A clean house doesn't just look nice, it can also improve your health and provide peace of mind. Studies have shown that spring cleaning yields health benefits, and cleaning your house can also improve your mood and help reduce anxiety levels.
Now obviously, getting your counter clean is no substitute for seeking mental health help when you need it. But every little bit helps. So the next time you're trying to psyche yourself up to do some dusting when you'd rather just watch Netflix, remind yourself that you are practicing self-care.
That said, if you're going to clean your house, you should pick the products that will do the best job and are safe to use in your home. Here's what professionals in the cleaning industry recommend you pick up before you spruce up.
(Unless otherwise noted, we are listing prices for all of the products below at Amazon.com. You may find cheaper prices at other stores, including Walmart, Staples, and Home Depot. Also, note that because of the coronavirus pandemic, retailers have been reporting shortages for many cleaning products.)
Best Cleaning Products: Updated September 2020
Seventh Generation boasts that all of its products are non-toxic, vegetable-based, and contain no dyes or fragrances. Dawna Boone, the owner and founder of Valet Maids, a Dallas-based residential cleaning service, swears by the brand, especially if "you are looking for something plant-based and without harsh chemicals," she says. "This one won't leave your home smelling like chemicals."
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser: 3-Pack for $10.09
It happens to all of us. You neglect your shower or stovetop and eventually the grease and dirt congeal into a mess that is downright intimidating. But don't be afraid, help is available. Justin Carpenter owns Modern Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas, and when his employees have to face a big stain, they reach for Bon Ami.
"Bon Ami is the best powder cleanser on the market," he says. "It is a non-toxic abrasive cleaner that works well at removing stains in your showers or cleaning your sinks and cooktops."
Zep Neutral Floor Cleaner: $9.49
Tiles can be a pain to clean. Grout, which fills the void between tiles, can collect gunk, especially around sinks.
Roman Peysakhovich, the owner of Onedesk, a commercial cleaning company based in Minneapolis, calls Zep Neutral floor cleaner simply "the best floor cleaner money can buy when it comes to cleaning grout. Most solutions for grout cleaning require high-pressure washing and strong chemicals," he says. "This product is so easy to use and knocks the grout right out."
Bathrooms are where you're supposed to go to get clean, so it's aggravating that they can get so messy. "The most requested service for bathrooms is always removing soap scum and hard water stains from glass shower doors. The best product by far for this is BioClean," says Peysakhovich. "You only need a very small amount so the bottle lasts you a very long time! The product works very easily and does not require a whole lot of elbow grease like other shower stain removers."
Dogs and cats offer companionship and love. But they are animals, and they can really stink up a joint. Matt Clayton gets it. The proud dog father of two golden retrievers (named Ben and Jerry), Clayton is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com, a website devoted to helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He recommends Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator.
"It is a professional grade enzyme cleaner that will effectively remove those nasty urine, feces, and vomit stains pets often cause. And not only the stain but all related odors as well. The product is enzyme-activated, which means it contains natural enzymatic bacteria that feed on the organic material and urine crystals in the stain," he says. "The Rocco & Roxie enzyme spray is certified safe for your carpet, but it can be used on almost any surface, including upholstery, hardwood, tile, and laundry. It is also completely safe for pets and kids."
RustAid Goof Rust Stain Remover: From $20
The annoying thing about stains is that sometimes, different stains can require different cleaners. If rust, which is notoriously hard to get rid of, is giving you a headache, then Justin Edwards, a cleaning contractor from Michigan, recommends RustAid.
"This product is great if you have a lot of rust stains in your toilet or shower you want to get rid of. As always when dealing with these types of liquids it's important to wear safety equipment like gloves and glasses," he says. "All you have to do is load it onto a sprayer and carefully, spray it on the surface with rust, give it some time like 5-10 minutes, and finally wash it off with water. You'll be surprised how easy it can make the rust disappear."
Vinegar: it's not just for salads anymore. Nature's own acid can be used in food, but in its undiluted form it's an eco-friendly cleaner. Kate Diaz, the owner of Swankyden.com, an online resource for DIY decor projects, recommends Market Pantry white vinegar from Target.
"This multi-purpose cleaning vinegar can turn that hopeless area in your home shiny and clean. You can use it to clean glass, sealed wood furniture, and even fabric," she says. "Aside from using it to wipe down items in your home, you can also put it in a spray bottle to mist your upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes to eliminate odors and dust."
Clorox Triple Action Floor Dusters, 26 Cloths: 2-Pack for $24.99
Instead of allowing dust to accumulate to such an extent that it becomes a problem, it's easier to do just a little bit of dusting throughout the week. Diaz likes the Clorox Triple Action Floor Dusters for tackling the job.
"These convenient wipes eliminate the need to use a dusting cleaner. You can say goodbye to spraying before dusting since these wipes can catch all those bits of dust," she says. "When you're done, you simply throw them in your trash can."
Sprayway Glass Cleaner Aerosol Spray: 2-Pack for $11
Not all surfaces are the same, and plenty of the cleaners you would use on your countertop would ruin your mirror. That's why Carpenter recommends Sprayway, which he calls "the best glass cleaner on the market. This ammonia-free cleaner leaves your glass streakless and looking sparkly clean," he says. "The bottle has a sprayer that shoots out just the right amount of cleaner so you don’t waste any."
Best Vacuum Cleaner: Portable Wet Vac
Stinger Compact Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum: $38.66 (unavailable)
Ask a parent: you can either have a clean home or a kid, but you can't have both. Andrew James, the owner of Indianapolis Restoration Pros, a water and fire restoration company in Indianapolis, fixes messes for a living, and recommends that parents pick up the Stinger Compact Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum.
"This wet and dry vacuum is a must-have for any homeowner with children. Children seem to have a strong habit of spilling all types of things around the home and car. With this lightweight and easy to use vacuum you can clean up any liquid messes quick," he says. "You can also convert it into a blower to clear up debris if you need to. Since this is a small vacuum, we use it to soak up any water in hard to reach places where large vacuums just wouldn't work."