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Apartment 101 / Know-How: Cleaning Products & Tools You’ll Need

(Kari, what should we call this series?  Can SEO help us pick a name? I’m not sure most people understand the “101 reference, which is a college thing.  “Apartment Know-How might be better…. or something else.)

Whether it’s your first Apartment or someone else typically bought the stuff to keep your place clean, here’s a shopping list of items and products you need, for cleaning your apartment.

The Cleaning Tools

First, let’s tackle the items you’ll need to have in your closet or under the sink, the “tools” required to clean an apartment:

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® is easy to use; choice can depend on your flooring)
Bucket or small plastic tub (for mopping)
Broom  (choose the angled kind)
Dust pan (some dustpans come with small attached hand broom; these are a nice bonus)
Dust rag
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 (this might come with your apartment; store it near the toilet for emergency situations)
Trash cans (it’s extra nice to have a foot pedal on the one in the kitchen)
Vacuum cleaner  (warning: used vacuums can contain fleas)
Lint removal roller (if you have pets, use this to pick up fur from fabric-covered furniture, linens)
LUXURY ITEM: Small dust vac for small dry messes
LUXURY ITEM: Shelf liner is a nicety to keep your glass rims from touching old shelves
LUXURY ITEM: Poison Ivy Soap by Burt’s Bees® is good to have on hand, if you love nature
LUXURY ITEM: Blind/fan cleaner
The Cleaning Products

Now here are the products you’ll need to buy, and replace only as needed. You’ll find them at any grocery store, dollar store or drug store. Don’t worry: most of them last a really long time. Also note that the brands below can be substituted with other products, including those which might be more environmentally friendly. (Use the brand name to find the right section of the cleaning aisle!)

Paper towels (select-a-size will save you money)
Garbage bags (scented bags can be a good thing)
Laundry Detergent (see if your washer wants powder soap or pods)
Spot removal product (for laundry)
Dryer sheets (to avoid static cling; alternatively, a felt ball will save you money long-term)
Dish washing soap (for hand-washing dishes; choose a kind that’s easy on the skin)
Hand cleanser (dish-washing soap can be harsh on skin; some are designed for double-duty)
Dishwasher soap (for the machine)
Soft-Scrub® (this product has a little grit in it, and cleans stubborn stains from sinks, surfaces)
Endust® (for dusting wooden furniture and décor)
Dustrag or washcloth
Tilex® Mildew Root Penetrator (for dirty grout in the kitchen and bathroom, or any tiled space)
Pine-Sol® (which you add to water) or Swiffer® products (mop product depends on your flooring)
(use cautiously, but when added to warm water, can erase stains; only use with white laundry)
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

LUXURY:  Laundry softener

(Kari, I added the section below, but it could actually be expanded into its own blogpost and linked to from this post……)

Now all you need is an idea of how often you should tackling the various tasks to keep your home clean and healthy.

Bathroom: 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.

Kitchen:  Clean surfaces after each meal prep. Sweep floor daily. Clean sink at least once a week. Mop floors at least twice a month; weekly is better. Deep-clean refrigerator surfaces twice a year, and clean immediately after a spill. Clean stainless surfaces as needed. Clean garbage cans if you have a spill inside.

Dusting: Twice a month, or sooner, if you have pets or dust allergies. Look for dust bunnies behind the doors. Clean your floorboards once a year.

Floors: 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.

Furnishings: Use lint roller often if you have pets on the furniture, otherwise, as needed. Vacuum in the cracks of sofa and chairs every three months.

Windows: As needed.

Oven: As needed.

HOT TIP:  For copacetic roommate relations, sit down with this list and talk about who will do what. Agree on a schedule and stick to it.

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Apartment 101 / Know-How: Cleaning Products & Tools You’ll Need


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