In this week’s Podcast or Post, we’re going to discuss what I consider to be the most important cleaning products & tools needed- the essential items to keep your house clean.
The last few are not ones I currently use consistently, but I wanted to be sure to cover all of the essential cleaning supplies someone may need.
(Below you can read the post or play the podcast version- about 22 mins.)
(Keep scrolling to read the full post and to see the products we recommend and link to.)
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I believe that the most important factor with maintaining a clean home is not what products are used, but being consistent with what you use.
But, of course, you do want to make sure you’re using good-quality supplies.
Whatever cleaning products & tools you personally choose, you’ll want to make sure they’re safe for your family & that they won’t damage anything you use them on.
Be sure to use them on appropriate surfaces and test cleaners & products on a small area that’s not noticeable before using them on an entire surface or floor.
Note: Make sure you keep household cleaning supplies out of reach of children, especially anything that could be a hazard to them. If you use cleaning supplies with strong or dangerous ingredients, you’ll also want to wear gloves.
Depending on where you live, you may find it hard to find some of these cleaning products in-store as there are currently shortages in different places.
Even on Amazon, I noticed they are low on stock on certain things. (If you are on Amazon and see they’re out of stock on an item, they should have similar items in stock that they recommend on the same page.)
If you use Amazon & have an Amazon Prime membership, you can save money on a lot of these with shipping. Sign up here to get a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial.
So let’s dive in and talk cleaning products & supplies!
I personally like the Brillo Estracell No-Scratch Sponges. I’ll get the ones that come in packs of 3 with 2 kitchen sponges and 1 bathroom sponge.
These sponges are great for washing dishes I have to hand wash, for cleaning countertops, wiping down appliances, (such as the microwave and stove-top,) and for cleaning the sink, shower, and bathtub.
These also work good for spot cleaning the floor, and I have also used them to clean marks and splatters off of walls.
They’re supposed to be more sanitary. But I also sometimes clean them off in really hot water to kill germs, which I also have done with dish cloths. Just a note, though: be careful if you do this, not to burn yourself in the process.
The only other thing I would be careful of with using sponges is that even when the ones you use are non-abrasive, like the ones I was just talking about, more delicate surfaces can still be scratched sometimes. So just be careful what you use them on, and when in doubt, test out a small, unnoticeable area first.
People do also use dish cloths for some of these things too- dishes, wiping off counters, etc.
I do have dish cloths too, but after I tried the Brillo Estracell sponges and liked how well they work, I haven’t really used dish cloths anymore.
Like most people, I use dishwashing liquid for washing dishes that I can’t put in the dishwasher.
But I also use a drop of dish soap on a sponge with warm water to wipe down countertops and surfaces, and to clean some appliances, such as the stove and microwave.
I use 2 main types of dishwashing liquid.
And I use Dawn for things I want something a little stronger for. I also use this for cleaning the sink and toilet in my bathroom.
I have also just started using Dawn’s Platinum Powerwash Spray and that works pretty good so far too.
I use these for scrubbing dishes that have food stuck on them.
Occasionally, I have also used these on other surfaces too. But you do want to be careful that you don’t use them on non-stick pots and pans or any other type of dishes or surfaces that can be scratched, because these do scrub really well.
Personally I don’t really use mine anymore because my husband got me a nice countertop dishwasher on Amazon.
But before I had a dishwasher, I used my dish pan pretty much on a daily basis.
If you have a dishwasher, good quality dishwashing tablets or pods are essential if you don’t want to waste time pre-washing or rewashing dishes.
Personally, I like Cascade Platinum’s Pods. Their brand or a compare-to Cascade Platinum’s Pods brand is what works the best out of all the brands I’ve tried.
I don’t often buy specific name brands when I can get generic. But in this case, in my opinion, the Cascade brand is definitely higher quality when it comes to dishwashing tablets or pods.
I’ve found that the premium tablets or pods work better than dishwasher detergent liquid, (including from the same brand.)
This is something else you need if you have a dishwasher.
Rinse aid helps your dishes to dry and helps prevents spots. I currently use Finish Jet Dry, which works pretty well.
These are helpful for drying dishes.
I also use ours for hand towels in the kitchen and other things too.
I use dust cloths not just for dusting surfaces, but also for cleaning mirrors & glass.
I suggest getting cloths that are good quality and don’t leave a residue of fuzzies behind.
Disinfecting wipes can be used for cleaning the bathroom or disinfecting other surfaces.
I personally do think it is faster to clean the outside of the toilet and between the the lids with wipes instead of spraying it first, and then wiping it.
I will also sometimes wipe down the bathroom floor quickly with wipes. It’s faster for me than getting the mop and bucket out, because our bathrooms are small.
For sweeping, I recommend a broom with a standing dustpan so you don’t have to keep bending down to hold the dustpan.
In our house with 4 kids, sweeping is a regular task if we don’t want our floors to look like a war zone. And a standing dustpan makes it easier for us.
For cleaning floors, unless it’s a smaller room that I can quickly wipe down, such as the bathroom, I prefer using an actual mop & bucket.
Personally, I prefer mops that are specifically designed to wring easily or are self-wringing.
I suggest using a bucket with a spout so you don’t spill water everywhere when you empty it.
So when it comes to getting a vacuum that works well, there are 2 brands I’m going to share with you that I like, depending on what your budget allows.
In my opinion, if you’re looking for a top-notch, high-quality vacuum, hands-down, Kirby is the brand that works the best.
It is expensive, but it works really well if you are able to afford one and get it.
You can vacuum your mattress and other surfaces with a Kirby. It will get dirt and dust and dust mites out from deep within the mattress. And that’s important, because when we keep breathing that stuff in, it’s really not good for our bodies.
There was a study done in this article from The National Center for Biotechnology Information. And it showed that dust mites can actually live inside the lungs. And there has been a connection made to dust mites and developing asthma.
So, while I can understand that someone doesn’t want to spend a lot on a vacuum, you do want something that is going to be effective with dust, because it does affect our health. So my top suggestion for a vacuum is definitely Kirby for that reason. If you can’t afford one now, I think it is definitely worth saving up for.
In my opinion, if you’re going to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on a vacuum, you might as well save up for a Kirby. You will get the most out of your investment that way.
If you get a Kirby, I suggest scheduling a demo with them and buying it from them directly. That way you can take advantage of their long warranty, and see how well it works before you buy.
Note: You can schedule a demo with Kirby on their website here. (They didn’t sell new ones on Amazon at the time I published this Podcast or Post.)
For a more budget-friendly vacuum, I like the brand Eureka.
For the price point and quality, I think a Eureka vacuum is the best option in the lower-price range.
If you can get one for around or under $100, it’s a great deal for the quality, even compared with some vacuums twice the price, in my opinion.
No, it doesn’t work as well as a Kirby, but it does work really well for the price.
I have owned different vacuums myself, I’ve spent a couple years as a commercial cleaner, and my husband used to work for Kirby. So I am pretty familiar with different vacuum brands.
And for a lower-priced option, my husband also agreed that our Eureka vacuum worked pretty well.
I had my Eureka for about 9 years. And in that time the only issue was needing to replace the belt once, which my husband did. And it was pretty inexpensive- less than $20.
The main part of the vacuum actually still works now, but the hose broke recently after about 9 years of owning it. (This *may* have had something to do with my toddlers pretending it was a fire hose and playing with it.)
But for a vacuum, that’s a long time without having to replace it. It has lasted well beyond the warranty.
I think it’s important to have some type of window/glass cleaner. Personally I use Windex or a generic version, and that works for me.
Some people also make a homemade window cleaner, but I usually just buy it myself because it’s easier.
Paper towels can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, from cleaning windows & mirrors, to drying surfaces, and more.
I use a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Sometimes I’ll add in a little dish soap.
And I’ll use this to clean different things, such as the inside of the toilet bowl, the tub, sink, and other miscellaneous things.
Of course, it’s important to have a toilet brush to clean inside your toilet.
I strongly suggest getting a toilet brush designed to clean under the rim.
If you don’t get one that cleans under the rim, you may end up with a gross stain there.
I personally get 2 types of garbage bags.
I get larger, 13-gallon trash bags for our kitchen garbage can.
And I’ll also get smaller, 8-gallon garbage bags for the smaller trash cans we have around the house.
Gloves can be helpful when cleaning with chemicals or sprays you don’t want to come into contact with your skin. And some people like wearing them while they do dishes.
I personally don’t use them often, but when I do, I use non-latex cleaning gloves. (I have found latex irritates my skin, so non-latex is a must for me.)
My go-to brand for detergent is Purex.
I like their free and clear detergent, because I like to avoid too many chemicals in detergent.
My top choice for spraying stains, which is actually Amazon’s choice too, is Spray ‘n Wash.
With 4 kids who get food and things on their clothes every day, I don’t know how many of their clothes would look halfway decent without Spray n Wash.
When it comes to laundry, stain remover is the one things I will be lenient with when it comes to chemicals and the ingredients in it. (Because I do want something strong enough to do the job.) But the dryer sheets and detergent I try to keep as natural as possible.
I like free and clear dryer sheets, such as the ones by all.
I personally don’t currently use the next few cleaning supplies consistently. But a lot of people do, and you may want to use some or all of these as well.
Depending on the surfaces and furniture in your home, you may want to use furniture polish.
You can get it in a spray or there are these nifty furniture polishing wipes you can buy.
Alternatively, there are homemade furniture polish recipes you can make. And on the rare occasion I do use furniture polish I will make it instead of buy it.
Personally, I just don’t use it a lot. And honestly, out of the 3 cleaning companies I worked for, not one had me use furniture polish while I cleaned. Instead I just used a general, all purpose spray.
Some people will use an all-purpose cleaner.
I used to use all-purpose cleaning spray when I did work commercially cleaning.
But at home I usually use a sponge with hot water and a little dish soap to clean surfaces. And I’ll use wipes for things that need to be disinfected more.
Most of the time, for toilet cleaner, I simply use Dawn dish soap or a spray bottle with a mix of vinegar and water.
I’ve found that by keeping the toilets clean throughout the week, I don’t have to use stronger products with a lot of chemicals.
But if you need something stronger, I suggest the Works toilet cleaner, (although I believe they’ve changed their formula in more recent years, because it doesn’t seem as potent and thick as it used to be.)
The next toilet cleaner I want to try is Lime-A-Way’s toilet cleaner because it’s rated pretty well on Amazon. I believe I tried their brand before with other cleaners that worked well.
I will update the written version of this Podcast or Post after I try it to let you know how it works.
Also, if you are on our email list, which you can easily join by signing up for our free printable Daily Cleaning Checklists, I’ll add a little P.S. in a future email to let you know how it worked.
Or if you’ve already tried it, I’d love if you could comment below and let me know how you liked it- or any other cleaning supplies that have worked well for you.
In general, actual toilet bowl cleaners with the tilted spout at the top will do good with getting right under the rim.
But unless you get a toilet cleaner that is specifically made to be gentle and natural, you’ll want to wear gloves and make sure you don’t get it on your hands.
If you don’t wear gloves, it can be really easy to get on your hands, especially with how the top is designed, because you have to touch the area were it comes out to close the top.
And of course, a lot of cleaners should be kept away from children. But toilet bowl cleaners in particular are often made with stronger chemicals than other supplies. So definitely keep these out of reach if you have kids.
Because the brands I just talked about are stronger, don’t leave them on longer than the directions recommend. Make sure you also don’t use them on cracked or damaged surfaces.
And if you use these on things like the sink and tub too, which you can- at least the Works brand I have successfully used to remove stains in sinks and tubs- you want to make sure that you don’t leave the cleaner on the faucet, drain, or other metal parts, because it can cause damage if left on.
Two of the men I worked for who owned cleaning businesses told me to use The Works toilet cleaner on sinks and toilets that were stained.
And the Works did work, (although it was their older formula at the time.) So it can be helpful for other things too, but just be careful with it.
I personally don’t use shower cleaner anymore. But I have used it before, and it does work well with cleaning tubs and showers.
And I personally just prefer to keep it simple and use less cleaning supplies. As long as I maintain the area I’m cleaning, and the supplies I have work, I keep it simple.
I do not currently use oven cleaner at all. I think someone gave us some when we first got married, which was over 7 years ago. (And I never bought any more after that.)
But some people use it. So I’m listing it here, and this oven cleaner that’s recommended by Amazon is fume-free & says you don’t need gloves.
But for other brands of oven cleaners I would recommend wearing protective gloves. And this is a type of cleaner you will especially want to keep away from children.
I’ll be honest here that I don’t really clean my oven much…I wipe my stovetop off throughout the week, but I really don’t clean my oven a lot.
In the future, I may try using the Dawn Powerwash spray if stuff gets hardened on. (Otherwise I will probably just stick to the regular Dawn dish soap.)
I used to use fabric softener all the time before I had a dryer.
But now that I have a dryer and I can put most of my clothes in there with the dryer sheets, I personally don’t use a separate fabric softener in the washer.
Since a lot of people do feel this is necessary to use, I’m listing it, and linking to the one that’s Amazon’s Choice.
I do occasionally use baking soda to deodorize or help clean, but I haven’t in a while. However, it can be effective both for deodorizing & scrubbing. And since baking soda has a variety of cleaning uses, I’m listing it here.
So those are the most essential cleaning tools & products you need for your home. Keep in mind, though, that even the best cleaning supplies are only effective if you use them.
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If you stay subscribed to our emails, we‘ll update you when we publish new Podcast or Post episodes. Next time, I’m going to share some cleaning tips & secrets I’ve learned from my time as a commercial cleaner and in my journey of getting my house under control.
So thanks for reading & have a great day!