We get it. Scrubbing toilets and vacuuming floors, while not as bad as getting a root canal, are undeniably less fun than most other ways to spend your free time. Unfortunately, housework is a necessary evil, unless you don't mind living in less-than-healthy surroundings. Still, there are ways to make the job easier and more tolerable.
Start by tackling a small amount of cleaning each day, rather than waiting until the job seems insurmountable without wiping out your entire weekend. Having basic cleaning tools and products on-hand also makes life easier. The 10 minutes you have slotted to clean the toilet shouldn't be the time to discover you don't have any disinfectant in the house.
Your cleaning supplies should be kept together in a central location, making it easy to grab what you need when it's time to take care of chores. If your home is large or multistoried, keep an extra supply of disinfecting wipes under the sink in each bathroom, where they are handy for quick touch-ups.
Here are the 14 essential cleaning supplies and tools every home needs. Then, check out our buying guides on the best cleaning products and gadgets you can buy.
Nothing says, "Slobs live here," like carpets sprinkled with food crumbs, pet hair, and tracked-in leaves, or hard floors with dust bunnies blowing along the edges. You should plan to vacuum at least once per week, and more often if you have several pets or young children.
A good vacuum cleaner makes it nearly effortless to keep the floors debris-free. Your perfect choice will depend on several factors. If you have stairs, you need a vacuum that is light enough to carry but has a suction-head small enough to do individual steps. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away does it one better: You can actually remove the canister to use on stairs and other tough-to-reach spaces, then pop it back onto the main body of the vacuum for the rest of the room.
If you have pets, you'll love the extra pet-hair tools that accompany the powerful and budget-friendly Bissell Cleanview Swivel. If your house is mostly hard flooring, you can't beat a canister vacuum like the Miele Classic for keeping things tidy.
To make vacuuming less of a chore, consider a robot vacuum, like our favorite, the Roomba 690 from iRobot. Set it on a schedule to have it clean daily, and when it comes time for a thorough cleaning, there will be less for you to vacuum up. Although it's an older model, we love that the Roomba 690 is plenty powerful, has smart features like support for smartphones and voice assistants (Alexa and Google), and an affordable price.
Sticky spills in the kitchen or potty-training kids in the bathroom — messes happen. Your grandma might have counted on a bucket and scrub brush to keep her floors sparkling, but if you have more than a tiny bathroom and kitchen, you'll want a good full-length mop to make things easier. The O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop makes polishing up hard floors about as easy as it's going to get, and it's gentle on your budget, as well. Expect to mop at least once per week, although pets and kids usually mean more frequent floor cleaning.
A quick, daily sweep gathers up crumbs, dirt, hair, cat litter, and other unpleasant grime you'd rather not step on. The angled bristles of the TreeLen broom-and-dustpan combo make it easy to reach into corners, under the edge of the stove, or beneath the kitchen table. Best of all, the dustpan has an extra-long handle, so there's no need to bend over to hold it in place — that's sweet relief for your back.
Bathroom mirrors, glass-top dining tables, windows, and anything with glass will show every splash, fingerprint, and dried drop of grime. Washing all of your windows is a big job that is best left for spring-cleaning, but wiping away small spots should be done weekly or even daily if you have a big or messy family. Once you have your mirrors shining, you can use the same products to spiff-up stainless steel, granite, chrome, fiberglass, and tile (as always, check the product labels to make sure it's safe to use on a particular material). Your home will look ready for company with surfaces free of dust, streaks, and spills.
It's easy to whip up a DIY surface and glass cleaner — a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water works very well for most hard surfaces. If you prefer something store-bought, you'll find that Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner gets the job done without any harmful chemicals or fragrances. And whether DIY or not, forget the crumpled newspaper grandma used — a microfiber cloth is the modern, reusable choice for leaving a streak-free shine on glass, mirrors, and other hard surfaces. We really like the excellent ones made by VibraWipe.
The bathroom poses special challenges when it comes to cleaning. Not only are the toilet and faucet handles prime breeding grounds for bacteria, the warm temperatures and high humidity in the typical bathroom encourage the growth of mildew. Add in soap film and ring-around-the-tub, and you have your hands full. Keep the right products in stock to simplify bathroom cleanup.
No one likes scrubbing the tub and shower, but the alternative is bathing with mildew and built-up soap scum. To the rescue: Mold Armor Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover. Just spray, let sit, rinse, and presto, your tub is clean.
When it comes to cleaning the toilet, we believe in making the task as painless as possible. That's why we love the Clorox ToiletWand, which includes disposable scrub pads that whisk away stains, germs, and grime, and it then tossed into the trash. Pop the reusable handle into the included caddy until its next use. Clean off the outer surfaces of your toilet, including the seat, base, handle, and tank with Lysol Disinfecting Wipes.
Wipe off your wood and leather furniture with a microfiber cloth to remove dust, every week. If there are spots or dirt, or you want to bring back the shine, reach for nontoxic, plant-based Method Wood for Good Daily Clean. Spray it on, rub with a soft microfiber cloth, and it'll leave your furniture looking great. For leather furniture, or for keeping the interior of your car, purse, shoes, or leather belts looking their best, it's hard to beat the convenience and effectiveness of CareTouch Leather Wipes.
Keeping your living space as dust-free as possible will help control allergies, as well as improve the appearance of your living quarters. While it's a never-ending battle to control dust, you can make it easier — and even somewhat fun — with a pair of CleanGreen Microfiber Gloves. Just pull them on and then run your hands along furniture, knickknacks, and accessories around your home. The microfiber gathers up the mess without scattering it into the air around you. Once finished, toss the gloves into the laundry so they are ready for your next cleaning session. Forget about those old-fashioned feather dusters that merely toss dust into the air — once you try the gloves, you'll never go back.
The best vacuum for your home depends on a number of things, the most important being the size, floor plan, floor material, and the inhabitants of your abode. Here are the best vacuum cleaners for any home.
Pet hair requires a powerful vacuum, but power alone isn't effective when you're trying to clean hair out of a carpet or a sofa. A well-designed cleaning brush and roller are must-haves. Have carpeted stairs? You need a vacuum with versatility, and something lightweight is also ideal. Maneuverability is also important, especially when it comes to cleaning underneath furniture.
The vacuum cleaners in this list have all proven they're up to the challenge of cleaning up pet hair, and plenty of it. They're powerful, easy to handle, and many are equipped with special pet hair functions, such as non-tangling brush heads and systems that trap allergens without releasing them into the air. You'll find a variety of price points, from a highly affordable handheld unit to a top-of-the-line splurge. Here are the best vacuums for sucking up pet hair.
Robot vacuums can't completely replace manual cleaning, but they can help cut down on the amount of time you spend waging war on dust bunnies. We tested a number of highly reviewed robot vacuums that run the gamut from affordable to pricey, and here are the best ones you can buy.
Taking care of countertops is a never-ending job. Giving them a quick wipe with a paper towel may take care of a surface spill but eventually, usually at least once a day, they will need to be cleaned with a good cleaner. With the right cleaners and tools, you can have stain-free and clean countertops easily. These are the five best countertop-cleaning solutions.
Most of us take plumbing systems for granted until there is a problem. Drain care should really be something we attend to every day. Using the right type of drain cleaner and the one that will cause the least harm to your plumbing system will give you the best results. Here are the best drain cleaners you can buy.
Stove-tops can get messy: food gets dropped and then burned onto the surface, pots boil over, hot grease flies everywhere. Ignore the chore of cleaning up for a couple of days and you've got a real quagmire.
Needless to say, the quicker you clean up a spill or splatter on a stove-top, the easier it will be to remove. That can usually be done in just a few minutes with the right cleaning tools and product. Then, you can give the stove-top a more thorough cleaning once a week or so depending on how often you cook. Here are the best stove-top cleaners you can buy.
Stop buying paper towels and invest in reusable cleaning cloths instead. Most can be tossed in the washer to sanitize them so they can be used over and over; saving you money and reducing the amount of trash headed to landfills. By selecting the right type of cloth for each task, you can also reduce potential damage to the item you're cleaning. Here are the best cleaning cloths you can buy.
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Every home needs a mop. For regular upkeeping of hard surfaces — wood, laminate, concrete, stone, etc. — a mop is an effective tool, even if it's basic. With the right tools and the right cleaners, mopping can be simple. Here are the best mops you can buy.
Floorcare doesn't have to be difficult if you have a good floor cleaner, the right type of mop, and do the task on a regular, routine schedule. Taking care of hard surface floors is a never-ending job, but the best floor cleaners will make it seem easy.
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