7 Money-Saving DIY Hacks

A dripping shower head against an orange tiled shower.

Money-saving and DIY “hacks” pervade the internet. So much so that sometimes it’s challenging to find any helpful information at all. But over time, people have learned how to make products at home with very little cost, and to fix things themselves without hiring a professional. Each of these practices can save you time and money. Without a huge investments of either, we’ve come up with a list of handy hacks that are easy to do and useful too.

1. Fix Minor Plumbing Leaks

If you have a dripping shower head or leaky bathroom faucet, it may not be worth the expense of calling a plumber. Sometimes all you need is some plumber’s tape. If you don’t have any handy, make your own using a rubber glove. Simply cut off the bottom of the glove, a finger, or another piece that suits your needs. Wrap the latex around the leaking threads and reattach the hardware. Turn on the water and see if you’ve hacked your way to drip-free plumbing.

2. DIY Laundry Detergent

Towels in a laundry basket.

Making your own laundry products is quick and easy. Most products are safe for your washer too. There are recipes all over the internet that give you options depending on what ingredients you prefer. Most include:

  • Borax as a cleaning agent (found in the cleaning or laundry aisle)
  • Washing soda (found in the laundry aisle)
  • Bar soap such as Fels-Naptha or Dr. Bronner’s (found in some laundry aisles)

Simply put the bar of soap in a blender or use a cheese grater to make it fine. Add around one cup of Borax and one cup of washing soda. You will want a ratio of about one part soap to two parts powdered cleaners. You can also use a combination of essential oils to create a smell you like. Baking soda also provides an added dose of cleaning power. Use 2-3 tablespoons of your DIY laundry detergent per load. If you prefer a liquid to a powder, there are alternative recipes with the same ingredients that contain more water and take the added step of melting the soap before incorporating other ingredients.

With a quick internet search, you can also find DIY recipes for all-purpose cleaners, floor cleaners, dishwasher detergent, and fabric softeners that do the job at a much lower cost than purchasing one at a store — they may even be less toxic to your family.

3. Reuse the Swiffer WetJet Bottle

We know you’ve thought about trying it. Maybe you even have. After all, it seems silly to pay $5 to $6 per container of Swiffer fluid. One option is to drill a hole into the bottom of the bottle, refill with your favorite cleaner (including DIY options), and cork it closed. Because the bottom faces up, it won’t leak. Another option is to remove the cap. To do this, insert the bottle, cap-side down, into hot, even simmering, water. Once warmed, you’ll be able to twist the cap off, refill, and replace the cap. To make the bottle permanently refillable, remove the small tabs inside the cap with a sharp utility knife or other blade.

4. Clean Oven Knobs

An oven being cleaned by a woman wearing yellow gloves.

Oven knobs are handled daily, often with grease or sauce-covered hands. So it’s no surprise how quickly they collect grime. To make clean up easy and to save money on cleaning products, simply pull the knobs off and throw them into the silverware tray of your dishwasher. It only takes a few seconds and the dishwasher does a great job. This is also true for stove drip trays, burner covers, and gas range burner grates.

5. Separate Your Fruits and Veggies

As grocery prices continue to rise, creating systems that help food last longer once you get it home can help with the ever-growing food bill. Many fruits are treated with a chemical called ethylene. This gas can cause neighboring foods to ripen more quickly. Here are some pointers to help avoid waste from produce ripening too quickly.

  • Move overripe fruit away from fresh fruit.
  • Store apples, bananas, avocados, lettuce, peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, and melons separately.
  • Bell peppers, pineapple, berries, and citrus fruits aren’t as impressionable to ethylene gas and can be stored in any combination.
  • Most fruits should be stored separately and most veggies don’t enjoy the company of fruits so keep them apart.

6. Household Products as Planters

A teacup used as a planter.

Whether you’re starting your greenhouse or dividing young plants, there’s no reason to purchase planters. Look around your house for things that you already have. They may even add a little pizzazz to your patio. Here are 18 household items to use as a planter.

7. Sugar Ants

Sugar ants seem to come and go around the house, but when they are around you know it. They are sneaky little buggers that seem to infiltrate any crumb or sticky spot left behind. Concoct a mixture of three parts powdered sugar to one part Borax and create a line near entry points and trouble spots. They will haul the poison home as an unwelcome gift to the family. If you have pets or children, avoid areas where either might eat the sweet powder. If this is the case, try putting the mixture inside a container with slits or holes the ants can move freely through but other animals cannot access.