Do products from 'Dollar stores' work as well?

JerriEllijayDecember 8, 2004

Greetings all,

My husband and I own a cabin rental company with 26 cabins in our current inventory. I am trying to keep a lid on cleaning supply costs and wonder if the cleaning supplies I see at the Dollar General & Dollar Tree are just as good as name brand products.

Do any of you have experience with these products, or any other cost saving ideas would be greatly appreciated.



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I use vinegar,Dawn, kerosene, bleach, ammonia, baking soda, hot water and pressurized water for cleaning.
But NOT all at once !!
IMO, I think the cheap stuff is more useless than the expensive stuff.But I guess the dollar store bleach, ammonia,etc are OK.
Newspapers do a good job in the final step of window cleaning..And here some recommend nothing but water !!
Nothings seems to works as well as "elbow grease", at times - that and hot water..
Cleaning any item or surface is a science - requiring a lot of training and experience..

    Bookmark   December 8, 2004 at 9:04PM
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Jerri -
Their products are usually ready-to-use, which means they aren't a bargain.

Check a janitorial supply place. Their concentrates may look expensive, but if a $25 gallon of floor cleaner can turn into 60 buckets of the stuff, it starts looking cheap.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2004 at 9:49PM
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I use Awesome from the Dollar Tree. Yesterday I cleaned an oven hood in a rental that probably hadn't seen cleaning since installed back in the sixties. I soaked it down with the Awesome, let it set for about a half hour or so. Grease dripped onto the stove top. The hood looks like new. I also took out the fan blade which was blackish brown from grease cover. Sprayed it with the Awesome and let it soak in the sink. The blade is now shiny silver and looks like new. All the great cleaning for only $1.00. Did not need rubber gloves or scrubbing brush. Just some wait time, hot water, and a rag.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 12:59PM
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I use 409 from the dollar store....aas well as "windex", toilet cleaner and shower cleaner, not to mention bleach, ammonia and dish washing liquid.
Not all dollar stores carry the same products and certainly ready to use can very often be a huge bargain.
I have a friend who owned a janatorial business and always bought a lot of supplies form the dollar store. Go for it....if you don't like it....try a different dollar store...but you will save money!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 2:40PM
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i think most stuff can be cleaned with vinegar, bleach, baking soda and a simple detergent. they are so much cheaper and often times more effective. dont mix them together but i think of this - greasy stain i use the baking soda. something that is scaley or that i want to shine i use the vinegar. the bleach is for disinfecting a toilet. and the detergent well i mix it with the vinegar once in awhile. i also read on this forum that cornstarch does great windows - and i am looking forward to trying that.
i think using the basic ingredients of cleaners not only saves me money but simplifies the cleaning closet and also helps out the enviroment by reducing packaging and manufacturing of the other stuff i dont need like perfumes, artificial colors and odors etc. when i smell that pine cleaner scent it gags me. but give me a clean odor free room and i think now thats clean.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 4:02PM
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lizgl - That "awesome" sounds well, awesome. We are testing "Greased Lightning" now, since we can get it in large (read cheap) quantities.

So... I guess the pine stuff at the dollar places is the same as "Pinesol"?

I would love to find one product for kitchen, bath and hot tub filter, another for glass and another for floors and be done with it! Oh yeah, and one for wood.

Thanks guys,


    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 5:38PM
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Some dollar stores carry buy out items from liquidation sales.So it is possible to buy name brand products in them from time to time.I'm not crazy over the generic type pineoil.I'ts not as strong.Love the generic oven cleaners from the dollar store.They are not as fumy and noxious as the name brands.If you buy it by the case,it can double as a deep scum remover for porcelin and tile tubs and tile showers,although I wouldn't use it on the vinyl type tubs or surrounds.I have bought name brand steel wool pads,409,The Works bathroom products,and scouring powder many times with good results.Recently I found a large bottle of Spic and Spam concentrate.In retrospect,I wish I'd bought a case that day.They also sell microfiber cleaning cloths cheaper than the grocery stores.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2004 at 8:49PM
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Bleach will clean the living daylights(algae, mold, mildew) from concrete, maybe even better than a pressure washer.
Straight water , better yet hot water is good and safe, and where that does not work, then it may be Awesome time..

A man can figure that the more something is promoted the more worthless it is and there is a lot of truth to this..

What is the last time you saw bleach or ammonia advertised, a just plain water and crumpled newspaper ??

Cleaning is a science - involving a good deal of knowledge and intelligence.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2004 at 10:05PM
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Cupajoe - thanks for the info on the pinestuff. Based on that, I think I'll stick with the real pinesol and buy the oarge containers at lowes or Sam's if they have it.

One of my cleaners loves "Greased Lightning" So I'll stock up on that too.

I love bleach - the cleaners are not crazy about it because all their work clothes now have white spots. ( I wish it worked that well on my white towels!)

Thanks to all - any more ideas are greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 2:58PM
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Jerri,I wear nothing but white clothes to clean in because of stains.I won't use bleach out of a bottle.Too much liability IMO.Spray bottles are easier to control,and pure bleach or even bleach and water turn brown in the bottle if you keep it longer than a day.Carrying a large bottle of bleach over carpet is an accident waiting to happen.I know a housecleaner that got to redo wall to wall carpeting all the way through the first story using that method.As a matter of fact,even spray bottles leak with such frequency that i carry any bleach products in a bucket when I walk over carpet.The best plan is to have Tylex and mildew removers in the bathroom cabinet to reduce accidents.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2004 at 3:02AM
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Cupajoe - THANK YOU! You are so right, some of my cleaners have requested bleach and it always made me nervous. What a great tip!


    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 3:42PM
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I found that if I use Awesome from the 99 Cent Store and pour it on a microfiber cleaning cloth, heat it is the microwave for 30 seconds, I can clean anything!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 8:47PM
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I don't trust any cleaners from the dollar stores if their tops can be screwed off, allowing the original to be diluted. When I saw brand names of Joy, Palmolive, etc. so obviously diluted, I stopped buying them there. Wasn't long before Kroger, etc. was doing the same thing. How stupid do they think we are?
Used to be that THE WORKS was only found in $ stores; now it's in big chain groc. stores at double the price. Dollar Tree no longer sells Barkeeper's Friend, I've noticed.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 12:42PM
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WOW! You are not kidding about that "Awesome" stuff. We have a log home, and the areas around door knobs, and banisters get grungy from touching. I haven't found anything that gets it off as quick and easy as Awesome.



    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 8:06AM
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Awesome Orange will clean anything greasy. It even works on car engines. My son was changing the seal on my truck and ran out of engine cleaner. He took my Awesome Orange to finish the job. When he was done he went to the Dollar Store and bought all they had on the shelf. It worked better than the stuff made to clean the engine, and it's a whole lot cheaper too!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2005 at 12:49PM
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Awesome users.....
I bought a bottle of Awesome, I haven't tried it, yet.

I have two questions and a comment....

On the bottle it says "....In case of contact with eyes or skin flush with water, etc...."
Are you using gloves ?
Have you found it harmful to any surface you have tried it on ?

On the bottle it says, "Actually puts cleaning power into plain ol' water." That doesn't make sense to me, as, other than rinsing, there are no instructions for adding it to water....I'm missing something in that slogan :-)


    Bookmark   January 9, 2005 at 6:25PM
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The bottle I purchased has a list of what you are cleaning and how much you should dilute it. It also says don't use full strength on glass. I think I'll wear gloves the next time I used it, my hands felt quite dry after the last cleaning.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 5:01PM
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Jerri, this is strange, maybe, I picked up the wrong thing.

Mine is called "Awesome Potpourri All Purpose Cleaner", it's in a pink spray bottle.

1. Test an inconspicuous area of the surface etc.....
2. Spray directly on surface and let stand 1 or 2 minutes.
3. Rub with brush or cloth if necessary. Rinse with water.

At the bottom of the label it says:

Manufactured & Distributed by: Awesome Products the address.

This product is not manufactured by R.F. Thompson & Co. or affiliated with it's Awesome Brand cleaning products...whatever, that means.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 7:16PM
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This product is not manufactured by R.F. Thompson & Co. or affiliated with it's Awesome Brand cleaning products...whatever, that means.

this means you probably didn't get the product most of the people here are talking about.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 6:00PM
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Awesome will remove paint from wood if you leave it on too long. I've used it for that very thing, full strength. Yes, it will film up glass. Dilute it way down.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 5:57PM
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I realize that this is an old thread, but I wanted to put a warning out there about this 'Awesome' cleaning product available at the dollar stores, which is actually LA's Totally Awesome. It contains 2-butoxy ethanol which is highly toxic. Please see the link provided to read about the dangers. This product, IMO, should not be used at all. If you do use it, extreme caution should be used. Please don't use it with your bare hands and avoid breathing it in.

This product is NOT the same as the Awesome product by R>F> Thompson Company which is an environmentally friendly product and non-toxic, using only citrus based ingredients.

Blessings to all

Here is a link that might be useful: dangers of 2-butoxy ethanol

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 3:51PM
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I can say from my own experience that they don't work as well. Of course standard products like bleach are the same but kitchen sprays, carpet stain removers, and such just don't compare with name brand stuff. My suggestion is to buy bulk from Costco or Sam's Club. I run a housekeeping business so I can speak from experience that this does help cut costs an dhaving good quality, specialty, ready to go products save time. Also cutting lots of coupons and taking them to Walmart can yield a good deal. Try Big Lots too.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 11:11PM
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I read the warning for 2-butoxy ethanol. Awesome is the only thing I've found that cuts the grease on range hoods, and I have really greasy range hoods at my rentals. After reading the warning, I'll still use it, but ONLY for range hoods, until someone gets smart and bans the stuff.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 3:27PM
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I haven't tried Awesome, but from what I'm reading here it sounds like Greased Lightning, which will clean anything, but will ruin painted surfaces or metal of any type. I'll pick some up. If Awesome works as well as Greased Lightning it sure will be a lot cheaper.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 12:59PM
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Consumer Reports came out with a study, and products from the dollar stores with an off-brand name did poorly in the tests. They recommended paying an extra couple of bucks for a better brand of pretty much everything from cleaning products to batteries to pet supplies. The dollar store is good if they have sealed name brands, or for items like party favors or other one-time-use items.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 2:46PM
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I just cleaned my bathtub with The Works and it came out sparkly and clean. I just need to wear a mask for the chemical smell.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 12:53PM
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