Cleaning Products Professional House Cleaners Always Buy

Updated: Dec. 22, 2023

We asked the professionals what cleaning must-haves they swear by to keep every room in your home sparkling.

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Cleaning products placed in kitchen cabinet under sink. Housekeeping storage space
Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock

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 that for normal, ongoing cleaning, less is more,” said 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.”

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Cleaning supplies

A Hospital-Approved Disinfectant

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,” said Homer.

She likes the multi-use Spic & Span Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray and Glass because it’s safe to use on virtually everything, is a hospital-grade disinfectant, and leaves a great shine.

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Comet cleaner

An Easy Rinse Liquid

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,” said 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.”

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Lysol cleaning supplies

Best for Hard Water Stains

Speaking of bathrooms: when it comes to toilet bowl cleaners, you really need two types.

“One bleach-based and one acid-based, to be able to handle all the different situations you might encounter,” Homer said. “If the client has rust and hard water stains, an acid bowl cleaner like this one will dissolve the iron causing the rust ring.”

One to try? Lysol Complete Power Bowl Cleaner.

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Clorox cleaning supplies

A Bleach-Based Toilet Cleaner

Sometimes, bleach is necessary for cutting through the worst of the worst. 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. 

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Fabuloso cleaning supplies

The Fab Floor Cleaner

When it comes to floors, Homer says that 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,she said. “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.” Find out if Fabuloso is a disinfectant and if it works for toilet tanks.

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method glass and surface cleaner

Cleaner for Windows and More

To get the scoop on window cleaners, we also talked to professional window cleaner Merin Jay of the UK-based Top Window Cleaners, Her preferred cleaner is Method Natural Glass Surface Cleaner.

“This cleaning product is almost 100 percent green ingredients, which makes it safe for pets, children, and, basically, the whole family,” said Jay. “Also, the bottle is made of biodegradable plastic which makes it an environmentally-friendly way to clean the windows and save nature.”

She uses this multipurpose cleaner on windows as well as various other surfaces that are in need of cleaning.

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meyers multi-surface cleaner

The Multi-Use Cleaner

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,” said Morgan. “The honeysuckle and the lemon verbena are popular scents with our professional cleaners.”

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Better Life cleaner

For a Shiny Stove Top

“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.”

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Best Mess Eraser

If you have kids running around your house, you’re probably already familiar with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser—it’s synonymous with removing crayon marks off walls. But the cleaner also 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.”

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The Ultimate Vacuum

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 said. “It comes with several attachments to assist in otherwise hard to clean places like corners, stairs, and couches.”

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Green works cleaner

For Homes with Kids and Pets

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 said that 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.”

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Murphy Oil soap

A Classic Cleaner

Grimes likes Murphy Oil Soap for floors and wooden cabinets, as well.

“I find that it really cleans the wood floors and the wood cabinets, leaving a natural shin,” she said..” It’s been around for quite some time; even my grandmother loved Murphy. It’s a product I trust.”

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mop and bucket

Top Mop

A mop can be much more than just a mop. But the professionals have their personal faves.

“I just love, love, love the O-Cedar Spin Mop. It’s made with microfibers, so I can use it on hardwood floors. It does not hold a lot of water, and it’s easy on my back,” said Grimes.

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stainless steel cleaner and polish

It’s Shine Time

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,” said Shepard. “It’ll leave your stainless steel streak-free.”

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pledge cleaner

Furniture Fixer

Even in the cleaning world, the classics never go out of style. According to Shepard, longtime cleaning mainstay Pledge is still great for polishing wood furniture and fixtures.

“Nothing comes close to Pledge,” he said. “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?

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Best Basic Cleaning Sponge

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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cleaning rags

Best Basic Cleaning Rag

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 are an Amazon #1 Best Seller.

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white distilled vinegar

The Most Versatile Cleaning Staple

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 recommends 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,” said Grimes.”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. The baby’s room is left with a fresh, clean smell.”

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest