Zero Waste Financial Freedom: CLEANING SUPPLIES

 Photo by  Andy Fitzsimon  on  Unsplash

I'm on a mission to prove that a zero waste lifestyle is not only better for the environment, it's better for your pocketbook, too. 

There are some obvious ways in which going zero waste can save you money: buying fewer items of clothing, shopping second-hand, buying in bulk, quitting single-use items, and cooking your own food.  But what if I told you that you could switch to all-natural cleaning supplies in your home and save money at the same time? 

The truth is, you definitely can, and you can cut down on the amount of cleaning supplies you need to buy.  Let's take three examples of common cleaning products: all-purpose cleaner, glass-cleaner, and laundry detergent.  You can make natural, non-toxic versions of these cleaning supplies at home for less than you'd pay for the generic brands at the supermarket.  Prove it, you say?  Okay fine:

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

THE RECIPE

  • 1/2 c distilled white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap

Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle and shake to combine.  To use, spray on non-porous surfaces and wipe with a clean cloth.

THE COST BREAKDOWN

I converted the ingredient amounts to ounces and took the price per ounce of each ingredient from Amazon.  Based on those numbers, I came up with the total cost for apples-to-apples comparison:

  • 4 oz white vinegar at $0.05 per oz is $0.20
  • 1 lemon at $0.66 per lemon is $0.66
  • 16 oz water at $0 per oz is $0
  • 0.25 oz liquid castile soap at $0.92 per oz is $0.23
  • Total cost of ingredients is $1.09
  • The total quantity of the above is 16.25 oz, with a price per ounce of $0.07
  • The price per ounce of Lysol all-purpose cleaner is $0.18
  • 16.25 oz of Lysol costs $2.93

The takeaway: you save $1.84 when you make 16.25 oz of all-purpose cleaner versus buying the same amount of Lysol.  You also keep harsh chemicals out of your home, out of the air you breathe, and off of your eating and living surfaces.

GLASS CLEANER

THE RECIPE

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 drops essential oil

Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle and shake to combine.  To use, spray on glass and mirrors and wipe with a clean cloth.

THE COST BREAKDOWN

  • 8 oz white vinegar at $0.05 per oz is $0.40
  • 8 oz water at $0 per oz is $0
  • 0.13 oz essential oil (probably a very high estimate) at $2.85 per oz is $0.36 
  • Total cost of ingredients is $0.76
  • The total quantity of the above is 16.13 oz, with a price per ounce of $0.05
  • The price per ounce of Windex glass cleaner is $0.23
  • 16.13 oz of Windex costs $3.71

The takeaway: you save $2.90 by making your own glass cleaner versus buying the same amount of Windex.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT

THE RECIPE

  • 1 bar castile soap, grated
  • 2 cups borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 30 drops essential oil

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Use 1 tablespoon per load.

THE COST BREAKDOWN

  • 1 bar castile soap is $5.33
  • 16 oz Borax at $0.17 per oz is $2.72
  • 16 oz washing soda at $0.18 per oz is $2.88
  • 8 oz baking soda at $0.20 per oz is $1.60
  •  0.25 oz essential oil (again, a high estimate) at $2.85 per oz is $0.71
  • Total cost of ingredients is $13.24
  • The total quantity of the above is 40.25 oz, with a price per ounce of $0.33
  • The price per ounce of Tide powder laundry detergent is $0.34
  • 40.25 oz of Tide costs $13.69 

The takeaway: you save $0.40 by making your own laundry detergent versus buying the same amount of Tide.

If you'd like to see the full cost sheets of all these cleaning supplies, I'll leave a link to my worksheet right here

*Prices of all ingredients and cleaning supplies were taken from averages on Amazon (US).