Cleaning house for the new year doesn't have to be a bummer — all you need are the right products!
Whether you're fixing up the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, there's probably a lot of work to do. So, TODAY Home consulted with three cleaning experts — Jan Dougherty, author of “ The Lost Art of House Cleaning ,” Beth McGee, who wrote " Get Your House Clean Now ," and Melissa Maker, author of “ Clean My Space " — who shared their favorite products and tools to get any house spotless in no time.
1. White Vinegar
White Vinegar, $3, Amazon
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Also available from Walmart .
This multipurpose product is so outstanding, it was recommended by all three experts. “White vinegar is great for getting rid of bad odors, cutting grease and shining glass,” said Maker. “Something like cleaning vinegar might take an area in your home that might look hopeless and transform it and make it look clean and shiny.”
Dougherty swears by it for cleaning sealed wood furniture, glass and even fabric. When used on a rag to wipe down glass, it eliminates the waxy look left by common glass cleaners and lasts longer than most other cleaners. You can also pour it into a spray bottle and mist onto carpets, drapes and upholstered furniture for a dustless and odorless result.
Set limits and encourage playtime. Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children.
Check out these surprising uses for vinegar
2. Microfiber Cloths
SimpleHouseware Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (50-pack), $20, Amazon
SimpleHouseware Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (50-pack)
Similar available from Bed Bath & Beyond .
“Microfiber cloths cut my cleaning time probably around 20-30 percent, and they are reusable,” said Maker. “They are very absorbent; not only for dirt, but for liquid."
A microfiber cloth can absorb up to eight times its weight, making it the perfect, eco-friendly cleaning solution. Hint: You might want to buy these in bulk since you'll be using them for everything!
3. Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Bissel Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, $47, Amazon
Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum
Also available at Walmart .
Every home needs a versatile vacuum. A good one can suck the dirt off everything from rugs and floors to even the walls. “It is just a necessary tool for really getting your house clean,” said McGee. “Sweeping, Swiffering, none of that is going to get your house as clean as it needs to be.”
4. Krud Kutter
Krud Kutter Original Concentrated Cleaner and Stain Remover, $6, Amazon
Krud Kutter Original Concentrated Cleaner and Stain Remover
Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There's no better way for you to show your love.
Available in a larger size on Home Depot .
Dougherty describes this powerful cleanser as "for your whole world and everything in it." She said bathroom and kitchen dirt are both primarily grease. So, she asked, “What better product to clean grease with than a degreaser?”
She suggests mixing the biodegradable, nontoxic cleanser with water in a five to one ratio for regular cleaning. Soak a terry cloth in it and put it on the end of a Swiffer mop to wipe down floors. And, to remove particularly nasty stains from carpets and furniture, spray full-strength Krud Kutter on a rag and apply it to the stain, step on it (don't rub) and repeat.
5. Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soap, $16, Amazon
Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soap
Also available at Target .
Diluted, vegetable-based castile soap makes a useful all-purpose cleaner , according to Maker. “The great thing about castile soap is you always get this nice squeaky clean feel,” she said. "It's nice for people who don’t like enchanted forest or lemon fresh or whatever the scent you find with cleaning companies.”
Colgate Extra Clean Full Head Toothbrush (4-pack), $3, Amazon
Colgate Extra Clean Full Head Toothbrush (4 Count)
Available in a 12-pack from Walmart .
“Anytime you have the urge to scratch something with your fingernail, that's a good time to use a toothbrush,” Maker suggested. Toothbrushes come in handy for tiny nooks and crannies that other cleaning supplies won’t fit in.
Be a Good Role Model
You know those discolored little rings around your sink drains? Mix some castile soap and baking soda together then scrub with a toothbrush. The best part is: You probably already have an extra one lying around the house.
7. Bar Keepers Friend household cleanser
Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser & Polish, $10, Amazon
Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser & Polish 21-Ounces
Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond .
“It’s a pretty universal product. It’s not an offensive odor or anything like that, and it won’t scratch,” said McGee. It can be used on dishes, sinks, stoves, and glass since it's nonabrasive.
8. Toilet Brush
Toilet Bowl Brush with Hideaway Holder, $3, Amazon
Toilet Bowl Brush with Hideaway Holder
Similar available at Bed Bath & Beyond .
McGee uses a toilet brush to clean her kitchen floors. Seriously.
“It has a long enough handle to make it easier so you are not on the floor scrubbing and it has very stiff bristles,” McGee said. It's convenient!
9. Spray Bottles
Plastic Spray Bottles, $12, Amazon
Plastic Spray Bottles
Similar available at Walmart .
Buckets should not be allowed anywhere near home cleaning because dunking a rag repeatedly into contaminated water /product mixtures will only make your house dirtier, Dougherty said. Instead, she advises clients to invest in a few spray bottles and transfer all products into them as soon as they buy them.
Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you're too tired to cook doesn't make you a bad parent.
Looking for ways to organize all of this cleaning supplies? Check out the articles below for some suggestions:
- The 1 thing you need to organize your cleaning supplies — and keep kids safe
- How a $14 rack with more than 5,000 reviews gave me back my storage closet
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