Friday, August 11, 2006

Expenses of Temporary Housing: Cleaning Supplies

I'm still adjusting to life in limbo and staying in a sublet for August. The good news is that it's not that much more than the rent on my old place. The bad news is that of course, I'm finding that I could use a few things I have in storage and I'm going to have to spend money on things I'd rather not, as predicted in my post about STUFF.
Right off the bat, the major expenses have been in relation to cleanliness. Over the years, I've realized that I have my standards are rather high in this area, perhaps due to having a mother who was totally OCD about hygiene and would throw things out rather than try to wash them if she thought they were somehow hopelessly besmirched. (Example: brand new first day of school outfit in which wearer (ok, it was me) fell in dog poop. Entire outfit immediately thrown away, possibly burned...)
So anyway, I move into this apartment and right away have to sweep the entire place-- not that it's so horribly dusty but I just want to freshen it up. Then I realize the kitchen floor is greasy, and there is no mop. I never had a mop in my old apartment because A) I had no place to put it, and B) the kitchen floor was about 4 square feet and it wasn't that bad to just get down on my knees and do the whole thing with a scrub brush. But in this place, the kitchen is big enough to need a mop. I also realize the bathroom needs some serious scrubbing. Kitchen grease, bathroom mildew-- these are a few of my least favorite things. So I'm dying to attack them, but here's the kicker-- the person I'm subletting from asked me to use only her organic cleaning products because she is sensitive to chemicals.
Now I definitely have my tree-hugging, save the earth moments, but when it comes to cleaning the house, I believe that God allowed us to invent toxic chemicals for a reason. The organic cleaning supplies have a milder smell and are easier on your skin if you don't wear gloves, but they just don't work as well. Also, they are really expensive!
I have been using the organic version of SoftScrub and the organic dishwashing liquid, and even purchased my own almost $5 bottle of organic pseudo-Windex. But I am dying to douse the shower curtain with some good old-fashioned bleach.
I also bought a Swiffer. This, like the mop, is something I always wanted but never had a place for. I'll keep it for my new apartment, but in the meantime, the rug-less wood floors here were the perfect excuse for buying one.
So though I kept my leftover cleaning supplies from my old apartment, they have yet to save me any money. (They are stored with a relative until I need them.) Here's what I have spent so far to clean an apartment I'll only be living in for a month:
Swiffer: $12.39
Dishcloth: $2.99
Latex gloves: $1.29
Sink drain strainer: $2.69 (not exactly a cleaning tool)
EcoVer brand glass cleaner: $4.59
Sponges: $2.19 + $1.99
Mop: $12.99
Scented candle: $3.99 (again, not exactly for cleaning but helps apartment not have that weird "someone else's home" smell.)

Actually, the only things here that overlap with stuff I already own were the dishcloth, sponges and glass cleaner. Everything else I needed anyway, and can keep for when I move. But there are other things that I've had to buy to live in this place... to be continued...


Anonymous said...

I'm sensitive to chemicals too. But I just make my own cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda will clean almost anything. I dilute a cup of white vinegar in a large spray bottle ($3 tops at Duane Reade) and presto. It works pretty good on grease and costs practically nothing. Use baking soda and water on stuff that you need to scrub.

optioned unarmed said...

One $10 bottle of Doctor Brauner's Peppermint soap, used in a weak dilution, lasts me about a year and covers just about all of my cleaning needs. It's nontoxic and pleasant smelling, it cleans well, and as an added benefit, some bugs (ants in particular) hate peppermint and will stay away. You can add in a couple drops of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil to further boost the antibacterial properties.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

Take down the shower curtain and wash it in HOT water with detergent and a cup or two of white vinegar. That should take care of the mildew on it. (Throw in a towel or two with it and that will also help.