- Few things are as relaxing as walking into a clean, organized, and attractive home at the end of a long day.
- Unfortunately, homes do not clean themselves, and few people can afford a professional cleaning service. This means it’s up to you to keep your home looking fresh and tidy.
- While housework is unlikely to ever be your favorite way to spend a few hours, the 14 tools and products listed below will help make the job a little easier, and thus faster.
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.
A vacuum cleaner
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.
A mop with bucket
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 broom and dustpan
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.
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