# First Person: 'Green' Cleaning Saves Me \$58 a Year

In 2012, Statisticbrain.com published a graph showing the statistics of how Americans spent money in 2011. According to their sources, the average American household spent \$42 a month on cleaning supplies alone in 2011. That means each household spent around \$504 over the course of the year for cleaning supplies.

This got me thinking about what my family spends on cleaning supplies every year. After doing the math, I was pleased to see we weren't spending anywhere near \$500; however, I wasn't happy to see what we were actually spending. Once I saw our total, I vowed to make changes to lower our cleaning costs.

Here is a look at what we were spending on cleaning supplies, how I lowered our costs, and how much money we are saving.

What we were spending on cleaning supplies

When I really stop to think about all of the products we use throughout the year to clean, it is shocking. The list includes everything from dish soap to all purpose cleaners, and everything in between. Some of the products we have to buy monthly, while others last an entire year. I tried to figure out the exact amount we spend on cleaning supplies, but there is no way to know for sure. I know about how often we buy each of these products, but I don't have an actual buying schedule, so I had to estimate how many we buy of each product every year. Then, I used that estimate to calculate a how much we spend each year. The total I came up with was \$170 a year.

How I lowered our costs

Spending nearly \$200 a year just to clean our home, wash our clothes, and wash dirty dishes was unacceptable to me, so I decided to make some changes.

First, I switched from an expensive stainless steel cleaner to vinegar, which does the same thing and costs \$4 less. This change will save me around \$16 a year. Then, I started using a hand-held steamer to disinfect things like the kitchen counter, kitchen sink, and toilet. Replacing my chemical disinfectants will save my family another \$12 a year. I also reduced the amount of laundry detergent I use per load of laundry. Cutting the detergent in half cuts my yearly cost from \$60 a year to just \$30.

All told, these changes save my family \$58 a year, and lowered our total spending on cleaning supplies to \$112. Perhaps the best part is that using less chemicals is better for our health and the environment.

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