|From Hyperbole and a Half|
My sister just moved into her first apartment, meaning the first one that she and her roommate have dominion over (at least renters’ dominion). As older sisters are wont to do, I made a mental note yesterday, as I was mopping my own kitchen floor, to dispense my sage advice to her about what cleaning products and supplies she simply must get and use. 😉
I love cleaning supplies that are simple, economical, multi-purpose when possible, reusable, and not deadly. Why fill your home with poisonous fumes and residues that in larger quantities could send people and pets to the emergency room?? (Anyway, that’s a topic for another time.) A bonus feature is a nice, non-chemical smell.
Here is my list:
- Microfiber dust mop: Picks up dust and small particles. Can also be used for semi-wet mopping. Washable pads save money and storage space.
- Method Squirt and Mop Floor Cleaner: The almond wood floor variety is my favorite, and smells amazing! Their all-floor lemon ginseng variety is more versatile.
- Broom and dust pan: For picking up larger particles as the need arises and as a quick sweep clean-up.
- Vacuum cleaner: Get the best you can afford. Make sure it has a HEPA filter or you’re just recirculating dust and allergens. If you can find a used, affordable Dyson DC24, that would be perfect; it’s small enough for an apartment, cleans fantastically, and is a pleasure to use. Washable filters and no vacuum bag cut down on supply costs.
- Folex Instant Spot Remover: Hands-down amazing for getting spills out of not only carpeting but upholstery as well. Might not be necessary for apartment-dwellers with no kids or pets. (Check around for best price. It’s not that ubiquitous, but Home Depot carries it.)
- Microfiber dusting mitt: Great for larger surfaces and for dusting knick-knacks, which you can just hold and wipe. No cleaning agent needed, and washable/reusable.
- Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Multipurpose Cleaner: Use it on everything from bathroom mirrors to kitchen counters. Smells nice, lasts a long time, works very well.
- Distilled white vinegar: Get as big of a container as you can find and use it diluted in a spray bottle for disinfecting in the kitchen and bathroom. Splash it straight into the toilet with a dash of baking soda to scrub the inside of the toilet. Use when doing laundry to disinfect and whiten. (Costco is a great place to buy this.)
- Baking soda: Again, get the largest size bag you can find. Use when you need a scrubbing cleaner in sinks, toilets, pots and pans, the stove/oven, etc. (Again, Costco.)
- Rags: Get a stack of thin washcloths from Target and have them handy for all cleaning tasks. Wash and re-use. Tip: Throw some vinegar in with the laundry to disinfect.
- Scrubbing sponge: I usually cut these in half and have them in bathrooms and the kitchen for when I need to scrub.
- Toilet bowl brushes: Can’t beat the 99 cent ones from IKEA, which bonus! are cheap enough to replace after a while.
- Vinegar: Use a diluted spray to disinfect and a splash of it straight into the toilet with baking soda to keep toilet bowls sparkling. Tip: Get good quality spray bottles or they are useless and a waste of money. Or re-fill and re-label empty good ones.
- Baking soda: For scrubbing the sink, the toilet bowl, tub, and shower.
- Seventh Generation soap scum cleaner: Works like a charm to get rid of soap scum and hard water spots. Pleasant smell that’s definitely not harsh, especially compared to other “green” shower cleaners. Also helps keep soap scum from forming in the first place. Especially important if you have glass shower doors; otherwise, you can get away without it.
- White vinegar: Whitens and disinfects.
- Oxi-Clean Max Force: Not sure how “natural” this is (I’m suspecting not much), but it really gets stains out and getting stains out of clothes is a lot cheaper than buying new ones. The spray is convenient if soaking space is limited.
- Detergent: Any residue that gets left in your clothes gets absorbed into your body through your skin, so I prefer as little chemicals as possible in my detergent. I love EarthFare’s lavender detergent.
- White vinegar: Diluted in a spray bottle for disinfecting stoves, counters, sinks, cutting boards, etc.
- Baking soda: To scrub sinks, pots and pans, stove/oven, fridge.
- Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Multipurpose Cleaner
- TJ’s dish soap
- Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel: Powerful, and you can get away with only filling the dispenser half-way, which makes it last twice as long!
- Dish brush: Use for scrubbing dishes that will go into the dishwasher. I’m always happy with Oxo products. Remember to soak periodically in white vinegar.
- Sponge: I love the O-Cel-O sponges that have a non-scratch scrubbing surface and also a softer side for wiping things down. They are not the cheapest sponges you can buy (although for sure you can find them cheaper than the 6-pack price listed below), but they are durable, so they end up being cheaper. Sanitize in the dishwasher or by microwaving a damp one until it’s steaming. Look for the ones that say “rinse clean” or something along the lines of “even eggs and cheese won’t stick” — it’s true, and great.
- Rags: Maybe choose a step up from the rags you use for cleaning. Use brush and sponge for dishes, rags for kitchen cleaning.
Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate