Despite the dizzying array of options in the cleaning aisle, you don’t need an arsenal of equipment to keep your place tidy. Experts say these tools are sufficient for maintaining a clean home, whether you’re in a suburban palace or a dime-size apartment.
Casabella WaterBlock Gloves: The cuff on Casabella’s WaterBlock Gloves ($9 at containerstore.com) was the selling point for Real Simple senior home editor Leslie Corona. “There’s nothing worse than that gross feeling of having water in your gloves,” she said. Corona also uses rubber gloves for cleaning her oven, and she recommends using them to remove pet hair from furniture upholstery by wetting them and rubbing your hand gently over the fabric.
Mr. Clean Bliss Gloves: For people with latex allergies, Mr. Clean Bliss Gloves ($4 at mrclean.cleanerhomeliving.com) are the way to go. They’re a favorite for Lorna Aragon, home editor for Martha Stewart Living, because of their soft lining, how easy it is to get them on and off, and their long cuffs, which keep water from leaking in.
Sqwishful Pop Up Sponges: Apartment Therapy lifestyle director Taryn Williford gravitates toward the sustainable brand Sqwishful’s Pop Up Sponges ($7 for three at sqwishful.com) because cellulose sponges should be replaced frequently to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses and this line is easily compostable. “Sponges are, again, a great place to be eco-minded,” she said.
Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Scrub Sponge: “I like that they are made from plants and recycled content,” Aragon said of the Greener Clean Scrub Sponges ($3 for three at target.com). The eco-minded line includes this scouring sponge for pots and pans, along with softer absorbent sponges for wiping surfaces. “I have found that they last well, and I like that they are a natural light brown color,” she said.
Libman Precision Angle Broom: When it comes to sweeping, Williford says it helps if the broom is angled. “An angled head is a super helpful feature. That is how most people tend to sweep.” She recommends Libman’s Precision Angle Broom ($14 at target.com), as well as O-Cedar’s Angled Brooms (starting at $6 at acehardware.com).
Shaker Braid Broom: “It’s simple, long-lasting and hard-working,” Aragon said of her classic Shaker Braid Broom ($55 at bcshoppe.com). “I’m sure some of the newer nylon bristles work well, but I will always choose a natural or easily recyclable material over plastics when possible.”
Dyson Outsize: With up to two hours of run time, the Dyson Outsize cordless stick vac ($800 at dyson.com) is a favorite for Corona. The large bin is a bonus, too, because it can collect a large amount of debris. “You can’t go wrong with any of their stuff,” she said of Dyson’s products.
Miele Compact C1: The Miele C1 canister vacuum with a hose and wands ($399 at mieleusa.com) is Aragon’s go-to for floor cleaning. “The one I use is 20 years old, and it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles,” she said. “It’s simple, works great and I have never had a problem with it.”
Oxo Angled Measuring Bucket: Oxo’s Angled Measuring Bucket ($17 at oxo.com) is what Williford refers to as the Cadillac of cleaning buckets. Its built-in mop holder keeps the handle upright, and measurement markings make it easy to dilute solutions.
Made By Design Rolling Bucket: “I love a bucket with wheels,” Aragon said. “It’s really easy to move a bucket of liquid around when you are cleaning.” For mopping her floors, she uses the Made By Design Rolling Bucket ($13 at target.com) filled with soapy water, then follows up by rinsing with a bucket of clean water.
Maker’s Mop: For mopping floors, Corona uses the Maker’s Mop by Melissa Maker ($49 at makersclean.com). The curved shape of the mophead makes scrubbing stains easy, and the grooved reusable pads pick up dirt and are easy to wash. She cleans her floors using the mop and a spray bottle of water, but when her floors need some extra TLC, Corona uses Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner with cedar wood. “I’m obsessed with the cedar scent, and the fact that it’s certified for its gentle ingredients makes me feel a little better,” she said.
Casabella’s Original Bee Mop: Aragon uses an older retired model of Casabella’s sponge squeeze mop that is extra wide. “To me, the sponge on it is just easier to scrub a dirty floor with,” she said. “It’s an old-fashioned design that still works.” The Original Bee Mop ($25 at casabella.com) is similar to Aragon’s model.
Evridwear Microfiber Dusting Gloves: Microfiber cloths are great for dusting; with Microfiber Dusting Gloves ($8 at amazon.com), wiping away grime is even easier. “You can dust anywhere you can get your fingers,” Williford said. She recommends washing dirty microfiber dusting clothes and gloves in a mesh Guppyfriend bag, because the synthetic textiles shed microplastics in the wash.
Swiffer Sweeper Dry Sweeping Cloths: In lieu of microfiber, Swiffer Dry Sweeping Cloths (swiffer.com) get the job done. “I usually use just the plain sheets to dust furniture,” Aragon said. “I don’t like using the spray stuff.” She also uses a damp rag to dust.
Williams Sonoma Bar Mop Towels: Aragon uses Bar Mop Towels ($20 for four at williams-sonoma.com) for cleaning windows with soapy water and as dish towels in her kitchen. “I pretty much use them for everything,” she said.
If You Care Reusable Paper Towels: In lieu of paper towels, Aragon has embraced a greener alternative: Reusable Paper Towels ($11 for 12 at buyifyoucare.com). “Each one really holds up and can do the work of 20 paper towels,” she said. After she uses one, she rinses it out well and hangs it up to dry.