20 things under $20 that will help you clean your home
Stock up for your spring clean.
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The importance of a clean home can’t be understated these days. If you’re like me, you’re wiping surfaces down more often than ever, and hopefully, you’re including your tech screens. With spring right around the corner, now is the time to stock up on cleaning supplies. If you’re running low on surface cleaner or you notice your sponges are looking worn out, you have the opportunity to switch out your old products with more organic or sustainable alternatives.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite cleaning items for messes all over the house including sponges, brushes, microfiber cloths, toilet cleaner, and more. Get ahead on your spring cleaning with these 20 top-rated cleaning products we've used and loved.
1. A scouring stick
A scouring stick is your go-to cleaning device for hard surfaces and hard-to-clean stains like toilet bowl rings, sink and tub stains, and rust on hardware. This stick is extremely affordable at only $2.49 and it’s handy for cleaning across the house (and in the garage). We recommend purchasing at least two sticks—the first can be used in your kitchen and bathroom for scrubbing tiles, faucets, basins, and removing grease buildup; the second stick can be for outdoor and garage uses like cleaning tools or flooring, cleaning paint from hard surfaces, and cleaning grime from pipes.
One of our editors swears by these sticks, saying they've completely changed the way she tackles built-up stains in the shower and bathtub. You'll want to wear gloves while working with them, as they can be rough on your fingers.
2. Microfiber Cloths
If you don’t already have a stash of microfiber cloths, put these in your cart and buy them before finishing this list. Microfiber picks up crumbs, dust, and spills like nothing else. I use these to wipe off the counters and stove, and my roommate uses them at the bar she works at. The cloths are soft, so they don’t scratch countertops or glass, and you can use them with cleaning products or just water alone. Cloths like these make spring cleaning easy, even if they're tackling the sticky stains in your refrigerator. Best of all, they’re soft enough to wipe fingerprints or water stains from wine glasses and serving ware.
3. Scrub Daddy
The Scrub Daddy is one of the best kitchen sponges you can buy, period. The iconic sponge is as versatile as it gets. The sponge is soft enough to clean dishes yet rough enough to clean grease from pans or use on tile and grout. The happy face on the sponge makes cleaning more enjoyable, and it gets some seriously clean results. The sponge’s toughness can be altered with water temperature, and even when it’s scrubbing off stains it won’t scratch. The three-pack has over 14,000 reviews, so it’s definitely worth trying if you aren’t already convinced!
4. White Vinegar
If I could only have one cleaning ingredient in my home, it’d be distilled white vinegar. Yes, the scent can be a bit abrupt and takes some time to get used to, but it’s so versatile. Plus, you often water it down or combine with an all-purpose cleaner or essential oils, so the smell really isn’t that bad. You can use vinegar to clean countertops, stovetops, sinks, tubs, toilet bowls, and more. My go-to scrub is vinegar and baking soda (like a volcano at a science fair). I combine the two into a paste and add a few drops of citrus oil, then scrub the sink or bathtub to remove stains and residue. And with two large bottles for only $4, it’s hard to beat.
5. Microfiber Mop Pads
Mopping is one of those tasks that I dread each month, but it makes the biggest difference in a room! A traditional mop and bucket is a bit too much work (and equipment) for my style, so instead I bought reusable mop pads like these from QVC. The microfiber material works like a duster when dry, gathering any hair, dust, or crumbs on the floor. When wet, you can mop as you usually would. I like reusable pads because you can attach them to a tool like a swiffer, replacing swiffer pads. After mopping you can easily remove the microfiber pads, throw them in the wash and dryer, and you’re all set for another round of mopping.
If you're looking to invest in your mopping setup, we recommend the Norwex Superior Mop Starter System, which is the best mop you can get for the environment. It uses similar microfiber technology to tackle stains, allowing you to mop without feeling guilty about producing so much waste.
6. Screen cleaner
Odds are, you've got a lot of screens in your home: televisions, dual monitors, iPads, smart thermostats, keyboards, smartphones, etc. We’re aware of how dirty and germy these surfaces can be, especially since we spend so much time using them. Make sure to clean screens and tech regularly and with the right products and materials. This WHOOSH! Kit can be used on electronic screens and eyeglasses, brightening up the surfaces that get a lot of use. The kit also comes with a microfiber cloth that you can dedicate to tech cleaning to keep it soft and gentle to avoid scratching any costly devices.
7. Lint and pill remover
Who doesn’t love a 2-in-1 cleaning device? My hair is constantly shedding, so I need to clean the couch cushions and my sweaters every week. And, after my boyfriend adopted a cat, we’re cleaning twice as often! This popular lint and pill remover works on most fabrics. It’s simple to use: you practically “shave” the rug or cushion or clothing and you’re left with a clean, hair-free or pill-free fabric. This wooden and metal handheld remover is a one-time purchase that replaces all the lint rollers you’ll ever need.
8. Surface Cleaner
A multipurpose surface cleaner is essential for efficient cleaning. You’ll want one you can use in any room of your home and one that works on various messes. This “all good” cleaner from Public Goods is made from coconut-derived actives with the scent of jasmine instead of the heavy alcohol and bleach smell of alternative cleaners. It can be used around the house to keep up with day-to-day dirt and is vegan-friendly, biodegradable, and eco-friendly.
9. Swedish Dishcloths
Swedish dishcloths are like paper towels and cloth towels combined. They are absorbent, textured, and washable. When dry, they can soak up a spilled drink or mess and then be wrung out in the sink. When wet, they can be used to wipe down surfaces like countertops and tables, as well as substitute for a sponge when washing dishes. You can clean them by putting them in the dishwasher or in the laundry, though I prefer to air dry mine when I can. I’ve had some of these for over a year, and even with heavy use, they are 100% biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable at the end of their life!
10. Straw Cleaners
You should be cleaning your straws as often as your dishes. I’m often tempted to let mine air dry and reuse them again, but when I’m drinking a smoothie or kombucha, I often end up ruining the next drink by not cleaning them fully. Having metal, bamboo, or glass straws is great for the environment, but you’ll want to care for them well to make them last. Many straws come with a cleaning brush, but if yours didn’t, getting one will only cost you a few bucks. You can handwash your straws all together with lots of soap and let the thin brush do all the work. Leave them upright to dry.
11. Organic Laundry Detergent
Ditch the grocery store laundry aisle filled with tubs of detergent and confusing claims. Instead, wash your clothing with The Simply Co.’s laundry detergent. It’s made from organic and natural ingredients like baking soda, washing soda, and castille soap. This 18oz container can last up to 60 loads and is unscented, making it a wonderful alternative to the strong scents of other detergents. If you like to have fresh smelling laundry, you can add essential oils like lavender or orange to make your load smell cozy or citrusy while still knowing everything in your product. This powder also comes in a glass jar that’s easy to reuse for other cleaning or storage needs.
12. Oxygen Boost
Adding this Oxygen Boost powder to laundry detergent or all purpose cleaners—especially Branch Basic’s Concentrate—amps up the power of the cleaning and gets cleaner (and whiter) results. It’s a must-have if you do a lot of laundry for your little ones or have plenty of tile in the kitchen or bathroom that you like to keep spotless. The formula doesn’t have bleach, ammonia, fragrances, or dyes, making it healthier to use on clothing or in rooms that have a lot of traffic than other cleaning products. You can also use it as a stain remover for clothing or carpets and let pots, pans, or toys soak to look like new.
13. Unpaper Towels
If you’re looking to take your first step towards a more waste-conscious kitchen, these “fake” paper towels are the perfect introduction. They’re soft but absorbent and can be stored on a roll just like your family’s go-to cleanup wipes already are. A pack of six is a way to dip your toes into a bit of zero waste life without having to replace everything in your kitchen.
14. Castile Soap
I love making my own cleaning products at home. If you also like to DIY products, or just generally like to know what is in the products you use, castile soap is one of the main ingredients for plenty of mixtures. You can use it like a concentrate to make all purpose cleaners, dish soap, and even laundry detergent. I like the peppermint scent for extra joy, but Dr. Bronner's has others like lavender, rose, citrus, and unscented.
15. Beechwood Dish Brush
I’ve had this brush for almost a year, and it’s still my favorite way to wash dishes, even if food has been baked on. The bristles are soft and fan out a bit from the head of the brush, so bowls and glasses are easy to clean without fear of scraping. And the brush is equally effective on dirtier dishes like frying pans, cookie sheets, blenders, and food containers. The hoop at the end of the handle allows you to hang the brush up to dry, instead of leaving it flat on a surface to sit in its own water. Once the brush’s head of bristles is worn down, you can remove it and use it as a scrubber to clean around the house and replace it with a new head for only $6.50.
16. A Dishwashing Block
What is a dishwashing block? It’s a slab of soap that you use like a bar of soap for your dishes. Typically, you actually rub your dish brush or sponge on the block instead of using the block directly on plates or pots or pans. This soap block is vegan and fragrance-free. It easily cuts through grease and is just as sudsy as liquid soaps. The benefit here is that you only use what you need, saving the earth from yet another plastic bottle, and putting fewer chemicals on the dishes you eat and serve food off.
17. Leaf cleaner
A full deep clean always involves my plants. I have a lot of pothos and dieffenbachia plants, so their leaves often get dusty if they’re near heat vents or a bit sticky if they’re in the kitchen. I’ve been using Leaf Shine every month (give or take) for the last few years. I like to spray the product on large leaves, sometimes misting the plant, and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. My plants always look more vibrant and perky afterward!
18. A Bottle Brush
Water Bottles and wine glasses can be some of the most difficult dishes to clean, but if you have a bottle brush it’s much easier. I tend to refill my water bottle over and over throughout the week, but it starts to get a strange smell after a lot of use. This brush has bristles that are natural antibacterials. It can clean water bottles with narrow mouths, jars, baby bottles, vases, wine glasses, and more. The brush is also recyclable and biodegradable.
19. Foaming Bowl Cleaner
Cleaning the toilet isn’t glamorous, but with a foaming bowl cleaner, you don’t have to get your hands dirty. You can simply clean the toilet bowl and remove stains by lowering the water level and pouring in some of this foaming cleanser. Let it sit for at least five minutes and then flush. You’ll be left with a cleaner toilet bowl and can spend your time elsewhere cleaning other parts of the house!
20. Rubber Gloves
Sometimes a mess requires you to get your hands dirty. I’m talking wine stains in the carpet, food baked onto your frying pan, or maybe a few broken glasses. In those cases, you’ll want rubber gloves. This reviewer-favorite pair has a cotton liner and a rubber outside to keep your hands dry and clean without getting sticky and sweaty while wearing them. They are waterproof and non-slip, so you can use them to wash dishes or clean up the ickiest of messes.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.