Frugal Green

Today, I was doing a bit of grocery shopping at my local Save-on-Foods store, and I saw that there is now a “Green” Windex Multi-Surface with Vinegar cleaner. Price: $3.99. In essence, SC Johnson is marketing vinegar and added a few chemicals so it can be used streak free with paper towels. My question: how much more expensive is this than using plain old vinegar with newsprint (to avoid streaks and leave a nice sheen on glass)?

At the same Save-on-Foods, I could buy 4 liters of white vinegar for $5.29. As I use a 50/50 water/vinegar mix to clean my windows, this would give me 8 liters of window cleaner. A volume equivalent to the Windex cleaner (765ml) would thus have cost me a fraction of a cent more than two quarters ($0.506). In other words, the Windex Multi-Surface with Vinegar cleaner was $3.48 more expensive than using plain old vinegar and water. Throw in the added saving of paying less sales tax and the saved cost of paper towels, and you will easily save more than $4 per bottle of “green” Windex.

Yes, it is possible to be both green and frugal at the same time.

P.S. I am still refining how to best clean the toilet. Yesterday, I found a nice way to do it. I pour in two cups of vinegar and sprinkle into the toilet bowl some baking soda until it begins to fizz. I then clean the toilet with a brush. It works like a charm. The toilet is sparkling clean. Next time, I will calculate whether this is cheaper than using toilet cleaner.

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3 Responses to Frugal Green

  1. Joanne says:

    Hi and welcome back. I enjoyed reading about your Mexican vacation.
    Vinegar has appeared in the cleaning aisle in Australia too. However, if you are concerned about sustainability as well as frugality, be aware that some vinegars are sourced from petroleum. I discovered this recently and have written about it here:
    http://knitsewbakegrow.blogspot.com/2009/01/amazing-vinegar-need-for-caution.html
    BTW, I too have started to clean my toilet with vineagar and baking soda and was impressed with the result.

    • thepennypincher says:

      Thank you. It is a challenge: the label does not often indicate how the vinegar was made and if it was made from petroleum. However, I would consider it a lesser evil: better to get the natural vinegar, but if you can’t find it, any vinegar will be better than the chemicals they put into other toilet cleaners.

  2. My mother used to pour some bleach in the toilet and let it sit for a while (I’ve put it in at night and let it stay all night). You don’t much, if any scrubbing to do since the bleach does the work! You cannot use this method with a septic tank, however, as the bleach can destroy the chemical action in the septic tank. I am going to try the vinegar and baking soda, too, though.

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