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Spring Cleaning the Frugal and Green Way

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 1, 2011 · 18 comments


It's spring break in our household this week... and in my book, spring break is the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning since I can take advantage of the additional help.

I have no shortage of various household cleaners in my stockpile; however, I've been a lot more considerate lately of the chemicals I'm using around the house, especially when I know my children will be handling them. In fact, we often forgo the cleansers altogether and just use my tried and true microfiber cloths.

I've shared the various ways that we use microfiber cloths for cleaning in the past, but here's a quick recap:

  • Microfiber cloths naturally attract dust, so you don't generally need any additional sprays.
  • Add a little water to your cloth and you can buff and shine windows without the need for glass cleaner.
  • They're heavy duty, so they can stand up to jobs that require a lot of scrubbing -- like cleaning your microwave.
  • Reuse them again and again -- just toss them in the washing machine and then in the dryer on low!

In addition, microfiber cloths are super absorbent, making them perfect for cleaning up those daily spills that always seem to happen in our house.

I'm actually in the process of transitioning our household to becoming paper-free -- well, at least free of napkins and paper towels. I needed to add to our cloth inventory to accomplish this though, and I was surprised to see that a two-pack of cloths by a brand name company were priced at $2.98 in the cleaning aisle at Walmart. I reluctantly put a couple of packages in my cart and went on with my shopping.

As I was wandering through the store, I passed the automotive department and a little light bulb went off. I know that my husband has purchased large microfiber towels for our cars in the past, so I figured I'd see if they had a better selection in this aisle. Sure enough I found this package of 15 cloths priced at just $9.87! I love that it comes with a variety of colors so I can designate different colors for different tasks, and I have to say they are much thicker and nicer than the brand name cloths.

Moral of the story? Thinking outside of the box when you're shopping can save money!

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my participation in this program is voluntary and my opinions are my own -- always have been, always will be.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leigh April 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

They also make great swiffer cloths. I have these very ones.

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2 Jennifer April 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Me too! I use these with my swiffer also. Haven't used disposables in years. No garbage to throw away and feel guilty about!

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3 Beth April 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I went paper free and switched to microfiber cloths quite some time ago and I love it! I use a homemade all purpose cleaner and a homemade soft scrub, (that is WONDERFUL), and I also have a Wagner power steamer. My home is clean and shiny and disinfected! In addition to my microfiber cloths I also have some inexpensive washcloths, this makes things MUCH easier. I can scrub away with the washcloths if I have something particularly grubby.

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4 Lindsay-PA April 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm

@ Beth - what is your recipe for your homemade soft scrub?

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5 Beth April 8, 2011 at 7:33 am

Homemade soft-scrub is just baking soda and dish liquid. It works amazingly well and rinses very clean. My stainless steel and bath fixtures sparkle. Most washing and drying completely will kill most household germs and bacteria, but sometimes I spray the surface with my home made all-purpose cleaner first, which is vinegar, a few drops of dish liquid, and water.

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6 Beth April 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

Oops! I almost forgot, you mix the baking soda and dish liquid into a frosting-like thickness.

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7 Lindsay in PA April 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thanks Beth! :) Sounds easy enough to try!

8 Nilufer April 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

They also work well with my shark steam mop!!

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9 Shatner's Hairpiece April 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Every once in a while, Amazon will put the Zwipes Microfiber 36-Pack of Cleaning Cloths on sale as a B1G1. Last January, the B1G1 price was $22.75. Don't know when it'll come around as a B1G1 but I've been using the Zwipes brand for a couple of months now and it works great.

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10 meredith April 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Do you just use dish cloths when you wash your hands in the kitchen and what about if you are cleaning up a nasty (like blood/juice from raw meat)mess? I would like to cut down on how much paper towels we use but not sure if I would like to use a dish cloth instead of paper towels.

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11 Tara Kuczykowski April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Yes, we typically use a designated dish towel for drying our hands, and we'd use a regular dishcloth for nasty messes -- albeit one of the older ones. We picked up a package of bar mop towels and a pack of dishcloths at Sam's Club awhile back that we use along with the microfiber cloths. We use the microfiber cloths more for cleaning and for messy spills on the floor -- milk, juice, etc.

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12 Anne April 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

meredith, I also wanted to get away from paper towels. We purchased a bundle of washcloths( thick ones that were on sale at Kohls) that we keep by the kitchen sink. If we dry our hands we just hang it on the towel rack to dry, If we clean the counters or something messy the cloth goes in the bathroom to dry and then it goes into the hamper. I was using a roll of towel in a couple days...now we buy one a week or less. Remember that fabric softener will make them less absorbent so you should add very little or none when washing them.

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13 Karli Weese April 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I clean houses 3 days/wk with microfiber cloths that I buy at Sam's Club. A few tips I've learned over the years:
- Microfiber scratches surfaces very easy! It's designed to absorb dirt so do not push on the microfiber cloths hard when cleaning! The particles will end up scratching a surface. In fact, I give the towel a shake after I make a pass across a surface just so nothing gets trapped in the cloth!
- don't dry microfiber cloths with dryer sheets... They will end up absorbing the dryer sheet fibers & scratching your surfaces.

Happy cleaning :)

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14 Tara Kuczykowski April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Good tips -- thanks, Karli!

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15 Anne April 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Because my hands are really sensitive to most dusting sprays I have dusted my furnishings (and before that my parents furnishings) with a damp wash cloth...it won't harm wood or electronics and it gets the job done. If you have never tried this you will be surprised at how well it works.

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16 lisa April 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I keep an eye out at the local goodwill store and yardsales for cloth napkins. Just picked up some nice ones for 25c each! No more napkins at dinner for us!

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17 Lacey April 3, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I made this switch a year ago. My family had a hard time with the concept, but their over it now. So glad I don't have to watch for sales on paper napkins.

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18 Lisa W. April 3, 2011 at 12:11 am

I purchase my microfiber cloths at Sams, I believe they come in a 24 pck and they are wonderful. I have owned a commercial cleaning company for 5 years now and that is all my employees and I use other than on toilets etc. DO NOT use fabric softener on the towels, I have noticed that if you do and then try to clean your windows with them later, it leaves smears, etc. They are very durable and last forever!

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