Last month I had an phone interview with a reporter from a national news organization. He wanted to know how staying at home saves me money.
I appreciated the chance to think about not only the ways I save money by staying at home, but also the reasons I stay at home. I will write more about that in the next few weeks, but first, let's talk about making our own cleaning supplies.
The reporter wanted to know how much I save per year by making some of my own cleaning supplies. It was fun to figure out approximately how much money I'm saving. Here is what I concluded—and these are all estimates, of course.
The short answer is that I save about $210/year or $17/month by making my own cleaning supplies. See below for more details.
Making my own laundry soap (recipes here and here) costs about 2¢/load. Name-brand detergent costs about 12¢/load. So let's estimate that store-brand detergent might cost as little as 6¢/load, but I'm just guessing on that one. If I do 7 loads of laundry per week (which is about average for me), I will spend about 14¢ on homemade detergent, vs. 84¢ name brand or 42¢ store brand. Over a year I will spend about $7.28 on laundry detergent, vs. $43.68 on name-brand (or possibly half that if you buy store brand).
I use vinegar for fabric softener. That runs about 5¢/load, so about $18.20/year. Commercial fabric softener is around 7¢/load, so that's about $25.48/year.
I can make a bottle of glass cleaner for about 25¢. If you buy a bottle of glass cleaner for $2 (just guessing here), and you use one bottle per month, you'd spend about $3/year making homemade vs. $24/year buying.
I can make a bottle of bath/shower cleaner for about $1.25. A can of Scrubbing Bubbles costs about $5. At one bottle per month, that's $15/year vs. $60/year.
I use bleach for toilet bowl cleaner. That costs about 50¢/month, vs. perhaps $2/month for toilet bowl cleaner. That would be $6/year vs. $24/year.
I use re-usable rags cut from our old clothes for cleaning, so that saves perhaps $52/year if you go through a sponge a week at a dollar each, and perhaps a pack of cleaning wipes per month at $3 each, so $36/year. Let's estimate that I spend about $5/year on dish cloths for the kitchen.
I also use a commercial disinfectant, but I will leave out the costs of that as I assume I spend about what others do.