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    If You're A Cleaning Novice, These 29 Things Will Help Turn You Into An Expert

    Your sparkling clean home awaits.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A broom and dustpan set with an adjustable-height handle — it's best for sweeping up the daily dirt that seems to accumulate in your kitchen throughout the day (or week...or month, depending on how often you end up using it).


    You have to use something to pick up the bits of pasta, strands of hair, and buildup of general dust that afflict your kitchen floors — and some would argue that a broom and dustpan like this is your best bet. The dustpan features a row of useful teeth to help extract any debris that the broom won't let go of, so you don't have to bend down and mess with the broom when it stubbornly grabs a clump of hair.

    Promising review: "The best broom and dustpan set I have ever purchased. After researching numerous possibilities, this is the broom that won. I have a shop with old wooden floors with lots of space between the old wood planks. The bristles pick up everything between the planks. The rubber lip of the pan is flush with the floor and the teeth clean out the bristles perfectly. I was so happy that I bought another for my home and a third for the shop. This set costs a bit more, but in my opinion was well worth the price." —Carol

    Get it on Amazon for $36.99.

    2. And a handheld broom and dustpan that hook together for simple storage because sometimes you just spill a *little* bit and don't feel like pulling out the big set.

    photo of hands sweeping cheerios from a corner using the small, triangle-saped broom; the dustpan has teeth as well

    The brush easily snaps into the handle for simple storage, too!

    Promising review: "My dustpan brush broke and in the search for a new one, I found this one. I didn't think I'd be saying this about an ordinary dustpan but this one is the real deal. Its material is well made, the brush handle is comfortable, and there are even the spikes on the pan to separate the hair from the brush. It also gets into the hard corners. The best dust pan and brush out there!" —QueenB

    Get the set on Amazon for $7.99.

    3. A telescoping microfiber flip mop, if you have wood, tile, laminate, or linoleum floors. The blue side picks up some dirt, dust, and hair (completely dry), then the white side uses just water to wipe up even more stubborn gunk.

    Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed, Amazon

    I own and love an earlier version of this flip mop (it doesn't have the adjustable handle) — I bought it over five years ago, use it once or twice a month (in my tiny New York apartment), and the two washable pads I have are still in pretty good shape. To easily wet the floor, I use a spray bottle filled with water (or on wood, I like Bona because it makes the floor feel soft; that's $7.97 on Amazon).

    Promising reviews: "Awesome, easy way to clean hard floors. A dry mop that removes dust, dirt, and hair more efficiently than sweeping. Hair sticks to this and unlike sweeping, it doesn't just move the dirt/dust around. Once I was done cleaning my large kitchen and tiny bathroom, I just shook out the debris over the outdoor trash can. Works great and definitely more cost-effective than a Swiffer and more maneuverable than my Dyson vacuum cleaner." —K Lawson

    "This O'Cedar flip mop works like a dream on our hardwood floors. Very easy to maneuver around furniture and picks up most everything in its path. Cut my floor-cleaning time to a small fraction of what I used previously. Quality reusable microfiber cloths are great!" —Teresa Royall

    Get it on Amazon for $25.83.

    4. A powerful but inexpensive vacuum cleaner if you have any carpet or area rugs at all and don't already own a vacuum.


    Is there a perfect vacuum? Probably not, but this one has lots of great reviews, passes ReviewMeta, and is under $100, so I bet it's pretty good! Plus it'll do an even better job on wood, tile, and other hard floors than a broom or dust mop would — and with less effort, because it's designed to prevent dirt and crumbs from scattering as you vacuum. It comes with a dusting brush, crevice tool, and extension wand that store onboard, so doing the stairs or drapes is simple.

    (I personally use and like the Miele Turbo Team, which I've had for almost three years now, but at $499 I wouldn't necessarily call it a starter vacuum).

    Promising review: "Guys, this thing is a BEAST!! I took in my moms giant, long-haired cat five years ago after she passed. In the first time in those five years I FINALLY have a vacuum that picks up all of his hair on the first pass! It was super easy to put together, I love the bright orange color, and it’s suction is fantastic. I had to empty the large canister TWICE before finishing my one-bedroom apartment. I couldn’t believe it! Its super maneuverable around corners and easy to use. It’s a little on the heavier size, but still totally easy to move around. Never thought I could be so excited about a vacuum LOL. Definitely recommend, especially if you struggle with pet hair!" —Almy E.

    Get it from Amazon for $89.99.

    5. And a carpet-freshening powder because it'll deodorize the rug in your open-to-the-kitchen living room that's absorbed several years' worth of cooking smells.

    the canister of powder, which contains baking soda, borax, and essential oils
    Pardo Naturals

    Pardo Naturals is a Black-owned, woman-owned business specializing in products for people with issues related to sensitive skin!

    Get it from Pardo Naturals for $9 (available in four scents).

    6. A spray bottle filled with your choice of all-purpose cleaner and a pack of reusable microfiber cloths, so you can go to town wiping down each and every surface that's even the littlest bit dusty or dirty.

    hands using the microfiber cloths to wipe down window and shower glass, car headlights, and stainless steel

    You could also use an old cotton T-shirt (cut out rectangular rags if you feel inspired) or a simple cotton washcloth and your house would likely be just as clean! But microfiber cloths will hold up wash after wash, won't leave lint or streaks behind, and will help remove dirt and grime with less elbow grease on your part.

    Promising review for the microfiber cloths: "These cloths are truly lint- and streak-free. I’ve already used these cloths to clean my stove, dust my entertainment center, and wipe my bathroom fixtures and mirrors. All sparkling clean without any streaks or lint. So glad I found these. I’ll be putting one in every room for quick access." —FairGamer

    Get a pack of eight for $13.99, and three bottles of a lovely lavender all-purpose cleaner for $11.64, both on Amazon. Or if you prefer a plastic-free cleaner option, you can get one for $9.11.)

    7. A fume-free oven cleaner that will erase the evidence of all those years of delicious baked goods (or, y'know, frozen pizzas and bacon) overnight.

    Promising review: "I let Easy Off stay overnight in an oven with two grill racks. Both oven and grill racks where ready for the junkyard due to loads of buildup. Even scratching with a knife didn't help much. But!! Easy Off removed everything. I wouldn't believe this if I didn't see it myself." —Amazon Customer

    Get it on Amazon for $7.02, or if that's sold out, from another listing for $3.87.

    8. Or if you want something a bit less harsh: An oven scrub cleaner made from pumice, baking soda, sodium citrate, two kinds of plant-based cleaners, and eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, and tea tree essential oils. It may require a tad more elbow grease, but it'll still get the job 100% done.

    Cleaning Studio / Etsy

    You rub the scrub all over your oven's interior, scrub to your hearts content with a scouring sponge, then wipe off with a microfiber cloth. 

    Cleaning Studio is a small business based in Fairfield, Connecticut, that specializes in natural cleaning products and microfiber cloths.

    Promising review: "This is the first time in my 50+ years that I have actually enjoyed cleaning my oven. And no, I am not joking! This product is effective, easy to work with, smells amazing, AND I only used a tiny amount of product!!! I don't think I could imagine a way to improve this product. Highly, highly recommend it!!! Well worth any wait." —Diane Coury

    Get it from Cleaning Studio on Etsy for $17.99+ (available in plastic or glass jars). 

    9. A glass cooktop–cleaning kit packed with everything you need to shine up even the messiest burner so it gleams like it did the day you moved in.

    Promising review: "I hadn't thoroughly scrubbed my glass cooktop in years, only wiped down with random multipurpose cleaners which never seemed to do much. Then a friend recommended this product... AMAZING! The included scrubbers and scrapers really make the difference. As others have said it will leave your cooktop shiny and new... Even marks that had been on there for years came almost completely off... 98% better. The key is to use very little product. Let it dry to a haze and buff with a clean, dry cotton towel, just like waxing a car." —B. Swartwood

    Get the kit on Amazon for $10.29.

    10. A bottle of Bar Keeper's Friend because it can make so many things in your kitchen look brand new again: stained pots and pans, dull and scratched ceramic sinks, cooked-on grime on gas cooktops, tarnished shiny metal, rusty-looking stainless steel, and more.

    If that transformation doesn't convince you, just take a gander at the rest of the Amazon review photos — you'll see what I mean!

    Promising review: "I was so bummed when I scratched up my pretty white sink with pots and pans. I thought I'd need to have it replaced but I bought this stuff as a last-ditch effort to fix it. It takes some elbow grease, the scratches don't just wipe off, but if you scrub them for a few minutes they melt away pretty quickly. After two rounds my sink looks nearly brand new again. It also worked on a few mineral stains in my bathtub that I thought were permanent. Again, a little of this stuff, the scrubby side of a blue sponge, a little bit of effort and they were gone!" —Dan Borden

    Get two bottles on Amazon for $13.99 or from another listing for $12.48.

    11. A pack of three disposable drain snakes to reach deep into your pipes and pull up that slimy hair monster that's been viciously blocking your tub and sink from draining freely., Amazon

    Promising review: "I saw these featured on BuzzFeed and have been unsuccessfully through so many rounds of chemicals in my sink drain that I figured I might as well try it. IT COMPLETELY FIXED MY DRAIN IN LESS THAN A MINUTE. I was about to call my landlord. I wish I had known this sooner. Why we have all been pouring terrible chemicals into our drains and environment is beyond me. Bonus... I rinsed the first one off and am pretty sure I can use it again, so I consider these reusable." —Geneveive

    Get a pack of three on Amazon for $5.99+ (available in two sizes).

    12. A bottle of no-odor gel mold-and-mildew cleaner that sticks to your tile grout and caulking, giving it the time it needs to do its job: banishing the grossness like it was never there.


    Promising review: "This stuff is amazing. I had been fighting mold around the base of my shower for six months now. Nothing made a difference. Within five hours of using this stuff I have my shower looks brand new." —Cristina Hill

    Get two bottles on Amazon for $24.99.

    13. A high-quality toilet brush because if you don't own one already...well, they're the easiest way to keep your commode from getting gross.


    The canister this comes with opens automatically when you lift up the brush, then closes when you set the brush back down. Use it with a toilet cleaner ($15.99 for three bottles on Amazon), and after you're done scrubbing, trap the brush under the seat so it can drip-dry into the toilet before you put it back in the canister.

    Promising review: "Big fan of these toilet brushes. I bought two (one for each bathroom) and I love the clean and simplistic look. My housekeeper works in an upscale resort and said she likes mine way better than the ones they use in the hotel. They are easy to take out, and easy to put back in — it's a very well designed product. I also love that the brush and the handle are one piece. I've had brushes before where the head kept falling off. This brush is very sturdy and you can use a good amount of force to scrub (if needed)." —Patrick Reiner

    Get it on Amazon for $16.99.

    14. And a stamp-in gel — after your toilet's clean, this will KEEP it clean, no need to scrub on a regular basis. Just press it beneath the rim and let it do all the work., Scrubbing Bubbles /

    You'll have to re-stamp every 12 days or so, depending on how often that toilet gets flushed. (Pro tip, make sure to stamp it somewhere in the bowl it won't, erm, become a "target" and get sprayed off before its time.)

    Promising review: "So long as I keep one of the gel applications in the toilet it is virtually unnecessary to clean the bowl. I'm shocked how well this works to prevent any staining and it sure does lessen cleaning the old porcelain throne and make it much easier when you decide to. Probably the best regular-use toilet cleaner I've used compared to bleach tablets that sit in tanks or hanging things. I position in the front of the toilet where the water runs over it with every flush. Each application lasts about a week, so this two-pack is about three months of care for one toilet. Six applications per part IIRC. Definitely worth a buy." —Aphonic

    Get two packs that'll last up to 20 weeks each on Amazon for $7.96.

    15. Oh, and a pumice stone scrubber to tackle built-up hard water stains no toilet brush could hope to stand a chance against.

    You just wet the stone a little, then scrub away to watch it work its magic!

    Promising review: "I have a 19-year-old master bathroom toilet that had accumulated some nasty stains over time which regular toilet brushes and cleaning products just would not remove. Pumice stone worked like a charm! Given the nature and severity of the stains, it required some elbow grease, but 10 minutes later I have a new-looking bowl, and I see no signs of scratching. Am very happy with this purchase...well worth the very low price!" —Happy Retiree

    Get one on Amazon for $8.99+ (available in three sizes).

    16. And once it's clean, a pack of five hydrogen peroxide–infused toilet bombs that, with regular use, completely eliminate the need to scrape with a pumice stone at all.

    the five white spherical toilet bombs
    Juniperseed Mercantile / Etsy

    All you have to do? Drop one in the bowl, swish once or twice, let it fizz for about five minutes, then scrub for a minute or so with a toilet brush. Juniperseed Mercantile is a Littleton, Colorado–based small business with a passion for great skincare, simple living, and the Earth.

    Get the pack of five from Juniperseed Mercantile for $10.

    17. A telescoping tile brush so you can reach all the corners of your bathroom without teetering on the edge of your tub.


    The handle extends from 26 inches to a full 42 inches, letting your feet stay planted on solid earth.

    Promising review: "Makes cleaning so much easier! We have a small walk-in shower and it is difficult to get in the corners to clean without getting on your knees. With this I can remain standing and reach everywhere in the shower. I've recommended this brush to friends and neighbors (we are getting to a certain age) and it's been very helpful. Being an OXO product it's very good quality." —Linda L

    Get it on Amazon for $16.95+ (available in three styles and two designs).

    18. A carpet and upholstery stain remover so you can extract all kinds of dirt, rust, grease, food, and other stains that you haven't been able to get out using literally anything else.

    ^^That's ketchup pictured above, just FYI. It works on all kinds of upholstery, carpet, and other color-fast materials that are safe to dampen with water.

    Promising reviews: "Fantastic product and does what it promises. I had purchased several cleaning products to remove a stain from my mattress from my dog vomiting. This is the only one that got it out. I now keep this in my cupboard at all times." —Book Bandit

    "I had terrible rust and oil stains all over the seats of my car when I bought it. I tried other cleaners to get it out, but they actually made the stains darker. I took it to the dealership to see if they could get it out and they flat out told me no, so I gave up and lived with it for almost five years. I tried this after it was recommended by a friend. I sprayed it on and literally watched the stain run right off my seat. It was amazing! I thought I was going to have to pay hundreds of dollars to replace the seats in my car because nothing else would work. This stuff really is awesome!" —Brittany

    Get a bottle on Amazon for $12.39 (available in five sizes).

    19. A pill-removing stone because it'll work wonders to keep your favorite furniture and blankets (and clothes) looking new for years to come — just brush it over the fabric — all while barely ever wearing down itself.

    BuzzFeed / Maitland Quitmeyer

    BuzzFeed Shopping editor Maitland Quitmeyer swears by hers! She writes: "Like many of you, I've been living in sweats and PJs during this year+ of WFH full time. And it's made me revisit the state of some of my loungewear. Take for example, this college sweatshirt I wear all the time — as evidenced by the rather EXTENSIVE pilling all over it. So when I saw this pumice-esque sweater stone (it's made from upcycled car windshield glass — how cool is that?!), I decided it was worth the try. We've featured electric pill removers (mostly the fan-favorite Conair one) many times, and they really work. But sometimes you're looking for a little more detail or control — that's where this stone comes in handy. I was able to navigate around the contours of the logo on my sweatshirt with ease, removing pills using the corner or the entire flat bottom in a few quick strokes. It truly took no time at all — the sweatshirt was done in mere minutes. The only thing I would note is that particles do 'fall out' of the stone, so do your pill-removing on a surface that's easy to sweep or vacuum up at the end."

    Get it from Celsious (A Black woman–owned, Brooklyn-based small business) for $17 or from Amazon for $9.99.

    20. A soft cleanser that, with very little elbow grease, will eliminate years of built-up hard water stains on tile or glass, truly transforming your shower right before your eyes.

    Promising review: "Like a hot knife through butter for built-up hard water stains on my glass shower doors. I've tried everything and this stuff worked in two minutes. Made me a little embarrassed it took so long to find something so effective. I haven't tried it on anything else yet but I guarantee I'll be reordering just to have extra. Just can't have enough of a good thing." —Amazon Customer

    Get a bottle on Amazon for $9.51.

    21. A bottle of bathroom cleaner so you can scrub out every last bit of grime and soap scum from your tub and still have energy left to keep cleaning — or just enjoy life! — when you're done.

    I first heard about this stuff years ago from BuzzFeed Shopping Editor Mallory McInnis, who says: "Have you ever seen the movie The Santa Clause? There's a scene where Tim Allen's character shaves away his white beard and then ~WHOOSH!~ it reappears instantaneously. That's basically my bathtub and soap scum. I've tried many products to keep it at bay, but this is the only one that has ever really worked. Not only does it have a cute dog on the packaging, it also allows me to (easily!) wipe away dastardly soap scum without having to use a lot of muscle! Which is great, because I don't exactly have a lot of muscle to use."

    Promising review: "I cannot believe how well this product worked!!! We’ve tried probably three or four other products to try to put a dent in our horrible tub scum! No luck. I ordered this product as a last ditch attempt, and I can’t believe it. Our tub looks like new!!! I let the product sit for a while, and then I did have to scrub lightly with a rough sponge and hot water, but the scum just came right off and washed away! Some other products we tried had horrible chemical smells, but this one didn’t. I couldn’t recommend this product enough!!" —Lm14

    Get it from Amazon for $19.88.

    22. And if you happen to have a jetted or hot tub: a cleaner scientifically engineered to eradicate the years of grimy buildup you didn't even realize was lurking in the pipes.

    Promising review: "It's disgusting to see what comes out of your jets when you use this product. I can't believe we bathed in this! I've run bleach and dish detergent through my jets before, and that combination never cleaned with this efficiency. I highly recommended this product." —Amazon Customer

    Get a bottle with enough for four cleanings on Amazon for $16.99, or a bulk bottle with enough for 32 cleanings for $59.99.

    23. A pack of six dishwasher tablets — running even just one will eliminate any buildup in your dishwasher *and* those stains it keeps leaving on your clean dishes.


    Promising review: "Started getting white streaks all over my dishes. That never happened before. Thought it was my detergent and changed it, but no difference. Clean dishes with this weird white film on them. Wash them by hand, then put them back in the dishwasher, and white film again! Then I did an internet search to figure out what was going on (a dishwasher is an incredibly simple piece of machinery). Found this! Bought it. Used it. Dishes are clean again!" —Carey Holzman

    Get it on Amazon for $5.99.

    24. A daily granite cleaner to shine up any stone countertops you happen to have around your home, because some all-purpose cleaners (and anything with vinegar in it) can etch and damage the finish.

    model uses cleaner on granite so shiny you see their reflection

    Promising review: "This has been the only granite cleaner I've found that actually removes grease! All of the others I've tried have left a filmy haze...this one cleans it to a shine. The smell is very pleasant and doesn't last long. It DOES make the counters very smooth and I wouldn't recommend climbing on the counters in your socks to get something off a high shelf because you will slip easily. Don't ask me how I know." —Heather Williams

    Get it on Amazon: one bottle for $6.18 or a refill bottle for $13.98.

    25. An extendable microfiber duster that will help you reach your highest ceiling fans and the tops of cabinets without lugging out the ladder or pushing chairs around.

    the fluffy duster reaching the top of a ceiling fan, the bulb of a chandelier, an air vent, and between narrow shelves

    Its three expanding sections reach up to 64 inches — that's 5 feet! — so basically nothing will be out of your reach. You simply rinse the microfiber head clean when you're done using it (one reviewer suggests spinning it between your hands after it's dry, to fluff everything back out), plus the entire thing folds in half for easy storage. And its fluffy dusting head collapses easily to reach into small nooks and crannies.

    Promising review: "I'm not a neat freak so I never thought I'd be saying I love a duster, but when I use this I feel like it's one of the best things I've ever bought. I'm only 5'2" tall so I need the extra length even though I don't have high ceilings. It's nice to be able to use it at different angles as well as bend the duster part itself. Plus it's really easy to adjust.

    "I think the people that say the head spins as they use it haven't tightened the silver piece that prevents that from happening. Yes, some dust goes into the air, but hardly any, and you can see you're picking up a lot by how dirty it gets. I don't wash it every time, usually just take it outside and shake it out and clean it off with my hands." —cologirl

    Get it on Amazon for $16.99

    26. A bottle of Goo Gone because it's essential anytime you have to tackle mysterious sticky substances like tape residue, old stickers (including bumper stickers), glue stains, and dried bits of that slime kids love so much.

    reviewer's window before, with sticky duct tape residue, and after, with no residue left at all

    My boyfriend and I recently moved, and there's no way we would have gotten our security deposit back without this stuff! There were some posters that were hung up with big foam adhesive strips that weren't the removable kind. It took some elbow grease and consistent going over (and over) with a plastic scraper, but the Goo Gone was definitely essential. It helped break down the foam *and* the adhesive as we scraped, so we left behind bare, undamaged painted wall. 

    Promising reviews: "This stuff is amazing. So far, I have used it to remove heavy adhesive from a tile floor where we had previously had an adhesive cover for a wire running across the area. I applied Goo Gone, scraped the majority of the adhesive and fibers off, then wiped off the remaining residue with a paper towel.

    "Additionally, I used it to clean grease off of wood veneer cabinets using a paper towel, and it was so effortless! We have a microwave above the stove, and I also used Goo Gone to clean grease from the exhaust vents, which was so much easier than ever before." —Cass

    "My 9-year-old daughter turned my house into a slime lab. Words can't describe the damage this human did to our carpet and furniture. But then I discovered Goo Gone and our life took a turn. I cleaned a dry glue stain (hot glue gun) from my beloved bench. It removed dry slime from carpets. When you start cleaning your house with it you won't be able to stop until you removed all glue stains your kids have made." —MasonK84

    Get a bottle on Amazon for $6.99+ (available in two sizes).

    27. An all-purpose scrub because all you have to do is sprinkle it on a dull or stained surface — like your sink, tile, or even dirty dishes — then rub it around a little to reveal a polished, clean slate.

    Pur Home

    If the stain is particularly stubborn, you may have to sprinkle it on and wait 10 minutes or so before polishing, but in general it should be faster than that! The scrub's nontoxic, cruelty-free (Leaping Bunny certified!), and plant-derived. Pur Home is a Black-owned small biz run by Angela and Michelle Richardson.

    Promising review: "I love this product so much!! It is very versatile. I keep a jar next to the kitchen sink to use on any stains or residue in mugs, glassware, and pots and pans. I also use this on spots in the tub, sinks, and metal or glass furniture. I am constantly finding new uses for it." —Leah H

    Get it from Pur Home for $7.99 (available in three scents).

    28. A finish restorer designed to eliminate heat rings, water marks, scratches, color fade, oxidation, and more from your favorite wood furniture — even on your wood kitchen cabinets.

    For minor stains and discoloration, it's a simple wipe-on, wipe-off process you can do in just a couple of minutes. You may have to put more time and effort into worse cases (like the one pictured above), but reviewers swear it's worth the work.

    Promising review: "It's not magic or a miracle cure-all, but it really worked well removing some BAD heat circles on a used coffee table a friend game me. This product requires work. I found I got the best results using 0000 steel wool and getting a fresh piece rather often. It takes some scrubbing but it's so much less work than stripping, sanding, pretreating, staining, and lacquering. Vigorous scrubbing (WITH the grain) will also remove some shallow scratches and swirls. I have included some pictures of my results, before and after. It took me about 90 minutes to scrub and wipe down my coffee table with more than adequate results." —Raymond J. Rathburn

    Get a bottle on Amazon for $7.91+ (available in nine finish colors and two sizes). For a finishing step, you can also add on the same brand's polish and conditioner, $8.98+ (available in five sizes) on Amazon.

    29. A winestain remover that will make even dried, set-in spills vanish completely after just a spritz or two.

    Promising review: "I fell in love with this product some 15 years ago, and I am so very happy that it's still available in the same wonderful formula as ever. I have seriously poured red wine over a white comforter to demonstrate how great this is to a friend once. It is a miracle in a bottle! We use it for all sorts of cleaning on materials around the house, and one bottle has lasted us years! This is definitely a product every home should have." —Melanie Nolen

    Get a bottle on Amazon for $9.66.

    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.