How to save money on cleaning products

Things You Should Always Buy Generic

Feeling the need to spring clean? When you can finally crack open the windows and let the light shine in after a long winter, you might find your home is in need of a deep clean. Here are a few tips to save money and cut costs on cleaning products:

1. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons

This is one product category where you can find coupons in abundance. Never buy another cleaning product again without searching first for a brand-name coupon! Also, check your local store's circular – you can often find it online on your favorite coupon website – and find the week's sales. You may be able to stack a brand-name coupon with a store discount to maximize your savings.

2. Brand Name vs. Generic

Sometimes, a generic product may offer significantly more savings than a brand name. For items such as all-purpose cleaners and other everyday cleaning products, generics will typically offer the same benefits as their brand-name counterparts. You can also cross-reference the ingredients to find any striking differences. For cleaning products that tackle a tough job like mold or rust, you may want to stick with a trusted brand name.

SEE ALSO: 15 Items Always Worth Buying in Bulk

In the case of paper towels, shop a brand name. Generic paper towels often don't have as many fibers, so they're less absorbent and you'll end up using more.

Compare the generic vs. brand name costs of these 10 products:

Generic vs. brand name products
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3. DIY

Ever thought about making your own cleaner? You might be able to do so entirely for free with items already in your pantry. For instance, baking soda can be used to freshen up your cat's litter box or sprinkled on the carpet before vacuuming. When you combine baking soda with white vinegar, it can be a powerful cleaner for tackling tile or drains. White vinegar is a workhorse cleaning agent; you can fill a spray bottle and use it to polish chrome or stainless steel, as well as to clean mildew in the bathroom. Dilute a bowl of white vinegar with water and heat it in the microwave – and then wipe down the interior for easy cleanup.

READ MORE: How 'Meal Prep Sunday' Can Drastically Reduce Your Food Costs

Lemons are natural cleaners – they can be used to clean cutting boards, polish faucets or even shine shoes. If you have a garbage disposal, run a few lemon peels through to help ward off odors. Rubbing alcohol is perfect for degreasing your stove top or removing ink stains (hand sanitizer also works in a pinch).

4. Reduce and Reuse

The more you can reuse items, the more money you can save. Use old T-shirts and rags for dusting and polishing. When you can, choose a multipurpose spray and use it for everything listed on the bottle – you'll save money by not buying individual sprays for every surface, and you'll even save room in your cabinets. Invest in a sturdy pair of rubber gloves and you won't need to keep buying disposable pairs.

By reducing how much you use products, you can cut down how often you need to shop for new items. Try cutting large sponges in half; this works well for dryer sheets too. You can also get more mileage out of your sponges by rinsing them with water and putting them in the microwave for about three minutes to get rid of bacteria. Speaking of laundry, make sure you're paying careful attention to how much laundry detergent your washer actually needs.

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Lastly, if the cleaning needs of your home go above and beyond what you're capable of (or have time for!) explore your local professionals. You can often find great deals on Groupon for up to 50 percent off; just make sure you read the terms and conditions of the deal, as well as any customer reviews, carefully.

RELATED: 20 unusual ways to make money quick

20 unusual ways to make quick money
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How to save money on cleaning products

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

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