Are you ready to tackle any mess that comes your way? Whether you’re moving to a new home, preparing for your first apartment, or simply taking stock of your cleaning supplies, having the right essentials is crucial for handling stains, spills, dirt, grime, and grease.
Keeping your home clean is easier when you have the right tools. If you’ve ever tried cleaning without the proper products, you know how challenging it can be. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, having these essential cleaning products ensures you’re well-prepared for any mess that comes your way.
Here are the must-have cleaning products you should always have at home:
General Cleaning Tools
Investing in the right tools can make a significant difference in terms of efficiency and convenience. If you’re just starting, it’s okay to begin with more budget-friendly options and upgrade as needed.
- Vacuum Cleaner: A must-have, even if you have non-carpeted floors. If space or budget is a concern, consider a handheld or dustbuster, ideal for cleaning specific areas like baseboards, couches, and pet fur.
- Microfiber Cloths: These gentle cloths are perfect for cleaning all surfaces without causing scratches, including stainless steel and glass. Keep a few on hand, and toss them in the wash regularly to maintain cleanliness.
- Bucket: While you may not need a bucket every time you clean, having one on hand can be quite handy. When not in use for other tasks, repurpose it as a caddy for storing and carrying your cleaning supplies from room to room.
- Broom and Dustpan: Any broom and dustpan combo can efficiently tackle dust, fur, dirt, and other debris on non-carpeted floors. Similar to a vacuum cleaner, consider a small handheld option for tight spaces, offering similar capabilities with a bit more manual effort.
- Flat Mop: Swap out traditional, bulky mops for a flat mop, also known as a dust mop. It’s a convenient alternative, and you can easily make your own mop pads instead of buying pre-made ones for each use.
- Rubber Gloves: Invest in a good pair of thick rubber gloves for protecting your hands from cleaning chemicals and grime. They are more durable and offer better protection compared to latex or nitrile gloves. Consider getting an extra pair for kitchen use to shield your hands from hot water during dishwashing.
- Squeegee: Keep a squeegee in your shower to minimize soap scum buildup on tiles, saving you time and effort in the long run. Many come with suction attachments, allowing you to conveniently attach them to the wall for easy access.
- Toilet Brush and Holder: Make toilet cleaning a breeze with a bristled toilet brush. Opt for a reusable one to save money and reduce environmental impact, replacing it only as needed, typically a couple of times a year.
Essential Cleaning Solutions
Water alone won’t suffice when you need a thorough deep clean. To achieve that, you’ll want the right cleaning solutions, and the choice between standard or natural varieties is entirely up to you. Our list includes options from both categories so you can decide what best suits your preferences for a clean home.
- All-Purpose Cleaner: This versatile cleaner is a must-have for tackling grease, dirt, and stains on multiple surfaces. Most only require a simple spray and wipe, making them convenient for various cleaning tasks.
- Glass Cleaner: Specifically formulated for glass surfaces like windows and tables, glass cleaner ensures an effective clean without leaving streaks or smears.
- Wood Cleaner: Tailored for wood surfaces, this cleaner is essential to prevent damage that general cleaners or water might cause to wood and varnish.
- Antibacterial Spray or Wipes: Use antibacterial cleaning products alongside an all-purpose cleaner, especially in germ-prone areas like the kitchen and bathroom, to disinfect and sanitize surfaces.
- Tile Cleaner with Bleach: Ideal for baths and showers, a tile cleaner with bleach eliminates soap scum, mold, mildew, and rust build-up. Ensure proper ventilation when using to avoid inhaling fumes.
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner: A bleach-based toilet bowl cleaner makes toilet cleaning effortless. Choose a clinging variety to ensure it stays on the bowl surface, and use it with a toilet brush for a thorough scrub.
- White Vinegar: An effective solution for dissolving grease, removing dirt, and light disinfecting. While not as potent as chemical-based antibacterial products, white vinegar is perfect for quick clean-ups and gentle disinfecting between uses of stronger cleaners.
- Baking Soda: Known for absorbing and neutralizing odors, baking soda is a versatile solution. Keep an open container in the fridge and use it as needed to combat unpleasant smells, such as those from carpets or garbage disposals.
Additional Must-Have Cleaning Products
The previously mentioned products cover the essential basics for an overall home clean, but what about specific tasks? Here are a few more cleaning essentials to grab on your next shopping trip.
For the Kitchen
- Sponges and/or a sponge brush
- Steel wool or another abrasive scrubbing pad
- Hand towels
- Oven cleaner
- Surface-specific cleaner (for marble, granite, or stainless steel)
- Scrubbing sponges
- All-purpose cleaner
- Dishwashing soap
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
For the Bathroom
- Grout brush
- Cleaning toothbrush (not for your teeth)
- Toilet brush
- Grout and tile cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner
For the Laundry Room
- Laundry detergent
- Stain remover
- Adhesive remover, also known as “goo” remover
- Lint roller
- Spray bottles for mixing cleaning solutions
- Paper towels
- Extendable duster
If You Have Pets
- Urine neutralizer
- Paw wipes
Use Safe Cleaning Supplies
The cleansers we recommend in our cleaning supply checklist are generally mild yet effective. As experienced cleaners, we’ve found that these gentle cleansers can handle significant cleaning tasks when used appropriately.
However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when dealing with cleaning supplies that contain toxic chemicals, as these can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Specifically, be wary when using cleansers like bleach and ammonia, which can be harmful or even deadly when combined.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural and eco-friendly cleaning alternatives available. These products utilize naturally derived, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients, ensuring a clean home without jeopardizing your health, your family’s well-being, your pets, or the environment.
How to Safely and Efficiently Store Cleaning Supplies
Proper storage of items on your cleaning supply checklist not only maintains their effectiveness but also safeguards your household:
- Designated Storage: Keep your cleaning supplies together in a designated area, out of reach of children and pets.
- Original Packaging: Preserve cleaning products in their original packaging whenever possible. These containers are designed for safe storage and include crucial information such as ingredients, usage instructions, and safety precautions. If you must transfer them to different containers, make sure to label them clearly.
- Safe Separation: Not all cleaning products can be stored together safely. For instance, avoid storing bleach and ammonia in close proximity, as combining them can produce toxic gases. Keep such products separate to ensure safety.
Keep in mind that some of these products may not be essential for your home; for example, there’s no need to buy granite cleaner if you don’t have granite surfaces or paw wipes if you don’t have a dog. However, most of these items can be real lifesavers in keeping your home spotless.
If you prefer homemade solutions, many cleaning products are easily made with simple ingredients like white vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and lemon juice. While natural alternatives may not be as effective against viruses and bacteria, they can still serve well for general cleaning purposes. Do your research to find all-natural cleaning recipes that align with your preferences.