Cleaning kind of sucks. And it's even worse when you don't have the right cleaning supplies. It's why there are a few must-have essentials for a well-stocked house cleaning kit. Without them cleaning isn't just a chore; it's a hassle.
I often write about the various misadventures of first moving out on my own in my early 20s (like when I shared a bathroom with six other roommates) and learning the importance of owning basic cleaning supplies was a huge part of the growing up process. I have ruined a stack of kitchen sponges in minutes trying to scrub soap scum, gone through a roll of flimsy paper towels when I should have been using a scrub brush, and have attempted to use window cleaner on counter tops when in a bind. Seriously — these are all things I have done because I was too cheap to invest in a few simple basics, and I ironically always ended up wasting more products and money in the long run.
Trust me, your life is just way easier (and cleaner!) when you gift yourself with a few basic cleaning essentials. For those of you just getting started on your cleaning journeys, here are 11 basic cleaning supplies every home should have.
1. Microfiber Cloths
Household Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (Multi-Pack), $5.55, HomeDepot.com
In the About.com Home section, cleaning expert Sarah Aguirre said that microfiber cloths are a must have for all dust-related chores. Their special texture grabs onto dust super well, and because they're reusable it means it's way more environmentally-friendly than using paper towels.
2. Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $2.79, Drugstore.com
Aguirre also cited baking soda as a super helpful household basic. You can keep a box in your fridge or freezer to keep it smelling fresh, or (my personal favorite use) sprinkle it at the bottom of trash cans to reduce any funky odors. Plus, it can act as a corrosive agent on stubborn grime.
Clorox Regular Bleach, $4.47, Walmart.com
A Good Housekeeping cleaning essentials roundup lists bleach as one of its top basic products. Even if you like to keep chemical-based cleaners at a minimum, there are just some disinfecting tasks that will require some good-old-fashioned bleaching (holla to all you pet owners out there).
4. A Basic All-Purpose Cleaner
Fantastik All Purpose Cleaner, $5.99, Quill.com
This is another listed as an essential by Good Housekeeping, and I can personally vouch for the fact that you will use it all the time. And if you're trying to save money, you can always buy a reusable plastic spray bottle and just dilute some bleach in water. Or, if you prefer non-bleach general cleaners, white cider vinegar is a popular natural alternative.
Solder Tip Cleaning Wire Sponge, $4.04, All-spec.com
On her website, Martha Stewart advocated having a solid supply of sponges, from your regular kitchen variety all the way to wire sponges for more serious scrubbing. Having the right kind of sponge on hand will not only make your life way easier, but means you won't unnecessarily ruin one particular type on a job it wasn't meant for.
6. Scrub Brush
Bathroom Red Soft Bristle Plastic Handle Cleaner Scrub Brush Scrubber, $6.02, Walmart.com
Martha Stewart also noted the importance of a good scrub brush. I've personally found that you don't realize how many uses there are for a sturdy scrub brush until you actually have one — especially when cleaning the bathroom.
7. Indoor And Outdoor Brooms
Angle Broom, $13.00, Uline.com
A handy cleaning supply checklist on the site Household Management 101 lists both an indoor and outdoor broom in its top 10 cleaning tools. I recommend springing for a quality one, as going for the cheapest models usually just means it will fall apart way faster (seriously — I've been there).
8. Glass Cleaner
Windex Glass Cleaner, $3.29, Staples.com
Household Management 101 also recommended having a basic glass cleaner on hand. Even if you don't wash your windows regularly, you'll find glass cleaner is a super nice finishing touch on mirrors and anything else with surfaces that easily smudge.
9. A Bucket
American Metalcraft 8" x 7" Natural Galvanized Pail, $5.89, Foodservicewarehouse.com
And in one more tip from their awesomely comprehensive list, Household Management 101 suggested just having a simple bucket on hand. Sometimes you just need to haul water from point A to point B when cleaning, and there's really nothing as effective.
Rubbermaid Toilet Plunger, $4.30, GlobalIndustrial.com
This is one of my personal tips — and yes, I think it totally counts as a cleaning supply, considering the mess not having one leaves behind. A plunger is one of those things you truly only think of when you need it — and those are not the times you want to run out to the store to get one.
11. A Good Vacuum
Hoover Sprint Quick Vac Bagless Upright Vacuum, $52.99, Target.com
This last item is also one that just comes from experience, as well as a few too many months of my life trying to "make it work" with just sweeping and dusting. And if you're like me and hate having to keep track of things like vacuum bags, consider getting yourself a bagless model — it was seriously my best purchase of 2013.
For most of us, cleaning isn't exactly fun, but it's also something that becomes way harder when we don't have a few basics. So give yourself the gift of less hassle and make sure you have these simple essentials in stock!
Images: Pexels; Courtesy Brands