As a professional house cleaner, the number one question I am asked is “what products do you like to use for cleaning?” It seems everyone wants to know the magic bullet that will take the sting out of house cleaning. The truth is there are very few products that have made my heart sing, and I’ve used a lot of them over the years.
When I start a new job, the client usually has on hand an impressive stockpile of cleaning supplies. This is a testament to good advertising; people buy product after product, each of which claims it will make house cleaning a breeze. Inevitably each fails to deliver and subsequently gets relegated to the back of the cleaning closet with the rest of the stuff.
As a result, I’ve had the chance to sample a wide variety of cleaners. My overall impression: most cleaning agents are unremarkable. They vary by smell, consistency, color. Some are easier to apply than others. Generally, I’ve been unimpressed. Often, plain water and a good cleaning cloth do the job just as effectively, and without the fumes.
There are, however, some select products that have proven their value. These cleaners work well, smell good (or not at all), and generally improve the cleaning experience, i.e. make it easier. So here they are: my top ten favorite cleaners.
Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner
Stainless steel surfaces are very popular, and when they’re clean they look great. But stainless also tends to show every fingerprint and smudge, so in my quest to restore its natural shine, I’ve tried many cleaners.
What I’ve found is that most stainless steel cleaners are not all they’re cracked up to be. They tend to be oily, which makes for a lot of buffing, and this makes my elbows sore. And even after all that buffing, there are usually streaks left behind.
The one that I’ve found to be very effective and easy to use is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner. Weiman is not greasy or oily, applies easily, and wipes away cleanly, leaving the surface shiny and free of fingerprints and steaks. It’s neutral smelling, reasonably priced, and performs as expected.
Weiman Glass Cooktop Cleaner
Weiman also makes a really good glass cooktop cleaner. Glass cooktops should always be cleaned with an appropriate cleaning agent. Unfortunately, many of the products I’ve sampled over the years simply don’t clean tough grime.
A cooktop, by its nature, often ends up with burned-on messes. So a cooktop cleaner needs to have the power to cut through tough jobs.
Weiman Heavy Duty Glass Cooktop Cleaner and Polish does the job with ease. It removes burned-on messes as well as day-to-day grease and grime, rinses easily, and buffs clean, leaving a beautiful, shiny surface. Like Weiman’s stainless cleaner, it’s neutral smelling, reasonably priced, and performs as expected.
Everyone seems to have their own idea about the best way to clean glass. Some swear by alcohol-based cleaners, others prefer ammonia or vinegar or glass wax or plain old water. Many glass cleaners have the tendency to leave behind residue and streaks, others smell bad, and some both smell bad and leave streaks.
I’ve found Glass Plus to be quite effective. It sprays on easily, smells good, and it cuts through all types of grime and residue, including toothpaste on mirrors, hair spray overspray, fingerprints, nose prints, doggy drool, and whatever else you throw at it.
Glass Plus also cleans appliances, countertops, ceramic tile, and a variety of other surfaces. I’ve even used it to remove fingerprints on walls.
Best of all, Glass Plus buffs dry without leaving streaks behind. It’s an excellent value and performs just as expected. It’s my first choice glass cleaner.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge
Ordinary sponges are fine for daily clean-ups, but for tough jobs, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge is my go-to. It’s a great heavy-duty weapon against stubborn grime of all varieties.
Magic Eraser Sponge removes scuffs on floors and baseboards, soap scum in the bathroom, cooked-on messes in the kitchen, and fingerprints on walls. It works so well it’ll take the paint right off the wall, so be careful!
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge has tons of uses both inside and outside the house. It’s reasonably priced, doesn’t have any offensive scent, and perform as advertised.
Comet Cleansing Powder with Bleach
To remove soap scum, dried-on grime, or other really tough messes, the combination of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge and Comet Cleansing Powder can’t be beat. This is mechanical cleaning action at its best. A little bit of elbow grease is all it takes. Plus, Comet Powder contains bleach, so it will remove light stains as well.
Comet Powder easily cleans stainless steel sinks, porcelain surfaces, and can even be used on fiberglass.
An advantage of Comet Powder in the bathroom: it doesn’t emit toxic fumes. It has a neutral odor, is an excellent value, and performs just like it says it will.
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner
Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner is a powerful soap-scum fighter that makes bathroom cleaning easier. There are a variety of products that claim to cut through soap scum, Scrubbing Bubbles delivers the goods.
This isn’t to say that a little elbow grease won’t still be necessary. But Scrubbing Bubbles’ chemical formula does a good job of breaking down soap scum so that it wipes clean with minimal effort.
Its foamy consistency allows Scrubbing Bubbles to adhere to the surface of shower walls better than typical liquid cleaning agents. Letting it work for a few minutes gives it a chance to cut through grime. For really tough buildups, repeated applications will eventually do the job.
Scrubbing Bubbles is reasonably priced and does what it claims to do. Its scent is somewhat overpowering, so be sure to use a vent fan when using this chemical cleaning agent. If what you’re looking for is an easier way to eliminate soap scum, Scrubbing Bubbles will do the job.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover
For mildew and mold or any tough stains on hard surfaces, Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover is very effective. Be advised, this is a strong chemical cleaner and not for everyday use. This product should be used sparingly and only in a well-ventilated area. Follow directions to the letter.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover contains bleach, which quickly removes mold, mildew and stains from grout and tile. It also kills germs. Simply spray onto the surface, allow it to work for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover has a very strong odor, but it’ll save hours of hard scrubbing and is a good value. It absolutely does what it claims to do.
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile Cleaner
Routine bathroom cleaning is easily accomplished with Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile Cleaner. This isn’t great on really tough soap scum buildups (Scrubbing Bubbles or Comet Cleanser are more appropriate in this situation), but for regular removal of mild bathroom grime, Mrs. Meyers Tub and Tile Cleaner does the job nicely.
This cleaning agent is available in a couple of different scents, which are mild and fairly non-offensive. Spray it on, allow it to do its job for a few minutes, wipe the surface clean, and rinse. Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Tub and Tile Cleaner is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way, and it performs the job of routine bathroom cleaning adequately.
The Original Beeswax Multipurpose Cleaner
The one multipurpose cleaner that I really like is The Original Beeswax spray. It can be used on glass, granite, marble, wood, fiberglass, and a variety of other surfaces. Spray it on, then buff the surface clean.
The Original Beeswax leaves no film. Glass doesn’t streak. Wood is left with a nice sheen. Fiberglass looks brand new.
This product is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. It smells good, is mild, and performs better than expected. This stuff is awesome!
Method Floor Cleaner
Floor care is one of the most challenging aspects of house cleaning, especially caring for wood floors. Method Squirt and Mop Floor Cleaner does a really good job when used with a soft microfiber flat-head mop. It leaves wood floors clean and shiny.
The almond-scented blend leaves behind a fresh, clean odor. This product is a good value because a little bit goes a long way. It’s easy to use and does a great job.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning a house. Everyone has different preferences about scents and consistencies, so the products that I like may not be the ones you will like.
These are products that I’ve found to consistently perform as advertised. While there’s no magic bullet when it comes to cleaning, products that deliver on their promises give you your money’s worth and take some of the sting out of the job.
Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional,