How To Assemble The Best Cleaning Supplies

March 3, 2024

When I considered starting Greenway Residential Cleaning, I did what most of us do. I went online and watched every YouTube video I could to better understand what a professional cleaning crew uses in their bag. I searched for "The Best Cleaning Supplies" on Google and other platforms. Searching for what chemicals really work and which ones are more about the brand. So I went to these YouTube Amazon storefronts and bought what they said made sense - That was my first mistake. What I've come to realize is that while most people online have good intentions, some are just there to collect a bit of cash based on affiliate links. So don't get caught in the trap of buying that magical backpack vacuum just yet - maybe try something a little more affordable that works just as well.  In this blog, I wanted to let you in on a little secret…cleaning supplies of all types work. Some are better than others but there is no single one that does it all and while YouTubers have a lot of great cleaning hacks, most don’t work or aren't practical.

Here are a few cleaning supplies we like that aren't expensive and really work:

  1. Microfiber Cloths: Highly rated for their ability to attract and hold dust, dirt, and grime without the need for chemical cleaners. They are considered effective for a wide range of surfaces.
    • The problem
      • Some of these leave behind tiny fibers that will drive you insane when you clean a mirror or wipe a window.
      • Some are too small! Make sure you get ones that are larger than 4 x your hand. You will want to fold these over as you clean or you will end up with hundreds of tiny microfiber cloths in your bag.
      • Some are see-through and really cheap! If you can see through the cloth odds are they won't hold up in the wash and guess what, they will leave tiny fibers all over the place that will make your mirror or glass look worse than when you started.
    • Why use microfiber towels:
      • Paper towels get dirty fast and the waste is substantial. In some instances like bathrooms we will use paper towels on very dirty surfaces because we really don’t like carrying around dirty bathroom towels. Don't forget to choose multiple colors so you don't mix kitchen, bathroom and common area towels.
  2. Vacuum Cleaner (Backpack, Upright, Canister, Stick, and Robotic): Vacuum cleaners are essential for cleaning floors, carpets, and upholstery. Models with HEPA filters and strong suction are often rated highly for their effectiveness in removing dust and allergens.
    • The problem:
      • You could go with a backpack vacuum but seriously are you planning to clean a commercial building? If you are, then sure a $1000 backpack vacuum may be for you, but if you aren't, a basic one will do just fine. 
      • There are handheld stick vacuums out there and they work well specifically for stairs, but I will let you know vacs with batteries don’t last too long when you're vacuuming carpet and there's nothing worse than finishing the first floor only to have to plug in your vac and wait until tomorrow to clean the second.
      • For the most part, if you are looking for something that can vacuum corners or baseboards, a stick vacuum performs well, but a canister vacuum is a bit better. You can disconnect the hose and instead of holding the bulk of the vacuum in your hand, you just hold the hose attachment while the canister follows you around the room like an obedient puppy.
      • Which brand of vacuum is the best? All of them. Most vacuums work well and for all intents and purposes, if you don't need to know how many dust particles you picked up or need a song every time you change a selection, the main brands will work for you. Don't get "sucked" into purchasing something with 8,000 likes on Amazon: It's probably a scam.
    • Why use a simple vacuums:
      • We use a canister vac for around the home, baseboards and corners, and for the stairs, a stick vac  seems to do a good job. No need for fancy options, just get something basic that works.
  3. Spray Bottles not just for Homemade Cleaners: One of the most popular cleaning supplies for those who prefer DIY cleaning solutions. Using high-quality, adjustable spray bottles can enhance the effectiveness of homemade cleaning products.
    • The problem:
      • For the most part these bottles are essential, but there are cheap versions on the market that don’t work after a couple squirts. Make sure you look at them in person. Online scams show pretty pictures,  but what you get may not be what you see.
      • You will be mixing chemicals in these, meaning you have larger bottles of chemicals around your home. This could mean trouble for kids or pets, so having a dedicated space for all of these is essential and goes without saying.
    • Why use reusable spray bottles:
      • I'm not against purchasing quality products or mixing my own, but I've found that DIY solutions tend to slow us down. Mixing the correct quantity at home before multiple jobs becomes a hassle, but reusing the bottles for well-known products saves on plastic waste and the pocket book!  We use products that carry the EPAs safer choice label. Most - if not all - are very effective and don’t require me to turn my kitchen into a science experiment once a week.
  4. Squeegee: Essential for streak-free window cleaning. High-quality squeegees with durable rubber blades are highly rated for effectiveness.
    • The problem:
      • How easy is it to use a squeegee? Have you used one before? For the most part using a squeegee takes a little getting used to. YouTube is your friend with this product. There are so many tutorials on the proper way to use one and most are amazing. Make sure you get one that fits your window, then get a bucket of water and several microfiber towels.
    • Why use a Squeegee:
      • Wiping down dirty windows with multiple paper towels causes waste, not to mention those paper towels leave streaks and tiny fibers on windows.  Squeegees, when used correctly, not only clean all the dirt off, they are reusable and a bucket of warm water with a little Dawn is all you need - plus 3-4 good microfiber towels for an entire home.
  5. Extendable Duster: Rated well for their ability to reach awkward and high spaces such as ceiling fans and the tops of bookshelves, they make dusting more efficient.
    • The problem:
      • Dusters are like snowflakes: - There are billions of them and new ones come out every year. Amazon ratings will fool you on these - be careful.
      • Many of these either don't extend high enough or they end up rotating as you dust because they won't lock in.
      • The head must swivel so you can clean ceiling fans and the top of doors and windows, but several will swivel then break or bend back easily with just a bit of pressure.
      • While we do like the swiffer, throwing 50 swiffer dusters away after cleaning your home just doesn't feel environmentally friendly so we prefer microfiber; after all you can wash them and they will last much longer.
    • Why use microfiber dusters:
      • Look, I don’t know how tall you are, but I'm not starting on any basketball team. If you don’t have a good extended duster, you cannot hit the most dust covered spots in the house (Ceiling fans, top of doors, top of pictures/paintings, HVAC vents, corners where cobwebs reside…) This is on of the most important cleaning supplies you can have.
  6. Scrub Brushes (Various Stiffness): Different types of scrub brushes are highly rated for specific tasks, such as grout cleaning, dish scrubbing, or surface cleaning, depending on the stiffness of the bristles.
    • The problem:
      • Welcome to America where choice is your number one concern! There are about 80,000 brush kits out there, so what do you need to clean your home? There is a brush that looks like a comb with long bristles, one that is used to clean your stove with shorter bristles, and then there's the one for the shower with huge bristles that attach to your hand. Do you need all of these? Oh the paradox of choice!
      • Most of the time a tooth brush is perfect. Let's face it, if you need a rotating swivel headed electric grout brush, I think you have a problem that doesn't need to be solved. If you need to get in there and scrub away, a hard bristle toothbrush is the right size. But you say, NO!, what about those pesky corners my friend? 4 out of 5 dentists can't be wrong, make little circles like brushing your teeth and all will be well.
    • Why use a toothbrush:
      • Water stains, lime scale, gunk around sink drains, grout: You name it, this is another required implement. Using a toothbrush is just simpler and more cost effective. If you need something a bit larger, a stiff bristle brush will work as well.
  7. Melamine Sponges aka “Magic Eraser”: Popular for their ability to remove marks from walls, baseboards, and other surfaces without harsh chemicals, users rate them highly for these specific tasks.
    • The problem:
      • If you have kids, then you have a problem melamine sponges will solve.  Save your time and your hair and just buy them. 
      • You can find them branded or otherwise at several stores. These are truly magical and work on railing, walls, floors, stickers in tubs on office chairs, you name it.
    • Why use melamine sponges:
      • Are you a parent? Do you just like to draw on your own walls? Then, this is for you! I hate to say it, but there is nothing else that I've found to quickly take paint off of floors, crayon off of walls, stains off of handrails, you name it, this is a game changer!
  8. Bucket with Wringer or a Mop System (Spin Mop, Spray Mop): For mopping, a good-quality bucket with a wringer is highly rated for its convenience and effectiveness in managing mop moisture.
    • The problem:
      • Do you like mopping floors and seeing little hairs after you're done, then use a mop!
      • If you don’t have the proper technique, it is easy to make your floor look worse with a mop. Also, there are several to choose from. Do you use the typical spinning mop or the old school one that wrings out in hopes that all the dirt stays in the liquid in the bucket?
      • What about rectangular floor mops that seem to do well: You buy microfiber mop heads and get to it! The issue is you can't use those in close quarters, so a small mop works best in those situations.
    • Why use a mop and bucket:
      • We use a variety of mops: For bathrooms we use a spin mop with a reservoir so we don’t reuse dirty water. On hardwoods, the rectangular mop with replaceable microfiber pads is the best. The key is to focus on getting one that is not plastic or it will easily ruin your day by breaking mid house cleaning.
  9. Broom and Dustpan Set: A basic but essential tool, with angled brooms and dustpans with rubber edges being rated as more effective for collecting dust and debris.
    • The problem:
      • I've heard YouTube cleaners mention they won't use a broom on the job, but really? Do you really vacuum the bathroom floor before you mop it and then use that same vacuum in other rooms or maybe to vacuum your couch? Do you then take that same vacuum to other people's homes?
    • Why use a broom and dustpan:
      • You can quickly wash a stiff bristle broom and dustpan and sanitize it. That vacuum, regardless how nice, will have to be disassembled before your next job just to fulfill the same task.  For us, it’s a broom and dustpan
  10. Lint Roller: Highly rated for its effectiveness in removing pet hair and lint from clothing, furniture, and other fabrics.
    • The problem:
      • Got a cat or a long haired dog? Have you ever tried to vacuum up cat hair from inside of a couch, or on a bedspread? So you know what I mean.
    • Why use a lint roller:
      • There is no better way to extract pet hair.  There are sticky gloves, combs but at the end of the day the best one we've found is a plain old school roller with double-sided tape.  And yes, I realize you throw a lot of this away but mostly we use it on the furniture after we vacuum so we try to limit the waste.
  11. Pumice Stones: Pumice stones are used in cleaning for several reasons, thanks to their unique natural properties.
    • The problem:
      • Ever try to clean an oven grate without using oven cleaner, good luck! You can scrape all day but unless you plan on working those biceps like Arnold it's not coming off.  What about the inside of that porcelain toilet of yours or the beautiful white porcelain sink? They stain really easily…use a pumice stone.
    • Why use a pumice stone:
      • Not to keep repeating myself but this is a natural stone, it's abrasive and doesn’t require a chemical spray. These stones are eco-friendly, they don’t release fumes into the house and after you're done you're just left with a pile of grit and beautiful shiny clean oven racks.  Hey, if you'll use a pumice stone to remove a callus it's got to be safe for your oven right (maybe not the same one, though)? I don’t see you thinking you should put oven cleaner on your feet.
  12. Scrub brush attachments for power drill: Drill attachments aren’t new but have been a great addition to the cleaning space where brushes, scrubbing pads, polishing and buffing pads help ease the scrubbing process - if you do it right!
    • The problem:
      • The top of gas stoves are difficult to clean. Baked on gunk, stuck on the top of the burners or the grates. This generally takes a strong dose of cleaner, soaking or a stiff wire brush to thoroughly clean. 
    • Why use power brush attachments:
      • Working in a cleaning business you don't always have the luxury of soak time. We spray the stove and let it sit until last.  Most of the time that’s enough. In the case of baked on gunk, specifically for gas stoves, it isn’t.  Pumice stones work good on grates but for the metal surfaces on top of the stove they are a NO-NO! These scrubbers are the same as a scrubbing pad but attached to a circular drill so with the simple press of a button - you are done! 

Here are a few items we don’t add to our bag:

  1.  Disposable Cleaning Wipes: Convenient for quick cleanups and disinfecting surfaces. Brands that offer effective sanitization and are flushable tend to be rated higher.
    • The problem:
      • How much trash do you like to discard each time you clean your home? For most people they care about things like that and if that's you this is not a great option.
      • These cleaning wipes are very expensive especially considering you just throw them away once they are dirty.
    • Why you shouldn’t use disposable cleaning wipes:
      • The waste is insane.  A simple microfiber towel with spray works fine.
  2. Steam Mop: Praised for their ability to clean and sanitize hard floors using only water, making them environmentally friendly and safe for households with pets and children.
    • The problem:
      • Steam Mops are an additional tool that most people aren't really willing to let sit in their closet. The cost is high and it most often is only used in case of a really dirty floor.
    • Why you shouldn’t use a steam mop:
      • While they work great to remove stuck on dirt or to sanitize your home killing most bacteria, germs and dust mites there are less expensive alternatives that don’t require such a large footprint in your living room closet.

Assembling a cleaning bag with the best cleaning supplies and products is your first step towards cleaning your home as effectively as a professional. The items we've listed are practical, affordable, and will help you tackle your cleaning tasks head-on, without resorting to YouTube hacks. Pulling together these essentials will help you determine the direction you want to go with your cleaning regimen. Are you attempting to pull together all of your natural cleaning chemicals yourself being the eco-warrior you are, or are you looking for something quick and easy right off the shelf. 

As always, remember to take some time back from your busy schedule.  Prioritize yourself, your family and your community by taking some time to enjoy the natural wonders that surround us.  Feel free to give us a call, we will get some of that time back for you. (919)229-9227