Cleaning Tools for the Home: The Basics
Every home requires different cleaning tools, and every homeowner who cleans has preferences regarding which tools work best, are easiest to use, and are easiest to store and maintain. But the following suggestions gleaned from an About.com list of basic, necessary cleaning supplies should help any homeowner be ready with the cleaning tools they need.
Although everyone knows that dusting is important, it is often a task that falls by the wayside. Even faithful dusters might ignore out-of-the way areas like upper bookshelves, or areas they don’t necessarily notice, such as the top of a television set or the bottom of a windowsill. It can be shocking, when you think you’ve maintained a clean house, to do a classic “white glove test” and run your fingers along some of the surfaces in your home.
To be equipped to handle dust on a regular basis, you need motivation first, and then these items:
- Microfiber cloths, a perennial favorite
- Vacuum Cleaner Dusting Attachment (handy for everything from upholstery to high ceilings)
- Dusting Spray and/or Furniture Polish, or one of the home-made, eco-friendly cleaning remedies recommended by eHow.com
Supplies for Cleaning General Surface Areas
Every surface in any home gets dirty. Kitchen countertops end up being soiled by food spills, stove tops end up covered with grease, tables lose their shine beneath layers of dust. A good all-purpose cleaner should handle most surface cleaning jobs, but you also might want to consider having the following on hand:
- Kitchen Cleaners designed to tackle grease
- Bathroom Cleaners that help eliminate bacteria, mold, and mildew
- Paper Towels, Cleaning Cloths, and Sponges
- Plastic Cleaning Gloves, in case your skin is sensitive around cleaners
One of our earlier blog posts provides home recipes for non-toxic cleaners for virtually any surface of the home.
Have you ever noticed that your house can be clean overall yet still look dirty if you haven’t washed the floors? Floors are one of the most important parts of the room, and they contribute greatly to either a clean or dirty impression. In your kitchen, for example, if the cabinets and countertops are spotless but the floor is dirty, the entire kitchen will have a grungy feel. The same rule applies to any room of the house.
Floors absorb a lot of traffic, spills, and dust. Therefore, it’s important to be armed with everything you need to clean your floors on a regular basis:
- Dustpan (try a dustpan that has a long, tall handle so that you don’t have to bend down every time you use it to collect dust)
- Vacuum Cleaner and replacement bags (if your vacuum cleaner uses them)
- Mop and mop bucket, or a mop that uses a replaceable microfiber head and has a solution attachment
- Floor Polish, if necessary
The tools and cleaning products you’ll need will depend, of course, on the type of flooring that is installed in your home.
You might not think of your garbage can as a home cleaning tool, but the more accessible both small and large trash bins (and even recycling containers) are in your home, the less likely it is that family members will add clutter by not throwing things out. Be sure to have available:
- Trash cans for every room or area in the house
- Baking soda, a great deodorizer for trash areas
- Recycling bins in areas such as the kitchen (for bottles and cans) and an office space or child’s room (for paper)
Having an appropriate amount of storage space or good storage solutions is an important part of maintaining a clean home. Consider using the following storage options in different rooms or areas of your house:
- Storage containers that match the room’s needs – for example labeled colorful plastic bins for children’s bedrooms, appropriate shelving where necessary, cabinetry if possible in areas such as the laundry room to keep supplies out of sight, magazine racks, and baskets for storing foodstuffs in the kitchen
- Labels or a labelmaker so that you can label storage bins to keep belongings organized
- A good filing system for your home office
Some surfaces, furnishings, or other home items might resist the power of an all-purpose cleaner or need special care. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, for example, you might want to keep oven cleaner on hand (or research non-toxic options for oven cleaning). The following products should cover your needs for the rest of the items in your home:
- Dish Soap
- Stone Cleaner (or call COIT to schedule a Natural Stone Cleaning Service)
- Upholstery Spot Remover (or schedule a COIT Upholstery Cleaning Service)
- Leather Cleaner
- Laundry Detergent and Stain Remover
- Soft Scrubbing Cleaner for special surfaces that require it
- Glass Cleaner for mirrors and windows
- Silver or Metal Polish
Maintaining a clean home is much easier when you’re prepared with the appropriate cleaning and organizing tools and products. Make your life easier by keeping a solid supply on hand, and then enjoy your clean, healthy home!