When Buying Cleaning Supplies, Don't Pay For Water

In order to save money and the total number of heavy bottles you need to haul home from the store, try buying ultra-concentrated cleaning supplies and adding your own water at home. Reader M. discovered these products at Big Lots, and shares his secrets.

One day while perusing Big Lots, I found that they sell bulk cleaning supplies that you can “water down” to get to the right concentration. Home Depot also has these, and they are in-stock more often compared to Big Lots. I looked at the bottle of the 409 concentrate and found out that it was enough to make 10 Gallons of 409 for $4. You only need to mix 3 tablespoons with water in order to fill one normal spray bottle, so when you buy the normal bottle you’re paying mostly for water and plastic. Each normal bottle of 409 is 1 quart, so I paid 10 cents per “bottle”. I don’t know how much a bottle of 409 costs in the store, since I haven’t purchased one in 3 years, but I assume it is significantly more than 10 cents. I have also found concentrated Windex as well and I’m sure other cleaners are also available.

One caveat, after 3 years the original Windex bottle we had started leaking around the sprayer, Home Depot also sells generic spray bottles for about $1, which we now use for the Windex.

My favorite concentrated cleaner is Simple Green, which I buy by the gallon at Home Depot and then dilute in a sturdy spray bottle at home. If you use diluted cleaning products, where do you find them?