The Rest

Save More by Using Less

June 4, 2006

I’ve found that I can cut the cost of certain items by as much as half by just using less. Beauty and cleaning products seem to lend themselves to this especially well.

Remember that the directions for how much of a product to use are put there by the manufacturer, who has a certain vested interest in the consumer using more. Where do you think those “wash, rinse and repeat” directions on the shampoo bottle came from?

Here are the things I’ve been able to cut my use of by 1/3 or 1/2 with no noticeable difference in their effectiveness, although I’m certain the possibilities are endless:

shampoo
conditioner
toothpaste
liquid hand soap (half a pump works just fine)
dishwashing soap
laundry detergent
fabric softener

I’ve also found that the Downey fabric softener ball works just fine with generic fabric softener inside and that when my Swiffer Wet replacement cloths ran out I could substitute a washcloth and a vinegar/water solution.

A lot of these reductions and substitutions can have positive environmental impacts as well, which is an added plus.

  1. I’ve used this tip very successfully. Another thing with the dishwasher-you don’t need to fill that little “prewash” well with detergent. If you only fill the regular one with the lid on it (and only fill it about halfway) you still get clean dishes.

  2. Thanks, Jenn. I’ve often wondered about that. I can add dishwasher detergent to my list of items to use less of.

  3. Great tips! It’s amazing how little you really need of some of this stuff–my shampoo lathers up so much that I only have to use a tiny amount.

    I always cut up old t-shirts and use them for dustrags, but I used to cut them to Swiffer size and use them instead of the Swiffer cloths with some furniture polish for wood floors or light cleaner for tile and vinyl. Other than not having any electrostatic properties, they work pretty well, and you can just toss them in the laundry when you’re done with them.

    I’ve gone back to my dust mop, though. It has a washable head, and it swivels and goes into corners and things better than the Swiffer.

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