5 Cleaners You Don’t Need to Buy If You Live in a Small Space
Clean freaks like me love to talk about which cleaners work best for specific tasks, which uni-tasking tools are worth buying, and try new hacks from TikTok. But one thing that rarely gets acknowledged is the amount of space it takes to store all the cleansers, sprays, and specialty tools that collect when you’re someone who’s really into cleaning. If I’m not careful, the cleaning supplies themselves can become yet another mess I need to declutter and organize. To address the excess, it pays to pare down to a set of cleaning essentials that can get the job (and most jobs) done.
If you live in a small space where storage is at a premium, here are some cleaning items you really don’t have to have at home.
And even if you do have the space for multiple kinds of laundry detergent, a couple different glass cleaners, and the granite-cleaning supplies you’re “testing out,” simplifying your products and tools will streamline your cleaning process every time.
Stainless Steel Cleaner
While cleaners dedicated to stainless steel are nice and seem to offer some bonus fingerprint repellence, they’re not must-haves. You can clean stainless steel with any all-purpose cleaner, or even just a dampened microfiber cloth. (Make sure not to use harsh cleaners like bleach, as they can damage the coating that makes stainless steel “stainless” and lead to rust marks.) To polish, use a dab of coconut or olive oil on a paper towel to buff your stainless steel to an impressive shine.
Whether it’s the blue stuff or another dedicated glass cleaner, you don’t have to have a separate spray bottle for cleaning your windows, mirrors, and other glass. Instead, a vinegar and dish soap solution is exceptional at cutting through soap scum and dirt. I actually learned this from some professional house cleaners as they were cleaning up construction dust after we completed our addition and it works so well. Their recipe is half white vinegar, half water, and a few drops of Dawn dish soap.
Multiple Mops for Different Kinds of Mopping
Dry and wet mop methods each have their place — dry mopping to pick up dust and wet mopping to scrub the surface — but you don’t need a separate tool for each task. Instead, opt for one mop with interchangeable heads. I especially like this one because the dry mop has loops that do such a good job of reaching and picking up dirt and dust.
Okay, this one seems surprising, but hear me out: Just because you can use all-purpose cleaner for multiple surfaces doesn’t mean that’s what you have to use. Dish soap and vinegar are fantastic cleaners for just about any surface. For instance, you can use a soapy sponge or rag to wipe down your kitchen counters and table; just swipe again to “rinse” with a clean rag. A vinegar and water solution can be used on hard surfaces like desktops and to wipe down shelves or the toilet after dusting. And remember that a dry microfiber cloth itself is excellent at picking up dirt and lifting it away.
Convenience aside, there’s a lot not to love about cleaning wipes. First off, disinfecting wipes should be used as a disinfectant, not a cleaner — and not everything needs to be disinfected frequently. Also the disinfecting ingredients won’t work if there is organic matter, aka dirt, in the way, so if you believe you’re disinfecting something by using a disinfecting wipe on a dirty surface, it’s not as effective as you might think. And other cleaning wipes like those for cleaning leather, wood, or stainless steel are more expensive, produce more waste, and take up more space for less cleaning power than their spray bottle counterparts.