Cleaning is much easier when you have a cleaning kit of all the products you need for the whole house at your fingertips. With so many different cleaning products on the market, it’s easy to stock up on too many products that you ultimately don’t even need. Make a list of the essentials and keep them together in a caddy, a bucket, or a tool belt if you like to go hands-free when moving around the house.
Here is a list of must-have items everyone should have in their cleaning kit as part of their routine to efficiently complete the house cleaning.
Products to Put in Your Cleaning Kit
An all-purpose cleaner is a primary cleaner you should have in your cleaning kit because it is safe and gentle for most surfaces. It isn’t abrasive where it would scratch or alter a surface, but it is still strong enough to lift dirt and germs in most cases. However, not every all-purpose cleaner contains the same ingredients.
It’s best to read the labels and properly understand for which surfaces each all-purpose cleaner is most suitable. For example, some cleaners may not be appropriate and can damage porous surfaces.
You can also DIY an all-purpose cleaner with simple ingredients like vinegar and water or dish soap and water. But there are two things to consider. Don’t use vinegar on granite or marble surfaces, as it can strip the sealant. The dish soap-based spray can tackle that, but a soap-based all-purpose cleaner isn’t great for glass surfaces and mirrors as they can leave streaks and residue.
Although all-purpose cleaners can attack dirt and germs, they might not be strong enough to clean grease, stains, mold, mildew, or areas prone to bacteria. You will need to find different products that can specifically tackle those issues.
An all-purpose cleaner is not a disinfectant. A disinfectant helps clean germs and bacteria entirely off of a surface, whereas an all-purpose cleaner’s job is to remove dirt and some of the germs. That’s why a disinfectant is an essential item in your cleaning kit.
Yes, some surfaces will need to be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner to lift the dirt and then a disinfectant to kill the germs and bacteria on contact and prevent them from spreading.
Disinfectant wipes are convenient and take a quick wipe to get surfaces sanitized. However, just like all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants are not all the same and can be made of different ingredients. Again, some may not be safe for granite and marble surfaces because of the possibility of stripping the sealant. Some brands are also biodegradable, and some are not. So if green products are important to you, read your labels carefully.
You can use the all-purpose cleaner to clean glass, but only if it is vinegar or an ammonia-based cleaner. Any soap-based cleaner will leave streaks and residue on the glass. So either get a specific glass cleaner or ensure the all-purpose cleaner in your cleaning kit doesn’t have soap as an ingredient.
Duster with Extendable Handle
A handheld duster is a must-have to easily slide over shelves, between objects, and over baseboards. Then extend the handle and tackle those hard-to-reach places like ceiling fans, light fixtures, and the tops of windows and bookshelves. The material clings to dust, and the best part is there are machine washable and disposable options.
Microfiber cloths have become one of those household items people can’t live without. They are small but mighty cleaners! Microfiber cloths are absorbent, attract dust easily, and can make greasy appliances sparkle. They are also reusable and machine washable.
One thing to remember is that microfiber cloths don’t belong in the dryer. Drying microfiber cloths on high heat can melt the fibers, so they won’t be able to pick up dust like a magnet like they usually do. They will also end up picking up lint from other materials while drying. It’s best to rinse them in water and hang dry them or machine wash them in cold water and hang drying them.
People have found toilet bowl cleaner so valuable that it’s a must-have in all cleaning kits. Other than cleaning your toilet bowl, toilet cleaner effectively cleans grout and removes soap buildup on shower walls.
Some people have a toilet brush in every washroom, and some choose to wear thick rubber gloves and clean toilets with a sponge. However you decide to clean your toilet, once the task is complete, it’s best to rinse the sponge or the brush with clean water, let them dry a bit, and then spray them with hydrogen peroxide.
You can leave the toilet brush to air dry by placing it between the toilet and the seat, so the brush hangs over the bowl.
Whether it’s scrubbing sponges or a scrubbing brush, you need something with abrasive material to cut through dirt and soap scum such as bathroom floors, showers, and inside of greasy appliances. Scrubbing sponges (e.g., ScrubDaddy) will require less effort and be more effective than softer cleaning clothes.
A Detail Brush
A small brush can come in handy for tight spaces and hard-to-reach corners than a bigger scrub brush. A small brush is perfect for such areas as grout, around faucets, shower doors, and more.
You can use something as simple as a toothbrush with firm bristles to get the job done.
It’s best not to clean or use chemicals without wearing gloves. Always protect your skin from chemicals commonly used in cleaners, such as detergents, vinegar, ammonia, and bleach. Skin is very sensitive, and using cleaners without gloves could cause extreme dryness and even chemical burns, so it’s best to have that barrier.
Gloves also protect against germs. Some surfaces have germs and bacteria, such as bathroom sinks, toilets, and kitchen sinks. Cleaning those areas with gloves also reduces the risk of infecting ourselves with the germs we are cleaning.
You can buy a box of disposable gloves or a pair of rubber gloves from your local dollar store.
Pet owners will understand this necessity the most. A lint roller is helpful in bedrooms and living room areas where lint is more likely to collect, such as on pillows and sofas. Lint rollers are great for picking up pet hair as well.
Other Cleaning Items That Don’t Belong in the Cleaning Kit
You need other cleaning items for the housework, but we don’t recommend you drag them around the house. If you only need them for one area, keep them out of your cleaning kit and store them in the room where they belong.
Grease that splatters inside an oven is difficult to remove only using an all-purpose cleaner. You typically need something more heavy-duty that is specifically for cleaning ovens. Keep your oven cleaner in a cabinet under the sink in the kitchen.
Stainless Steel Cleaner
You can keep the stainless steel appliance cleaner in the kitchen since it’s probably the only room you will need this type of cleaner.
A cleaning kit with all the products you need is an efficient way to clean the house. It helps save time when you have everything you need for each room together. Of course, you will still need a vacuum cleaner and a mop. Otherwise, a cleaning kit containing an all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant wipes, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, microfiber clothes, scrubbing sponges or brush, a duster, gloves, and a lint roller is everything you need to get your house sparkling.
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This post originally appeared on Hello Sensible.
Nadia is co-creator and author of the blog This Mom is On Fire, a place where busy moms can find ideas for family meals, kids’ activities, and tips for saving time and money, as well as relate to common experiences in motherhood. She is also a freelance writer, primarily in the areas of lifestyle and personal finance.