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Every Single Cleaning Product You Actually Need (and None of the Ones You Don't)

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It may seem almost impossible to believe, but alas, it's true: spring is right around the corner. This means that crocuses will be sprouting, birds will be chirp-chirp-chirping, and best of all, spring cleaning is on its way!

Oh, you're not eagerly anticipating spring cleaning? Hmm, just me then. But what if I threw some shopping suggestions at you to sweeten the pot? Ah yes, now I've got you.

A great way to usher in a new season is to take stock of all the stuff you have, and spring—what with its eponymous cleaning—is the perfect time to look at your collection of cleaning supplies. Really.


5 Laudable Laundry Products

Detergent: You probably have a detergent brand you're loyal to, and that's great. If it works, stick with it! But if you want to get extra serious about things, consider adding a specialty detergent or two (or nine, if you're me) to the mix. A detergent designed for dark clothing, like Woolite Dark; a product for your dainties, like Tocca Laundry Delicate; and one for blasting the smells out of gross gym gear, like Win Detergent, are all great options.

OxiClean: It's rare to find a product that can take those ugly yellow pit stains out of your favorite white tee and get the grout in your bathroom gleaming white, but then again, OxiClean isn't your average product. It works wonders on stained and dingy-looking clothes, as well as on tricky tile.

Lestoil: Speaking of products that can be used on both your laundry and your floors, let us now turn our attention to Lestoil which, much like its similar counterpart, Pine Sol, can be used to wash your floors and to remove one very specific stain from your favorite dress shirt: oil. The next time you splatter salad dressing down your front, dab a small amount of either product onto the stain and launder as usual—greasy stains be gone!

Dryer Balls: Ditch dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener (which can do a number on towels and clothing with any sort of stretchy fiber), and make the switch to reusable dryer balls. They'll save you money and are great at fluffing up oversized items like parkas and comforters.

White Vinegar: Maybe you're worried about losing softness when you make that switch to dryer balls? Fret not! Adding a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle will serve as a natural fabric softener and, as a bonus, will help to eliminate lingering odors that detergent alone doesn't kill.

4 Killer Kitchen Products

Dish Soap: A good dish soap like Dawn or Palmolive will cost you a few pennies, sure. But in the long run, that extra spending will be worth it. High-quality soap lasts longer than cheaper options which contain a higher water-to-soap ratio. So treat yourself, and your dishpan hands, to the good stuff.

Sponges: For day-to-day dish-doing, a sponge with a scrub-y back, like the Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge, is totally the way to go. If you regularly use seasoned or enameled cast iron pots and pans, also grab a Dobie Pad, which offers the scouring power of soap-impregnated steel wool (that's a fancy term for, like, Brillo) without any of the scratching woes.

Ammonia: Ahhh, ammonia. It's a bit of a controversial cleaning product due to its toxicity, but when it comes to combating greasy buildup on kitchen cabinets, walls, floors, and exhaust hoods, there's nothing quite like it. You only need a very small amount—a tablespoon up to a quarter-cup—diluted in water to eliminate that sticky film that even the cleanest of kitchens can develop.

Baking Soda: Everyone knows to stick a box of baking soda in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh, but its best quality when it comes to the kitchen is actually its ability to get burnt, stuck-on food off the bottom of your favorite pans. To use, sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the bottom of the pot in question and pour boiling water over it. Allow the water to cool until it's safe to handle, then wash the pot with hot soapy water. The scorched food should slide right off.

3 Badass Bathroom Products

Scrubbing Bubbles: Someone once said of me, "I wish I loved anything as much as Jolie Kerr loves Scrubbing Bubbles." It's true, I am so, so, so, so, so passionate about this foaming bathroom cleaner, mostly because it gets the tub, sink, and toilet clean with so very little effort. And who wants to spend a lot of time detailing the commode? Not me, that's for sure.

Windex: Every bathroom should have a good glass cleaner, which can be used on glass, obvi, but also to shine up chrome fixtures. And as far as this Clean Person is concerned, Windex is the best out there.

X-14: This one falls into the same category as Scrubbing Bubbles, in that I love it because it does most of the work for you. X-14 is a mold and mildew remover that, fair warning, smells like death. Please open the windows and don gloves before using it! But that's about as much work as you'll have to do with this stuff, other than spraying it on mildewed grout, walking away for a bit and then wiping it off with a sponge.

2 Fabulous Floor Products

Vacuums: The best vacuum advice I can give you, other than "have one," is to opt for a lightweight model that you can store in a place that's super easy to get to. Here's why: A vacuum that you don't use does you no good. The biggest reasons people don't use their vacuum is that it's heavy and/or a pain in the tush to get out from its storage place. So! Don't buy the fanciest vacuum, buy the one you'll actually use.

Dryer Sheets: Remember how I told you to ditch the dryer sheets when it comes to laundry? Well, hang onto a box of 'em for this purpose: They're amazing at picking dirt, dust, hair, and other debris off of baseboards. The best part is that those sheets leave behind a thin coating that will actually repel dust. Amazing, right?!

1 Last Thing

WD-40: Oh God, I love WD-40 so very, very much. It's one of those weird products that everyone should have in the house, and can be used for all sorts of weird cleaning tasks like removing tar from clothing or crayon from walls. Just so great, please go buy some immediately, please and thank you!