Before beginning to clean your home, it’s best if you check and make sure you have all the supplies and equipment you will need to finish the job. This includes everything from enough rags to the right cleaners, to brooms, mops and other equipment. Your needs will vary depending on types of materials in your home and your personal preferences in this area, but the general list below should give you a good start. Below this, you will find a specialty cleaning supplies list with some additional items you might need or find come in handy.
General Cleaning Supplies List:
- Glass Cleaner – Any glass cleaner will do, though some of the cheaper and generic ones can streak easily. Windex is a safe bet for most homes and mirrors. However, if you have a specific mirror that just streaks no matter what cleanser or rag you use, I highly recommend you buy Perfect Glass Cleaner at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It works like a miracle on problem mirrors.
- Furniture Polish – This one is up to you. I use Pledge because, unlike all the other furniture polishes, it doesn’t cause a waxy build-up over time. If you use anything besides Pledge, make sure you keep your polish rags separate from all your other ones. Even after washing, other polishes will leave a residue on your cleaning cloths, causing streaking on mirrors and glass items.
- Comet or other very mild abrasive cleanser – Other popular cleanser in this category include Ajax and Soft Scrub. Choose the one you like best.
- Floor Cleaner– This totally depends on your own preferences and flooring type. Make sure you’re using something appropriate for the floor you have. Don’t use a floor cleaner for wood floors on laminate flooring, and vice versa. Read the instructions on the bottle and find out what the floor manufacturer suggests for normal maintenance cleaning.
- Degreaser – 409 is my favorite, but whichever one you choose, make sure you have plenty for the kitchen. You can clean grease and grime without an actual degreaser, but it’s much more time consuming.
- Lime Remover – I use Lime-A-Way, but again, make your own choice. If you go with Lime-A-Way, make sure you have gloves to use, especially if you have sensitive skin. Also, never mix this type of product with any others – doing so can release toxic fumes.
- Mold / Mildew Remover– Tilex is my choice here. Again, be careful to follow instructions for use – these are potent chemicals.
- Bathroom Cleaner – I recommend Scrub Free because it’s fairly economical and works well while not being too harsh. It’s great for soap scum removal.
- Kitchen Cleaner – I like to use Windex in kitchens. They have all different kinds of Windex now, such as antibacterial ones that are perfect for the kitchen.
- Pumus Stone – This is a very handy tool when you need it. Just be sure to get it wet before use and keep it constantly wet when you use it, or it will scratch.
Specialty Cleaning Supplies List:
- Marble Cleaner – Marble can be ruined with ordinary cleaners. Be sure to use correct chemicals, follow directions and check with the manufacturer.
- Granite Cleaner – Same as marble – and it’s expensive to repair damages, so know what you’re doing before you begin.
- Stainless Steel Cleaner or Cream – This is a must-have for anyone with stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Some work better than others, and I’ve even noticed that some work better on specific items in one home than they do in another. My suggestion? Don’t buy the cheapest, bottom of the line cleaner, and then experiment a little to find one that works well on your appliances.
- Concentrated Liquid Cleaner / Degreaser – This might come in handy from time to time for other applications, but mostly you’ll be needing this if you have a stove with drip pans that don’t get cleaned as often as they should.
- Oven Cleaner– This is obviously a specialty cleaner for a special cleaning task – and I don’t recommend trying to clean your oven at the same time you’re trying to clean the rest of the house. If you’re lucky, you have a self-cleaning oven (many ovens are now self-cleaning, thank goodness) but if not, you’ll definitely need additional cleaning supplie to get the job done.
- Rust Remover – Most people will not need this, but sometimes rust can show up in the tub or shower as a result of drains stops with metal chains, shaving cream or other cans with metal bottoms that are left sitting in the shower or other metal objects that get set and left for any length of time in a bit of water. As I said, most people won’t find a need for this – indeed, if you just dry the area after each use, you won’t have a problem. If you do get some rust, it will often come off with a little Comet and a sponge if it hasn’t been there long. If you’ve waited too long or you’ve just moved in somewhere that has this issue, rest assured that you can clean the rust off (almost always) with the right supplies.
- Carpet / Room Deodorizers – If you smoke in your home or have pets, this might come in handy. Even well-trained pets who don’t have any problems with accidents in the home tend to leave a bit of a “cat” or “dog” smell in your home. I would recommend at least using these before company arrives. You may be so used the smell (it doesn’t have to be strong) that you don’t even notice it, but your guests will.
Cleaning Equipment & Non-Cleanser Supplies
Now that you have all the cleaners you will need to get the job done, you just need the additional materials. Listed below are all the non-cleanser supplies and equipment you will need to finish the job. In addition to the items below, you should consider getting a good-sized bucket to put all your supplies in. This will save you way more time than you realize, 20-30 minutes at least and will keep you from wasting time wandering around the house wondering where you stored the furniture polish 2 weeks ago.
Equipment and Additional Supplies List:
- Vacuum – I’m guessing you have one already but in case you don’t, here are some suggestions. Get a vacuum that is light and easy to use. This will make vacuuming less of a labor intensive chore and thus something you’re more likely to do on a regular basis. Get a vacuum that has a small enough head to get under beds, tables and as much other furniture as possible. Choose a vacuum with different speeds so that you can vacuum carpets, throw rugs and area rugs, and even hard flooring. Check to see if your vacuum has a HEPA filter – this will greatly reduce the dust circulating throughout your home and is healthier. Finally, you’ll either need a vacuum with attachments or you’ll need to have a little vac. Either way, make sure you have, at the least, an upholstery head, a crevice tool and a general head for use on areas such as stairs. My preference on this is a separate little vac, thus keeping my main vacuum light and easy to use.
- Broom and Dustpan – Just make sure that you have a good broom. If it’s the same broom you were using ten years ago, it’s time to go get a new one. The bristles on an old broom wear down and split, making it difficult to sweep without spreading crumbs around the floor and near impossible to get into corners, under cabinets and in other tight spaces.
- Wet Mop – There are a million different types of mops on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. I prefer microfiber mops because they are long-lasting, you can scrub with them and they get into corners and crevices well.
- Dry Mop – You’ll need one of these if you have copious amounts of wood floor throughout your home that you don’t wish to damp mop at every cleaning. It doesn’t work very well to use a broom in such situations, as you can easily mess a swipe of floor and can’t reach under all the furniture sitting on the wood floor.
- Extendable Duster / Cobwebber– Unless you are an unusally tall person in an unusually low-ceilinged house, you will need some way to reach the corners of ceilings, fans and light fixtures, and behind furniture to dust and remove cobwebs. When you buy one, make sure it extends at least 6 ft. to give you a good reach.
- Sponges – You will need at least one for bathrooms and one for the kitchen. Get sponges with a rough side to scrub hard-to-clean surfaces.
- Rags – I recommend micro fiber cloths. They last longer, are absorbent and require less cleanser to work properly. Get at least 3 dozen of them to start.
- Dirty Rag Bag or Bucket – Something to keep dirty rags in is a must, or you will either ruin surfaces in your home laying down rags with chemicals on them or be constantly running back and forth to the laundry room to dispose of rags while you’re trying to clean. A bag is less bulky – a trash bag will work fine.
- Trash Bag – Take this with you from room to room as you clean and put all the trash in it. When you’re done cleaning the house, simply throw it away.
- Scouring Pad – This is handy in the bathrooms and kitchen. If you’re going to be using it in both areas, get two of them and store separately so you know which is which and don’t clean something in your kitchen with the bathroom scouring pad (gross).
- Metal Pad – You have to be careful using this because it can scratch and ruin surfaces, but a metal pad works great on some surfaces, specifically drip pans.
- Toothbrush – An old toothbrush comes in handy for cleaning around toilet lid hinges, shower door tracks, shower heads, sink faucets and any other small, hard-to-reach places and edges. Again, if you’ll be needing to use one in both the bathrooms and the kitchen, make sure you get separate ones to maintain sanitation.
- Stiff Bristled Brush – Great tool if your tub or shower floor needs a good scrubbing.
- Feather Duster / Dusting Tool– Feather dusters work fine – I use them myself. If used correctly, they should not spread dust around your home. Don’t buy the cheap ones (which will drop dust everywhere). Instead, opt for feather dusters will real feathers, which have a natural electrostatic charge, causing dust to cling to them. Shake it gently outside when you are finished. If you choose another dusting tool, find one that will allow you to remove dust off knick knacks, pictures and other decor throughout the home. Also, don’t choose a big, long duster – these are extremely difficult to use on any surface that isn’t long, flat and completely cleared of all other objects – using this type of dusting implement will unnecessarily add huge amounts of time to your cleaning.
Following the lists above should get you well supplied for a thorough house cleaning. Though you may find that your specific needs differ somewhat, the previous lists will give you a good basic foundation. Everything can be modified to personal preference from these lists. Now you’re ready to clean!