That’s right, men clean floors too, gender stereotypes be damned. But since I am cleaning floors, I am going to clean floors the Phillnance way, hence this post. As with most things in life, you can choose the route of greatest convenience which often results in the most waste and highest price tag, or you can choose the route of solving the problem yourself which usually results in a smaller ecological footprint and less money wasted. Let’s take a look at how this plays out when applied to scrubbing a tile floor.
The first thing to note is the factors of production for a homemade tile cleaning solution. The concoction I made, easily searchable online, uses 2 cups warm water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 3 drops of liquid dish soap, and 5 to 10 drops of an essential oil of your preference. Notice how this mixture consists of less than 3 cups of liquid compared to a bucket full of cleaning solution and water you are use to. This solution is barely enough liquid to cover the bottom of a standard cleaning bucket. In the picture below that I took you practically can’t see the liquid although I assure you it is there.
In terms of raw ingredients this is already a big win because it stops us from using the default amount we might use of some Consumer Packaged Goods company that could care less about us or the environment.
The second thing to note is the price difference. A quick search for tile floor cleaner on Amazon yields a few options at ~$0.14 to $0.17 per ounce. Seemingly not bad if it weren’t for the temptation to use a half gallon of cleaner with every use. On the other hand the do-it-yourself searches yield a much different result. Water, according to my utility company, cost way less than $0.01 per ounce. White vinegar comes in at $0.04 to $0.07 per ounce, rubbing alcohol cost roughly $0.10 per ounce, liquid dish soap is $0.11 per ounce and essential oils cost about ~$5.50 per ounce (or $0.09 for this solution). Running a few numbers reveals that this do-it-yourself solution runs about $0.57 or ~$0.03 per ounce. That means ounce-for-ounce you will be spending 5.37x more than what is required than if you just solved the problem yourself. That is a savings in excess of 80%. Now imagine how much more you would end up spending and wasting if you use more than 2.75 cups of liquid that this solution calls for.
I know at this point you are probably skeptical. Perhaps you are saying something like, “but Phillnance you get what you pay for.” Well let’s look at the evidence and see how well this solution actually works on the entryway to our home. The first photo is before cleaning, the second photo is after a partial scrub, and the final photo is the after we finished scrubbing.
As you can see, in probably too much detail, this solution works well enough to get up nasty grime on the grout between tiles which is notoriously difficult to clean.
While cleaning floors in an economical and ecologically friendly way may not light your fire, there are many more ways you can save the planet and some cash with your cleaning choices. This process of making your own cleaning supplies with basic ingredients can be applied to a wide variety problems you would normally turn to some Consumer Packaged Goods company to remedy. For example, there are simple laundry detergents you can make that cut cost and waste while still getting your clothes nice and clean.
I’ll post more about these do-it-yourself solutions as I experiment with them. You can count on more before and afters to see if they really work. I’ll make a point to highlight the environmental impact and of course give you a detailed run down of all the cost savings you can count on too.
Finally, I’d be super interested to hear if you have any do-it-yourself solutions for household cleaning that you enjoy. I’m always on the look out for another way to improve how we maintain our home while saving the environment and a few bucks along the way.