Basic Cleaning Products

Keep these housecleaning products on hand to make cleaning chores fast and efficient.

Stock your cleaning caddy with these basic supplies and you'll be prepared to tackle almost any cleaning challenge. Corral everything in to a single caddy that you can stash under your kitchen sink so everything is organized in a central location. If you have a multilevel house, consider creating a second caddy for the upper story of your home. That way you'll have supplies at the ready for cleaning upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms and won't have transport supplies between levels.

Window cleaner: Use window cleaner for windows, glass tops, and mirrors. You can also use window cleaner to polish chrome fixtures and clean cooktops.

Household ammonia (nonsudsing) or formulated cleansers: Use nonsudsing household ammonia and commercially formulated cleansers to clean most walls and mop and scrub floors and walls. Check manufacturer information before using on vinyl floors sealed with a special matte, gloss, or high-gloss finish.

General-purpose cleaner: Buy a nonabrasive kitchen-and-bath spray product (along with refills for spray bottles) or make your own with diluted vinegar. Some products are formulated to get rid of soap scum found in bathrooms.

Mildly abrasive cleaners: Buy a mildly abrasive cleaner -- liquid or powder -- to remove tough dirt and stains without scratching surfaces.

Chlorine bleach: Mix 1 part chlorine bleach to 4 parts water to create a solution for general cleaning and disinfecting (including the toilet bowl).

Toilet bowl cleaner: Designed to cling to a toilet bowl's interior surfaces, toilet bowl cleaners remove regular stains while disinfecting and deodorizing. Some brands also remove lime-scale deposits and stains caused by rust, mineral deposits, and hard water.

Disinfecting wipes:  Quickly clean and disinfect hard surfaces such as appliances, countertops, faucets, tile, and glass with premoistened disinfecting wipes that can be tossed away when you're done.

Oil soap: Clean stained-wood cabinets, paneling, and other woods with liquid soap made for use on wood.


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