Cleaning can kind of suck. It takes a long time, and worse, nothing ever actually stays clean. But there are legitimately ways to make cleaning suck less, and it often just comes down to a few cleaning supplies that every household should have. Seriously — trying to clean without the right supplies is like going out in cold weather without the right clothes. It takes something that could be totally tolerable, and makes it miserable.
And I wasn't always a cleaning supply enthusiast. In fact, I spent the entire first year of my adult life in an apartment that didn't have a vacuum and seldom had sponges. Yes, it was gross. And yes, everything took way longer than it ever had to (try cleaning a bathroom with just paper towels). As I got older, I slowly started incorporating more and more into my cleaning arsenal, and today I have several closet shelves devoted just to things like window sprays and surface cleaners.
If my older, more "mature" self could give my younger self any basic advice, a huge part of it would probably just be, "Make your life 100 times better by just investing in a few random products." I know, it might sound kind of boring or even uninspired, but life gets way better when you make cleaning easy on yourself (not to mention, when you live in a clean house!).
If you've got the cleaning basics under control, like mops, brooms, and a simple disinfectant spray, but are looking to up your cleaning game for maximum efficiency, here are 12 unexpected cleaning supplies that everyone should have.
1. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, $6.99, Jet.com
I freaking love these things. They're like a combination of a sponge and a paper towel and absorb dirt better than any product I've ever used. And the best part is they just require water — no other products needed.
2. A Wire Sponge
Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubber, $11.99, Webrestaurantstore.com
Wire sponges are a kitchen must-have, especially for pots and pans. I've destroyed several perfectly good regular sponges in my time attempting to use them on grime that really needed something sturdier.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
This is a game-changer from lifestyle author and vlogger Jillee Nystul. Just mix hydrogen peroxide with dish soap (and a little baking soda if you'd like) and sweat stains be gone! This works way better than bleach.
4. Baking Soda
Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, $7.25, Jet.com
In a piece on her site on natural home cleaning supplies, Katie, "The Wellness Mama," strongly recommended having a box of baking soda at all times for a super useful and low-toxicity cleaning supply. She specifically suggests it for a highly effective oven cleaner, as well as a tool for odor-absorption in the refrigerator or at the base of a trash cans. I recommend just buying them in bulk online, as you will seriously always find a use for them.
5. MicroFiber Cloths
Blue Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, $1.49, Webrestaurant.com
The Wellness Mama also sang the praises of microfiber cloths as an incredibly absorbent cleaning tool that will pick up a ton of dirt and grime — no harsh cleaning solutions needed. And the cloths are reusable, so you only have to buy a few to last you the year.
6. Daily Shower Spray
Method Daily Shower Cleaner Ylang Ylang, $3.55, Vitacost.com
A compilation piece on must-have cleaning supplies from Apartment Therapy recommended this as a game-changer, especially if you have a shower that is prone to mold and mildew buildup. Just spray it after you shower as part of your daily routine to keep your shower cleaner way longer. It will save you hours in scrubbing in the long run.
7. A Full Proof Stain Remover
Shout Advanced Gel Stain Remover 22 Fl. Oz. Spray Bottle, $4.17, Jet.com
This one is self-explanatory, but I'm always shocked by how many of my friends don't have a quality stain remover at home. Stain remover has been my savior on countless occasions.
8. Goo Gone
Goo Gone, $8.00, Uline.com
This is a personal tip that pretty much changed my life when I discovered it. It's especially helpful for removing candle wax or gooey glue stains on glass. I love scented candles and often use stick-on window decorations for the holidays, so this definitely comes in handy, plus lasts a really long time since it's not necessarily needed for everyday use.
9. A Squeegee
Mallory Window Squeegee, $4.52, Zoro.com
A POPSUGAR compilation piece recommended investing in a squeegee for mirrors and glass. I personally don't have one in my apartment, but I know for a fact that they make for the cleanest glass surfaces ever. They're great if you have a lot of large windows or mirrors in your home.
10. A Plastic Spray Bottle
B&B Pink Diamond Dazzler Spray Bottle, $11.99, Rakuten.com
On her website, health and lifestyle blogger Heather Dessinger, or "The Mommypotamus," highly recommended keeping multi-purpose spray bottles on hand. She said you'll almost always find a use for them — especially if you're using homemade cleaners like vinegar and lemon solutions, or just want a quick way to disinfect with rubbing alcohol.
11. A Handheld Vacuum
Dirt Devil® Easy Lite Cordless Bagless Handheld Vacuum, $17.99, Target.com
This is a personal tip that is just a total game changer. You seriously won't know how much you needed a handheld vaccuum (preferably cordless) until you actually have one. They're often for unexpected messes and quick touch ups when you don't feel like doing a total cleaning overhaul.
12. Linen Spray
The Laundress Fabric Fresh Classic, $16, Bloomingdales.com
I only recently discovered linen spray, and while it's not technically a cleaning product, it makes your whole home just seem fresher. Pick up a bottle in your favorite scent and use on your bed, pillows, couches, and any other surface with fabric.
Cleaning doesn't have to be the worst. In fact, it can actually be semi-enjoyable — or at least tolerable — when you supply yourself with the right tools. So go forth and clean!