I can’t do some of this stuff anymore, and honestly have never used all of the tips I’ve heard about, but I figure it might be worth letting people know some of the useful ideas there are out there for cheaper (and usually greener) living. So, here’s a list of handy hints for the bathroom:
1. Bleach: Cleans grout, drains and toilet bowls, and is much cheaper than any of the specialised products.
2. Put a ‘toilet hippo‘ (or an ice-cream tub) in your toilet cistern; it reduces the amount of water you use when you flush.
3. Vinegar: Cleans, disinfects and shines surfaces such as the bath, sink, mirrors, tiles and floor. Dirt cheap! People always claim it ‘doesn’t smell at all’; it does, but not much, and if it bothers you then mixing in a few drops of an essential oil or perfume before you use it will cover the smell up. You can also dilute it down with water before use.
4. Solid soap: Use it. It’s significantly cheaper than liquid soaps and body washes, and goes a lot further. You can lather it up on a fuzzy-cleany-thing as well; it makes it as easier to apply. Also liquid soap irritates my skin so I’m biased!
5. Bath oils: 2-3 drops of essential oil will produce as much scent as a huge dollop of an expensive bath oil, and are probably better for your skin too.
6. Bubble bath: Cheap is as good as expensive, especially for the kids! If it doesn’t smell strong enough, add a drop of essential oil. Put a smaller amount in when you start running it to get more bubbles from less; another way to increase the bubbles is to do a helicopter impression with your hands on the surface of the water.
7. Shampoo: Unless you have severe dandruff or scalp issues, cheap is as good as expensive.
8. Conditioner: Not actually a necessary part of your self-cleaning reigime.
9. Vinegar (again): Rinsing your hair with some vinegar (a cup of apple cider vinegar is what I hear is recommended) cuts through grease and makes it nice and shiny!
10. Baking soda: Just like my wee kitten, your hair too can benefit from baking soda mixed with water; a cheap alternative to shampoo. It can also be used to clean (and whiten!) your teeth: mix a small bit of water in and use it as a paste.
11. Shampoo (again): Not actually necessary either; but it takes a while to wean yourself off of it because your hair is used to it. One tip I’ve read is to dilute your shampoo down steadily until it’s basically water; another is to switch to something cheaper like baking soda or vinegar.
12. Share your bath water. Small kids can bath together; older family members can take it in turns to use the same water.
13. Re-use your towels. They’re not a one-use-then-wash item! They can dry many people in turn and/or one person repeatedly; they are being used to dry clean people, after all.
14. If you have trouble with mould, open your window after a hot shower/bath to let the room dry out.
15. Hanging a shirt in the room while you have a very hot shower will provide it with an effortless iron.
16. Use a paint tube squeezer to get the last of your toothpaste out, or cut the tube open. (I picked my squeezer up for about 20p at an art store).
17. Squish your toilet-roll slightly to prevent copious amounts being pulled off with ease by over-zealous family members and pets.
18. Don’t run the tap whilst you’re washing your face/brushing your teeth, etc. It wastes a huge amount of water.
19. Actually only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. You don’t need any more than that; it’s the brushing motion that’s doing most of the job, not the paste. If you use less, you buy less.
20. Don’t bother buying cleaning cloths and scrubbers; re-use old socks or other mangy material for cloths, and ex-toothbrushes to scour.