You’ve got time, you’ve got energy, and you’re about to give the house a good cleaning! You have reasons to look forward to it, too! Cleaning sessions are actually very peaceful occasions.
If you put some headphones in and play your favorite music, YouTube videos, or podcasts, cleaning doesn’t seem so long or tedious because they give your mind somewhere to go while you go about mundane tasks. Also, physically witnessing the reduction of clutter is serene in its own right.
Minimalist cleaning supplies
Cleaning can be calming and productive. Much less calming and productive, however, when we have to use a whole cabinet-worth of cleaning supplies to do it.
Our collection of cleaning products usually takes up enough space to ward its own cabinet below the sink. And it’s something we don’t think about; we need to clean so, inherently, we need things to clean with.
This line of thinking ends us up with a certainly unhealthy mix of hazardous materials in close proximity, which we affectionately refer to as “the cleaning cabinet”.
Minimalists’ tried-and-true cleaning methods include relying on a basic, yet powerful assortment of household products to get the job done. Instead of buying something advertised to do a specific job, why not use things that you already own that’ll get you the same results?
Minimalist cleaning products save you space, money, and the disdain of rummaging through a cabinet of chemicals and sticky bottles.
We always figure that we’ll need our cleaning products eventually and/or we don’t know how to dispose of them properly, so we never throw them out. Thus, we end up with a stash of them. Depending on the quantity of your cleaning supplies, it can be potentially dangerous to have them crammed in an unorganized, enclosed space.
Before we hit our checklist, let’s quickly decide what, if any, cleaning supplies can go from what’s already in your cabinets. For your protection, use gloves for this process.
How To Declutter Your Cleaning Supplies
Repeat these steps for anywhere in your home that you’re storing cleaning supplies. Don’t attempt to dispose of these substances as you’re sorting through them. First, simply focus on weeding out what doesn’t need to be there.
- Take out anything that’s expired. Find the expiration date on each product and set aside anything that pass its expiration date.
- Take out anything that’s leaking. If there’s a bunch of dried gunk from where the liquid caked around the top from use, put it to the side with the expired supplies. If it’s leaking from any cracks in the bottom or along the side, tie the whole bottle up in several lays of undamaged plastic bags and throw it in the garbage.
- Take out anything you don’t need anymore. If you got your wood floors replaced with carpet last month and don’t need that hardwood floor cleaner anymore, put it to the side.
- Take out anything you haven’t used in 6 months. If you haven’t used it in 6 months worth of cleaning, it’s safe to say you don’t need it.
- Take out anything that’s in bad condition. It’s cleaning supplies, it comes in constant contact with some of the most unsanitary places. If it’s stinky, moldy, damaged, or just generally gross, put it to the side.
- Dispose of unnecessary products appropriately. Take all the things you put to the side and dispose of them. Non-liquid cleaners and aerosol cans can be disposed of in the trash can. Any liquid cleaners should be inspected for disposal instructions. If they don’t have any, common household cleaners can generally be poured down the sink with the water running to dilute it. Wait a minute between dumping different products to make sure there’s no back up. If you’d prefer, you can also flush them.
Minimalist Cleaning Supplies Checklist
Minimalists clean with minimal effort! That comes with only having a few products at your disposal so that cleaning is a straightforward and methodical process. No guess-work, no special instructions, and minimalist cleaning solutions can be whipped up in just a few minutes!
Be sure to purchase quality cleaning equipment—a few high-quality pieces of equipment is better than a dozen that fall apart or don’t clean thoroughly. Another great tip is to use a caddy!
If you don’t know what a caddy is, it’s basically a compartmentalized pail that can securely hold, among other things, all your cleaning products and tools neatly in one place and make them portable!
It absolves the need to stop what you’re doing in order to go get a new product, and reduces the possibility anything will get misplaced.
When you’re done cleaning one room and ready to go to the next, just pack all your products back up in your cleaning caddy, pick it up, and go. On that note, we’ll traverse our short list of minimalist cleaning equipment before moving on to how to concoct some minimalist cleaning solutions.
Minimalist Cleaning Equipment
- A toilet brush
- A plunger
- Small broom and dustpan
- Mini vacuum cleaner
- A mop
- Microfiber rags
- Reusable abrasive sponges
- A few spray bottles
- Stainless steel sponge
There’s a few pieces of multipurpose cleaning equipment that can be space savers and lifesavers in a time crunch.
A cleaning device that performs several different functions is bound to be a little more costly but if you’re looking to save space on cleaning supplies and cut down further on the clutter, devices like a multipurpose steam mop will definitely help you do it.
Minimalist Cleaning Products
A product of minimalists’ independent thinking style and innovative spirit is minimal cleaning solution. It’s exactly what it sounds like: cleaner concocted of only a few, simple ingredients.
The best thing about these ingredients is that they’re very likely laying around your house right now. Here’s just what you need and how to use it:
Baking soda can be combined with vinegar to make a cutting cleaning liquid. Baking soda is grainy so it’s great for use in lifting stubborn stains. It’s a great abrasive element to any cleaning concoction. It also eliminates odors and absorbs liquids extremely well (and puts out fires, did you know that?).
Note: baking soda and vinegar must be combined in a particular way in order for them to coincide peacefully in the same solution without reacting. We’ll discuss exactly how I’m the next section, but first we’ll finish gliding through our list of trusty cleaning agents.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of vinegar is that signature musky, sour smell. However, people don’t give this pungent hero a chance long enough to know that once it dries, the smell dissipates completely—at least when you dilute it! Vinegar, white vinegar specifically, is strongly acidic and can overcome nearly any mess.
Its acidity makes it unsuitable to clean certain surfaces, though. Vinegar eats away at the wax finish on wooden floors and furniture. It also corrodes marble, granite, or any other natural stone, and rusts metal knives. But it’s perfect for producing streak-free windows and device screens!
This soap is so versatile. It’s a natural vegetable oil-based soap that can be used anywhere around your house! In your toilet, on your floors, on dishes, and even on you!
Because castile soap is natural, biodegradable, and nontoxic it can effectively cleanse your (and your pet’s) skin and hair as well as your home; it’s really the soap for everything. Not to mention that castile soaps tend to emit pleasant scents long after they’re used. For someone on a budget, castile soap is an awesome full-circle cleaning agent!
Lemon essential oil
Lemon is also very acidic (even more so than vinegar). It easily cuts through grime and dirt, kills bacteria, and leaves behind a wonderful citrus scent.
Dilute lemon oil with water—5-10 drops per ounce of water—to clean surfaces and items, or combine about 3 drops of oil with 2 ounces of white vinegar for the most crystal clear windows. You can even take half of a lemon directly to your stovetop or pots (flesh side down) to scrub away grease and oil.
One of the mightiest disinfectants there is, hydrogen peroxide keeps your house and possessions virus-, bacteria-, yeast-, and fungus-free! Peroxide is safe to use around kids and odorless. Use it as a disinfectant by putting some in a spray bottle (dilute by adding water, if you prefer) and spritz some on toys, backpacks, and commonly touched surfaces.
If you don’t have anything else on this list, you likely have dish soap. Dish soap is a good general, commonplace soap that can be used on any surface.
If you don’t have the opportunity to grab anything else, just dab some dish soap on a damp cloth/paper towel (a little goes a long way) and you’re ready to wipe. (In a pinch, you can use it to wash your clothes and pets as well!)
How To: The Ultimate Minimalist Cleaning Solution
This is a simple recipe for a homemade cleaning solution that could give brand name products a run for their money.
As “homemade” implies, this cleaner can be thrown together in a couple minutes with a few things from your kitchen – you can then add it to your minimalist kitchen essentials too. The ingredients happen to also be a few things from this list! You’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¾ cup white vinegar
- ⅔ cup dish soap
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- ~10 drops of lemon essential oil
- An empty, clean spray bottle
(1) Mix all the ingredients together in the spray bottle except for the baking soda. There’s one thing to note about this recipe. Vinegar and baking soda are very reactive together. If you pour the baking soda directly into the bottle with the rest of the solution, you run the risk of it reacting violently with the vinegar.
The consequences would be not only having to start over, but with a bigger mess on your hands. To avoid that, (2) make sure you thoroughly mix the water, vinegar, dish soap, and oil. You can do this by simply sealing the bottle and giving it a good shake for about 30 seconds.
Next, what you want to do is (3) slowly and little by little, mix in the baking soda. Put about a half tablespoon in carefully and shake the bottle to make sure it’s mixed in well (check that there are no lumps).
Do this repeatedly until all the baking soda is in. And voila! In just those 5 minutes, you saved your future self time, money, and space, and you still get a clean and tidy house in the end!
NOTE: Baking soda and white vinegar, when mixed together directly, cause an intense fizzing and foaming reaction. As absolutely fun and interesting as it looks, what’s left after the reaction is a stabilized liquid that has no cleaning effects at all. With that said, the reaction itself isn’t dangerous.
However, if the reaction occurs in an airtight bottle, the increased pressure inside the bottle could cause it to explode—which presents certain obvious dangers. Be cautious of this when mixing your solution.
Consumerist culture has convinced people that for any task you need some type of specialized equipment to do it. You even need running shoes just to run. This keeps you in the cycle of buying things you don’t need in order to do most anything you want to do.
The reality is we can easily do without the majority of things that are offered in department stores—we just never give any thought to it. Minimalist cleaning supplies are a great example of that. It’s as effective as what you would buy in a store, and without the harsh fumes, toxicity, or price tag.
The best part: you can add different essential oils to give your DIY cleaning solution a natural, refreshing fragrance. Add a few drops of orange essentials oil that’ll mix with the lemon for a citrus-y scent, or substitute the lemon oil with tea tree oil (which is also great for stain removal). Putting your own spin on your cleaning regimen makes it that much more enjoyable!