20 items you should always have on your cleaning supplies list.


By Evan Crowther

When you're cleaning your home yourself, having the right cleaning supplies on hand makes it a much less daunting challenge.

We put together this essential cleaning supplies list (with help from our house cleaning pros), so you're prepared for any mess. Take a look, and make sure you have everything on this list.

Video: Must-have tools for cleaning your home, according to the pros.

1. Microfiber cloths. 

wiping down table with microfiber clothHaving a few microfiber towels around the house is crucial. They’re reusable, versatile, easy to wash, and inexpensive. You can use them on almost any surface, and they’re ideal for quick cleanup.

You should also have a designated "polish" or "shining" microfiber cloth. "The shining cloth is what we love to just shine faucets, windows, your refrigerator, etc.," says Thumbtack pro Jen Boyle, co-owner of MaidThis.

2. Pumice stones.

hand holding a pumice stonePumice stones are great for cleaning toilet bowls, ovens, stove grates, and more. That's because these stones have the power to remove grease, grime, rust, and hard water deposits.

Use it like you would a sponge. Keep it wet with water, and apply just a little bit of pressure to the surface you're cleaning (be careful not to scratch it).

3. Scraper.

scraper being used to remove grime on stovetop

A straight edge, scraper, or metal spatula can help you scrape off lime buildup around your faucets or paint speckles on your windows, says Jen. You can even use it to remove grime on stovetops and countertops.

Just make sure you only use the straight edge on a hard and durable surface, like stone or tile, adds Brian.

4. Toothbrush.

rubber glove using toothbrush to clean tile and groutThe thought of cleaning your home with a toothbrush isn't appealing. However, a toothbrush is a handy tool that can help you clear out those small crevices and hard-to-reach areas you've been ignoring.

"And it actually really helps the smell of your home when you're able to clean in those tiny crevices," says Thumbtack pro Brian Boyle, also a co-owner of MaidThis.

5. Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment. 

vacuum with hose being used on couch

Particularly for homes with carpet floors, a vacuum cleaner is essential for cleaning. A vacuum with a clean filter can help remove allergens and germs, as well as dirt and debris, from your floor. If you have pets, vacuuming is generally the easiest way to pick up hair and dander from the floor. 

I use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, which is great for cleaning furniture and getting into tight spaces. Some vacuums also have adjustable suction for use on carpets and hard surfaces.

6. Duster with an extendable pole. 

duster with extendable pole dusting ceiling fan

Over time, dust can affect your home’s indoor air quality. Use an extendable pole duster to clean the dust off of high surfaces like blinds, shelves, and ceiling fans.

7. Non-scratch pads.

blue non-scratch pad or scrubber"A lot of times, people will take a more firm pad on the stainless steel (especially on the oven or the back of the range)," says Brian. "And you can see that they just scratch the heck out of the stainless steel."

Instead, use non-scratch pads when removing tough grime or stains on delicate surfaces — including stainless steel.

Related: How to clean stainless steel appliances, sinks, counters & more.


8. Flat mop.

flat mop cleaning wood floorIf you have hard floors, you’ll need to mop from time to time. The traditional string mop and bucket may be a popular choice, but a flat mop has several advantages.

For example, they generally come with a reusable pad that you can toss in the washing machine after use. You can also spray a cleaning solution on the floor instead of filling a bucket. I prefer flat mops because they’re faster and easier to use than string mops.

Related: How to clean tile floors like a pro.

9. Toilet brush and holder. 

toilet brush and holder

To clean your toilet effectively, you need to have several toilet brushes and holders on hand (one for each bathroom). The rounded head makes it easy to clean all around the bowl and under the rim.

A lot of bacteria lives on these tools, so you should clean your brushes and holders regularly. 

10. Dustpan and broom. 

dustpan and broom

A vacuum cleaner is great for removing dust from carpets, but you should also have a broom to collect debris on hard surfaces. Especially in the kitchen, sweeping should be a part of your cleaning routine at least weekly. A broom and dustpan offer the best way to clean under appliances as well.

11. Scrub brushes. 

scrub brush for tile floor cleaning

Scrub brushes come in all shapes, sizes, and bristle types. You can use them for handwashing dishes, or cleaning floors and appliances. The abrasive bristles are often tougher on stains than cloth and sponges.

"I have this little thin brush that I like to put down drains," says Jen. The brush helps remove soap scum and hair, and ensures that the drain stays as fresh as possible.

Related: How to clean a dishwasher drain in 5 steps.

12. Lint brush or roller. 

lint roller picking up pet hair on couchFor pet owners, keeping hair off of furniture and clothes is a never-ending challenge. Use sticky lint roller sheets, or opt for a reusable lint brush to collect pet hair. They're also ideal for picking up small debris like crumbs.

13. Spray bottles. 

spraying cleaner on table and wiping it off

Many homeowners prefer to mix their own cleaning solutions using everyday household items. A reusable spray bottle lets you apply homemade cleaners to surfaces.

14. Sponges. 

assortment of colorful sponges of different typesSponges are good for handwashing dishes and cleaning surfaces like counters and stovetops. Many household sponges have an abrasive pad on one side for tougher messes.

Be careful not to use a sponge for too long, though. Because they retain moisture, they can attract bacteria over time, so you should replace them regularly.

15. Paper towels. 

person pulling off one paper towel in kitchenAlthough cloth is reusable, it can be unsanitary when you’re cleaning kitchen countertops after cooking. To clean up after handling raw meat, for example, you should disinfect the surface and wipe it up with a paper towel.

16. Rubber gloves and face masks. 

woman with rubber gloves and face mask cleaning tableWhen you’re cleaning the bathroom or doing the dishes, rubber gloves can help keep your hands clean and dry. Some rubber gloves even have built-in scrubbing surfaces for cleaning.

In addition to protecting your hands, a face mask can help you avoid breathing in too many toxic chemicals.

17. A collection of effective cleaners.

bucket of several cleaning bottlesIt's always good to have at least one great cleaner for every surface in your home. For example, make sure you have the following:

  • Glass cleaner
  • Stainless steel cleaner
  • Tile and grout cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Natural stone cleaner (for quartz, marble, and granite surfaces)
  • Foaming bathroom cleaner
  • Carpet and fabric cleaner
  • Liquid dish soap

Pro tip: Always read your owner's manual before applying cleaner to your appliances and other surfaces.

18. Bleach.

pouring bleach into bucket for floor cleaningBleach is a powerful disinfectant, and it certainly belongs on your cleaning supplies list. Just make sure you use it carefully.

For example, dilute the bleach with water before you start cleaning. But never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, or other cleaning solutions. If you do, you could create toxic fumes.

19. Baking soda. 

pouring baking soda in sink to clean drain or garbage disposal

This unassuming household product has countless uses beyond baking. Baking soda is a powerful stain remover when used in laundry, on dishes, and for general house cleaning. It also absorbs odors, making it useful for mildewy washing machines and smelly refrigerators.

20. Distilled white vinegar. 

bottle and jar of distilled white vinegar and baking soda on counterVinegar and baking soda make a useful cleaning solution when combined. Vinegar is a good natural alternative to bleach because of its antibacterial properties.

Related: How to clean your garbage disposal in 5 steps.

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