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Ask UfYH: Basic Cleaning Supply List

Q: I am moving soon! And setting up a whole new household with my honey. What kinds of cleaning supplies should I buy as a start? I know I’ll forget things, and lists help me feel better. 

A: I’m a firm believer that you don’t need a lot of specialized stuff in order to keep your home clean. There are a lot of things that will multi-task, and a lot of things that are useful but not completely necessary.

Necessary basics

  • Kitchen sponges
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Dishtowels or dishcloths
  • Vacuum cleaner (if you have carpeting)
  • Mop and bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Multi-purpose cleaner, like Lysol concentrate or something similar
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda


  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (Please note that Magic Erasers are made of melamine foam, which is essentially microgrit sandpaper, so it can wear away paint and other finishes, and it can also be a skin irritant. Wear gloves.)
  • Swiffer dry mop if you have pets (or if you shed a lot). You can buy microfiber cloths if you don’t like the idea of the disposable ones.
  • Bar Keepers Friend (the powder kind)
  • Comet powdered cleanser
  • Zip-It (for clogged drains)
  • Steam mop, if you’re so inclined

The extras will make certain jobs easier (Bar Keepers Friend is a miracle on stainless steel or rust stains), but they’re not a necessity if they aren’t in the budget. I have and use a steam mop (mine is a Haan), because I have dogs who like to walk through stuff and then lick their paws, so using something that involves no cleaning solution except water is particularly of interest to me. More important than supplies, though, is a good solid routine of what to do and when. Try to establish that before you move in, and keep problems from happening in the first place.

Good luck!
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