5 Household Cleaning Products That Are a Total Waste of Money

Laundry clothes machine

If you’re looking to save up for a house or just cut back on spending, then reducing your expenditures is key.

A great place to start? That’d be your cleaning products.

Household cleaning products can really add up fast — especially if you’re using brand-name products or items designed for one or two specific uses.

Want to rein in your cleaning costs? Then avoid these wasteful products starting now:

1. Paper towels

Paper towels are one of the most unnecessary cleaning items in your closet. Not only do they cost a pretty penny, but they also run out fast and don’t clean as thoroughly as other options. Your best bet is a basic, wet hand towel or wash rag when wiping up messes. Even when you factor in washing and drying the towel, you still come out on top cost-wise over time.

2. Swiffers and steam mops

Though these floor cleaning products might seem easier than the traditional mop-and-bucket approach, they’re actually less effective (and require significantly more cash). Swiffer and steam mops largely just push dirt and grime around, not really cleaning it up at all. They also require batteries, brand-specific cleaners, pads, and more, increasing their lifetime costs even further.

3. Air fresheners

If your home has a smell that needs covering up, an air freshener is just a stop-gap — and one you’ll need to keep replacing and refilling, too. Your best bet is to clean the home regularly, change your trash daily and maybe light a candle or two when you want an aromatic touch. You can also put an open box of baking soda in the fridge, pantry, and bathroom to soak up any unwanted smells.

4. Disinfectant wipes

Disinfectant wipes are no more effective than a wash rag dipped in soapy water. They just create more trash and cost significantly more. They could also leave behind harsh chemicals that get in your food or touch your pets or children.

5. Feather dusters

Feather dusters might look fun, but they’re up there with paper towels on the cleaning world’s “most useless products” list. Though feather dusters are effective at picking up dust and dirt, they’re no better than a dry rag or hand towel (and you probably already own many of those!) They also aren’t easily cleaned and require replacement fairly often.

Are you hoping to cut back and start saving for a home? Want to learn about your financial options for doing so? Contact an Embrace loan officer today. We’re here to help.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.