Since we’re talking about spring cleaning and avoiding “tool-shaped objects” syndrome, I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about favorite cleaning tools I can’t live without.
For years, in the name of frugality, I cleaned with sub-par products. I wasted time, energy and money on homemade cleaning products and homemade laundry detergent that didn’t work. And that over time, left my clothes dingy and smelling like mildew – yuck!
That time is no longer!
Keeping my home neat and clean is important to me. But I can’t do it well without high-quality tools. Cheap stuff doesn’t perform well. It also damages the surfaces you’re trying to improve, which cause them to become dirtier, faster.
Yesterday I went around touching up my home in preparation for a dinner party. I found myself feeling gratitude towards my well made cleaning tools. What my great-grandmother would have given for these labor saving devices! They really do make the job of homemaking faster, easier and more pleasant.
So here goes.
My Favorite Cleaning Tools
You guys, your vacuum is THE most important cleaning tool in your menagerie. (So says my 80’s ear cleaning mentor Don Aslett and my 20’s era Instragram fave @goCleanco, and I agree!)
A good vacuum saves you time spent cleaning all over the house.
Why? Because it minimizes dirt from the biggest source: your feet! It also reduces airborne particulates, meaning that people will breathe more easily. It gobbles up dust, hair, dried food bits, pet stuff, and so much more.
The number one rule of cleaning: We always vacuum everything we possibly can, first, before tackling with “wet” tools. I even vacuum my stove and bathrooms! (Note: yes, I clean the vacuum attachment tool after using it on bathroom floors. Also, I sanitize surfaces after they’re vacuumed so I’m not moving germs around.)
I’ve used and loved Oreck vacuum cleaners in the past. They’re moderately priced, run for years, and you can get them repaired at Oreck stores (in my experience, sometimes for free) instead of throwing them away when something goes wrong.
Also, I’ve found that with the Oreck, it’s fairly simple to trouble shoot and fix little problems yourself. My boys and I have done so several times.
But my newest vacuum is an Electrolux Precision. I bought it in a moment of desperation when the Oreck I had used for years finally went kaput. I believe I was pregnant or had a new baby at the time. For what ever reason, I didn’t want to go out and shop the Oreck store… thank you Amazon Prime.
It’s my first time owning a bagless vacuum, and I love it. Not having to buy bags takes one more thing off my to-do list, and emptying it is not a big deal. I simply take it outside to our outside trash cans and dump it so dust doesn’t fly around my home.
My Microfiber Steam Mop
The one I have right now is this Bissell version, a housewarming gift to me from mom (yeah, I asked for a practical gift!). It makes short work of mopping the hard floors in my home. So easy to use and eco-friendly too, since there’s nothing disposable about it.
One simply fills up the tank with water and puts the reusable, washable microfiber mop head on it. Turn it on, allow it to head up for a second and steam mop.
It glides effortlessly across the floor and I can mop my entire house in minutes, without a nasty bucket.
It’s great for bathrooms too because the hot steam sanitizes without questionable ingredients, and the swivel head means it curves around the toilet. You can even use it with the carpet steaming tool to clean your rugs and upholstery!
My Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Speaking of which, at said dinner party last night a certain unnamed 4 year old kicked over my glass of red wine. I didn’t even bother getting up to attempt to clean it, because I know my little Bissell will take care of it. How do I know this?
Because the first night in my new home (after I had lectured the kids about not eating and drinking in their beige newly-carpeted rooms!), I knocked over an ENTIRE glass of red wine all over my bedroom carpet!
Within seconds I had my steam machine running. I daresay nobody can even locate the spot where the wine spilled. It’s that good. I can use just plain water in it, or add a few drops of some type of cleaning product (I used a bit of OxyClean for the red wine stain).
In a house with kids and carpet, this thing is not optional in my opinion. I also use it to remove stains from my upholstered furniture. It works great and is so simple to use, my 6 year old can do it.
My Microfiber cleaning cloths
Oh my word how I do love my microfiber cleaning cloths.
These things are amazing. Used dry, they suck all the dust off a surface like a vacuum. They perform so well, I don’t use them without gloves on because they’ll dry my hands out! (Also, I’ll have a neurodivergent sensory meltdown, but that’s another post.)
Because they’re so grabby, microfiber cloths cannot be laundered with anything that is lint-y. (Many of them are sold with a laundry bag as shown in the picture above, for this reason.) I wash mine separately all by themselves, using hot water and the longest wash cycle.
Used wet, they’ll clean anything. I use them for washing my countertops, spot-cleaning walls and floors, cleaning appliances, even washing my face! They gently exfoliate and remove makeup like nobody’s business. I love that they’re washable and therefore eco-friendly.
What are your favorite cleaning tools?