Basic and Inexpensive Kitchen and Medicine Cabinet Cleaners

My grocery expenses seem to only increase, and not because we’re eating more. It’s quite the contrary. Despite my best efforts, I continue to see a gradual, but noticeable increase in how much I spend on food due to the price increases. While I’ve made changes where I can (the ½ of milk in the morning cereal has turned into little more than a splash, for example), there’s one place where I’ve been able to make the biggest dent. That’s in the cleaning department.

I’m admittedly a neat freak, and that means I like my cleaning products. I hate streaks on my bathroom mirrors. I loathe sticky kitchen counters. And I despise that grungy film that begins to form on phone receivers, fridge door handles and light switches. I wanted to spend less on cleaning products, but I didn’t want to compromise the clean either. That’s when I committed to a “back to basics” approach. And, as it turns out, it was good for my checkbook and for keeping my house clean. Here’s a rundown of inexpensive cleaning solutions that can be found already tucked inside your kitchen and medicine cabinet. They’re cheap, easy to come by and—better yet—they work!


Using white vinegar is great way to kill everyday germs without resorting to harsher chemicals. It’s also great for removing some carpet stains and effectively cleans coffeemakers and can be used to wipe down kitchen and bathroom countertops. Vinegar is also phenomenal at keeping windows and mirrors streak-free, clean and shiny! (Don’t worry. If the smell bothers you, it won’t stay there forever! The vinegar odor dissipates quickly as the vinegar evaporates.)

If the vinegar smell is too much of a turn-off for you, lemon juice also works well to cut down grease and grim naturally. It can also be rubbed onto brass, bronze, copper and aluminum to help remove tarnish and lighten stains.

Cream of tartar isn’t admittedly the first thing I would turn to to help me clean, but as it would turn out, it does remove stains from sinks and tubs and can even be used to scrub spots off of aluminum pots!

One of my all-time favorites is plain, old baking soda. I love this stuff! It’s cheap and works great as a mild abrasive scrub. Just mix with a little warm water to form a paste, add a little elbow grease and watch stains disappear from tiles, glass, inside the fridge or even just on pots and pans after supper.

My sister absolutely swears by dabbing straight hydrogen peroxide onto her teeth with a cotton swab for her homemade (and inexpensive) teeth whitening solution. While I wouldn’t advise this, I do use it for other household purposes. It can be used as a mild bleach in place of chlorine-based bleach, and it sanitizes, too!

Borax can be found in the laundry aisle of most grocery and discount stores. It makes a great freshener when used in the laundry, but it also can be used as an all-around deodorizer, too.

Photo credit: LHDumes

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

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