When I first started looking for alternative cleaner it wasn't about reducing costs. It wasn't even about saving the environment. It was about personal health and comfort. About a year ago the task of cleaning the bathroom, which is nobody's favourite chore, got even worse. I found myself getting light headed as I cleaned the bathroom, and was having to step out of the room to catch my breath. It got worse until eventually "cleaning the bathroom" meant spending half the time actually cleaning and half the time outside trying to catch my breath. It's not overly surprising that I have this reaction to cleaners, I'm like my maternal grandmother lots of chemicals, especially those that have scents, cause me to have some pretty bad reactions.
The solution ended up being quite simple: vinegar. Most of the surfaces in the bathroom can be washed with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. For stubborn stains it's recommended that you add salt or baking soda to the mix to add abrasiveness. Don't believe me? Check out 1001 Uses for white distilled vinegar.
So what's the savings like? Well to clean my washroom it takes 80 squirts of my squirt bottle. Each squirt emits 1.5 ml of cleaning solution, so 120 ml of cleaning solution used per week. A bottle of store bought cleaners costs $9.90 for 945 ml.
- Which is $0.01 per ml ($9.90 / 945 ml = 0.010)
- Or $1.20 per week ($0.01 * 120 ml = $1.20)
- Or $62.40 a year ($1.20 * 52 = $62.40)
In comparison at my local grocer I can get 4L of white vinegar for $2.00.
- Which means that vinegar costs $0.0005 per ml (4000 ml / $2.00 = $0.0005)
- Since I use a 50/50 solution the vinegar solution will cost $0.00025 per ml ($0.0005 / 2 = $0.00025)
- Or $0.03 per week. ($0.00025 * 120 ml = $0.03)
- Or $1.56 a year ($0.03 * 52 = $1.52)
- First and foremost my health is not affected, and I can clean the bathroom in half the time I used to.
- It saves me $60.88 every year (which I can do a lot with, I could go see 12 movies, buy 6 book, go see my parents and extra time, or hey stick it into my RRSP and watch it grow!)
- It saves the planet. I mean come on, have you ever read the back of cleaner bottles? "Do not get in eyes. Do not get on skin or clothing. If swallowed call a poison control centre." Do I really want this stuff going down my drain and into the water supply. I mean I wouldn't want to get vinegar in my eyes either but the David Suzuki Foundation endorses it so it should be pretty safe.
- It makes things smell great. Simply switch over to apple cider vinegar (only slightly more expensive) and your bathroom will have a faint but sweet smell that I personally love.
Would you switch to vinegar for cleaning?