No matter if you’re just getting set up at a new home or if you’re looking to round out or upgrade your current cleaning kit, you’ll need cleaning tools and supplies. Since there are so many available, how do you decide which cleaning tools you’ll need? We’ve created a list of 23 cleaning tools, including some DIY cleaners and broad-spectrum cleaners you can use all around your home from oven racks to windows. This way, you’ll have everything you need on-hand when it comes time to take on those cleaning projects and keep your house spotless.
1. Broom and Dustpan
A broom and dustpan are cleaning tools you’ll use to clean up spills like knocked-over cereal or general dirt and dust tracked in from going about your day. You can also use them to sweep up your patio. They’re great for doing a light pre-cleaning before you break out the vacuum each day. You want to pick out a pan that has a rubber lip as this grips to the floor and allows you to neatly sweep all of your debris and dust up when you finish sweeping.
A high-quality bucket can be useful in a large range of cleaning projects, and you can use it for a lot of things other than cleaning supply holders. You can use it to mop and for other household tasks. Buckets are a great cleaning tool to have for anyone who needs to do a lot of cleaning with a fair amount of water. Also, buckets are generally readily available, so you can buy them in a store or online in various sizes. They also come in different materials, and you can customize them to suit your needs.
3. Ceiling Fan Brush
Ceiling fans are wonderful things to have when it’s hot out, but it can be very challenging to keep them clean if you have higher ceilings. There are ceiling fan dusters or brushes that have universal bases, and this allows you to attach them to any standard extension pole to reach the fan. The bristles on this cleaning tool are stiff, and this allows them to pull the dust off both sides of the blade with one fluid motion. You can also use this brush to get cobwebs off popcorn ceilings, and it slides behind the dryer nicely to pick up lint. However, if you haven’t cleaned your ceiling fan in a while, it’ll produce a shower of dust on anything right under it.
4. Cleaning Solutions
If you were to take a trip to the cleaning products aisle, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed as there are so many choices. You can make it easy on yourself by getting a multi-purpose cleaner that works for various surfaces, or you can make a DIY solution using a mix of water and vinegar with a splash of essential oils. This will give you something to tidy up your house. However, many store-bought cleaners won’t work well on stainless steel, so you should double-check the labels before you buy anything. At minimum, you’ll want to get:
- All-Purpose Cleaner – A great all-purpose, multi-surface cleaning tool is one of the most essential products you can have. All-purpose cleaners are effective at getting rid of dirt, grease, and stains and most of them don’t require any more effort than spraying and wiping it away.
- Antibacterial Wipes or Spray – Antibacterial products will sanitize and disinfect to kill the germs in your home. You want to use this cleaning tool in tandem with an additional all-purpose cleaner in germ-heavy spaces in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda works wonderfully to lift and absorb odors. You can keep an open container in your refrigerator and use it as needed to take care of any unpleasant smells, like those that tend to come from the garbage disposal or carpets.
- Glass Cleaner – As the name suggests, this cleaning tool is specially formulated to clean glass surfaces like tables or windows so that you get an effective clean without leaving any smears and streaks behind.
- Tile Cleaner with Bleach – Mold, soap scum, rust build-up, and mildew are all very common things to see in the bathroom in your shower. A tile cleaner with bleach added can remove this type of grime very quickly. However, you’ll want to be sure you vent or open a window when you use it to shield yourself from the fumes.
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Using a bleach-based toilet bowl cleaner makes getting your toilet clean and germ-free easy. You want to get a clinging variety of cleaner so it doesn’t run right into the water when you apply it, and use it with your toilet brush to give the bowl a good scrub.
- White Vinegar – Vinegar is fantastic for dissolving grease and getting rid of dirt, and it has mild disinfectant properties. It’s a good idea to keep it around for quick cleaning projects that you don’t want to use a chemical cleaner for, and it also works for light disinfecting in between uses of more powerful cleaning tools.
- Wood Cleaner – Very similar to glass cleaner, this cleaning tool is one you use on a specific surface. In this instance, it works for wood. This is important to have around since water and all-purpose cleaning sprays can damage wood and varnish if you use them instead.
5. Cleaning Putty
If you have dirt in your crannies, nooks, and corners in your home, this is the cleaning tool to have. This fun little cleaning invention works well to grab grime out of hard-to-reach-areas like cracks in your car’s console, car vents, the computer keyboard, along the edges of baseboards, and in crevices between appliances. It’s also a very inexpensive option to have, and you can easily use it over and over again whenever you need it.
6. Cleaning Towels
Cleaning towels are an essential cleaning tool to have in the kitchen, but they are also very useful for when it comes to cleaning various items of different areas all over your home. You should always have a few cleaning towels in your kitchen drawer, and the best part about this cleaning tool is how versatile it is. You can buy them from virtually everywhere, including in-person or online. You can also use them multiple times because they’re easy to clean as all you have to do is wash them. If you want an eco-friendly alternative to these towels, all you have to do is cut up a few old t-shirts.
7. Dusting Gloves
Keeping as much dust as possible out of your living space can help to control those pesky allergies, and it’ll also improve how your home looks. It’s a never-ending battle to get the dust out, but this cleaning tool makes the project easier, and dare we say, fun. All you have to do with these gloves is pull them on and run your hands along your knickknacks, furniture, and accessories in your home. The microfiber will grab and trap the dust particles in without scattering them around. Once you finish, you can toss your gloves into the washing machine so they’re ready when you clean again.
Dusting Gloves by darkday / CC BY 2.0
8. Extension Dusting Kit
Dusting your ceilings and walls will help to reduce your indoor allergies, but it can be a hassle to do so unless you don’t mind hauling your step stool around or you’re a taller person. An extension dusting kit is a cleaning tool that allows you to stand safely on the floor and reach all of these higher areas, including light fixtures, chandeliers, and the tops of your cupboards. Shake it outside, put it in the wash, or rinse it in the sink to clean it between uses.
9. Flat or Dust Mop
A flat or dust mop is a great cleaning tool alternative to a standard heavy mop that many people use. It’s a great thing to have to clean up hardwood flooring, and you get the choice of buying mop pads you toss after each use or you can get ones that you wash and reuse.
Hot water, cleaning fluids, and soap scum can all be tough on your bare hands, so you should take steps to protect them with this cleaning tool. Invest in a pair of durable rubber gloves that help you tackle your messier home cleaning messes without getting the chemicals on your hands. You can get a set with textured surfaces to give you a better grip on brushes or whatever you’re using to clean.
11. Lint Roller
An effective but inexpensive lint roller is a popular cleaning tool. You can use it to pick up dust on clothing or upholstery, and it’s also something you can run over your lampshade to get them clean. If you drop a glass on the floor, you can carefully pick up the big chunks and use a lint roller to get the tiny shards. It’s also nice to stash one in the car for use later too.
Lint Roller by Diverse Stock Photos / CC BY-NC 2.0
12. Magic Eraser
Not only are Magic Erasers one of the most cost-effective things on the entire list of cleaning tools, but you can also use it virtually anywhere without damaging fabrics or surfaces. Anywhere you spot dirt buildup or stubborn marks, you can use this tool to make it disappear. It works well in tubs, sinks, doors, showers, dirty keyboards, baseboards, walls, and more. All you have to do is get it damp and scrub. The Magic Eraser will wear away as you use it, but it works on new and old marks.
Magic Erasers by Timothy Smith / CC BY-NC 2.0
13. Microfiber Cloth
Just like sponges, it’s important that you keep some microfiber cloths on hand as they can easily boost your cleaning processes. One big feature of microfiber cloths is that they’re capable of cleaning a host of surfaces from granite to wood on their own without leaving any streaks or scratches behind. Even though they work on a range of surfaces, they excel at cleaning glass.
A mop is many people’s go-to cleaning tool for hard surfaces like laminate, wood, or tile, and it makes them shine. You can easily purchase one with a handle that you fill with cleaning fluid and spritz on the floor as you work, or a simple stick mop with a sponge head. Another option is to buy a steam mop that uses hot water and cleaning fluids to remove the debris and germs from the floor. Many mops come with washable cleaning pads that you never have to wring out when you finish with them. Instead, you just pop them into the washer.
15. Scrub Brush
Cleaning isn’t a very easy project to take on, and you often run into stubborn stains and dirt that is difficult to remove. In cases like this, a piece of towel, cloth, or sponges usually don’t work well. So, it’s better to have an all-purpose scrub brush on-hand. You can use it on fixtures, tiles, tough stains, and tubs. It’s a great cleaning tool that can last years with heavy use.
A high-quality sponge is always a popular cleaning tool for every home to have. There are different types of sponges to consider too. If you have classic ones, they can come in handy if they have an abrasive side to help you clean away tough stains on a huge range of surfaces. However, you can also get a sponge cloth as an alternative to traditional sponges. This falls between a sponge and a towel with the texture. Spaghetti sponges are another option that don’t require soap, and silicone sponges are nice as they last for years.
17. Spray Bottles
It’s a good idea to have a few spray bottles in your home if you want to wash something off using water, or you can mix your own natural cleaners. These bottles are helpful to use in regular house cleaning tasks or when it’s time to do a deep clean before you move out if you rent. Spray bottles allow you to spread a light layer of cleaning solution over a broad area, and you don’t soak the space. It’s also helpful for storing natural cleaners safely until you need them, and they’re very cost-effective to buy.
18. Steam Mop
Even if your home doesn’t have a lot of hard flooring like tile or laminate, a steam mop is a nice multi-use cleaning tool with various attachments that make it a must-have. They have attachments that let you use them to clean dirty tubs, shower walls, dirty ovens, greasy countertops, and more. If you have tile floors in the house, the texture of the head allows you to clean grout and strip grime away at the same time. The steam spray nozzle works to remove that icky grime around the base of your toilet or on the seat hinges, and many come outfitted with a clothing attachment that allows you to steam your clothes instead of breaking out the iron.
Steam Mop by Michael Kwan (Freelancer) / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Yes, you need to have this cleaning tool, no matter if you live in an area where someone else handles your window cleaning or if you do it yourself. A squeegee can attach to an extension pole and allows you to clean the inside of your windows without any streaks. It also works well on taller mirrors. In the bathroom, you can use this cleaning tool on shower doors and walls to reduce mildew, keep the glass spot-free, and prevent soap scum. If you own pets, using a damp squeegee is one of the most painless ways to pull pet hair off furniture.
20. Toilet Brush
You want to buy a dedicated toilet brush as a cleaning tool because you don’t want to use it anywhere but in the toilet bowl. One that has a stand included is very convenient because you can store it behind or alongside your toilet. Some brushes come outfitted with a special cleaning compartment for the solution to sit until you’re ready to use it.
21. Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum cleaners are one of the most useful cleaning tools you can get as they are excellent for picking up dust, dirt, pet air, and particles that can create a mess on the flooring. There are also vacuums available that can shampoo and wash your carpets and rugs, and many of them use steam to help get the surfaces extra-clean and kill germs.
22. White Cleaning Rags
Don’t grab any old rag you have lying around to clean stains because colored fabrics can transfer dyes onto whatever you’re cleaning and make a bigger stain. Stock up on rough, inexpensive, white washcloths or rags to use for stubborn stains. When you finish with them, you can put them into the washer and bleach them to disinfect them.
23. Wood and Leather Cleaner
Wipe off your leather or wooden furniture with a microfiber cloth to remove dust each week. If you see dirt or spots, or if you want to bring back that like-new shine, pick out a leather and wood cleaner. All you have to do is spray it on, rub it with a soft microfiber cloth, and it’ll bring shine to these pieces of furniture. For leather furniture, or for keeping the insides of your purse, car, leather belts, or shoes looking like new, you can get leather wipes and stock them until you need them.
Other Essential Cleaning Tools and Products
The cleaning tools and products we listed above round out all of the basics that you’ll use when you do a whole-home clean. However, there are cleaning tools for specific tasks you may want to have ready to go too. A few more essential cleaning tools and products include but are not limited to:
- Grout brush
- Toothbrush for grout of small areas
- Dish soap
- Hand towels
- Oven cleaner
- Steel wool or any abrasive scrubbing pad
- Surface specific cleaner (For surfaces like granite, stainless steel, or marble)
- Laundry detergent
- Stain remover
- Adhesive remover
- Extendable duster
- Lint roller
- Paper towels
- Spray bottles
- Paw wipes
- Urine neutralizer (Enzymatic cleaners)
It’s also important that you keep in mind that not all of these products may be a must-have for your specific home. For example, you won’t buy any granite cleaner if you don’t have granite installed, and you can skip the pet stuff if you don’t have pets. However, most of them will come in handy sooner or later.
Five Tips for Picking Out Cleaning Tools and Supplies
When it comes to picking out cleaning tools or supplies, a few quick tips can help ensure that you get products that are going to last a long time and be well worth your initial investment. They include:
- Commercial Grade Equipment – Most homeowners shy away from buying commercial-grade equipment because it has a higher cost. However, it’s worth it in the long run. A residential vacuum cleaner can look similar to a commercial-grade one, but the commercial-grade unit will last much longer due to better housing, a larger motor, longer cord, and other features that you miss out on if you get a residential unit.
- Efficiency and Effectiveness Rating – Ideally, any cleaning tools you pick out will be highly rated for efficiency and effectiveness. For example, buying a backpack vacuum can help save a lot of time in a large space with open designs, but it can be a hindrance in smaller spots. Fit the piece of equipment or tool to your job size to make it more efficient to use.
- Microfiber – Microfiber is a great material to use for cleaning cloths, but it also works well for flat mops that you can pre-soak and eliminate the need to haul a heavy bucket from room to room. Also, they can double as a dust mop everywhere but heavily soiled areas. Picking out a microfiber flat mop can help you save time and work much quicker with less strain on your body.
- Purchase Multiple Mop Heads – Don’t stick to one mop head. Instead, buy several as this allows you to mop once, put them aside, wash them, and then get them ready to use again. It’s not wise to ring out your mop head and use it again before cleaning it, even for larger spaces. It’s a quick way to track dirt around.
- Rent or Borrow Equipment You Don’t Use Regularly – Depending on how deep you want to clean, it can be cheaper to rent or borrow any equipment you don’t use each time you clean. Things like pressure washers, floor machines, window cleaning kits, and more all take up valuable space, and they can cost a lot. You can save time and money by renting these pieces of equipment when you need them, and most local hardware or home improvement stores have them.
We’ve listed 23 essential cleaning tools you should have on-hand to keep your home clean and shining, and we also touched on more niche products you can consider, based on your needs. With this list, you can easily round out your cleaning supplies and have them ready to go whenever the mood strikes to use them.