I wasn't able to get all of the hard water deposits off on the first try but it made a big difference. Unlike bleaching the hard water stain, the stain did not come back in as little as a week. It's not come back at all and I use that method periodically just to maintain the bowl.

I was going to pour a gallon of hot vinegar into the toilet bowl once to clean it but a good friend pointed out that the seal between the toilet and the floor is made of wax and adding anything warm or hot to the toilet bowl isn't a good idea.

Please see video here on how to drain a toilet bowl for cleaning or repairing:

PikesPeak (author)2009-07-27

Mixing Clorox with a small amount of water, and a good scrub brush also gives you very, very bright white lettering on those all terrain tires. Something I discovered when I ran out of toilet bowl cleaner-I reached under the bathroom sink and pulled out the salt I use for cleaning the worlds worst sinuses I have, and sprinkled it into the toilet bowl......woolah! 15 minutes later it was spotless.

An Villain (author)2009-07-02

Chlorine gas.

dammat (author)2008-10-29

Mixing bleach with water will only work for a short period of time. the Chlorine molecules will eventually evaporate rendering your solution useless, or bacteriostatic at best. I dont know what effect the handsoap has on the solution but I thought I would throw that out there.

see-saw (author)2008-09-25

If you want to get a microwave oven clean, put a bowl of water and lemon juice in for five minutes then just wipe the inside with a damp cloth.

Burnzee (author)2008-04-07

Great cleaning tips!! A further suggestion, make a great general purpose cleaner by mixing White Vinegar(50%), with Lemon Juice (25%), and Water (25%). Use on all surfaces including glass. Fantastic for greasy surfaces. As Ants don't like the smell of Vinegar or Lemon, using this will help keep them at bay. It will not kill them but they will go elsewhere. Use to clean out the food cupboards.

LordGarion (author)2007-10-27

Good tips but a couple points... Isopropyl alcohol is in fact poisonous. The U.S. government mandates that all rubbing alcohol be made poisonous so that it can not be abused. Due to this there have been quite a few deaths of young children/babies to poisoning from rub-downs to cool them from a high fever. Something that was not a problem before the government mandate. while it is improbable that a healthy adult will die from having it get on their skin through the rag, constant and repeated exposure could have unknown long term affects. I would advise gloves or at least to have a thick enough rag to prevent soak through. For the soap in the tub and tile cleaner automatic dishwasher detergent is made to be almost foam free which can make refilling easier.

mrphrtq (author)LordGarion2008-03-31

I think you are confusing isopropyl alcohol with denatured ethyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol does not have additives to poison it, but it will break down into acetone in the liver. Denatured alcohol, however, has additives to prevent human consumption such that it is not taxed as an alcoholic beverage. Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about exposure to isopropyl alcohol as a cleaner as described here. The LD50 for it--in rabbits, at least--is 12800mg/kg absorbed through the skin. Remember, too, that isopropyl alcohol is the primary ingredient in "hand sanitizer" gels you commonly find in supermarkets and drugstores. Do be careful with bleach, though. Harmful gases can be released if it is mixed with vinegar or ammonia.

aliceownsj00 (author)LordGarion2008-03-08

wait... so you're telling me, Isopropyl Alcohol, rubbing alcohol, what I've been using on cuts and my oily skin for YEARS has been poisoning me? And yet at 16 I was able to buy it, no ID required? When I was baby, my mom always cooled me down when I was over heated or had a fever with rubbing alcohol... Are you sure? Because I'm not dead yet and I've been using it till this day.

PikesPeak (author)2007-10-10

Just a lil' trivia to add on here. How many of you buy Windex in the 16oz(?) bottless? How many of you buy automotive winshield washer fluid? Washer fluid is $1.19 a half gallon. Windex probably $3.29 for 16oz. Compare the ingredients on the labels-same thing for sure. Now buy the windshield washer and pour it into your next empty spray bottle-saving dollars on expensive windex.

aliceownsj00 (author)PikesPeak2008-03-08

you're a genius...!

cokebottle tuque (author)2007-08-13

For getting grease/oil/road grime off your hands mix sugar with just enough dish washing soap to form a paste, scrub with this before getting your hands wet, then rinse with hot water.

Good trusted method, but please don't be tempted to substitute salt if you don't have sugar - the crystals are a lot smaller and sharper and can scratch!

tipsychimp (author)2007-08-12

nice, mustard gas

pir8p3t3 (author)tipsychimp2007-08-12

To clarify, this should not be considered an instructable on making poison gas. This instructable necessarily includes a warning to be careful with household chemicals.

oinkoinkzoopals (author)pir8p3t32007-08-12

if you mix ammonia and bleach you'll make chlorine gas and it will literally "burn your lungs out" if its inhaled.

Ora (author)oinkoinkzoopals2007-08-28

Is the pressure from that reaction strong enough to fill a balloon like baking soda and vinegar? I'm asking, because I don't want to try it.

oinkoinkzoopals (author)Ora2007-08-29

just dont try it and why do you want to trap chlorine gas anyway

Ora (author)oinkoinkzoopals2007-08-29

I was thinking of collecting the periodic table.

oinkoinkzoopals (author)Ora2007-08-29

just dont do it cuz chlorine is a grusome element

and i dont no

tipsychimp (author)pir8p3t32007-08-12

i just, dont really care mustard gas isnt even the result of mixing them i was just messing around

Browncoat (author)2007-08-12

I use alcohol for glass cleaner too. But I dilute it with water. I'll have to try your tub cleaner. :)

pir8p3t3 (author)Browncoat2007-08-12

I have had it suggested that adding 3 parts white vinegar to one part alcohol will work well too.

mcadwell (author)2007-08-11

If you take that Tile, tub and mildew cleaner and mix it with enough baking soda to make a paste, it makes a wonderful soft scrub cleaner. I've used it for years. You can also replace Comet cleaner with baking soda too. And it makes things smell fresh and clean.

pir8p3t3 (author)mcadwell2007-08-12

sounds feasible.. folks this one is open for collaboration. If you have a good cleaner recipe I'm ok with adding it here... this one is getting added. Join the "TightAss Projects" group!

lawizeg (author)2007-08-11

wow! this is nice. clorox will wonder what happened to their sales.

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