Women spend an average of five hours a week cleaning their homes. That's according to a Consumer Reports ShopSmart survey. And it turns out that one in four women actually likes to clean. Whether you love it or hate it, Consumer Reports ShopSmart says you don't need to spend money on tons of cleaning products.
For instance, you don't need cleaners labeled antibacterial, for the most part. And over-using those cleaners can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What's essential? An all-purpose cleaner, like ammonia, works well. Just be sure to dilute it according to the instructions. You can keep it in a squirt bottle for everyday cleaning jobs around the house.
You see lots of bathroom cleaners on store shelves, but you can save there, too. You can skip a separate toilet bowl cleaner. A little all-purpose cleaner in the bowl works just fine. As for the rest of the bathroom, Consumer Reports' tests show Scratch-free Comet Disinfectant with Bleach works wonders on shower-scum, and on sinks and counters throughout the house.
For stainless steel, a little undiluted liquid dish detergent cleans as well as special stainless-steel cleaners. When it comes to your kitchen floor, you need to buy something that's formulated for the type of floor you need to clean. But if you have a wooden floor, hot water and a slightly damp mop is all you need.
Finally, Consumer Reports' top-rated Windex No Drip foaming action will let the sun shine through your windows into your sparkling clean home.
Consumer Reports ShopSmart says be aware that ammonia cannot be mixed with bleach because that creates dangerous fumes. And because ammonia is a harsh chemical, it's important to wear gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes. If you don't like the smell of ammonia, ShopSmart says try an all-purpose cleaner with pine oil instead. It's inexpensive and you can use it throughout your house, too.