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“Clean smarter, not harder.” That’s the motto of professional housekeeper Sara San Angelo. Her blog, Confessions of a Cleaning Lady, is full of tips “for people who hate to clean.”
Scouring the oven or dusting the ceiling fans can be a big, time-consuming production — or they can be a 10-minute chore. It all depends on whether you have the right tools. Here, three housecleaning experts weigh in on the cleaning products they use to make appliances, dishes and laundry look new again.
Best All-Purpose Cleaner: Method Citron All-Purpose Spray
While Method cleaning products are known for their nontoxic, biodegradable, plant-derived ingredients, San Angelo’s found that this all-purpose cleaner packs a ton of power.
“It is the best thing, hands down,” she said. “I have used it to clean toilets. If you’ve ever cleaned a toilet, you know that poop sticking to the bowl is the hardest substance on the planet. For some reason, Method cuts through it like butter. This goes for cleaning up dog poop too. Just spray and let sit for 5 minutes and wipe.” There are many different varieties of this all-purpose cleaner, and San Angelo says she prefers the antibacterial one.
Karina Toner, Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a Washington, D.C.–based cleaning service, also opts for an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner.
“Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Cleaner is a great choice,” she said, praising its “its gentle formula that effectively tackles various surfaces around your home, from countertops to appliances.” An added bonus? “The pleasant fragrances often linger in the air long after the cleaning is done,” she says.
Buy Method Citron All-Purpose Spray 4-pack at Amazon for $18.76.
Best Duster: Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty With Extender Handle
Finding the right duster can make a big difference in your cleaning routine. Once they’re full of dust and debris, it’s hard to transfer it all into the trash. Toner solves that problem by using Swiffer Dusters.
“These are my favorite because they’re designed to trap and lock in dust, hair, and allergens while being completely disposable, so you can toss them when done without having to worry about redistributing the trapped dust to other parts of your home,” she said. “And their fluffy fibers reach into tight spaces and conform to different surfaces, making it easy to get rid of dust from nooks and crannies.”
San Angelo also uses Swiffer dusters: “I love the extendable pole,” she said. “It can get hard to reach places so you don’t have to use a ladder.”
Buy Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Starter Kit at Amazon for $19.76.
Best Toilet Cleaner: Clorox ToiletWand Disposable Toilet Cleaning Kit
Toilet cleaning is one of the most necessary — and least appealing — housecleaning chores. Professional house cleaners have a lot of incentive to find the easiest way to do it!
“The Clorox ToiletWand system is a game-changer for toilet cleaning,” Toner said. “The disposable cleaning pads are preloaded with cleaning solution, making it a hygienic and convenient option. It’s effective at breaking down tough stains and leaving your toilet bowl looking and smelling fresh. Just clean and toss — no need for a separate brush or messy cleaning liquids.”
If you are looking for a more eco-friendly cleaner, San Angelo says she likes to use Blueland Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets (14 for $28.99 at Amazon) — which are made without chlorine bleach, hydrochloric acid, dyes or plastics. You drop a tablet into the bowl, wait for it to dissolve and give the bowl a quick scouring with a scrub brush. “They are actually pretty comparable in price to other toilet cleaning tablets if you just buy the tablets and not the kit,” she said. “And they are non-toxic which is great.”
San Angelo acknowledges that you will need another cleaner (like a spray) for the other parts of the toilet. “If you are on a budget, a half vinegar, half water mixture in a spray bottle is a great and very inexpensive alternative. Vinegar is an acid that disinfects. It is also safe on your toilet unless you have a gold toilet or something!”
Buy Clorox ToiletWand Disposable Toilet Cleaning Kit at Amazon for $11.98.
Best Cleaning Pad: Mr. Clean Original Magic Eraser All-Purpose Foam Cleaning Pads
Magic Erasers are cleaning pads with the cleaning solution built in, so all you have to add is water. According to the manufacturer, you can use it on walls, bathtubs, oven doors, light switches, doors and a host of other places.
San Angelo confirms these claims. “Magic Erasers are truly magic,” she said. “They are the best thing to get off soap scum from bathtubs, showers and shower doors. They can clean any smudges on walls, cabinets and light switches (be careful on painted surfaces, if you scrub too hard it can take the paint off). If you have a dingy ceiling fan, use a magic eraser to make it white again.”
Buy 3-count Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads at Walmart for $3.46.
Best Tile and Tub Cleaner: Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser
When cleaning tubs and tiles, it’s important to find the right balance: You want something tough enough to remove dirt, rust and soap scum, but not so harsh that it will damage your walls, floors and bathtub. Toner said Bar Keeper’s Friend has figured out this formula. You simply spray it on the surface you need to clean, wait one minute, and then scrub it with a cloth or sponge.
“This is my primary go-to for tiles and tubs because it’s got a gentle touch while being tough on stains and grime,” she said. “Its non-abrasive formula means it won’t scratch surfaces, which is a must for delicate bathroom fixtures. Whether it’s soap scum, rust stains or mineral deposits, this cleanser handles the job effectively without damaging your surfaces.”
Buy Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser at Amazon for $7.53.
Best Oven Cleaner: Easy-Off Fume Free Oven Cleaner Spray
Ovens can be one of the worst kitchen appliances to clean because of baked-on food, grease and burnt debris that stubbornly sticks to the bottom, sides and door. But Shari Cedar of AK Building Services, a commercial cleaning service in South Florida, has found a solution.
“Easy-Off Oven Cleaner works easily on ovens and grills,” Cedar said. To use, spray the inside of the oven, starting with the top and then covering the sides and bottom. Close the door and wait about two hours. Then open it back up and wipe the surfaces with a sponge or paper towels. Seemingly permanent grease stains will come right off.
Buy Easy-Off Fume-Free Oven Cleaner at Walmart for $4.97.
Best Dish Soap: Dawn Original Liquid Dish Soap
Dish soap needs to be strong enough to remove grease but safe enough to use on utensils used to eat. There are many brands to choose from, but Toner and San Angelo named the same brand.
“Dawn Ultra is a household favorite for a reason,” Toner said. “It’s a powerhouse when it comes to cutting through grease and tackling stubborn food residue. Super effective without drying your skin plus a little goes a long, long way!”
San Angelo jokingly refers to the video of wildlife rescuers cleaning ducklings with Dawn: “If it’s gentle enough to clean baby ducks, I’m in,” she said.
She also praises the company for its innovation. “They spend lots of money on research and development making products people actually want and need,” she said. “Their Powerwash [a concentrated spray version that cuts grease faster] is a great example, and they came out with an EZ Squeeze bottle that is great for people with hand mobility issues.”
Buy Dawn Original Liquid Dish Soap 3-pack at Amazon for $9.99.
Best Laundry Cleaner: Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean
There are a lot of options for laundry detergents these days, and they range widely in price. “Arm & Hammer is one of the least-expensive detergents on the market,” Cedar said. “But it leaves the laundry super clean and has a very pleasant fragrance.”
Don’t Waste Your Money backs up this assessment, giving this detergent an excellent rating of 9.1 out of 10. In an analysis of 107 expert reviews, Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean came in sixth place out of the top 22 products.
Buy Arm & Hammer Plus Oxiclean Laundry Detergent at Amazon for $6.99.