The Essential Tools to Keep in Your Spring Cleaning Kit
Experts share their go-to products of the trade. Here, the tools the pros use for tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing any surface.
This season is a fresh start in so many ways. When it comes to the home, it's an opportunity to shift our perspective from hunkering down to lightening up. Now is the perfect time to dive into the decluttering, dusting, disinfecting, and all-around deep cleaning. "Spring cleaning is all about deep cleaning all the areas of your home you've neglected for months," says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer of MaidPro. "The most time saving thing you can do is pick a solid all-purpose cleaner that can address them all!"
Before you get started, you'll want to stock your home with prime cleaning products and that includes taking inventory of what you already have. "While we always recommend using reusable rags, pads, towels and mop heads when possible, there are certain clean-up tasks that are so extreme you simply cannot wash and re-use the rag," explains Jennie Varney, brand manager for Molly Maid. "Holding onto tattered towels and old T-shirts is a great way to minimize waste, since you were probably going to throw those items away anyway." Have a scrub brush or old toothbrush that could use one last task? "Toothbrushes are great for hard-to-reach areas such as light fixtures, around your faucets, grout lines and more," she further notes.
Michele Carroccio, brand manager for Window Genie, agrees. "Having a soft-bristled dry brush to clean window screens is smart this time of year. Dirty screens will inhibit the breeze, obstruct your view, but most importantly... the leading cause of dirty windows this time of year is rain coming."
Here, we tapped our most trusted cleaning experts to recommend their go-to products to get the job done.
Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner
Double down with an all-purpose cleaner that disinfects while it cleans. "Lysol has been a trusted brand for quality cleaning products and hard hitting disinfectants for over a century, but this year appears to be their big year to shine as most of their line is EPA approved to fight COVID-19," notes Homer.
Shop Now: Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner, in Lavender Orchid, $3, officedepot.com.
This is the season when allergies are at an all-time high. Combat the pollen, dust, and more with the Dyson V11. Among its fantastic features are the 14 cyclones that generate forces of more than 79,000g to fling microscopic particles, like pesky pollen and bacteria, into the bin. Plus, it's one of our expert's favorites. "It allows you to get into the tightest of places that may often be neglected," says Melissa Maker of Maker's Clean.
Shop Now: Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum, $699, homedepot.com.
Despite regular upkeep of your bathroom, a spring scrub will do your toilet, shower, tub, and sink some good. This is the time to scrub away stubborn hard water deposits that have built up since the last deep clean.
"Bar Keepers Friends is one of the safest yet most effective abrasive powders in the market, powered by oxalic acid that dissolves hard water minerals and rust," explains Homer. "Unlike most abrasive powders, it is safe to use on stainless steel, glass, chrome, granite, even your vinyl siding and mailbox. A little goes a long way, so you'll soon find yourself scouring everything from your tub to your grill with this magic little can."
Shop Now: Bar Keepers Friend, $5, williams-sonoma.com.
Handheld Steam Cleaner
Deep cleaning means tackling parts of the home that are neglected from your regular cleaning cycles. Expect to make tile grout sparkle, rid the grease from your grill grate, and steam clean curtains and throw pillows to like-new condition.
"For refreshing soft surfaces, disinfecting and tackling the most stubborn cleaning challenges, a steam cleaner is a trusted and useful cleaning sidekick," says Maker. "Look for one that reaches at least 212 degrees fahrenheit at the tip, and comes with a variety of attachments so that it can tackle any cleaning challenge at home. Bonus: It just uses tap water!"
Shop Now: Reliable Pronto Steam Cleaner, $99, wayfair.com.
Look up and you'll find some dangerously dusty parts of your home in need of a wipe-down. Ceilings fans, the top of kitchen cabinets, and bookcases all collect dust out of sight, increasing your chances of sickness and allergies.
"A washable microfiber duster lets you deep clean the accumulated dust of these surfaces from the safety of the ground," notes Homer. "The High Reach Microfiber Duster extends 42 inches, bends in any shape and is washable, making wet cleaning high surfaces fast, easy and most importantly, safe. Just spritz your all-purpose cleaner on one side of the duster, extend it, dust the surface with the dry side first to wipe off the loose dirt and flip to the wet side for the stubborn soils. Done and done!"
Shop Now: High Reach Microfiber Cleaning Kit, $30, bedbathandbeyond.com.
When sponges won't cut the grime and grease, this tool does the job. "Get a good quality made-for-cleaning cleaning pumice stone (Pumie is a recommended brand) and make quick work of toilet stains," advises Laura Smith of All Star Cleaning Services. "They also work excellent for burnt on messes in the oven." The Pumie Pumice Scouring Stick is ideal for removing unsightly toilet bowl rings, stubborn stains in tubs, sinks and showers, and scale and rust on metal work and piping.
Shop Now: Pumie Scouring Stick, $2.49, homedepot.com.
Tile and Grout Scrubbing Brush
Despite your best efforts, regular mopping just isn't enough to keep tile and porous floors like stone free from grime.
"Using a deep scouring brush like the Tile Diamond every spring will bubble, flick and lift out months and possibly even years of embedded grime, revealing the original color of your tiles and grout," says Homer. "The Tile Diamond is special because it is designed with two sides, one for grout and one for tile tops, so you can deep clean large areas and multiple grout lines at once."
Shop Now: Cleanovation Tile Diamond and Grout Brush, $25, toyboxtech.com.
Full-Strength Cleaning Vinegar
Bring out your inner cleaning machine with simple products like cleaning vinegar. "Full strength cleaning vinegar offers more acetic acid (6-10 percent) than your regular fish and chips vinegar," explains Maker. "Cleaning vinegar is great because it can break down soap scum, can remove hard water buildup from faucets, shower heads and fixtures, and break down grease very effectively. Make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area and to protect your hands and eyes when using."
To mask the strong smell of vinegar, add the vinegar to a spray bottle, dilute it with water, then add about 10 drops of an essential oil like lemon, lavender or peppermint.
Shop Now: Green Gobbler 30% OMRI Listed Vinegar, $25, factorydirectchemicals.com.
Magic Erasers are one of the simplest yet most effective cleaning tools you can have in your kit. Take the elbow grease out of removing soap scum in the shower and tub, scuffs from walls and baseboards, and more with a simple swipe of this soft sponge-like product. "Do proceed with caution and always test an inconspicuous spot," advises Smith. "They are essentially a very fine sandpaper, and have been known to remove paint from certain surfaces and to scratch some types of plastic."
Shop Now: Mr. Clean Original Magic Eraser, $5 for 6, target.com.