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).
WHAT CLEANING SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO PROTECT MY HOME FROM COVID?
For that answer, let’s turn to the CDC: In general, 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 (which actually kills germs) as well.
If the latter is the case, 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), a solution that contains at least 70 percent alcohol or an EPA List N-registered household disinfectant, like the ones noted below.
Our 23 Essential Cleaning Supplies:
For Bedrooms, Hallways, the Living Room & Floors/Windows:
Reusable Gloves: Playtex Living Reusable Rubber Gloves
Broom with Dustpan: TreeLen Angle Broom and Snap-On Dustpan Set
Vacuum: Dyson V8
Carpet Cleaner: Bissell Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet Cleaner
Disinfecting Wipes: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
All-Purpose Cleaner: Clorox Scentiva Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner or Blueland Multi-Surface Cleaner
Heavy-Duty Cleaner: The Pink Stuff
Glass Cleaner: Windex Glass Cleaner with Vinegar
Duster: Swiffer Duster
For the Kitchen:
Sponge: Scrub Daddy Sponge Set
Stainless Steel Cleaner: Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes
Microfiber Cloths: Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Microwave Cleaner: Angry Mama
Dish Soap: Grove Co. Ultimate Dish Soap
Detergent: Cascade Platinum Fresh ActionPacs
Heavy-duty Trash Bags: Glad ForceFlex Plus Trash Bags with Febreze
For the Bathroom:
Toilet Brush: CB2 Marble Toilet Brush
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Blueland Toilet Cleaner Starter Set
Tile and Grout Cleaner: CLR Bath & Kitchen Foaming Action Cleaner
Scrub Brush: OXO Good Grips All-Purpose Scrub Brush
Toothbrush (for Grout & Hard-to-Reach Areas): Smartly Toothbrush Set
Drain Preserver: TubShroom Drain Protector
So why are these products must-haves? Here's why each one's earned a coveted spot in our closet (along with a few helpful tips for keeping your home clean without a ton of effort).
THE BEST CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR JUST ABOUT ANY ROOM:
1. Reusable Gloves
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, 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. Carpet Cleaner
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. 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.
7. 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, editors raved about Blueland’s nontoxic, multi-surface cleaner, which comes in a reusable, shatterproof spray bottle. It won't disinfect, but it does a great job removing grime.
8. Heavy-Duty Cleaner
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
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. (This version of Windex cleans with vinegar and the bottle's made from recycled, ocean-bound plastic, which we love.)
10. 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:
11. A Heavy-Duty Sponge
Look 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!).
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Microwave Cleaner
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 stalagtites in the micro again.
15. Dish Soap
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.
We've tried all kinds of detergents, but none cut through grease and grime (and spare us from scrubbing and scrubbing) quite as well as Cascade Platinum.
17. Heavy-Duty 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:
18. Toilet Brush
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.
19. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
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. You may have to scrub a bit for stubborn stains, but that’s what the brush above is for, right?
20. 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?
21. 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).
23. Drain Preserver
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.
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