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4 Ways to Save Money on Cleaning Supplies

Keep these money-saving tips in mind when carpets, clothes get dirty

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1. Make your own

Check the Internet for recipes with instructions for creating homemade laundry detergent. The most common ingredients are Borax and Fels-Naptha soap. A batch costs you pennies on the dollar per load.

2. Not just for dishes

Use about a teaspoon of liquid dish soap in your top-loading washing machine to clean your clothes. It's cheaper than using laundry detergents — and has fewer chemicals.

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3. Repurposed scrubber

Instead of buying pot scrubbers or steel wool pads, plastic mesh bags that fruits and veggies come in will do the trick. Remove any labels or staples, tie the back into a knot — and start scrubbing.

4. Stain remover

Save money by not buying pricey, specialized carpet stain removers and instead create your own spot cleaning solution. Here's how: Spray a mixture of two-thirds warm water and one-third ammonia on the stain. Put an old towel over the stain and run a hot iron on the steam setting over the towel. The heat lifts the stain from the carpet into the towel. Spot-test first.

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2013: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Tara Finnegan Coates, Joan Rattner Heilman, Stacy Julien, Megan Lawson, Marlece Lusk, Bob Lyford, Anne Masters, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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