Instead of being a rational person and just getting up to clean my house when it’s in disaster mode, I tend to buy more cleaning supplies than I need to motivate myself. The result flooded my closet with cleaning supplies, and I know I can’t be alone in this case.
The Washington Post recently published a list of essential cleaning products. I was surprised that the list was relatively short and all of the items were just a small collection of what I have in my cleaning closet. But I guess that’s the point. Americans have too much “stuff” when, generally, the basics would suffice.
I use Blue Dawn dish soap for just about everything. I use it for my dishes, my glass shower doors, the sticky residue for my floors, and I even use it as a shampoo for my dogs. Because if it’s good enough for baby ducks, it’s good enough for my puppies too.
Mrs Meyer’s dish soap
The great thing about Ms. Meyer is her long lasting, not overly pungent scent (basil is my favorite). It’s also all-natural, gentle on sensitive skin, and aesthetically packaged, which is all the rage right now. Sadly, it’s hard to find various scents in stores near me, and it’s not as fat-hard as Dawn.
Blueland dishwasher tablets
Although more expensive than your average dishwasher tablets, Blueland Co. prides itself on being environmentally friendly with its compostable tablets. These tablets were the only item I didn’t have on my essential cleaning list. I was skeptical about the cleanliness of my dishes, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result when they didn’t even leave a light film on my glass dishes.
Cascade Platinum ActionPacs
These ActionPacs are our family’s favorite dishwashing products. I usually load our dishwasher to maximum (which you aren’t supposed to, I know), and an ActionPac cleans my dishes thoroughly. However, they leave a small film, so we usually accompany them with a rinse aid.
DIY Alvin Corn
I had never heard of Alvin Corn before and quickly learned that it got its funky name from the combination of its ingredients: alcohol, vinegar, and cornstarch. So, by mixing 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 cups of lukewarm water, in a spray bottle, you too can have a cleanser for inexpensive DIY windows.
Windex Vinegar Window Cleaner
While I prefer to buy the Windex All-in-One Cleaner, I’m a fan of vinegar cleaners until I can smell it. This product perfectly masks the smell of vinegar while leaving mirrors and glass a streak-free and lasting shine.
The bartender’s friend
There could never be enough Bar Keeper’s Friend bottles in this household. While you should be careful with the surfaces you use it on, it removes dirt and mildew from surfaces like brass and stainless steel beautifully. I use it on my granite counter in my bathroom to make it really shine.
I already mentioned that I don’t really like the smell of vinegar. But with a few drops of essential oils, white vinegar works wonders as a daily cleanser. For example, when my hardwood floors get dirty, I dilute white vinegar and use it as a floor cleaner. It is also ideal for use on kitchen and bathroom faucets, where dirt tends to accumulate. Simply pour white vinegar into a plastic bag, tie it around the head of your faucet, and leave it on overnight. In the morning, all you have to do is wipe it off and voila! Like New.
Not only is baking soda a natural deodorant, it’s one of the safest cleaning products around. When used on its own or with water, it is safe enough to consume, making it the best cleaner for the kitchen. I like to use baking soda to clean my microwave. It does not contain any harsh chemicals that could cause my microwave to malfunction and I will feel better eating food after deep cleaning.
All in all, these essential household cleaners could very well keep your home sparkling. But for families like mine, the list might need some extension.
I have quite a bit of wood furniture and my house never seems to be thoroughly cleaned until the wood surfaces are polished. For this I use something basic like Pledge. (Fun fact: you can use Pledge on your stainless steel, and it shines better than any stainless steel cleaner I’ve found on the market). For bathrooms, I’ve found that Scrubbing Bubbles products work the best for me.
When it comes to cleaning, sometimes less is more. You don’t need to spend money unnecessarily on brand new products to have a clean home. And yes, that goes for me too.