As people spend a lot more time in their own home, you might be taking an extra keen interest in cleaning and tidying these days, perhaps even as a coping mechanism.
The CDC describes cleaning as “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities.” Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but lowers their number and risk by physically removing them from surfaces: Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to killing germs with chemicals after cleaning. Here we’ve compiled the best cleaning products for floors, kitchens, bathrooms, and more, all recommended by professional cleaners. So, whether cleaning feels like a joy or a duty, these are the must-haves for keeping your house spick and span.
Quickie All Purpose Microfiber Cloths
Various cleaning experts recommend using microfiber cloths to clean most surfaces: Stainless-steel appliances, televisions, glass and mirrors, countertops, and bathrooms. Eric Emms, co-owner of Rise and Shine Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon, says that’s because microfiber actually removes dirt and dust by capturing it, rather than just moving it around, like most cotton cloths. JamiQuan, a Sacramento, California, based Tasker with TaskRabbit, agrees, adding that these reusable and washable cloths are “highly absorbent,” making them ideal for sopping up spills too. When using a microfiber cloth, Melissa Maker of cleanmyspace.com, applies the appropriate cleaner directly on the surface, then uses an S-pattern to wipe from top to bottom. For glass and mirrors, Anna Harasim, founder of Anna’s Cleaning Service in NYC, recommends using only water to clean and then drying the surface with a second cloth to avoid streaks.
Seventh Generation Professional All-Purpose Cleaner Spray
This all-purpose, biodegradable cleaner is designed to spray away grease, dirt, and grime from most surfaces. “It’s great if you’re looking for something plant-based,” without harsh ingredients, says Dawna Boone, founder of Valet Maids in Dallas. Boone loves that it’s free of chlorine bleach and fragrances, too, meaning it “won’t leave your home smelling like chemicals.”
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
This is another easy to use all-purpose spray that Boone recommends; the plant-derived alcohols in Mrs. Meyer’s products work to clean and cut grease on nonporous surfaces. To use, spray the product directly on the surface and wipe away with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. Once the bottle is empty, consider refilling it with concentrate and water to create your own spray mixture.
Grove Glass Spray Bottle & All Purpose Concentrate
This all-purpose cleaning concentrate is all-natural and can be used on most hard surfaces, says Lorrisa May, a lifestyle expert at TaskRabbit. Dispense the concentrate into the bottle, fill with water, and shake gently before using on everything but aluminum, brass, and wood. May also loves that the glass bottle is reusable, to help reduce plastic waste. But if you already have your own 16 oz. spray bottle, you can buy the all-purpose concentrate separately.
Green Gobbler Ultimate Vinegar
For general cleaning, the acetic acid in vinegar can help break down dirt and grime with ease. JamiQuan loves that it’s “a versatile cleaning option for your entire home,” including carpets, furniture, and most other surfaces. She recommends using this vinegar at full strength for tough jobs, and diluting it with five parts water for everything else. “It’s a lot safer than store-bought cleaners, as it’s biodegradable and additive- and chemical-free,” she says.
Fabuloso All Purpose Cleaner
Harasim loves this degreasing agent for the fresh lavender scent, and the fact that there’s no need to rinse off the product after use. The brand also claims it won’t leave streaks or visible residue behind. To use, add a splash to a bucket of water, submerge a microfiber cloth or mop, and run it over surfaces like toilets or tile floors.
Method Squirt & Mop Wood Floor Cleaner
Sayeh and May both use this wax-free cleaner, which is biodegradable and made from plant-based materials, on sealed hardwood and laminate floors. “My favorite thing about using this product?” says May. “You don’t need a bucket of water! You can squirt it directly on the floor and clean.” Sayeh agrees, adding that the cherry and wood scents keep the whole house smelling fresh.
Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap & Non-Scratch Sponge
This versatile dish soap can be used to wash pots and pans—one of its main ingredients, lauryl sulfate, bonds with grease to easily break it down in water—but can also be diluted into a handy all-purpose cleaner for the majority of surfaces in your home, says Maker. She keeps a bottle in the kitchen for doing dishes and a spray bottle filled with two cups of water, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and 20 drops of essential oil for general cleaning.
Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Advanced Soap Control Dish Wand
Maker says this dish wand has saved her a lot of time in the kitchen by making it easier to “power through the toughest of dishes.” She uses the heavy duty sponge for pots and pans that are impervious to scratches, and the built-in scraper to pry stuck-on food from nonstick surfaces, or any other surfaces that can be easily scratched. She also likes that its valve is designed to be leakproof, which prevents dish soap from spilling out of the handle, and that there’s a button that allows detergent to be dispersed into the sponge as needed.
Grove Collaborative Coconut Scrubber Sponge
May loves that these sponges are made of absorbent, 100% vegetable cellulose, and finds that they’re nonabrasive while still effective in removing stubborn, stuck-on food. She uses them in the kitchen to clean cookware, glassware, countertops, and appliances.
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
Aurielle Sayeh, founder of Moody Maids in NYC, uses this powder cleanser to clean tubs and toilets or any surface in need of a scrub, but says it’s so good that she’s reluctant to share it. “This is top secret,” she says. Its formula features feldspar and limestone, as well as cleaning agents like corn, coconut and palm oils, plus baking soda for all-purpose cleaning. To use, sprinkle Bon Ami on wet surfaces before rubbing with a wet sponge.