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18 Cleaning Products Professional House Cleaners Always Buy

We asked the experts which cleaning must-haves they swear by to make every room in your home sparkle.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

via amazon.com (3)

Wiping the slate clean

Cleaning your house can be overwhelming—especially if your closet is overrun with cleaning products and equipment you don’t actually use. It gets even worse if, amid the stuff you do have, you don’t have the things you truly need. The problem is that it’s hard to figure out exactly what that is. Not only do you want to find products that cut down your cleaning time as much as possible, but you want the best sanitizers and disinfectants to kill the bacteria and germs lurking in your home.

To cut through the confusion, we talked to the people who know a thing or two about how to clean safely, thoroughly, and efficiently: professional house cleaners. On this list, you’ll find the cleaning products they always use for their customers and themselves, and they’re about to become your new favorites. Before you start stocking up, however, we recommend investing a little time paring down your current stock of cleaning supplies and finding out which cleaning myths you need to stop believing. Also, keep in mind that you should never mix these cleaning products together.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

via amazon.com

A lightweight vacuum cleaner: Kenmore Canister Vacuum

$249.99

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Experts recommend vacuuming your floors at least once per week—twice if you have kids or pets or live in a dusty region (including most cities). The professionals at Clean Home World say that the right vacuum cleaner for residential cleaning is light and easily maneuverable, and contains a HEPA filter. So it’s no surprise that Vanessa Leroy, crew leader for the Brighton Housekeeping Associates of Michigan, recommends the Kenmore Canister Vacuum, which checks all three of those boxes. “It’s more powerful than a standard upright vacuum and perfect for picking up all types of nasty debris to leave your carpets and hard floors clean once again,” she says. “It [also] comes with several attachments to assist in hard-to-clean places like corners, stairs, and couches.” Plus, that HEPA system is triple-filtering, making it super effective, especially if you have pets or worry about allergens in your home.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Light and maneuverable
  • Retractable cord
  • Top-rated HEPA filter
Amazon Basics Microfiber Clothsvia amazon.com

The top reusable cloths: Amazon Basics Microfiber Cloths

$15.49

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Paper towels were in short supply during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if you were already cleaning your house like a pro, you might not have even noticed. That’s because there are a lot of things you shouldn’t be cleaning with paper towels, which are wasteful and also can damage certain items. Microfiber cloths, on the other hand, can be reused, are gentle, and deliver even better cleaning results.

“They are usually knitted and very soft, making them generally safe for use on relatively soft surfaces such as paint or wood,” explains Jennifer Gregory, general brand manager at Molly Maid. That being said, you’ll want to watch that your cloth doesn’t latch onto a small piece of grit, because that could leave a scratch on whatever you’re dusting. Another bonus: Since microfiber cloths are made with polyester instead of cotton, they don’t leave lint behind.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Helps avoid scratches on hard surfaces
  • Reusable and cost-effective
  • Leaves a truly clean finish
O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucketvia amazon.com

A mop that makes things easy: O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket

$29.98

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According to the experts, you should be mopping your floors at least once a week, but hardwood floors should be cleaned twice per week—not just to keep them clean but also to prevent grit from causing scratches. But what kind of mop should you be using? While Swiffer mops are convenient, they’re not right for all surfaces. This all-purpose mop from O-Cedar, which comes with a built-in bucket and wringer, is a better option. “It’s made with microfibers, so I can use it on hardwood floors,” points out Vanessa Grimes, the owner of MaidGift in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It does not hold a lot of water, and it’s easy on my back.”

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • It’s a two-in-one product
  • Microfiber works well on hardwood floors
  • The mop head doesn’t hold a lot of water, so it doesn’t get too heavy
Fabuloso All-Purpose Cleanervia amazon.com

A versatile floor cleaner: Fabuloso All-Purpose Cleaner

$17.60

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Generally speaking, you’ll want to choose a floor cleaner specifically designed for the floor you’ll be using it on. However, according to a spokesperson for MaidPro, Fabuloso is safe and effective for virtually all floors. And yes, that includes wood floors, provided the wood is fully sealed, which is the case for most wood floors inside a home. It also smells great, doesn’t leave a streaky residue, and is rated “climate friendly” by Amazon. On the other hand, never use these 13 cleaning products on your hardwood floors.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Powerful cleaning performance
  • Safe for most surfaces
  • You don’t need a rinsing step when cleaning floors
Method Glass + Surface Cleanervia target.com

The best streak-free glass cleaner: Method Glass + Surface Cleaner

$3.29

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Nope, you might not find Windex at the top of a professional house cleaner’s must-have list. We didn’t! Merin Jay, of Top Window Cleaners in the U.K., swears by Method Natural Glass Cleaner. Not only does it eliminate grime and the dreaded streaks—it’s also eco-friendly. “This cleaning product is made of almost 100 percent green ingredients, which makes it safe for pets, children, and basically the whole family,” she tells Reader’s Digest. “Also, the bottle is made of biodegradable plastic, which makes it an environmentally friendly way to clean the windows and save nature.” And while it’s perfect for glass, this ammonia-free cleaner also does a great job on a variety of household surfaces, including tile and granite. Here are more green cleaning products professional house cleaners trust most.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Almost 100 percent green
  • Non-toxic
  • Biodegradable bottle
via amazon.com

A long-handled duster: OXO Good Grips Microfiber Duster

$15.95

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Microfiber cloths may be great for dusting, but when it comes to reaching things like crown moldings, high shelves, the tops of door frames and cabinets, and the upper parts of window treatments, you’ll want a long-handled tool to help you get the job done. This one from OXO extends to 53 inches, and the part that actually does the cleaning is made from microfiber, which, as we’ve already noted, is the gold standard for cleaning surfaces. Use a spritz of water on the microfiber surface, which is all you really need for most dusting jobs, according to Molly Maid. Don’t miss these other cleaning tricks for hard-to-clean household objects.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Long enough but not too long to be awkward
  • Microfiber dusting head
Clorox toilet bowl cleanervia target.com

The toughest toilet cleaner: Clorox with Bleach

$3.69

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How much do you despise cleaning your toilets? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t mind it nearly as much as hand-washing dishes, but it’s still not among your favorite household chores. To make it easier, start with the right toilet bowl cleaner. While vinegar is perfectly fine for cleaning toilets, according to Molly Maid, you may prefer using a commercial product that contains not only detergent but also bleach as a disinfectant. You can’t go wrong with this one from Clorox, says Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer of MaidPro in Boston. It’s an effective cleaner, the bleach gives it disinfecting power, and it’s a thick formula that clings to the bowl so that you can step away and let it do the work for you. In case you were wondering, this is why Clorox is so good at killing germs.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Cleans and disinfects
  • Pleasant scent
  • The formula does most of the work
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The right toilet brush: Simplehuman Toilet Brush

$24.99

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Think that all toilet brushes are basically the same? Think again. The right one can make cleaning the toilet easier, safer, and more effective, according to Abe Navas, general manager of Emily’s Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas. When choosing between brushes, look for two primary things: a scrubbing head that can get into all the nooks and crannies of your toilet, and a longer handle (at least 10 inches) with a good grip. This one by Simplehuman is long enough to keep the germs far away from your face and features a crescent-shaped brush head that easily reaches hard-to-clean areas around the rim. In addition to soft inner bristles, it has stiff outer bristles for scrubbing tough stains. Finally, it comes with its own caddy, so you can bring it from bathroom to bathroom, thus eliminating the need to have one in each bathroom. While we’re on the subject, here’s how you can clean your entire bathroom in five minutes or less.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Long handle
  • Soft, flexible scrubbing head
  • Comes with its own caddy
CLR Pro Calcium, Lime and Rust Removervia amazon.com

A hard water stain solution: CLR Pro Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover

$22.98

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As discussed above, vinegar can combat hard water stains and more in the toilet bowl (and elsewhere in the bathroom as well). If you prefer a commercial solution, a reliable workhorse is CLR Pro, which is an acid-based cleaner. According to Homer, acid-based cleaning solutions help dissolve mineral deposits caused by water coming into contact with bathroom surfaces.

CLR stands for calcium, lime, and rust, which are the three big stain-causers in most bathrooms, particularly those with hard water. CLR Pro is a favorite of professionals, and it’s safe for use not only in your toilet bowl but also on countertops, bathtub surfaces, shower tile, sinks, and stainless steel. If you’re concerned about the chemicals, you can rest easy in the knowledge that CLR Pro is certified as safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here another 50 secrets to make your house sparkle.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Safe, effective stain removal
  • Acid-based for removal of mineral deposits
Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bleach Cleanervia target.com

A shower cleaner that does the work for you: Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bleach Cleaner

$3.29

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For professional-quality shower cleaning, you might want to consider a thick, bleach-enhanced, bubbling solution like Scrubbing Bubbles Foam Bleach Cleaner. It happens to be what the cleaners at Molly Maid recommend as their go-to shower-cleaning solution. Just spray it on and it will cling to tile and grout, cutting through mildew, soap scum, and grime while you attend to other tasks. All you need to do to finish the job is to wipe it away with a microfiber cloth. While we’re on the subject of powerful cleaners, find out which products have been proven to kill coronavirus on surfaces.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Lets you move onto other tasks while it does the work for you
  • Cuts through mildew
Easy-Offvia amazon.com

A fume-free oven cleaner: Easy-Off

$12.33

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When it comes to really getting your oven clean, Easy-Off is the way to go. It’s considered the gold standard for many pros like Navas, who tells Reader’s Digest that it is truly one of the best products for cleaning the inside of your oven. “It comes out of the can foamy, and you can spread it everywhere—it’s intuitive and easy to use,” he explains. “But the best part is that it has sodium hydroxide, a chemical that melts grease.”

The only downside is that commercial oven cleaner is caustic. If you’re sensitive to harsh chemicals, or you simply prefer to avoid using them, then you can certainly substitute the Easy-Off for this clever trick, which came to us via TikTok.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Powerful
  • Cuts easily through even long-term grime
  • There’s no faster oven-cleaning solution
Better Life Kitchen and Bath Scrubbervia amazon.com

The safest stovetop degreaser: Better Life Kitchen and Bath Scrubber

$9.78

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Cleaning your stovetop regularly can help extend the life of both the outer surface and the burners, according to Paul Berry, owner of Mr. Appliance of San Antonio, a Neighborly company. However, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re not accidentally doing harm to your stovetop with cleaners that are overly abrasive or that can clog the burners. Clogged burners can shorten the life of your stovetop, and it also makes it harder for your pots and pans to heat evenly. Berry recommends Better Life brand’s Kitchen and Bath Scrubber, which he says is gentle to your stovetop but still powerful enough to cut through grease. As an added bonus, it’s cruelty-free.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Won’t clog your burners
  • Not overly abrasive so you won’t scratch delicate surfaces
  • Cruelty-free
Mr. Clean Magic Eraservia amazon.com

The go-to wall cleaner: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

$4.94

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You’re probably familiar with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser—it’s synonymous with removing crayon marks off walls. But this truly magical product offers so much more: “Magic Erasers are lifesavers,” says Rochelle Stalter, branch manager at Michigan’s East Lansing Housekeeping Associates. “Yes, they can be used to clean marks off walls or baseboards, but they also easily remove residue from sinks, counters, doors, and floors, and can even be used to clean grout or dirt in pitted tile floors.”

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • It works like magic (seriously)
  • No harsh chemicals
20 Mule Team Boraxvia target.com

The original all-purpose cleaner: 20 Mule Team Borax

$4.69

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Borax is an alkaline mineral that was discovered in large quantities in Death Valley, California, in the 1870s, and because it has the power to clean as well as sanitize, it became an important part of household cleaning by the 1890s. It has since been overshadowed by “higher tech” cleaning solutions such as oxygen-based cleaners, but Borax is the true original, and it can effectively tackle myriad household chores. Some of its many superpowers, according to Navas? Boosting your laundry detergent, cleaning sinks and toilets, and safely banishing stains from fabrics.

As an added bonus, borax is effective for eliminating mold. In fact, it’s the only cleanser that Rochester, New York’s Comprehensive Mold Management recommends for eliminating mold, which can grow anywhere water touches surfaces—you know, like everywhere in your bathroom!

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile
  • Powerful
Diamond Crystal Kosher Saltvia amazon.com

An all-natural scrubber: Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

$19.99

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Salt is incredibly versatile. Aside from seasoning your food, there are at least 60 additional uses for salt, including cleaning your cutting board, opening clogged drains, cleaning grease stains from rugs, and removing coffee and wine stains from fabrics. You can even use it in your washing machine for fresher laundry.

The pros at Merry Maids also suggest using salt to clean heavily soiled cast iron, rusted cast iron, and dirty coffee pots. For the best results, buy kosher salt; its coarse texture makes it better for scrubbing and cleaning.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Non-toxic
  • Versatile
  • Inexpensive
  • Compact, easy to store
Arm & Hammer Baking Sodavia amazon.com

An inexpensive deodorizer: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

$28.30

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Baking soda is a natural deodorizer with a mild abrasiveness, making it a fantastic option not only for absorbing odors but also for scrubbing surfaces that don’t mind a minor abrasive, according to Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute. You can use it for cleaning sinks, flushing out drains, eliminating carpet odors, and boosting the effectiveness of laundry detergent. Some of these tasks require the use of vinegar as well, which we discuss in more depth below. Since baking soda has so many household uses, it might be worth keeping a bulk quantity around for cleaning, in addition to a smaller box for baking. That’s why we like this Arm & Hammer 13-pounder.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic
  • Mixes easily with vinegar for powering through hard-to-clean places like drains


Distilled White Vinegarvia amazon.com

Every cleaning pro’s top pick: Distilled White Vinegar

$26.99

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As mentioned above, distilled white vinegar is recommended by pros for many household cleaning tasks. In fact, Molly Maid uses it in virtually every room of the house, and Sansoni says it’s particularly great at lifting hard water stains. Here are another 19 cleaning hacks that use vinegar for things like cleaning kitchen surfaces and the inside of your dishwasher.

In addition, when you mix baking soda with vinegar, there is a bubbling reaction that helps support deeper cleaning. While this can leave a salty residue on surfaces, it’s perfect for cleaning things that you can’t see, such as your drain, according to Sarah Brunette, brand director of Molly Maid. Just make sure you never mix these three things with vinegar.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Inexpensive
  • Non-toxic
  • All-purpose
Sally's Organics Amber Glass Spray Bottlesvia amazon.com

The best storage solution: Sally’s Organics Amber Glass Spray Bottles

$19.98 for two

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A truly well-organized and highly effective cleaning supplies closet should also be stocked with empty bottles with spray triggers. For starters, can use them for mixing and applying homemade cleaning solutions such as the ones referenced above. But there’s another benefit to using them: The spray bottles that manufacturers use for their cleaning products aren’t necessarily designed to last longer than the time it takes for you to empty the bottle, so when it comes time to buy a refill, it’s smart to fill your own bottle.

Of course, not all bottles are created equal. “The best refillable spray bottles will not leak and the spraying mechanisms are built to last and handle different liquids and chemicals,” according to the Cleaning Institute. “The idea is to have a bottle you can rely on for many years while using it with various applications.” These amber glass spray bottles are durable, have UV protection, and are just the right size.

WHY PROS LOVE IT:

  • Convenient
  • Flexible
  • Economical because you can refill them

Now that you have the right products, find out the secrets of people who always have a clean house.

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Sources:

Rachel Sokol
Rachel Sokol is a longtime contributor to Reader's Digest, tackling mostly cleaning and health round-ups. A journalism graduate of Emerson College, she's a former education writer, beauty editor, and entertainment columnist.
Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.