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If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been frantically running around your home trying to find all of your cleaning supplies to get a head start on spring cleaning. Our advice is to stay calm and go back to the basics.
Keeping your home clean and free of germs doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you’re cleaning up your bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, there’s a handful of products (that you may already own!) that can help you get your place back into shape.
To make your life just a little bit easier, TODAY consulted three cleaning experts — Jan Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning,” Beth McGee, who wrote "Get Your House Clean Now," and Melissa Maker, author of “Clean My Space" — who shared their favorite products and tools to get your house spotless in no time.
Expert-approved household cleaning products
This multipurpose product is so outstanding, it was recommended by all three experts.
“White vinegar is great for getting rid of bad odors, cutting grease and shining glass,” said Maker. “Something like cleaning vinegar might take an area in your home that might look hopeless and transform it and make it look clean and shiny.”
Dougherty swears by it for cleaning sealed wood furniture, glass and even fabric. When used on a rag to wipe down glass, it eliminates the waxy look left by common glass cleaners and lasts longer than most other cleaners. You can also pour it into a spray bottle and mist onto carpets, drapes and upholstered furniture for a dustless and odorless result.
“Microfiber cloths cut my cleaning time probably around 20 to 30%, and they are reusable,” said Maker. “They are very absorbent; not only for dirt but for liquid."
A microfiber cloth can absorb up to eight times its weight, making it the perfect, eco-friendly cleaning solution. Tip: You might want to buy these in bulk since you'll be using them for everything!
Every home needs a versatile vacuum. A good one can suck the dirt off everything from rugs and floors to even the walls.
“It is just a necessary tool for really getting your house clean,” said McGee. “Sweeping, Swiffering, none of that is going to get your house as clean as it needs to be.”
4. Krud Kutter
Dougherty describes this powerful cleanser as "for your whole world and everything in it." She said bathroom and kitchen dirt are both primarily grease. So, she asked, “What better product to clean grease with than a degreaser?”
She suggested mixing the biodegradable, nontoxic cleanser with water in a five to one ratio for regular cleaning. Soak a terry cloth in it and put it on the end of a Swiffer mop to wipe down floors. To remove particularly nasty stains from carpets and furniture, spray full-strength Krud Kutter on a rag and apply it to the stain, step on it (don't rub) and repeat.
5. Castile Soap
Diluted, vegetable-based Castile soap makes a useful all-purpose cleaner, according to Maker. “The great thing about Castile soap is you always get this nice squeaky clean feel,” she said. "It's nice for people who don’t like enchanted forest or lemon fresh or whatever the scent you find from cleaning companies.”
“Anytime you have the urge to scratch something with your fingernail, that's a good time to use a toothbrush,” Maker suggested. Toothbrushes come in handy for tiny nooks and crannies that other cleaning supplies won’t fit in.
You know those discolored little rings around your sink drain? Mix some Castile soap and baking soda together then scrub with a toothbrush. The best part is: You probably already have an extra one in your house.
“It’s a pretty universal product. It’s not an offensive odor or anything like that, and it won’t scratch,” said McGee. It can be used on dishes, sinks, stoves and glass since it's nonabrasive.
Believe it or not, McGee uses a toilet brush to clean her kitchen floors. Seriously.
“It has a long enough handle to make it easier so you are not on the floor scrubbing and it has very stiff bristles,” McGee said. So convenient!
Buckets should not be allowed anywhere near home cleaning because dunking a rag repeatedly into contaminated water and product mixtures will only make your house dirtier, Dougherty said. Instead, she advised clients to invest in a few spray bottles and transfer all products into them as soon as they buy them.
Bestselling household cleaning products
Frequent TODAY guest Lou Manfredini highly recommends this dye-free, eco-friendly cleaner from Seventh Generation. It can clean any surface and material from chrome to ceramic, and it's available at an affordable price point!
A little bit goes a long way when it comes to this clever cleaning solution. The cream-based solution is gentle enough for delicate surfaces, but tough on grime, rust and build-up.
Another multi-purpose cleaning product we love is this polish from Shadazzle. Formulated with natural ingredients, it works wonders on surfaces all around your house. Even better, it's available in three calming scents — lemon, lavender and eucalyptus.
The key to cleaning tough stains and grime actually resides in your kitchen pantry. Baking soda not only keeps your cooking space smelling fresh, it's also great when your pots and pans need a good scrubbing.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 5 must-have kitchen cleaning products, according to a chef
- 17 products to help organize your fridge in no time
- 14 genius ways to organize your laundry room, according to experts
This article was originally published on March 30, 2018.