AdviceDIYNew York

The Best Cleaning Products for Your Lack of Cash

Updated: May 11, 2010 02:03
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Isn't this how you dress when you're cleaning?

I used to think spring cleaning was a big lie created to give sitcoms and cartoons a plot line for an episode, but this week I kind of understand the concept. It’s above freezing in New York. Now I can do stuff in my apartment without hiding in my blankets. So I’ve compiled a list of my favorite cleaning products that you can get with pocket change at the bodega. Because just because you’re a broke ass doesn’t mean you have to be unhygienic and filthy.



People seem to be more anti-bleach than any other cleaner. I’m all for natural cleaners with tea tree and rosemary oils, but there are some jobs that require a cleaner that  will make a poison gas if you combine it with something else. Spraying shower mold with lemony cleaner will only result in lemon scented mold. (Also, these natural cleaners are really expensive. Bleach is $2 a bottle). I remain a big proponent of bleach because I love finding new treasures on the street. While I get excited when I find things like Mr. Turtle Pools, sewing machine tables and mirrors with wolves paintings, but I don’t know what kind of animals have rubbed their asses on them, what drugs people have done off them, etc. So before I put my new black ceramic plates into circulation, I gave them a bleach bath. A little bit goes a long way, like a teaspoon per gallon of water. But I’m not a scientist, so please consult this table before dousing your belongings with Clorox.


If you’ve got a nasty drain clog, run to the bodega and get a bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda. Dump the baking soda into the drain, then pour the bottle of vinegar. Let the science fair volcano erupt in your shower or sink and settle for a half hour. Then dump boiling water down the drain. You can also make window cleaner by combining two cups of water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. (Admittedly, I’ve never made the window cleaner, but it always sounded like a good idea).

Baking Soda

There was a very special episode of Garfield and Friends where a monster grew from the food Jon left in the fridge. Garfield saves the day sprinkling the monster with baking soda, and then he distributed the little orange boxes to everyone in town. After watching this at age eight, I immediately ran and asked my mom if she kept baking soda in the fridge. The answer was yes, and I’ve kept a box in my fridge and freezer in every apartment I’ve lived in to absorb the odors of dying food. I haven’t grown any monsters yet. Just remember to change the box every month or so. (And you still have to remove the dying food periodically).

Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser

Alright, I’m going to admit to being a total screaming fan girl for the brand name Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Why? Because it actaully is magic! You know those weird black smudges on your wall that you don’t notice until you’re about to move out? The one’s that you’d really like to figure out how they got there, but you’re too busy trying to fix your closet door so you can get your security deposit back to worry about? The Mr. Clean Eraser gets rid of them! And hand prints, mysterious slime on your refrigerator, bike grease, spilled coffee stains, etc. It’s worth walking to an actual drug store instead of a bodega.

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.


  1. BAS Writers
    April 19, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Im fucking crazy for Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.

  2. Donna Edgley
    April 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You make the mama proud!

  3. kim
    May 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Seriously, Mr. Clean gets those weird grease blobs & all the stuff on your stove’s burner spill plate. And vinegar & water works for windows & all other glass – if you’re super lazy you can use newspaper instead of a towel

    and as a microbiology student: yes bleach!

  4. Savana
    January 5, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Haha! Bleach! My mother used to clean the house with just bleach, so now everytime I smell bleach I think wow! that’s clean!