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Share creative ideas to assist people of all ages with tips to save money and improve their lifestyle!

By Nancy and Dawn Clement


March 30, 2010 - San Diego's East County - Spring is here-- and what a colorful, vibrant springtime we are experiencing due to this winter's rains. Trees and flowers are blooming, birds are singing and building nests, and many of us experience a desire to be outdoors enjoying the springtime beauty. Spring is also a great time to freshen up your home. If you have a hankering to do some spring cleaning, here are some ideas and tips to help you save money on household cleaning products.

One of Dollar-Wi$e Divas' favorite all-purpose cleaners is Mrs. Myers Clean Day, a liquid cleaner that you dilute with water and use with a spray bottle. The products in this line are a bit pricey, but since the products are concentrated, a little goes a long way and lasts a long time. The products are earth friendly, biodegradable and scented with essential oils--so your house smells nice and clean with no strong, unpleasant odors. To find stores nearby you that carry Mrs. Myers products check out the company’s website at

However, if you want to spend less money you can use three common household products that you probably currently have on hand: vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Two different types of all-purpose cleaners are below; one uses vinegar and water and the other uses baking soda and water.

To create all-purpose vinegar cleaner, mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle. This is safe for most surfaces and is super cheap. Warning: Never use this on marble, as vinegar is acidic. Vinegar not diluted enough will also eat away grout.

Alternatively, for the baking soda general cleaner, dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water, use with a damp sponge on kitchen and bathroom surfaces to clean and deodorize for a fresh, clean result.

Lemon juice mixed with baking soda makes a safe, clean-smelling paste. Use this for areas that are more stubborn and harder to clean. Simply cut a lemon in half and add baking soda to the sliced lemon section and you have a cleaner that is easy to use. After you have finished cleaning put the lemon in the garbage disposal, turn it on with cold running water and your kitchen will smell lemony, clean, and fresh.

Another use for baking soda is a mix with water to create a paste and use it to clean dishes that have baked on food in them. Spills in the microwave easily wipe up with this paste as well.

To save money on dishwasher detergent, buy the cheapest brand of dishwashing soap and add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and your dishes will be clean and spot-free. You will save money by spending less on fancy brand name products.

Two other common household items that you can use to create cleaning products are cornstarch and baby oil. For a window cleaner: Mix I tablespoon of cornstarch with warm water and then dry with a soft cloth. One way to save yourself some work (time is money) is to wash windows when the sun isn’t shining on them, because then the windows dry too fast and are more apt to have streaks, causing more work for you.

You can clean your stainless steel appliances by placing a dab of baby oil on a soft cleaning rag and wipe away any dirt, fingerprints or streaks.

While doing the cleaning remember to pull out the refrigerator, unplug the power and vacuum the coils so it will run more efficiently and save you money on electricity.

When drying blue jeans or other bulky items, add a bulky towel to the dryer. It will cut the dryer time and save you money on electricity, also reducing wear and tear on your dryer—plus your clothes will look better longer.

Happy spring! Savor the season, whether you’re making your home sparkle indoors or enjoying some outdoor recreation in sunny San Diego and East County.

Nancy Clement is an East County Realtor®, mortgage broker and freelance writer and can be reached at 619-563-4184 or Dawn Clement is a stay-at-home mother of three, a freelance writer, and creative shopper.


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