Whether you’re in your first apartment or someone else used to buy the stuff to keep your place clean, there’s a number of cleaning tools you’ll need for cleaning your apartment.
Here’s a shopping list of must-haves and tips on how to clean an apartment.
Basic cleaning tools everyone should have
First, let’s tackle the items you’ll need in your closet or under the sink, the “tools” required to clean an apartment. Most of these items are reusable so it may be worthwhile to spend a little more for higher quality products.
- Scrubby sponges (choose one color for surfaces and another for dishes, don’t mix them up)
- Dish Scrubber with built-in soap holder (an alternative to the scrubby sponge for dishes)
- Mop (the self-wringing kind or a Swiffer-type is easy to use, the choice will depend on your flooring)
- Bucket or small plastic tub (for mopping)
- Rubber gloves (trust us, you’ll want to wear them for certain tasks)
- Broom (choose the angled kind)
- Dustpan (some dustpans come with a small attached hand broom, which is a nice bonus)
- Dust rag (you could cut up an old T-shirt for this)
- Large scrub brush (you’ll need this for tubs and floors)
- Small scrub brush (you’ll need this for corners and around faucets)
- Toilet brush (some come with a decorative holder which hides the brush, a nice buy)
- Plunger (one of these might come with your apartment, so store it near the toilet for emergency situations)
- Trash cans (it’s extra nice to have a foot pedal one in the kitchen)
- Vacuum cleaner (warning: used vacuums can contain fleas)
- Optional item: blind/fan cleaner
Cleaning products you’ll need to buy and replace
You’ll find a wide variety of cleaning products at any grocery store, dollar store or drug store. And most of them last a really long time.
Also, note that you can substitute the brands below with other products, including those that might be more environmentally-friendly. (Use the brand name to find the right section of the cleaning aisle!)
- Paper towels
- Garbage bags
- Laundry detergent
- Dryer sheets
- Spot removal (for laundry)
- Dishwashing soap (for hand-washing dishes, choose a kind that’s easy on the skin)
- Dishwasher soap (for the machine)
- Soft-Scrub (this product has a little grit in it, and cleans stubborn stains from sinks and other surfaces)
- Endust (for dusting wooden furniture and décor)
- Tilex mildew root penetrator (for dirty grout in the kitchen and bathroom, or any tiled room)
- Pine-Sol (which you add to water) or Swiffer products (mop product depends on your flooring)
- Bleach (you’ll need to use this with caution, but when added to warm water, can erase stains)
- Glass cleaner (like Windex) for mirrors and windows
- Febreze or air freshener (it’s nice to keep this in your bathrooms)
- Stainless polish (for stainless appliances and trash cans)
- Stove-top cleaner (if you have a glass-top stove)
- Oven cleaner
- Hand cleanser (dish-washing soap can be harsh on the skin; some are designed for double-duty)
- Lint removal roller (if you have pets, use this to pick up fur from fabric-covered furniture, linens)
- Optional item: Shelf liner
- Optional item: Poison Ivy Soap by Burt’s Bees is good to have on hand if you love nature
Natural cleaning products
Many cleaning supplies contain dangerous chemicals that can irritate the eyes or throat, or cause headaches and other health problems. According to the American Lung Association, some products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can produce dangerous pollutants indoors and be especially harmful to your health.
You can purchase all-natural soaps and cleaning products or make your own citrus vinegar cleaning spray or other non-toxic products. For some other ideas, here are green tips for a naturally clean kitchen.
How often to clean your apartment
How often should you tackle the various tasks to keep your home clean and healthy? The following are some general recommendations. But, for roommate harmony, it would be a good idea to look at these suggestions together, tweak them for your own reality, and make sure your hopes or expectations are in line with each other. Dividing up chores with your roommates is a critical part of learning to live well with others.
Clean your toilet (don’t forget to lift the seat) twice a week or more often, if needed. Clean your tub and shower walls, sink areas and the floor weekly.
Clean surfaces after each meal prep. Sweep the floor daily. Clean sink at least once a week. Mop floors weekly. Deep-clean refrigerator surfaces twice a year, or immediately after a spill. Clean stainless surfaces, as needed.
How often you should clean your oven depends on how often you use it. For avid cooks and bakers, you should scrub it once every three months. If you rarely use it, cleaning it about once or twice a year should suffice. If you use a microwave oven regularly, you should clean it at least once a week.
Dust twice a month, or more often, if you have dust allergies.
Vacuum any carpeting weekly or more often if you have pets. Mop floors at least twice a month. Having an entrance rug to scrape shoes on will cut down on the dirt.
Use a lint roller often if you have pets on the furniture, otherwise, as needed.
Wash windows as needed or every month or two. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to wipe away dust or grime on the window panes. Vinyl or metal blinds collect dust and should be dusted with a damp cloth. Curtains should be vacuumed at least once a month.
Make cleaning a priority
To stay organized, keep a list of needed cleaning supplies on your refrigerator or an app on your cell phone. Clean a little each day to keep from being overwhelmed. Relax, make a game of it, turn on some music and have fun!