Sometimes the best tool for the job is the simplest! Today we’re talking through our 5 favorite inexpensive cleaning products that help us power through almost any job.
The cleaning product aisle in most stores is massively overwhelming. Not only are there dozens of product brands, but each product seems to have half a dozen offshoot brands, scents and specialty versions that complicate things even further! We’ve found that a lot of what you’re paying for in a cleaning product is the packaging and unique scent. It’s great when cleaning products smell nice, but sometimes you just need to get the job done, amirite?
Most of our favorite value cleaning products forego the fancy packaging and the most pleasant scents in exchange for low prices and multiple uses. We think every household should have all five of these no-frills products on hand at all times! We like a few of these products so much that we’ve got them stashed away in multiple places throughout our home for convenience. Our top 5 is coming at ya below!
*Important note* Please be sure to test these products in an inconspicuous location prior to use and always follow directions carefully.
Barkeeper’s Friend | $2.50
This powder-in-a-cardboard-can miracle product is insanely cost effective at around $2.50. One can usually lasts us a year or two depending on how often we put it to use. Barkeeper’s Friend gets a workout deep cleaning and removing rust from porcelain, ceramic and metal surfaces. It’s an absolute beast on tile, sinks and stubborn shower goo. Works great on old fixtures as well! Remember the pink sink at the two flat? That was all Barkeeper’s Friend!
Folex | $7.00
Folex is modern witchcraft as far as we’re concerned! This miracle surfactant makes stains disappear. They literally vanish. We’re not sure how it works, but we know that it 100% does work! It’s safe on colorfast soft surfaces and cleans with no rinsing. Folex comes with us on every single photo shoot because something always gets spilled or splattered onto something else. Clothing, rugs, upholstered furniture; you stain it, Folex will remove it!
Rubbing Alcohol | $3.00
Isopropyl alcohol is potentially the versatility leader of the list! If you keep an eye out at the pharmacy, small bottles are often less than $1.00. I use it to clean sticky Michigan pine sap off of our truck’s paint and glass, but it has an infinite number of uses. It’s effective as a disinfectant, dry erase board cleaner, and makes a great fruit fly killing agent. It can even de-ice frozen locks. It kind of does it all!
Goo Gone | $9.00
Gum, sticky residue and gunk are no match for this citrus-based classic! It’s safe on most surfaces and does the job quickly. We prefer the spray gel formula since it clings best to vertical surfaces and works just as well as the classic liquid formula.
White Vinegar | $3.00
Is there anything white vinegar can’t do? Just in the last few weeks, we’ve used it to kill weeds, shine glass and mirrors, deep clean our coffee maker, brighten our white laundry and clean away lime buildup on a shower head. And vinegar is not just competent at these tasks. It works great.
We’re always on the hunt for new products that are great at performing more than one task. We know blue Dawn dish soap also has a devoted following, but what are some others that we’ve missed? What cleaning products can you not live without?
PS – We’re passionate about a clean home. More on that here and here. We’ve also rounded up nice looking cleaning essentials, office supplies, bathroom supplies and kitchen essentials!
I did not know that Barkeeper’s Friend worked on non-metal surfaces! Great tip, thank you — I certainly have stubborn shower goo. ???? I use isopropyl alcohol to clean glass in my studio, but had never considered it for other cleaning purposes. Love white vinegar for my kitchen counters, and I’m planning to give it a whirl as a toilet bowl cleaner, though those upward-squirty bottles that toilet bowl cleaner comes in a make it so easy to get cleaner all the way up the walls.
The only thing I would add is peroxide. We use it as a spray disinfectant in the kitchen. The first time you spray the faucet and soap dispenser and see it all bubble up is horrifying but also satisfying. We also use it to spray counters and cutting boards after working with raw meat. Its super cheap very effective. I’ve also used it to remove cat pee odor from old wood furniture I’ve rehabbed.
Another good one!
There are very few things I pay for the brand name of, but Dawn is one of them. Nothing compares for cleaning dishes, spot treated stained clothing, deep cleaning the stovetop/microwave/anything that gets greasy – it’s the best! And we can’t forget a magic eraser (though it has failed me a couple times lately)
Yes! Blue Dawn also has a cult following in the bicycle repair industry! It’s the absolute best option to remove bike grease, apparently.
I have so many different cleaning products for both house and car, but gotta agree on Dawn, of course (and Bar Keeper’s). Also a Scrub Daddy is honestly one of the best cleaning tools I’ve ever used for anything, ever. And so far Murphy’s Oil Soap is the thing that’s gotten my floors the cleanest.
Distilled vinegar also works well as a fabric softener—and for lots less money than anything else. Just pour it into your machine’s softener dispenser. Your laundry will not end up smelling like vinegar.
Yes, love that!
I just use regular vinegar for cleaning, laundry etc. Is distilled really different?
Not sure but this is what we’ve always used!
I agree with all of these! I would add powdered Tide, Go Clean Co turned me on to it and it’s such a versatile cleaner!
Side question: Is there a Kroger in the city because I’m in the western ‘burbs and we don’t have one but they make my favorite laundry stain remover!
No Kroger in the city, but I believe they own Mariano’s, so sometimes we can find Kroger-brand products at Mariano’s.
So simple, but so good! Yes, we have a dawn/vinegar mix in a spray bottle and folex saves the day on many things. Rubbing alcohol gets permanent marker off – a lifesaver for parents of creative kids!
We need to add blue Dawn to our line up for sure!
Dish soap, baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide & the occasional magic eraser are our five go tos! My husband uses windex on the car & motorcycle!
I love your list & if I run into something that these won’t work on I may try of your recommendations!
It was hard to narrow it down to 5! We also love baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for so many uses. And god love the Magic Eraser.
Thank you for this great list! (And all your other interesting posts). Ivory bar soap is a great stain remover for laundry. I also sometimes use it along oxyclean, which has a lot of great household uses too.
I have become a devoted follower of Go Clean Co., especially using hot water, (powered) Tide and bleach to clean everything bleachable.
Thanks for the Folex recommendation! It is a miracle!
Thanks for the list. I tried Barkeepers Friend yesterday on an old stained tub and I was blown away! We just purchased an older home and the tub was grimy – I had no luck with my magic eraser. I ran out of elbow grease, but I think one more scrub will get the rest!
Love hearing this! Go, you!
I’m addition to what others have mentioned, I use Dr. Bronners! I mix with a small amount with water and that is what we use exclusively on our kitchen counters and circa 1938 marble tile bathroom floor. I also use Thieves.