The Joyful Frugalista: How to spring clean your house for $23
The Joyful Frugalista: How to spring clean your house for $23

How to spring clean your house for $23

Spring is in the air. And for many people, that means cleaning. I clean my home using six key ingredients - for less than $23. How do I do it?

With many of us having been cocooned during winter (and with many still in lockdown), spring cleaning has a new sense of urgency. We've spent more time in our homes than possibly ever before, and it's time to have a thorough freshen up.

Walk through any supermarket aisle, and you will see row upon row of cleaning products. This often reflects the social need to be seen to be clean.

The good news is it doesn't have to cost a fortune to clean your home. In fact, with these six basic ingredients I wash my clothes, clean my bathroom, wipe my benches, clean my floors and remove stains. Here are my top six home cleaning items:

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to clean your home.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to clean your home.


Cost: $1.99 for four bars

Grate laundry soap and use it to make homemade washing powder and wool mix. Not only are these cheap to make, but they're eco-friendly and gentle on your clothes. We make a double quantity of laundry powder to last about six months.


Cost: $3.99 a kilo

Lectric soda (aka washing soda) is a vital ingredient in homemade washing powder, and also used to make eucalyptus miracle spray - one of the most powerful surface cleaners I've ever used. Eucalyptus has disinfectant properties, which is perfect during COVID times.


Cost: $1.80 for 500g ($3.60 a kilo)

Bicarbonate of soda is not just for cooking; it's also a must-have for spring cleaning. It's a natural deodoriser. Stick a box in the fridge to neutralise odours and use it to clean eskies. Living somewhere where there is a lingering smell of cigarette or other smoke? Sprinkle on carpet, allow to rest for 30 minutes, then vacuum up.

Bicarb is also great for removing stains. Burnt a saucepan? Boil up water with a few spoons of bicarbonate of soda and allow to sit overnight. Stubborn coffee stains? Make it into a paste and clean the inside of cups. And it also works for removing coffee or tea stains on teeth and for cleaning tile grout (in fact, you can use a toothbrush for cleaning the bathroom, but preferably not one you are still using for cleaning your teeth). 

You can also add a few spoonfuls of bicarb into your washing machine (if you're not using my homemade laundry powder, which already uses it) to soften water.

While bicarb is effective by itself, it becomes a cleaning product extraordinaire when combined with white vinegar. The combination of alkaline and acid leads to a fizzy chemical reaction that can clear drains, remove stubborn stains in the bathroom, and clean toilets.


Cost: $1.20 for 2 litres

Instead of using bleach when soaking whites, try white vinegar instead. And add vinegar when washing a load of towels to make them soft and fluffy - it works just as well as a fabric softener. Vinegar is great for cutting through grease and can be used as a rinse aid in the dishwasher. Adding a splash of vinegar to a sink when dishwashing is a great way of extending the detergent further - especially if you are nearly out of dishwashing liquid.

Vinegar and water can also be used as a surface spray. At home, we soak orange peels in vinegar to make an orange vinegar that is even more powerful than white vinegar. Combine one cup of vinegar to one cup of water, place in a spray container and shake.


Cost: $6 for 50ml

Eucalyptus oil cuts through grease and disinfects, which makes it perfect for washing clothes and inclusion in surface sprays. It helps to repel moths, which makes it great for use in a wool mix. It's also good for removing pen marks on clothes or leather - but make sure not to use it on silk.


Cost: $4.13 for 1 litre

Mop your floors with a mixture of two tablespoons of methylated spirits to a bucket of hot water. It is perfect for getting rid of sticky stuff and dries quickly. A small dab of methylated spirits onto a soft cloth cleans mirrors without leaving any streaks.

Total: $22.91

Watch Serina Bird on Channel 10's Studio 10 this morning for more top tips




● 1.5 litre water (one cup of which is boiling)

● 3 dessertspoons lectric soda

● 300ml white vinegar

● 60ml dishwashing liquid

● 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil

Dissolve the lectric soda with boiling water. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a 2 litre bottle (e.g. a leftover vinegar bottle), and shake until combined. Pour into a spray bottle and use.



● 1 bar pure soap

● 1 cup washing soda (lectric soda)

● 2 cups bicarbonate of soda

Up to 20 drops of eucalyptus oil

Cut the soap into pieces, then pulse in a food processor until in fine pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and pulverise until fine. Store in a large container and use around 1 tablespoon in each wash. This works for front and top loaders.



● 1 bar pure soap

● 2 cups boiling water

● ½ cup methylated spirits

● 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil

Grate the soap. Place into a large bowl. Pour over boiling water, stir until the soap is dissolved then add the methylated spirits and eucalyptus oil. Pour into a jar or container, allow to cool and then cover with a lid. Dissolve 1 teaspoon in a few cups of hot water in a basin (e.g. half a sink or a plastic basin), add some cooler water and then soak your woollen items.  Wring dry (there is no need to rinse) and dry lying flat.


Originally published as How to spring clean your house for $23