As people spend a lot more time in their own home in quarantine (some, with roommates, sharing the same cramped space with individuals who have very different lifestyle habits), you might be taking an extra keen interest in cleaning and tidying these days, perhaps even as a coping mechanism. As a typically avoidant tidier myself—“dodge, duck, and weave” is my motto when it comes to any kind of cleaning—even I’ve found myself channeling my anxiety into days spent mopping my floors, vacuuming furniture, and scrubbing at the (kinda cute?) baby-pink ring of mold that seems to have permanently hardened onto my toilet bowl. The world might be in flux right now, but my house offers a gleaming refuge of order in all this chaos.
What I am talking about is cleaning, which the CDC describes as “the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities.” Cleaning doesn’t kill germs, but lowers their number and risk by physically removing them from surfaces: Out, damned spot! Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to killing germs with chemicals after cleaning. (If you’re interested in the latter, take a peek at the EPA’s approved list of coronavirus-fighting disinfectants.)
Finding the right cleaning product for the job—whether that’s removing stubborn pet hair or making the bathroom a little less mildewy—can be tough, which is why we turned to cleaning experts for their advice. Here we’ve compiled the best cleaning products for floors, kitchens, bathrooms, and more, all recommended by professional cleaners. So, whether cleaning feels like a joy or a duty, these are the must-haves for keeping your house spick and span.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Amazon1All-Purpose Cleaning: Quickie All Purpose Microfiber ClothsVarious cleaning experts recommend using microfiber cloths to clean most surfaces: Stainless-steel appliances, televisions, glass and mirrors, countertops, and bathrooms. Eric Emms, co-owner of Rise and Shine Cleaning Service in Portland, Oregon, says that’s because microfiber actually removes dirt and dust by capturing it, rather than just moving it around, like most cotton cloths. JamiQuan, a Sacramento, California, based Tasker with TaskRabbit, agrees, adding that these reusable and washable cloths are “highly absorbent,” making them ideal for sopping up spills too. When using a microfiber cloth, Melissa Maker of cleanmyspace.com, applies the appropriate cleaner directly on the surface, then uses an S-pattern to wipe from top to bottom. For glass and mirrors, Anna Harasim, founder of Anna’s Cleaning Service in NYC, recommends using only water to clean and then drying the surface with a second cloth to avoid streaks.$9 AT AMAZON
Shoplet2All-Purpose Cleaning: Seventh Generation Professional All-Purpose Cleaner SprayThis all-purpose, biodegradable cleaner is designed to spray away grease, dirt, and grime from most surfaces. “It’s great if you’re looking for something plant-based,” without harsh ingredients, says Dawna Boone, founder of Valet Maids in Dallas. Boone loves that it’s free of chlorine bleach and fragrances, too, meaning it “won’t leave your home smelling like chemicals.”$4 AT SHOPLET
Bed Bath and Beyond3All-Purpose Cleaning: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday CleanerHere’s another easy to use all-purpose spray that Boone recommends; the plant-derived alcohols in Mrs. Meyer’s products work to clean and cut grease on nonporous surfaces. To use, spray the product directly on the surface and wipe away with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. Once the bottle is empty, consider refilling it with concentrate and water to create your own spray mixture.$4 AT BED BATH AND BEYOND
Grove Collaborative4All-Purpose Cleaning: Grove Glass Spray Bottle + All Purpose ConcentrateThis all-purpose cleaning concentrate is all-natural and can be used on most hard surfaces, says Lorrisa May, a lifestyle expert at TaskRabbit. Dispense the concentrate into the bottle, fill with water, and shake gently before using on everything but aluminum, brass, and wood. May also loves that the glass bottle is reusable, to help reduce plastic waste. But if you already have your own 16 oz. spray bottle, you can buy the all-purpose concentrate separately.$17 AT GROVE COLLABORATIVE
Amazon5All-Purpose Cleaning: Green Gobbler Ultimate VinegarFor general cleaning, the acetic acid in vinegar can help break down dirt and grime with ease. JamiQuan loves that it’s “a versatile cleaning option for your entire home,” including carpets, furniture, and most other surfaces. She recommends using this vinegar at full strength for tough jobs, and diluting it with five parts water for everything else. “It’s a lot safer than store-bought cleaners, as it’s biodegradable and additive- and chemical-free,” she says.$24 AT AMAZON
Amazon6All-Purpose Cleaning: Fabuloso All Purpose CleanerHarasim loves this degreasing agent for the fresh lavender scent, and the fact that there’s no need to rinse off the product after use. The brand also claims it won’t leave streaks or visible residue behind. To use, add a splash to a bucket of water, submerge a microfiber cloth or mop, and run it over surfaces like toilets or tile floors. $12 AT AMAZON
Target7Floor Cleaner: Method Squirt + Mop Wood Floor CleanerSayeh and May both use this wax-free cleaner, which is biodegradable and made from plant-based materials, on sealed hardwood and laminate floors. “My favorite thing about using this product?” says May. “You don’t need a bucket of water! You can squirt it directly on the floor and clean.” Sayeh agrees, adding that the cherry and wood scents keep the whole house smelling fresh.$5 AT TARGET
Amazon8Kitchen Supplies: Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap + Non-Scratch SpongeThis versatile dish soap can be used to wash pots and pans—one of its main ingredients, lauryl sulfate, bonds with grease to easily break it down in water—but can also be diluted into a handy all-purpose cleaner for the majority of surfaces in your home, says Maker. She keeps a bottle in the kitchen for doing dishes and a spray bottle filled with two cups of water, ½ teaspoon of dish soap, and 20 drops of essential oil for general cleaning.$15 AT AMAZON
Amazon9Kitchen Supplies: Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Advanced Soap Control Dish WandMaker says this dish wand has saved her a lot of time in the kitchen by making it easier to “power through the toughest of dishes.” She uses the heavy duty sponge for pots and pans that are impervious to scratches, and the built-in scraper to pry stuck-on food from nonstick surfaces, or any other surfaces that can be easily scratched. She also likes that its valve is designed to be leakproof, which prevents dish soap from spilling out of the handle, and that there’s a button that allows detergent to be dispersed into the sponge as needed.$6 AT AMAZON
Grove Collaborative10Kitchen Supplies: Grove Collaborative Coconut Scrubber SpongeMay loves that these sponges are made of absorbent, 100% vegetable cellulose, and finds that they’re nonabrasive while still effective in removing stubborn, stuck-on food. She uses them in the kitchen to clean cookware, glassware, countertops, and appliances. $5 AT GROVE COLLABORATIVE
Grove Collaborative11Bathroom Cleaners: Bon Ami Powder CleanserAurielle Sayeh, founder of Moody Maids in NYC, uses this powder cleanser to clean tubs and toilets or any surface in need of a scrub, but says it’s so good that she’s reluctant to share it. “This is top secret,” she says. Its formula features feldspar and limestone, as well as cleaning agents like corn, coconut and palm oils, plus baking soda for all-purpose cleaning. To use, sprinkle Bon Ami on wet surfaces before rubbing with a wet sponge. (Make sure to rinse this one or it’ll leave a residue.)$2 $1 AT GROVE COLLABORATIVE
The Home Depot12Bathroom Cleaners: Zep Shower Tub and Tile CleanerHarasim uses this acid-based formula in the bathroom to break down soap scum, dirt, and hard-water stains, and to remove limescale without producing harsh fumes. She advises spraying it directly on surfaces, spreading it around with a cloth or sponge, and then leaving it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing.$12 AT THE HOME DEPOT
Amazon13Bathroom Cleaners: Clorox ToiletWandThis toilet cleaning system includes a wand plus a storage caddy to house it, along with six disposable sponge heads preloaded with cleaner. Boone loves that the hexagonal sponges easily clean and remove calcium and lime stains from hard-to-reach places, while also eliminating the need to store a dirty toilet brush. “It’s great because you don’t have to touch anything and you can dispose of the sponge when you’re done,” she says.$9 AT AMAZON
Dyson14Vacuum Cleaners: Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless Stick Vacuum CleanerAnyone who’s met a proud Dyson owner would know—these vacuum cleaners are beloved for their sleek design, high-powered suction, advanced technology, and are also equipped with HEPA filters (sometimes two, a pre-motor filter and post-motor filter) that can help suction up particles as small as allergens and bacteria. Both Sayeh and Maker use the cordless range on all surfaces in the home, which have a lightweight body for lifting from place to place and don’t require being close to an outlet. Saeyeh has the V7 model, which she loves for its lightweight and battery-powered body, plus the fact that it “has dual functionality for reaching corners and under surfaces.”$300 AT DYSON
Dyson15Vacuum Cleaners: Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum CleanerMaker prefers the Dyson V11 model seen here that has an LCD screen for monitoring performance and run time. She loves that the battery lasts an hour on a single charge and that the HEPA filtration system keeps her house “dust, pet hair, and debris-free.” She uses hers to clean dust vents, baseboards, and tough-to-reach nooks, and calls out the extension pole attachment that makes it easy to vacuum high-up areas in the home, plus the hard-floor attachment that’s ideal for hardwood, laminate, tile, and stone.$700 $600 AT DYSON
Amazon16Vacuum Cleaners: Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister VacuumBecky Rapinchuk of cleanmama.com swears by this canister vacuum to deep clean dirt, dander, and pet hair from all surfaces. She loves the mélange of included accessories, noting that they’re essential “to clean steps, drapes, blinds, and under furniture.”$999 AT AMAZON
Shark17Vacuum Cleaners: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright VacuumThis vacuum is “a must to control dust and allergens,” says Emms, who loves that it has a HEPA filter for trapping tiny particles. Once sucked up, the “complete seal technology makes sure all those dust and allergen particles stay in the unit.” The large dust cup also means less trips to the trash can during cleans.$330 AT SHARK
Amazon18Mops: Bona Hardwood Floor Premium Spray MopThis all-in-one system comes with a full-size bottle of cleaning solution, a reusable cartridge, and a machine-washable microfiber cleaning pad, making it Harasim’s favorite tool for cleaning wood floors. For tile or laminate floors, she switches out the cleaning solution or refills the bottle with water and vinegar.$40 AT AMAZON
Amazon19Mops: Libman Tornado MopHarasim sums this Libman mop up in two words: “Best mop.” She uses this lightweight twist-squeeze mop to clean and pick up any spills, and says its safe on most surfaces. The Libman comes with three separate, machine-washable mop heads, which Harasim says are helpful for keeping certain soaps and chemicals from mixing. For example, “Murphy Oil Soap is great for hardwood floors,” but it isn’t a good combination with tile or bleach solutions. Luckily, she has a designated mop head for each.$28 AT AMAZON