27 Essential Cleaning Supplies for Tackling Messes of All Sizes

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Your Swiffer and trusty bottle of Windex are a great start, but if you really want your home to sparkle—and to eliminate as many germs as possible—you’ll need to expand your arsenal. These essential cleaning supplies will get the job done without overwhelming every under-sink cabinet and storage closet in your home (or killing your budget).

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27 Essential Cleaning Supplies, at a Glance

Scroll down for in-depth information on each item recommended.

For Bedrooms, Hallways, the Living Room & Floors/Windows:

For the Kitchen:

For the Bathroom:

For the Laundry Room:

So why are these products must-haves? We'll break it down for you below, along with a few helpful tips for keeping your home clean without a ton of effort.

What Cleaning Supplies Do I Need to Kill Germs?

For that answer, let’s turn to the CDC: Cleaning with soap or detergent is enough to remove most germs day to day, but if someone in your house is sick or has tested positive for COVID, it's worth disinfecting as well. The disinfecting process is what actually kills germs.

To do both, you should wipe down dirty surfaces with soap and water, then disinfect them with either a diluted household bleach solution (get the CDC’s recommended mixture here) or a solution that contains at least 70 percent alcohol or an EPA List N-registered household disinfectant, like the ones noted below.

Essential Cleaning Supplies for Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Floors & Windows

essential cleaning supplies: rubber gloves

1. Reusable Gloves

  • Why It's a Must-Have: protects hands from harsh chemicals
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Look for multiple layers or thick rubber construction for durability and added protection from hot water as you scrub

Add a dose of self-care to your cleaning routine: Slather on a thick lotion before putting on these gloves. Instead of ending a scrubbing sesh with dry, cracked hands, yours will be nice and moisturized. It almost makes you look forward to cleaning...almost. (Plus, this Playtex style has a drip cuff to keep suds from covering your arms and are thick enough that they won’t tear easily.)

2. Broom with Dustpan

  • Why It's a Must-Have: 52-inch handle means no stooping as you sweep; prongs on dustbin pull debris off broom and into the bin
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Look for a dustbin that sits flush on the ground, so debris doesn't get caught under it

An obvious pick, yes, but what we love about this broom combo in particular is its deep dustpan with prongs, which pull pet hair and debris from the bristles, saving you the step of having to degunk your broom after each use (or pushing around hair, rather than actually cleaning it up).

cleaning supplies braava jet

3. Mop (Bonus If It Does the Mopping for You)

  • Why It's a Must-Have: vibrating brush tackles dried-on grime, slim enough to glide under furniture much easier than a traditional mop, cordless
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Noise levels (this one is fairly quiet, compared to other models) and overall runtime for the size of your house

Mopping: It’s the chore no one looks forward to, so why not employ a robot assistant to do it for you? That’s essentially what you’re doing if you own an iRobot Braava Jet. You can set up “virtual walls” so the little machine cleans only certain areas, and it automatically chooses its cleaning mode based on the mess it encounters (sweeping, damp mopping or full-on wet mopping).

4. A Vacuum That Can Stand Up To Furballs

  • Why It's a Must-Have: cordless, special motorhead clears hair from the brush bar (so you don't have to), 40-minute runtime, 30-day return policy
  • What to Consider Before Buying: If you have shaggy or high-pile carpets, you'll get a better clean from a heavier-duty model, like the Dyson Ball Animal 3

If you have pets, it’s worth investing in the Dyson V8. It sucks up pet hair with ease, and the cord-free design means you (and Khal Doggo) won’t get tangled up or trip as you clean. Even if you don’t have pets, you’ll love that this machine is so powerful that you don’t have to swipe over the same spot six times to ensure every crumb is picked up.

5. Carpet Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: powerful stain and odor removal, good suction
  • What to Consider Before Buying: This is not a steam cleaner, so if you want to clean an area with hot water, you have to warm water and then add it to the machine's tank

When spot-treating those stains just won't cut it—and you're sick of springing for a professional cleaning—it's time to snag the Bissell Little Green ProHeat Carpet Cleaner. This portable vac works on upholstery (and is great for detailing your car), but it's truly a lifesaver for pet parents everywhere: It gets rid of muddy paw prints and removes urine stains and odors in no time. Now, if only it could walk the dog for you...

6. Compostable Cleaning Wipes

  • Why It's a Must-Have: 100% plant-based, biodegradable, safe to use on skin due to its vegetable-based soap cleanser, includes aloe so it doesn't dry out hands
  • What to Consider Before Buying: This product doesn't disinfect surfaces, like many popular cleaning wipes do

Cleaning wipes have become a go-to for wiping down surfaces quickly, but many require second wipe-down, just to clear away any chemicals (particularly if it's on kitchen counters or dining room tables, where you might prep food). Biom's wipes are safe to use on skin—just avoid your eyes and delicate areas—and they're good for the environment, breaking down in 28 days or less.

7. Disinfectant Spray

  • Why It's a Must-Have: powerful disinfectant (kills RSV and flu viruses)
  • What to Consider Before Buying: To disinfect, let product sit for 5 minutes on surface before wiping down. You'll need to rinse anything that comes into contact with food (like counters and dog bowls) with water afterward.

Safe for use on 100+ surfaces (from mattresses to dumbbells), FamilyGuard Disinfectant Spray has become our home editor's go-to for quickly deodorizing and disinfecting, well, just about anything. It kills 99.9 percent of germs and viruses on non-porous surfaces.

8. Heavy-Duty Cleaning Paste

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Powerful stain remover, paste isn't too gritty, works on a variety of surfaces (ceramics, metal, marble, wood, porcelain, etc.)
  • What to Consider Before Buying: It's not so great with removing hard water stains. (You may want to try no. 21 for that.)

The Pink Stuff became a TikTok phenomenon for good reason: It removes stains and scuff marks you gave up hope on long ago. And it works on everything from bathroom tiles to sauté pans. It's as close to magic IRL as we're going to get.

9. Glass Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Easily removes smudges, vinegar base means it's safe to use on glass stovetops, bottle made with recycled plastic
  • What to Consider Before Buying: The vinegar-based version occasionally leaves streaks, according to reviewers

Pro tip: If you really want your windows to be streak-free, borrow this trick from car detailers and wipe your panes with newspaper or microfiber cloths, not paper towels.

cleaning supplies swiffer

10. Swiffer Duster

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Easy to maneuver in hard-to-reach places, excels at removing dust and leaving little residue behind, refills are recyclable
  • What to Consider Before Buying: You may need a stool or a duster with a longer handle if you have very tall ceilings

You need a duster of some sort, and this one is a game-changer. Dust practically seems magnetized to the fluffy Swiffer fibers, so you won’t knock half your tchotchkes over as you clean the bookshelves. The dusters also tuck between blinds easily, but arguably the best feature is the 3-foot-long extended handle, which lets you clean ceiling fan blades without a step stool. It’s the little things, right?

Essential Cleaning Supplies for the Kitchen

cleaning supplies scrub buddy

11. A Heavy-Duty Sponge

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Very durable, ideal for tackling deeply baked-on grease
  • What to Consider Before Buying: The ScrubDaddy's stiffness takes some getting used to

The classic green-and-yellow sponge will work just fine, but if you want something a little more durable (read: you’re the type who tends to replace your sponges only when you’ve exhausted all other “What’s that smell?” options), try a ScrubDaddy. The Shark Tank hit has gained a fan following for the way the sponge’s texture changes, depending on the temperature of the water. The hotter it is, the softer it gets. And it’s scratch-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally scrubbing Skye’s face off your kids’ Paw Patrol plates (the horror!).

12. Stainless Steel Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: removes stainless steel discoloration and streaks in no time; leaves a gleaming polish
  • What to Consider Before Buying: wipes may dry out before you use them all

If you have stainless steel appliances, you know that soap and water (and even microfiber cloths!) can’t save you from streaks all over the fridge, oven and dishwasher. Stainless steel cleaner is your secret weapon. And new obsession.

13. Microfiber Cloths

  • Why It's a Must-Have: durable, affordable, doesn't pill easily
  • What to Consider Before Buying: For a bit more money per cloth, you can buy a Climate Pledge-friendly version, helping reduce your overall carbon footprint

If you have stone counters—or anything delicate, really—you’ll want to use these extra-gentle cloths to wipe things down. Plus, they’ll help cut down on your paper towel use.

14. Microwave Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Reduces overall scrubbing, fun design
  • What to Consider Before Buying: You'll still have to wipe down the microwave after use

Sure, you could get away with cleaning your microwave with apple cider vinegar and water in a regular bowl, but we love how the Angry Mama's design helps disperse steam, helping peel off those baked-on soup splatters while making the same face we make when we discover our kids let their Spaghetti-os form stalactites in the micro again.

essential cleaning supplies: dish soap
Grove Co.

15. Dish Soap

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Plastic-free container, cuts through grease, natural fragrance
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Use with a wider-mouth dispenser, as the soap is very thick

OK, you know you need this to do dishes, but it’ll come in handy for cleaning counters, too—especially if you have quartz, granite or marble and don’t want to damage them with harsher cleaners. Grove excels at making light work of baked-on grease (even the kind that's been left in the sink for two days), and it's 98 percent plant-based.

16. Dishwashing Detergent

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Leaves spot-free dishes, don't need to pre-rinse to remove baked-on food splatters
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Can be pricier than liquid detergents

We've tried all kinds of detergents, but none cut through grease (and spare us from scrubbing and scrubbing) quite as well as Cascade Platinum Plus. Even cheesy, baked spaghetti remnants—left sitting overnight—were no match for this powerful cleaner, living up to its claim that you don't have to pre-rinse dishes before popping them into the dishwasher.

17. Heavy-Duty Trash Bags

  • Why It's a Must-Have: great scent, flexible construction doesn't tear easily
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Double-check the size of your trash can and the size of the bags to make sure they'll fit

We’ve all had a trash bag split halfway through carrying it to the curb. These Glad bags are a godsend for reducing those groan-inducing moments. They have reinforced bands that prevent trash from poking through…and it doesn’t hurt that they’re Febreze scented, buying you a little extra time between changing out the bags.

18. Counter Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: plant-based, nontoxic, biodegradable formula
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Double-check to make sure the formula works on your type of countertop

An all-purpose cleaner may get the job done, but certain kinds of countertops require special care. For granite counters, we love Method's plant-based cleaner (shown here), which leaves ours gleaming and provides a light—but not overpowering—scent.

For quartz and marble countertops, Merry Maids recommends using plain ol' soapy water and a microfiber cloth.

Essential Cleaning Supplies for the Bathroom

essential cleaning supplies: toilet brush

19. Toilet Brush

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Sleek, modern design, durable marble base
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Each marble holster is unique, so there will be some variation in color and veining

Leave it to CB2 to design a toilet brush with a sleek marble holster that makes it resemble an objet d’art for your commode. (Psst: Yes, it's pricey, but some reviewers say the base is so durable that they've simply replaced the brush over the years.)

essential cleaning supplies: toilet bowl cleaner

20. Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: plant-based, plastic-free, takes up little under-sink space
  • What to Consider Before Buying: You may have to scrub a bit for stubborn stains, but that’s what the brush above is for, right?

Blueland's Toilet Bowl Cleaner has sold out four times since its October 2021 launch. And after trying it ourselves, we see why: It's basically a bath bomb for your loo—scrubbing while making your entire bathroom smell fresher than a Lush store.

21. Tile And Grout Cleaner

  • Why It's a Must-Have: reduces overall scrubbing when cleaning grout and tile, excels at removing hard water stains and mineral deposits
  • What to Consider Before Buying: You'll need to wear gloves when you use it, as sometimes the sprayer leaks

CLR Brilliant Bath Cleaner is the all-in-one product that’ll cut your scrubbing time in half. Fans swear that after spraying it onto grout, you can actually see the lines start to whiten. (We can attest that it's worked better than any other bathroom cleaner we've tried—and we've tested more than half a dozen—at removing hard water stains from bathroom sinks.) Do you need any more convincing than that?

essential cleaning supplies: scrub brush

22. Scrub Brush

  • Why It's a Must-Have: comfortable handle reduces pressure on your hands/wrists while scrubbing; variety of bristles really gets into nooks and crannies
  • What to Consider Before Buying: At 3 inches wide, you may need a smaller brush for very narrow spots

Yes, you could buy a brush that attaches to a power drill to really scrub your shower, but at the end of the day, we’ve found it works no better than a classic, all-purpose scrubber, like this workhorse from OXO, which features a combination of bristles to really clean every nook and cranny of your tile.

23. Toothbrush

Why It's a Must-Have: affordable, soft bristles are gentle on grout
What to Consider Before Buying: Make sure you clearly label these so you don't accidentally mix them up with your go-to toothbrushes!

Beyond the one for your teeth, having a dedicated cleaning toothbrush to really get in between those tiles is crucial. Even if you use it only as often as you floss (*gulp*…once or twice a year).

24. Drain Preserver

Why It's a Must-Have: excellent at catching hair and minimizing clogs
What to Consider Before Buying: Double-check the size of your drain to ensure it will fit (this works for 1.5- to 1.75-inch drains).

While this isn't a cleaner in the traditional sense, the TubShroom makes shower cleanup so much easier—and can spare you the hassle of trying to unclog the drain every six months. The device fits inside the drain, so it isn't an eyesore, and it collects hair before it clots your pipes. If the water gets a little slow to drain, simply pull it out, clean the 'shroom and put it back in place. Easy.

For the Laundry Room

25. Laundry Detergent

  • Why It's a Must-Have: Mess-free pump dispenser, leaves clothes fresh and clean, recyclable packaging, plant-based and hypoallergenic formula
  • What to Consider Before Buying: plant-based formula isn't as effective at removing stains

You know you need laundry detergent to clean your clothes, but which one to choose? After testing Brooklinen's new launch, we were pleasantly surprised by its gentle scent, easy-pump spout (which prevents overpouring) and stain-fighting ability. There's also a dermatologist-approved, fragrance-free version for sensitive skin.

26. Dryer Balls

  • Why It's a Must-Have: shortens overall drying time, reduces wrinkles, no harsh chemicals
  • What to Consider Before Buying: Some reviewers miss the fragrance and static-reducing ability dryer sheets provide

Instead of traditional dryer sheets, opt for a more eco-friendly option to keep clothes wrinkle-free. These wool dryer balls can be reused again and again (up to 1,000 times, per the manufacturer), and they hold up well over time.

27. Stain Remover/Spot Treatment

Why It's a Must-Have: portable, strongest stain-fighter we've tested
What to Consider Before Buying: It has a light, vinegar-y scent that bothers some people

When we tested clothing stain removers, we were shocked at how well these little, individually wrapped wipes work. They take up little space in your bag—and don't dry up as quickly as stain-removing pens—and we've found it's much more effective to spot-treat stains right after they happen than using a solution after you get home.

This Weekly Cleaning Schedule Will Keep Your Home Consistently Tidy

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candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...