For some, the thought of scrubbing your toilet or eradicating mold stains is loathe-filled. For others, any excuse to deep clean is like therapy.
Regardless of how you feel about it, cleaning your home is just one of those things that have to be done. From your quartz countertops to behind the faucet, there are a few pesky areas that benefit from a good scrubbing and spraying.
With so many nooks and crannies of your home, some common cleaning products are self-explanatory: a high-performing vacuum (perhaps one of the Dyson models we reviewed), a sturdy mop and an effective all-purpose cleaner. But, others have more depth.
“Always read the label before using a product,” Jessica Ek, senior director of digital communications at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), told the New York Post. “It has some really valuable information, including directions and safety messages. And, store cleaning products safely, up and out of sight.”
Ek did quite the clean sweep herself of some common household cleaning FAQs below. Sit back, relax and research exactly how to clean and the 25 best products to use based on these expert-backed recommendations.
Click to jump to a particular cleaning area:
Sometimes, the heaps of laundry piles and piles of dishes in the sink can be overwhelming, to say the least. Luckily, Ek shared a step-by-step cleaning guide exclusively for us.
“For each room of your home, you should generally be cleaning from high to low, starting in one corner and working toward the doorway,” Ek begins. “This means starting with dusting and cleaning and ending with mopping or vacuuming.”
In bathrooms, apply cleaning products to the toilet and shower or tub and let it sit before cleaning. In the kitchen, start with cleaning dishes and clearing counters, then clean from the top down, counters to floors, making sure to clean appliances on the way, like the oven and fridge.”
“With an all-purpose cleaner, you have the benefit of only needing one product to cover a lot of ground,” Ek notes. “The workhorse ingredient in these products is the surfactant, which helps break up and lift off dirt and grime.”
Plus, these types of cleaners work well on a variety of hard surfaces: counters, floors, sinks and the like.
“The drawback to all-purpose cleaners is that they’re not specifically designed to work on any one surface; for example, it’ll work on glass but a glass cleaner will be more effective at cleaning without leaving streaks since that’s what it’s designed for.” The same holds true for using oven cleaners for baked-on grease and tackling tougher stains and mold.
But, don’t mistake all-purpose cleaners with disinfecting cleaners. “Disinfectant cleaners contain ingredients that remove soil as well as antimicrobial ingredients that kill germs,” Ek notes. “These can often be used on the same hard surfaces an all-purpose cleaner would be used, but you should check the label for surfaces it is designed to be effective on.”
What’s more, there are many disinfectants and disinfecting cleaners on the shelves today that the EPA expects to kill all strains and variants of COVID-19 when used according to the label directions.
As a No. 1 bestseller, Clorox’s Disinfecting Wipes are hard to measure up. They each kill 99.9% of bacteria and variants of COVID-19, too.
Aside from an all-purpose cleaner for rendering counters, faucets and sinks like-new, Ek recommends a good dish soap for hand-washing dishes, as well dishwasher detergent if you have a dishwasher.
Also in your kit should be an oven cleaner and potentially other appliance cleaners, like a stainless steel cleaner and dishwasher cleaner. “You may also want a cleaner designed for finished wood for cabinets and a cleaner appropriate for the type of flooring you have. The manufacturer can give more specific recommendations for cleaning your floors. Check out ACI’s hard floor cleaning guide for more.
For cleaning hard floors, there are wood cleaners specially designed for hardwood floors that will be the “best option for cleaning,” per Ek. “It will have instructions on cleaning, usually sprayed or diluted in a bucket and cleaned with a mop,” she adds. “Some hardwood floors also benefit from a wax or polish after cleaning.”
For your baseline mop, O-Cedar has an affordable spin mop for you to spin on all your hard flooring for a deep clean.
“For bathroom cleaners, you’ll want one specifically designed for the toilet, as well as one for cleaning tile,” Ek notes. “It can also be helpful to have a glass cleaner for mirrors and an all-purpose cleaner for sinks and faucets.”
Look no further than the tried-and-true Windex to solve all your streak-filed issues on glass. Like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” it’s your go-to.
What’s more, eradicating mold stains may be on your agenda. “Bleach [shop this two-pack for $20] can be a helpful way to remove mold from clothes and other surfaces, as long as it is safe for the fabric or surface,” Ek instructs. “There are also cleaners designed to remove mold from specific surfaces, such as carpet or tile.” But, if this mold was caused by flooding, you may need to bring in professionals who specialize in mold remediation.”
No, you don’t have to replace your carpet if you have a stain. “For carpet cleaning, in addition to a vacuum cleaner, you’ll want a stain remover for spot stains,” Ek highlights. “For more deep cleaning, you can use a powdered carpet cleaner that you vacuum up, rent a steam cleaner for carpets or bring in a carpet cleaning service.”
Not only is Dyson’s V8 the best of the brand’s model we tested, but it makes cleaning a snap on both carpet and wood floors. Plus, it converts into a handheld vacuum for stairs, cars and windows.
With more than 67,000 positive reviews, Folex’s formula earned itself a top-recommended placement on Amazon. It removes everything from red wine and pet accidents to coffee and ink.
For cleaning windows, look no further than your trusty all-purpose cleaner for the sills and frame. Then, use a glass cleaner on the window glass.
“[Glass cleaners] will usually have ammonia, which helps it evaporate quickly and not leave streaks,” Ek said. “Clean off with dry microfiber cloth, paper towel or squeegee, and dust blinds with a clean, soft brush or the brush attachment of a vacuum.”
Great for windows, wiping down your coffee table and even for painting your nails over, these microfiber cloths are good to have on hand. Not to mention, the blue, yellow and white trio is joyful.
Much like the brand’s pop-up containers (an organization essential), its squeegee is built to last. It’s even great for deep-cleaning your bathroom’s glass shower doors.
To pair with your squeegee, pick up OXO’s Good Grips Microfiber Hand Duster, a no-frills option that’s still super fluffy and effective in hard-to-reach areas, like your windows and crown molding.
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