Yes. In the United Kingdom, there is a standard VAT rate of 20% on cleaning products. In 2020, owing to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government established a 0% VAT rate for 211 goods, including medical equipment, soap, antibacterial gel, laundry detergent, some cleaners, and special masks, gloves for surgery, nebulizers, vital sign monitors, portable x-ray machines and hospital beds.
However, with the Covid-19 period already out of our lives, VAT on cleaning products has returned to its standard rate of 20%. The UK VAT system is renowned for being complex and featuring certain strange characteristics and quirks, especially in the items it is applied to. The HMRC notes that VAT is only applicable to luxuries but what the government classifies as luxury can be one of the main sources of worry.
For example, if you are looking to acquire a new helicopter or an RV you are not expected to pay VAT, but you will be required to pay VAT if you purchase a child’s car seat, although at the reduced rate of 5%. In the same way, tampons and sanitary products are considered non-essential items and therefore VAT is applied.
This specific application of VAT has been a bone of contention amongst women campaigners and feminists, causing protests and petitions. Things also tend to get more confusing when you are looking at the supermarket aisles. For instance, baked goods like bread and biscuits are considered essential and don’t attract VAT.
However, biscuits that are covered in chocolate will attract the standard rate since they are considered confectionery, which is also considered a luxury. Also, consider the difference between potato crisps (attract 20% VAT) and corn-based snacks – which are regularly placed on the same aisle – but are zero-rated.
In addition, the government makes a concession for those eager to make a few extra bucks by having a flutter, especially since betting, bingo and lotteries are VAT exempt. In the United Kingdom, other items that attract a zero rating are books, magazines, newspapers, medical treatment, postage stamps, and burial or cremation costs.
Also, have in mind that there are services that are also tax-exempt such as education and training, subscriptions to member organizations, fundraising events by charities, and the selling, leasing, and letting of commercial land and buildings. However, cleaning services and every product involved remain standard rated.
How to Save on Cleaning Products in the UK
Buying cleaning products is, without a doubt, one of our basic household needs. People are always seeking ways to save money on anything they can. There are ways to keep your house clean while also keeping your expenses and budget in check. They include;
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Buy in Bulk
You should consider using eBay, Costco, or Amazon to stock up on cleaning items. Most often, you will get huge discounts compared to purchasing these products individually, and in addition, you will save on VAT. Note that all you need is somewhere to store them: consider clearing out a cupboard in your kitchen or below your stairs to ensure they stay out of the light and sun.
Pair Coupons with Sales
Even without being told, this is one of the best ways to get what you want while also spending less money on products. You should seek coupons and use them to purchase items that are on sale instead of spending full price on cleaning supplies. Also, consider using your coupons at the best grocery store in your location.
Buy Own-Brand Products
A good number of people prefer to buy well-known brands of cleaning products, especially when those products are on offer or there is a sale at their local supermarket. However, you must train yourself to always go for the own-brand options. At least 70% of the time, they work just as well as well-known brands and cost a fraction of the price. Nevertheless, to reassure yourself, check and compare the ingredients before buying.
Avoid Specialty Products
Truth be told, there is a cleaner for everything these days, and if you end up purchasing them all, you may crush yourself with cleaning products for every small area in your home. The truth is that you hardly need more than three cleaning products and if you find the right kind of detergents, you can save some serious money.
Howbeit, to ensure you save on your household budget, consider purchasing all-purpose and multi-purpose cleaners — or you can even make your own. Cutting down the number of cleaning products can save you money. Fewer cleaning supplies entail fewer items to carry around when you do your chores.
Store Your Cleaning Supplies Properly
To those who buy in bulk, storing your cleaning supplies the right way will guarantee you use them for a long time and you won’t have to spend money on buying new ones. For one, you should avoid storing your solutions in places where the temperature is too high or there is too much sunlight.
After every use, ensure that every bottle is well closed so that your products don’t spill. Also, consider the way you store your cleaning brooms or mops. To avoid damaging the bristles of your broom, consider hanging or storing it upside-down, as this will guarantee that your broom will be good for a long time. By taking adequate care of your cleaning products and tools, you will surely extend their life.
Consider Reusable Cleaning Tools
Indeed, disposable cleaning supplies can make things quite easy, but they can eat into your budget and pocket. Owing to that, you must rely on reusable tools. You can use microfiber cloths that can do a great job for the maintenance of your home and they can be easily washed and reused. These clothes are also a viable substitute for sponges.
Unlike the sponge, the microfiber of this type of cloth does not absorb that much water, and this entails they are less likely to collect bacteria, at least not as much as sponges tend to do. Since microfiber cloths can be easily washed and reused, note that you can use them for quite some time.
Also note that microfiber towels can be used to clean your sink, bathtub, cutting boards, and countertops. Once you are done with the cleaning, just throw it into the washing machine, rinse it properly, and you will be able to use it again for your next cleaning session.
Make Your Own Products
At this age, this is genuinely quite easy to achieve. You can follow cleaning influencers, watch videos on YouTube and do a quick Google search to find detailed information on how to create your own cleaning products.
You will need ingredients like vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and even coca-cola that can all be combined and used as homemade products that clean just as nice as store-bought brands. All these products are extremely cheap and they are really good.