9 Household Cleaners I Can’t Live Without

The weather in Portland has been unusually sunny this week and it feels like Spring came a little early this year. I am trying not to get too comfortable with the sunshine, since I know this is only a temporary preview, but it does get me excited for warmer weather.

On Monday I shared with you my Spring Cleaning Checklist and it got me thinking about cleaning. Over the years, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about a deep clean and have edited my utility closet to only the cleaning products I feel are absolutely essential. 

Here are the household cleaners I can’t live without (as well as a few new products I am excited to give a try this Spring):


1. For decades we have used Arm & Hammer Baking Soda to deodorize our fridges, but don’t shortchange baking soda for nothing more than an air freshener. My favorite thing to do with baking soda, is to add a spoonful to the cat box to help keep it smelling fresh, but it can also be used to clean burnt food off of pot and pans, polish silver and deodorize everything from rugs and upholstery to food containers. I’m looking forward to trying it out on cleaning our patio furniture this year. The possibilities are endless!

2. Distilled Vinegar is another powerhouse in the cleaning world. I started buying vinegar in bulk at Costco when I found out all of the things it can be used for. It is a natural disinfectant. I originally bought it for cleaning my dish towels, as I have found it is the only thing that gets the smell out of them. It can also be used for unclogging drains, cleaning glass, cleaning the shower head and removing stains from carpet.

3. I started using Bar Keeper’s Friend when we received All-Clad Copper Core pans for a wedding gift. It was recommended to give them a good deep clean, but it is great for all types of tough cleaning jobs. Soon after I read in an article that it has been a favorite of professional housekeepers and butlers for decades.

4. I have used Oxiclean as a laundry booster for years, but only recently discovered the power this product has for a deep clean. A lot of my 1st born’s baby clothes were stained (he was a spitter) and I wanted to get them fresh for the new baby. I mixed equal parts Oxiclean and Dawn soap with hot water and soaked the clothes overnight. Some of the clothes that were badly stained I soaked for 24 hours, but the spit-up stains on ALL of the clothes came out completely! Now I can’t wait to see what else Oxiclean can do!

5. I was introduced to Murphy’s Oil Soap by the guys that refinished our hardwood floors. We spent a nice chunk of change having the floors refinished before we moved in and I am determined to keep them looking like new so it will be decades before we need to refinish them again. Murphy’s Oil Soap is gentle and great smelling and saves my floors from the daily incidents of living with cats and kids.

6. I don’t know what is in a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but they truly are magic. Our sink had some sort of yellow-ish tinge to it and this is literally the ONLY thing that got it out. It can be used on a number of surfaces and is a quick and easy no mess solution. If I was going to have only ONE cleaning tool, this would be it.

7. When I was a kid, it was my job to clean the bathroom. I always used Pine-Sol and was amazed at the ease when using Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner as an adult. Where had this been all my life? As a short-cut to one of the grossest jobs in the house, I make room for this product, even though it is limited to cleaning only one thing.

8. If for nothing but making the world’s amazing bubbles, Dawn Dish Soap should be a staple in every house. As I mentioned earlier, mixing Dawn with Oxiclean saved my spit-up stained baby clothes and it is really capable of so much more than dishes. Here is a great list of the things Dawn can do.

9. In high school, I worked at a year-round indoor swimming pool and the instructors were in charge of cleaning the facility at closing. This included cleaning the windows that seperated the parent viewing deck from the pool. During those four years I found that Windex is a far superior window cleaning product to any other brand. For a streak-free shine, there is no other window cleaner that I trust.

10. I have long been a fan of Windex, but have never heard of Windex Outdoor until now. I was dreading the thought of cleaning the exteriors of my windows this Spring and strategizing how I was going to get my pregnant belly up a ladder, when I came across this product. I haven’t tried it yet, but it has gotten rave reviews online and I can’t wait to give it a shot.

11. I feel like I should have known about lemon as a cleaning product a long time ago, but I am just finding out about it now. It seems like it is a great way to clean a variety of metals, but I am most excited to try it out on the copper part of my copper core pans, which the Bar Keeper’s friend doesn’t seem to get clean enough.

12. I haven’t found a shower/tub cleaner that I love and The Works seems to be a favorite of many. I plan on picking some up on my next trip to the store and giving it a shot.

What are your favorite cleaning products/secrets?


  1. says

    Great list! Baking soda and vinegar are always great natural cleaners for me, too. I also haven’t found a great shower and tub cleaner that I love (and that really works well), so I can’t wait to hear what you think of The Works.

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