If you want to buy new, we’ve included some helpful links to guide you to what we believe are the best buys in housekeeping. But it’s just as good—and maybe more fulfilling—to collect these staples as you go. Invest in your favorite must-haves, borrow others from family members, and slowly build a collection of house cleaning tools you can depend on.
1. A Good Sponge
There are a huge variety of sponges out there. It’s nice to have a classic sponge around—especially something with an abrasive side to tackle any grimy dirty surface. But if you want to explore your alternative side, you can try out sponge cloths that bridge the gap between sponge and towel, spaghetti sponges (they don’t require soap!), a Scrub Daddy that changes texture based on temperature, or silicone sponges that last almost forever.Magic Sponge Cloth, Pack of 3$11.98AMAZONBUY NOW
2. White Towels
I always keep a ton of white towels on hand. I picked up a couple of sets of cotton towels from Crate & Barrel, but you can find packs of these just about anywhere, even at the hardware store. They’ll always match, you’ll know when they’re dirty, and they can be easily bleached and disinfected without getting ruined. An eco-friendly alternative is cut up old t-shirts.Bar Mop Dish Towels, Set of 4$16.95CRATE & BARRELBUY NOW
3. Microfiber Cloths
Just like the white towels, getting a few of these to keep on hand can boost your cleaning power. Microfiber can often get surfaces clean on its own or with just a little water, and shouldn’t scratch or leave streaks behind (they’re great for windows).Buff Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, Pack of 12$15.98AMAZONBUY NOW
4. A Squeegee
These little tools are a must-have for keeping showers mold- and mildew-free. They also work great on windows if that’s a part of your cleaning routine. To get the most life out of your squeegee, make sure you protect the blade from being damaged while you use and store it. If your squeegee is leaving streaks or just not performing as well as it once did, you’ll know it’s time to replace the blade.OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Squeegee$14.99AMAZONBUY NOW
5. A Bucket
A nice sized bucket can not only stow your cleaning supplies, but also be used for mopping and a multitude of other household tasks. An essential for sure. You can buy one online (this $15 one from OXO is great), but most people just pick ’em up from the local hardware store.OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Mop Bucket, 4 Gallons$15.99AMAZONBUY NOW
6. A Spray Bottle (or 6)
Keep spray bottles on hand if you ever need to rinse something off with water, or to try your hand at making your own cleaners. Glass bottles will hold up to anything, and you can buy them one at a time for less than $10 or in multi-packs for a savings boost.16 Ounce Glass Spray Bottle$8.98AMAZONBUY NOW
7. A Scrub Brush
A sponge or cloth isn’t always going to work, so keep an all-purpose scrub brush on hand to use on tile, tubs, fixtures and tough stains. You can use an old dish brush that you’ve retired from dish duty, or buy a heavy-duty cleaning scrubber. We love this one from OXO and it’s only $7.OXO Good Grips All Purpose Scrub Brush$6.99AMAZONBUY NOW
8. A Toothbrush
When you need something a little more detailed than a scrub brush, a toothbrush is a great option. Disinfect some old toothbrushes and put them to work on grout, sink rims and all the other nooks and crannies in your house. You can even boil old toothbrushes in water to bend their heads and make them better at reaching tough spots.
If you don’t have a spare toothbrush, you can buy a special detail cleaning brush that’ll do the same job (maybe even better!).OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set$5.99AMAZONBUY NOW
9. A Broom, Dustpan and Mop
If you have any hard surfaces like wood, tile, cork, and linoleum, you’ll need tools to get them clean. You should check out different instructions for different types of floors, but most people can get along with a broom and dustpan and/or a dust mop. If you have pets or kids, you may want to get a wet mop as well, which will give you more power to clean up after spills or scrub grime from the floor.
If you have a really small apartment and don’t make very large messes, you can trade in a big broom for a hand broom and dust pan, like this $5 set from Target’s Made by Design line.Made by Design Mini Hand Broom and Dust Pan Set$4.49TARGETBUY NOW
10. A Vacuum
Whether it’s a Roomba or a Dyson or a sturdy workhorse passed down to you, you need one of these machines to keep floors clean and allergies at bay.Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner$289.00AMAZONBUY NOW