18 Essential Cleaning Supplies for Tackling Messes Big, Small and ‘No…Just No’
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 a bit. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment or take over every under-sink cabinet and storage closet in your home, either. After doing some research, here are the essential cleaning supplies the CDC, Molly Maid’s professional cleaning team and home editors (all of whom spend their work hours obsessing over this kind of stuff) swear by.
BUT FIRST, WHAT CLEANING SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO PROTECT MY HOME FROM THE CORONAVIRUS?
For that answer, let’s turn to the CDC. The organization recommends a combination of cleaning (aka removing germs) and disinfecting (actually killing them), instructing everyone to wear disposable gloves throughout the process and then washing your hands afterward, which is a solid practice to adopt anytime, honestly. (You can use reusable gloves; the CDC just suggests that you use the gloves only for cleaning and disinfecting, so they don’t get contaminated. Resist the urge, as powerful as it might be, to rock them while hosting a virtual happy hour or pulling weeds.)
While wearing the gloves, you should wipe down surfaces with soap and water, then disinfect them with either a diluted household bleach solution (get the CDC’s recommended mixture here), a solution that contains at least 70 percent alcohol or an EPA-registered household disinfectant, like the ones noted below.
NOW ON TO OUR ULTIMATE LIST OF ESSENTIAL CLEANING SUPPLIES:
FOR JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE:
1. Reusable GlovesAdd 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, these are thick enough that they won’t tear easily—a common problem with the disposable kind.)
2. Broom with Dustpan
If the aforementioned Swiffer is more your style, use that. If you prefer to kick it old-school, look for a broom with a dustpan so you can keep dust bunnies corralled. We like this Amazon Basics style, because the bristles don’t break off, even if you’re using it to sweep the patio or concrete floors. Less mess for everyone.
3. Mop (Bonus If It Does the Mopping for You)
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
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. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
These wipes are great for quick cleanups after spills or scrubbing off sneaker smudges—and they’re on the EPA’s list of registered disinfectants, so if someone’s sick in the house, reach for these to ward off bacteria on your light switches, doorknobs and other surfaces you’re likely to touch to prevent germs from spreading. (Fair warning, though: They’re selling out fast right now as people stock up to combat the coronavirus.)
6. All-Purpose Cleaner
Molly Maid recommends using 409 or Simple Green on your countertops and other hard surfaces, though the company cautions that they shouldn’t be used on marble, quartz or granite, because these cleaners break down the stone’s sealant (for those surfaces, water and dish soap will do). Both products made the EPA’s list of novel coronavirus–fighting cleaners, though we’re partial to the Clorox Scentiva Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, simply because it can make your home smell like a tropical oasis.
For a more eco-friendly option (though, fair warning, it isn’t on the EPA’s list), editors raved about Blueland’s nontoxic, multi-surface cleaner, which comes in a reusable, shatterproof spray bottle.
7. Glass Cleaner
Pro tip: If you really want your windows to be streak-free, borrow this trick from car detailers and wipe your panes with newspaper, not paper towels.
8. Swiffer Duster
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 extended handle, which lets you clean ceiling fan blades without a step stool. It’s the little things, right?
FOR THE KITCHEN:
9. A Heavy-Duty SpongeLook for something with an abrasive side, so you can really scrape off baked-on grime, especially when it comes to doing dishes. 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!).
10. Stainless Steel Cleaner
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.
11. Microfiber Cloths
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.
12. Dish Detergent
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.
13. ForceFlex Trash Bags
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.
FOR YOUR BATHROOM:
14. Toilet BrushLeave it to CB2 to design a toilet brush with a sleek marble holster that makes it resemble an objet d’art for your commode.
15. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
With 5,500-plus reviews giving it nearly a five-star rating, you can’t go wrong with classic Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. You may have to scrub a bit for stubborn stains, but that’s what the brush above is for, right?
16. Scrub Brush
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.
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).
18. Tile and Grout Cleaner
CLR Bath & Kitchen 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. Do you really need more convincing than that?