If you want a truly clean home, it helps to be able to deal with any kind of spillage or everyday mess without the need to run to the store first.
Removing the barriers to cleaning by having the essential products to hand is one of the best – and simplest – cleaning tips experts repeat time and time, but it is important not to go overboard. Not everything you see at the store is essential for cleaning your home.
From managing dust to treating spills at a stain station, these 12 common cleaning supplies are the only store cupboard essentials you really need, according to professional cleaners.
The ultimate cleaning supplies list
Whether you only use the best DIY cleaning solutions or opt for commercial alternatives, having at least one of each of these cleaning essentials is more than enough to keep your home in tip-top shape.
1. A basic all-purpose cleaner
'For general household cleaning, you can’t go wrong with an all-purpose, multi-surface cleaner such as Method, available at Target,' says Karina Toner, cleaning expert and operations manager at Spekless Cleaning.
As the name suggests, this is a versatile cleaner, usually comprising a mild disinfectant and a degreaser in one, perfect for anything from kitchen counters to polishing glass tables and wiping down the bathroom sink.
Most multi-purpose sprays come in a range of fragrances, making them a great supply to have on hand to make a house smell nice too.
Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.
2. Microfiber cloths
Having cleaning sprays is all well and good, but you need something to use them with. For this, most cleaners will recommend having a set of quality microfiber cloths to hand, perfect for picking up dust and debris without having to spend money on replacing sponges and paper towels, say the cleaning experts at KK Cleaners. They love them as they do not leave streaks or lint behind – especially if you wash microfiber cloths correctly to keep them soft and absorbent.
3. A good vacuum cleaner
The bulkiest cleaning essential is a good vacuum cleaner.
Nick Valentino, cleaning expert at Bellhop suggests that every household should have the best cordless vacuum cleaner to make cleaning quicker and easier, with an upright vacuum a great bonus for deeper cleaning – such as a vacuum for pet hair:
‘Every home should have at least one handheld vacuum cleaner. While you should also have a bigger vacuum – especially if you have pets, carpets, or both – handheld vacuums are ideal for quick jobs. They can help you clean up spills, dust baseboards, clean up after sweeping, and sneak a little cleaning in whenever your kids aren't actively making more messes.
‘Keep it somewhere convenient and accessible, like in the kitchen or living room, so that anyone and everyone can grab it when they need it.
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4. A disinfectant
Even with a multi-purpose spray, it is important to have a dedicated disinfectant to keep your home germ-free. While you can use a spray, cleaning expert Karina Toner also suggests having some disinfectant wipes for quick and convenient disinfection of high-touch pints like doorknobs, light switches, and handles.
If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals around your home, you can make a household disinfectant by cleaning with hydrogen peroxide for a greener approach to fighting bacteria.
5. Glass cleaner
6. White vinegar and baking soda
'It wouldn't be a cleaning compendium without tips for cleaning with vinegar and cleaning with baking soda. These two pantry staples are some of the best cleaning tools any homeowner can have on hand and are ideal for everything from removing limescale to unclogging shower drains,' says Jess Farinha, cleaning expert with London House Cleaners.
When choosing vinegar for cleaning, pick a cleaning vinegar or white vinegar with a high acetic acid content. These kinds of vinegar are more effective at cleaning and will not leave any sticky residues or sediment around your home.
Jess leads London House Cleaners, where she uses her personal experiences as a mother to help others create useable but well-ordered home environments.
7. Toilet bowl cleaner
'Although you can clean a toilet tank with vinegar, having a dedicated toilet bowl cleaner can be handy for removing limescale and staining without the need to scrub,' says cleaning expert Karina Toner.
Although it is usually better to keep products that have more than one use, toilet bowl cleaners are the most effective way to maintain bathroom hygiene, Karina explains, making this an exception to that rule.
8. Bucket and mop
If you have any kind of hard floor in your home, then you need a bucket and mop, the cleaning experts at KK Cleaners urge. From cleaning bathroom floors to freshening up kitchen floors and entryways, a soft mop helps to keep any space sanitary without damaging precious materials such as stone, tile, or hardwood.
A mop with an extendable handle and a washable head, such as this mop and bucket set from Amazon, is a great storage-friendly option that will last you for years.
9. Dish soap
Of course, dish soap is a must for washing up, but it also has several other uses around the home for cleaning surfaces and removing stubborn grease, say the cleaning experts at KK Cleaners.
Cleaning with Dawn Powerwash, for instance, can help to remove water stains from taps and stainless steel while also being a great degreaser for cleaning a range hood without the need for harsh chemicals.
10. Trash bags
'Another obvious addition to your cleaning stash is trash bags,' says Emma Thomas, cleaning expert and founder of Homeeon. Pick out a few different sizes both to fit the trash bins around your home and to carry around when decluttering or tidying your space.
‘My favorite storage tip is to keep a roll in the bottom of each trash can for convenient replacement,’ Emma adds.
11. Stain-removing laundry detergent
'Laundry detergent isn't just important for doing laundry, it is also essential to have on hand for removing stains from garments and soft furnishings before they have the chance to set in place,' says Gabriella Dyson, Head of Solved for Homes & Gardens. Picking out a stain-removing detergent is a safe bet, especially if you have young children or pets or are simply on the clumsier side.
Gabriella Dyson is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens, editing and writing practical advice for homeowners in the process of cleaning, decluttering, or attempting home improvements and DIY projects. Gabriella previously worked on Homebuilding.com, writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.
Squeegees are another handy tool that can have several purposes around your home. Most obviously, they make cleaning windows a lot easier, but they also have a place in your shower, helping you to clean down glass shower doors, tiles, and mirrors to avoid water marks and limescale to make cleaning a shower easier, says Jess Farinha, cleaning expert.
How do I choose the right cleaning products?
When picking out cleaning products for your home, consider which areas of your home need the most attention when you are cleaning, any ingredients you are allergic to, and any fragrances you are adverse to. Determining these three things will help you pick the product type, makeup (green or chemical-based, for instance), and scent for the perfect cleaning bundle for your home.
How do I start liking cleaning?
If you want to enjoy cleaning and find the motivation to clean more easily, start by gathering your supplies and stocking up your cabinet. Pick products that are aesthetically pleasing and smell nice to help incentivize you to use them, even if it might seem superficial. You can then use clean-with-me videos to work along to or put on your favorite music and make it a small dance party, helping you to breeze through the chores without it feeling like an effort.
When you have accumulated your arsenal of essential cleaning products, it helps to then organize cleaning supplies in the rooms where they are needed (keeping bathroom cleaners in the bathroom, for instance) to make cleaning easier. This way, if you have a spare few minutes, you can quickly wizz around the space and tackle some items on your to-do list, using a cleaning card system to help you stay on track if needed.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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