We’ve been brainwashed, people. The advertisers know exactly how to make us believe we simply can’t live without their products when, in reality, we could survive quite nicely without them, thank-you very much.

Half of the things on our grocery lists aren’t food at all. What many cleaning products have going for them is convenience, but is saving a couple of minutes worth the extra cost? There are loads of them out there but here are six things to leave off of your weekly grocery list to save money.

  • Pre-moistened cleaning cloths – It really bothers me that some things are made to use once and then throw away. It’s hardly environmentally-friendly and it’s certainly not wallet-friendly. I could never understand the sense in spending money on a pop-up container of wipes pre-moistened with kitchen cleaner or furniture polish. Is it really that much trouble to spray some cleaner on a reusable cloth?
  • Toilet cleaner – I stopped buying fancy toilet cleaners when I ran out one day and sprinkled some Old Dutch powdered cleanser into the bowl, instead. I was surprised by how well it worked. It removed water stains and did a bang up job of cleaning under the rim, too. Those toilet cleaning commercials will tell you that their product destroys 99.9 per cent of germs but powdered cleansers disinfect too and really, how clean does the commode have to be? After all, we don’t get our drinking water from it. I also discovered a bonus of using Old Dutch or Comet powdered cleansers to clean the toilet. The toilet brush doesn’t get all yellow and gungy like it does with the harsher cleaners and at a buck or less per container, the powdered cleansers are a genuine cleaning bargain.
  • Swiffer wet mops – Here’s another way to toss your money into the landfill. The Swiffer wet mop employs use-it-once saving on grocerycleaning pads and special cleaning solution refills that need to be replaced when empty. Instead, try Vileda’s Pro Mist mop. It doesn’t need batteries and the cleaning pads are washable up to 100 times before you need to replace them. You just put two teaspoons of your favorite cleaner in the refillable bottle and fill the rest with water. Bravo, Vileda!
  • J-cloths – Okay, who was the genius who came up with what is essentially a reusable rag that doesn’t even last as long as a regular rag. Admittedly, it looks nicer than an old t-shirt, but that’s about all you can say for it. Micro-fiber cleaning cloths that you can buy for a buck at the dollar store are much better choices. You can use them wet or dry to dust or clean glass and mirrors with or without cleaners and they work on the bottom of your Swiffer broom, too. They can be washed over and over and are made to last.
  • Window cleaner – Personally, I’ve never found anything better for washing windows than good old vinegar in a bucket of hot water. Use half of an old tea towel or dish cloth to wash and full-sized tea towels to dry, instead of mounds of paper towels. Your windows will sparkle and your pocket book will escape unnecessary trauma.
  • Dryer sheets and other fabric softeners – If you watch these commercials, it’s mostly all about how your clothes will smell when you use a fabric softener. Not only are fabric softeners largely unnecessary, the chemicals on dryer sheets have been shown to clog up your dryer’s lint catcher over time and reduce its efficiency. For softening clothes and preventing static build up, dryer balls have become quite popular and are very inexpensive. You can even buy them at the dollar store for about a buck each and they last about two years before you need to replace them. Then, if you must have clothes that smell spring-time fresh, spritz yourself with some floral-scented body mist before leaving the house in the morning.

Want to save some money? The next time you make up a grocery list, take a hard look at the cleaning products on it. Is it one use only? Can it be  replaced with something cheaper and/or more environmentally friendly? Despite what advertisers want you to believe, you can maintain a clean home without spending money on every new product that comes on the market. The choice is yours.

Marlene Alexander

Marlene Alexander

Marlene is a freelance writer and blogger. She maintains a free budget decorating site called Dollar Store Style and writes content for client websites.