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.
For people with latex allergies, Mr. Clean Bliss gloves ($4, 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.
For dish sponges, Apartment Therapy lifestyle director Taryn Williford gravitates toward the sustainable brand Sqwishful ($7, sqwishful.com), because cellulose sponges are easily compostable and should be replaced frequently to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses. “Sponges are again a great place to be eco-minded,” she said.
“I like that they are made from plants and recycled content,” Aragon said of the Greener Clean sponges (scotch-brite.com). This eco-minded line from Scotch-Brite includes scouring sponges 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.
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 (libman.com) or one of O-Cedar’s angled sweepers (ocedar.com).
“It’s simple, long-lasting and hard-working,” Aragon said of her classic corn broom ($55, 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.”
With up to two hours of run time, this Dyson cordless stick vac ($799.99, 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.
A Miele canister vacuum with a hose and wands ($399, 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’s angled measuring bucket ($16.99, 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.
“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 a bucket ($12.99, target.com) of soapy water, then follows up by mopping her floors with a bucket of clean water.
For mopping floors, Corona uses the Maker’s Mop by Melissa Maker ($49, makersclean.com). The curved shape of the mop head 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.
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.” ($24.99, casabella.com)
Microfiber cloths are great for dusting; with microfiber gloves ($6.99, 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.
In lieu of microfiber, Swiffer duster sheets (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.
Aragon uses Bar Mop rags ($9.95-$19.95, 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.
In lieu of paper towels, Aragon has embraced a greener alternative: reusable paper towels ($10.99, 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.
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