18 Cleaning Products Professional House Cleaners Always Buy
We asked the professionals what cleaning must-haves they swear by to keep every room in your home sparkling.
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Clean out the cleaners
Is the space under your kitchen sink stuffed with so many cleaning supplies you're scared to open that cabinet? If so, start tossing; you can get your house professional-level clean with just a few choice products. "The key is: for normal, ongoing cleaning, less is more," says Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Office of Boston-based MaidPro. "If your daily cleaning caddy has more than five cleaners in it, you've picked the wrong products."
According to Homer, all you really need to complete any basic daily cleaning task is a disinfecting all-purpose cleaner, an acid-based bathroom spray, and a neutral pH floor cleaner. "You can layer in specialty products to tackle difficult build up, but they should only be used as one-time shock treatments." She likes the multi-use Spic & Span Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray and Glass. Homer says it's safe on virtually everything, is a hospital-grade disinfectant, and leaves a great shine, "so you can just spray and wipe from surface to surface without switching or worrying."
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Bathrooms get pretty germy, but with the right product, they're easy to clean and disinfect. "At MaidPro, our go-to, acid-based bathroom spray is Comet Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner because it's powerful enough to cut through soap scum, hard water deposits, even toilet bowl stains, yet gentle enough to use on chrome and most natural stone, all without the fabric-staining risks of bleach," says Homer. "The best part about Comet Disinfecting is that it's an easy rinse liquid, unlike its powdered predecessor, so we can clean bathroom sinks, shower wall, tubs, and toilet bowls all with one product; and no gritty, powdery mess to clean up." Here's a guide to the germiest spot in your bathroom—hint: it's not your toilet.
Speaking of bathrooms, when it comes to toilet bowl cleaners, you really need two types, says Homer. "One bleach-based and one acid-based, to be able to handle all the different situations you might encounter," she said. One to try? Lysol Complete Power Bowl Cleaner. "If the client has rust and hard water stains, an acid bowl cleaner like this one will dissolve the iron causing the rust ring."
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If your toilet has been neglected and has black or pink mold build-up, a bleach-based bowl cleaner like Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Clinging Bleach Gel might be a better option than the Lysol Complete, says Homer. Find out what professional housecleaners do in their homes every day.
When it comes to floors, says Horner, MaidPro staffers like a custom-made product called La Bamba from MISCO, a custom-chemical manufacturer. "However, when we're running low and, in a pinch, our publicly available go-to is Fabuloso. It's wonderful because it is safe on virtually any type of flooring thanks to its neutral pH, smells great, and doesn't leave any streaky residue, so our cleaner can mop from one floor to the next without fear."
Professional window cleaner Merin Jay of the London, UK-based Top Window Cleaners, likes Method Natural Glass Surface Cleaner, Mint. "This cleaning product is almost 100 percent green ingredients, which makes it safe for pets, children, and, basically, the whole family. Also, the bottle is made of biodegradable plastic which makes it an environmentally-friendly way to clean the windows and save nature." She uses it on a variety of surfaces. "And last, but not least, it leaves a nice minty scent and can be used as an air freshener."
Ryan Morgan, VP of Operations and Co-Owner of Michigan-based Housekeeping Associates, likes Mrs. Meyers products, especially Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Cleaner. "It can be used basically anywhere—on wood and tile floors, counters, bathroom fixtures, and so forth. The honeysuckle and the lemon verbena are popular scents with our professional cleaners."
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"Better Life cleaning products are great! I used them in my own home," says Morgan. "They're completely green. I love the brand's Kitchen and Bath Scrubber for my glass top stove and my granite counters. When the stove top is still a little warm I apply the scrubber, let it sit for a minute, then wipe off with a damp cloth and it removes any stains or food build up."
You're probably familiar with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser—it's synonymous with removing crayon marks off walls. But the cleaner offers so much more: "Magic Erasers are lifesavers," says Rochelle Stalter, Branch Manager at Michigan's East Lansing Housekeeping Associates. "Yes, they can be used to clean marks off walls or baseboards, but they also easily remove residue from sinks, counters, doors, and floors, and can even be used to clean grout or dirt in pitted tile floors." But be careful, as there are some surfaces you should NOT clean with a Magic Eraser.
Professional home cleaner Vanessa Leroy, Crew Leader for the Brighton Housekeeping Associates of Michigan, recommends the Kenmore Canister Vacuum. "It's more powerful than a standard upright vacuum and perfect for picking up all types of nasty debris to leave your carpets/hard floors clean once again." She adds: "It comes with several attachments to assist in otherwise hard to clean places like corners, stairs, and couches." Find out how often you should be cleaning everything in your house.
Vanessa Grimes, the owner of Greensboro, North Carolina-based MaidGift, is a big fan of Green Works All Purpose Cleaner. "I can use it in the kitchen and the bathroom and pretty much through the whole house. It leaves a nice fresh clean smell, and I don't have to worry about any chemical residues." She mainly uses the cleaner in the kitchen. "I usually spray the stove top, let it sit for about three to five minutes while I clean the countertops, and then I come back and wipe it and all the dirt and grease come right off."
Greg Shepard, the owner of the award-winning Dallas Maids in Texas, recommends Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish Spray for use on any stainless steel surfaces you may have around the home. The material tends to collect fingerprints, dust and looks 'cloudy' in appearance if not cleaned properly. "It may not be green, but it's the best stainless steel cleaner we've seen. It'll leave your stainless steel streak-free."
Even in the cleaning world, the classics never go out of style. Pledge, says Shepard, is great for polishing wood furniture and fixtures. "Nothing comes close to Pledge. It does not leave a sticky residue or streaks behind while leaving a superior shine. It's the best!" Hey, if it was good enough for your parents, it's good enough for your home, right?
Basic sponges are a dime a dozen and, thankfully, pretty inexpensive. They also collect germs, which is why German microbiologist Markus Egert tells Reader's Digest that he recommends replacing your sponge weekly. Given how often you use a sponge, it's worth investing in one that's not only practical but long-lasting—and why not adorable, too? The DishFish Dual Scrubber sponge has a non-scratchy scrub surface on one side; the other side is a more traditional single-swipe that's best for counters wipe-downs. But what sets this sponge apart from other is that it fights off bacteria, mildew, and mold. Thanks to its anti-microbial properties, it can last three to four weeks, depending on how frequently you use it.
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When it comes to cleaning rags, look for microfiber. According to Molly Maid's General Brand Manager Jennifer Gregory, microfiber rags are mostly made of polyester, and, unlike cotton, they leave no lint behind. "They are usually knitted and very soft, making them generally safe for use on relatively soft surfaces such as paint or wood." However, watch that your cloth doesn't latch onto a small piece of grit—it could cause a scratch while dusting, warns Gregory. "Using microfiber cloths also eliminates a lot of bacteria when you're using only water—about three times the effectiveness of traditional cleaning cloths. This is why many hospitals have converted to microfiber cloths, towels, and mops." One to try? AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, an Amazon #1 Best Seller.
Even professionals clean with vinegar: For an all-purpose cleaning solution, here's what Shepard and his crew recommend: mix equal measures of water and vinegar and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pour in a spray bottle and shake. "The lemon juice adds a sweet citrus smell while adding additional cleaning oomph. The citric acid in lemon is also an effective cleanser and a great deodorizer," says Shepard.
Vanessa Grimes of MaidGift advocates cleaning a baby's nursery with vinegar. "When it comes to children's rooms, it's kind of difficult because most eco-friendly items do not offer the disinfecting elements. And, the ones that do, have such harsh chemicals. I like to clean the nursery with plain white distilled vinegar and a few drops of scented oils, which cleans and also disinfect the surfaces. Baby's room is left with a fresh, clean smell."