Dollar Store to the Rescue for Green Cleaning Supplies

Updated on November 10, 2017
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Sandy loves information, research, and teaching. She believes learning new information is like an adventure—and sharing it is even better!

In the Beginning. . .

You tried living more green. You went out to buy suggested supplies recommended in an article. You got recipes for cleaning and tried to be diligent in the process. But yikes! At the check-out the end cost made you feel you needed to include Advil. What happened to greener living meaning reduction in costs? We've all had this happen and yes, trying to be more eco-friendly, not only for the environment but our health, should not mean giving up an arm and/or leg. As part of your information collection process let's review where these items are found for the best prices.

Fun Fact: In a 2016 Trulia article, It Ain't Easy Bein' Green, it was explained how "79% of Americans agree that they consider themselves an environmentally conscious person, and only 6% strongly disagree with that statement." It went on to say that only 26% of us actively, on a daily basis, carry out green habits beyond "recycling and turning off the lights." Wow! What's up with that?

Gotta love saving money!
Gotta love saving money! | Source

What Can Be Found

We know about the dollar stores popping up everywhere. For every corner that has a Starbucks, now there are dollar stores. The great thing about dollar stores is they are close-out centers. If a business has overstock or is going out of business, these stores scoop up products for liquidation at rock bottom rates then resells cheap to the public. Visiting a dollar store regularly means you will see different products coming and going.

Following is a list of things often found at dollar stores you can put into your living green arsenal:

  • Handiwipes – to replace paper towels, often comes eight to a package.
  • Terry towels, washcloths – also to replace paper towels and/or paper napkins.
  • Plastic and glass containers – storing homemade cleaning products and to replace plastic wrap needs.
  • Dawn dish soap – safer cleaning product for a host of uses around the home including the bathroom.
  • OxiClean – often a generic brand but works just as well.
  • White vinegar – multiple uses around the home and for cleaning produce to loosen off residual pesticides.
  • Baking soda – for homemade laundry detergent and as a cleanser instead of using a cleanser with bleach.
  • Spray bottles – for a variety of homemade cleaning recipes.
  • Sponges and microfiber cloths – a must-have staple for any cleaning need.
  • Soft drink mixes to obtain citrus acid. Citrus acid is great for the homemade dishwasher detergent. You want to find one similar to Kool-Aid, that is orange or lemon flavored, and requires you adding sugar. Citrus acid is used for that citrus flavor in the drink and is effective to prevent spots on dishes. Sugar is not needed for cleaning. This also tends to be one of those products that come and goes.

On occasion, you might find Borax, washing soda, essential oils and organic products to use around the house. You also want to check the containers you choose as you want ones with tight-fitting lids. This is to keep air out thus can be used better for storing foods and homemade products. Citric acid especially gets clumpy when exposed to air, but not so much as part of a drink mix.

So How Does the Dollar Store Stack Up to Regular Retailers?

Let’s compare using WalMart as a retailer of choice.


HandiWipes $1.98 for 6/pkg

OxiClean $7.56 3lb tub.

Baking soda $2.29 1 lb box

Plastic spray bottle $1.97 8oz size

Dawn dish soap $2.67 21.6 oz size

White vinegar $1.82 32 oz bottle.

Total $18.29

The Dollar Store

Generic HandiWipes 8 to a package for $1.00,

Generic OxiClean 2 pound container for $1.00

Baking soda 1 pound box for $1.00

10 oz spray bottle for $1.00,

Dawn dish soap 10oz bottle for $1.00

White vinegar 32 oz bottle for $1.00.

Total $6.00

Even if you doubled the amount of OxiClean to have four pounds for a total of $2.00, you will still be ahead in cost and amount of product. Dawn dish soap is nearly equal. All in all, using the dollar store you are coming out ahead in cost for every needed item you are able to find there.

Other stores to check prices are WinnCo, Aldi, Walmart, BigLots, and any salvage grocery store. Salvage grocery stores are close-out retailers that take overstocks or unwanted items. Great on prices but products may be close to their expiration date. For a list of salvage stores in your state check Frugal Village.

Fun Fact: A May 2016 report by the number one market blog Field Agent reported that dollar stores have become so popular that there are more than 20,000 stores across the U.S., more than the number of MacDonalds.


Good Reads

The TightWad Gazette used to be a
monthly mailing of money saving tips. It grew to such popularity that the
collections of newsletters were made into three books. Amy Dacyczyn has
definitely nailed it on cost-of-living savings and does do so in
environmentally safe ways. I love this book and have brought it out for review
many times. I always find one more nugget to try.

A strategy I worked with was using cloth diapers for my
second daughter. Amy did an interview with a woman who talked about using cloth
diapers for her twins. The year my
daughter was born my husband got laid off from his job so money grew tight. I
did everything I could to reduce costs and not buying disposable diapers
helped. My Meg did just fine with the cloth, few diaper rashes, and we had such
a good system (per ideas of interviewed woman), that when hubby got a new job,
we continued with the cloth diapers. It was a little more work, but not as
much as one might think.

There have been three total books written but this particular
book is three of her books in one edition which is a money saver in of itself.

The Complete Tightwad  Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

This book has been around since 1998 and continues to sell. It's information on saving money continues to attract readers from everywhere. Definitely a wise investment.


Do you use the dollar store to obtain cheaper greening products?

See results


Field Agent: Dollar Stores in the Digital Age

Money & Career Cheat Sheet

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green

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