Cleaning Costs

Like I said in cleaning-cloths, I buy tea towels (£9.99 for a 12 pack in store) and plain white 100% cotton hand towels (£12.99) from Costco too. IKEA is a third cheaper (30p!) for hand towels and flannels on the face of it but they fall apart much quicker with repeated boil washing because they are thin little rags really. Figuring in replacement costs and also the cost of travelling to IKEA vs Costco it’s cheaper to go to Costco.

Gompels, where I bulk buy hand sanitiser and latex free gloves etc sells them for the princely sum of £7.86 for 12 and they are ok - mid way between IKEA and Costco in weight/quality.

It’s beyond tedious, obviously, but you have to count every penny as the costs never end and a lot are out of your control. Cheese paring is all you can do. The more carers you have coming in the house, the fewer things it is possible to economise on. With a 24hour package you have to heat and light the house round the clock, 4, 6 sometimes up to 10 adults are cooking meals, using the bathroom, charging their phones, etc. Just the hand wash and gloves and loo roll could wipe you out, as utilities and consumables are not covered in any care budget. So you have to turn every screw you can, where you can, to make sure there’s always a clean hand towel or enough soap etc as that is the only hope you have of crucial things like handwashing ever happening.

Things get broken - a LOT - so you just have to suck it up. Mr Nobody breaks everything - it’s never going to be admitted to or paid for by the carers or the agencies. Just accept that or you’ll go mad. But you have to cut your cloth and adapt your systems to this undeniable reality.

Some rules of thumb:

  1. Don’t buy expensive equipment - your Dyson hoover will be broken just as quickly as your Vonhaus and the special carers insurance never seems to cover anything, so find the cheapest functional product you can. My excess is £50, so I always try to spend less than that. One (if looked at in a certain light) advantage of stuff getting broken all the time is that you will definitely have the opportunity to try out different models. At the moment (June 2017) I am rating Vonhaus for hoovers, Vax for steam mops but not for hoovers. Avoid Morphy Richards IME. Carers went through three of those in six months.

  2. Reckon out the cost per unit or per use. Then reverse that by reckoning your annual cost. Always try to say it both ways. Cost per unit and cost per year are much better ways of seeing where you can make useful savings. There’s no point spending hours of your life to save 37p and then dropping £60 a month on washing powder (this happened while I was in hospital hahaha and I am still traumatised by it :P).

  3. Look at what things are made of and buy that instead. Buy the contents not the packaging.

  4. Regularly review your suppliers and change them. Turn on a dime. Don’t get stuck in habits.

Tips for savings

  1. Oxybleach and so on is all just sodium percarbonate and some quantity of washing soda (sodium carbonate). You can buy that in the supermarket as laundry additive for anything from 30p per 100g to £2/100g. That’s only around 35% active ingredient so it really works out at just under £15 a kilo*. So you can cut that cost right down by just buying the same chemical sold as deck cleaner or brew cleaner and it’s half the price (£7.50). If you go on an industrial cleaning shop on eBay it’s more like £20 for 5kg (£4/kg). That will last you years.

  2. Microfibre cloths are half the price if you buy them from the car cleaning aisle instead of the house cleaning aisle.

  3. You can stop buying things like kitchen sprays and fabric softener and all those kinds of consumables. They are a waste of money, do nothing for infection control, and impair lung function (indoor air quality, VOCs) and skin health. So you can just drop all that stuff and save that cash.

  4. All bleach is bleach. The brand name does nothing.


  • taking the most common range of 50p per 100g and 35% sodium percarbonate, a kilo tub is actually £5 for 350g, or just under £15 a kilo