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Top 10 Essential Home Cleaning Supplies

Updated on January 25, 2015
My awesome Eureka vacuum.
My awesome Eureka vacuum. | Source

I hate cleaning. In fact, I avoid it like the plague. But as a stay at home mom, I can't avoid it forever. However, there are several products that I can't live without that make cleaning my home much easier, faster and somewhat enjoyable.

There are tools as well as cleaning products on this list to make the list as comprehensive as possible.

Number 1 – The Vacuum Cleaner

I enjoy vacuuming for some odd reason. I’ve even been known to steal the vacuum from my husband! It’s a matter of personal preference which type of vacuum you choose. I prefer one with the following characteristics:

  • Lots of attachments – they make getting into nooks and crannies and reaching the ceiling much easier.
  • A long cord – I hate having to unplug the vacuum to go room to room, and I suspect most people dislike doing so!
  • Ability to fit under tables – I love this feature because it makes it so easy to clean under end tables, coffee tables, and dining room tables.
  • Bagless – my current vacuum is bagless and also opens at the bottom, so all you have to do is hold it over the garbage, flip the button and let it all fall out!
  • 12 Amps – I have 6 cats and a dog, so we need the extra power. Those who don’t have pets may not need 12 amps.

An additional plus on my vacuum is the hose. It's see-through so if there is anything stuck in there, I can actually see where it is, which makes it much easier to remove.

Number 2 – The Swiffer

I love the Swiffer. The dry cloths are not only great for quick cleans in the kitchen and bathroom, but they make excellent dust cloths as well. They actually trap the dust; it doesn’t just go flying everywhere. It’s also safe to use on my HDTV and laptop because there is no lint.

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The wet Swiffers are just as amazing. They smell wonderful and make cleaning the kitchen floor so easy. They are also much more sanitary than mops because you change the cloth every time.

I also have a Swiffer vacuum. It’s essentially a traditional Swiffer that uses the dry cloths, but it has a vacuum on it as well. It doesn’t have a lot of power, but it’s perfect for the kitchen and bathroom. I use it daily to pick up the excess crumbs of cat food that end up on the kitchen floor.

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Number 3 – The Dish Wand

The one chore I hate the most is cleaning dishes. My dish wand makes cleaning the dishes a bit easier, and much faster. I just fill it with soap, wet the sponge, and clean away.

The sponges are easy to change out when it’s time to replace them, and they come in packages of two (sometimes three) so I always have a backup sponge.

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Number 4 – S.O.S or Brillo Pads

I’m partial to Brillo pads, but S.O.S pads are just as good, and they come in lavender scent (I love lavender, it’s so uplifting).

Brillo pads are actually quite versatile; you can use them on just about any surface except nonstick pans. They work wonders on stainless steel sinks. They can also be used for:

  • Cleaning sticky labels or glue off jars
  • Cleaning stains out of coffee carafes and porcelain mugs, as well as tea kettles (glass or otherwise)
  • Easily clean dirt and grime off your windshield and wipers

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Number 5 – Baking Soda

There are so many uses for baking soda. Not only can you use it to clean and cook, it can also deodorize. You can actually use it as deodorant! Here are some lesser known uses for baking soda:

  • Deodorize litter boxes (I actually use it to freshen up my litter boxes in between changes)
  • Eliminate skunk odor
  • Clean white boards
  • Use it as flower food
  • Remove crayon/marker from walls
  • Whiten teeth
  • Relieve itching
  • Clean brushes/combs
  • Remove hard water stains
  • Freshen carpets
  • Remove armpit stains
  • Freshen stuffed animals
  • Put out small kitchen fires

Number 6 – Broom and Dustpan

When my vacuum cleaner broke, I used a broom and dust pan to clean the carpet (we have Berber). It was really difficult and took forever, but it worked in a pinch. You never know when you’ll need to clean up a mess that a vacuum can’t handle (like spilled poop from a litter box, or the litter itself which wreaks havoc on a vacuum cleaner).

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Number 7 – Zep Degreaser

My husband swears by this cleaner. I call it the orange stuff, but its real name is Zep Degreaser. It works on anything and can remove paint from walls. My husband tells a story about Zep Degreaser every time he talks about it. He was remodeling a bar, and had to clean windows that were coated with smoke from over 20 years of business. He said it cut right through the dirt like a knife through butter.

The stuff is amazing, and will degrease anything, but I’ve found I have to use an all-purpose cleaner afterwards because I don’t like the scent of it. It's really strong.

A word of caution: wear gloves if you have sensitive skin. It’s pretty caustic.

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How many of these essential cleaning supplies do you have?

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Number 8 – Window/Glass Cleaner

Obviously, this works well on windows, but it can also be used on reflective surfaces such as the bathroom mirror. The door on my microwave is reflective, and glass cleaner easily cleans all the fingerprints my daughter leaves on the door.

Number 9 – All-Purpose Cleaner

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it is an essential. While the degreaser works well on just about anything, I don’t clean the kitchen counters with it every day. Plus if you use an all-purpose cleaner and a brillo pad you can clean anything in the house.

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Number 10 – Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent can be used for more than just laundry. I’ve used it to freshen litter boxes, pre-treat stains, clean up oil spots on the garage floor, and spot clean upholstery. You can also make an all-purpose cleaner out of it.

Other Cleaning Supplies You May Want on Hand

There are a couple of things not on this list because they’re not all that essential, but I find them indispensable.

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  • Gloves - Any gloves will work: rubber, latex, etc. Personally, I prefer vinyl medical gloves. They’re more durable than latex, but they don’t smell as bad. They allow full movement of my hands and fingers, and they’re powder-free. Even people with latex allergies can wear them.
  • Toilet brush
  • Dish cloths or paper towels – I use dish cloths because they are more environmentally friendly and cheaper than paper towels. But, I have to admit, I much prefer using paper towels.
  • Bathroom cleaner – although you can use all-purpose cleaner for every room in the house, bathroom cleaners such as Tilex, or Scrubbing Bubbles make the job much easier and helps prevent soap scum.
  • Home Management Notebook - not really considered a cleaning supply, but my HMN has all of my chores check lists, a list of all the cleaning supplies I use, inventory of those supplies and so much more.

© Copyright 2012 - 2015 by Melissa Flagg (aka: Daughter of Maat) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @effer, *throws egg* Really? I hate cleaning, but like you, if the kitchen is a disaster, I can do anything. It makes it very difficult to get any writing done especially because I'm constantly thinking about having to go and clean the kitchen. It just looms over my head. But once I get it done, I can think clearly and it shows in my writing. When my hubby was working (before his injury) I had the house clean. Although it was still clutter, I was working on it little by little. But since he's been home, the house looks like it's been hit by a hurricane and it's driving me nuts. I just recently got my desk cleaned of all the clutter, but the rest of the house is a disaster. UGH!!!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @Phoenix I LOVE brillo and SOS pads. They'll clean just about anything. We have a glass tea kettle, and hard water. Brillo pads make it MUCH easier to get the hard water stains out of the kettle.

      I have a page in my Home management notebook with 60 different uses for Baking Soda. When I first read the list I was in shock. There are truly a myriad of uses for the stuff. I'll be buying buy the truckload as well, if just to use it on my litter boxes lol

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @Pamela99 the baking soda is a lifesaver if you happen to run out of litter! It instantly neutralizes odor. I've never liked to clean, but I'm beginning to not mind it so much. With these products, I've developed a routine and I'm such a creature of habit that any routine is comforting to me! :D

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      DoM....I'll probably get egged......but I truly enjoy spending a day, rolling up my sleeves and getting to the nitty-gritty of house cleaning. I just love admiring my work and my sparkling house. It gives me a sense of achievement and confidence. I can finally relax and kick back, spending time on enjoyable activities.

      I just happen to be one of those women who can't rest, knowing her home is in disarray. I know, "crazy," but it is what it is.

      I think your list is great and all that you mention are "must-haves." My cupboards are loaded with cleaning supplies from A to Z....but I've recently realized I need very little to really do the job well.....

      Voting this up, useful & interesting......

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great hub, DOM. I didn't know Brillo and SOS pads worked so well on coffee stains. This is good to know because I just bought a cafetiere and wasn't sure how to keep it in pristine condition.

      I'd forgotten how useful baking soda is. Arm & Hammer isn't available in UK shops so I've stopped using it. However I can get it from Amazon.co.uk so I'll be buying by the truckload. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      I don't love to clean anymore like I used to, but I love a clean house. I use most of the products you showed. This is a very useful hub and you has some great cleaning hints. I have 2 cats with 2 litter boxes as they don't get along that well, and I will try the baking soda. Voted up and useful.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @billybuc You know I should put a poll in this hub for that reason. lol I'd be interested to know how many people have all of the products! Thanks for the idea!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @vocalcoach Thank you! This was fun to write, made me want to clean!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
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      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @carol7777 No I hadn't heard that, but I'll certainly look into it. I have 6 cats and I use the wet swiffers every other day. So far, I still have all 6 cats and none of them have been sick. But I'll check to verify it, and get back to you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, we have seven of the ten in our house....that's 70%, right? If this were a test I would have passed it, so I'm feeling pretty good right now. :)

      Great information and right on my friend.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Plenty of useful tips. Thanks and voted up!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Great hub and certainly a lot of information. I had heard many years ago that the wet swiffer was dangerous for cats. It had some strange chemical. Have you heard anything about that?