what products do you professional cleaners use?

chavezJanuary 2, 2007

If you have your own cleaning business, what products do you take to every cleaning? What areas are the hardest to clean? Any advice will help. Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been in the business for 14 years.

I have a large bucket that holds:

Windex. For windows, stoves counters, sinks, and anything that needs to sparkle that won't get damaged by the ammonia in the mix.

No scratch scrubber (in a deep large yogurt container to catch the water). For tubs and bathroom sinks.

Ajax. Just in case I have a tough thing to clean.

Murphys Oil Soap. For floors. It clean's without building up.

Mr. Clean. For tough cleaning jobs.


Plant watering can. The fern type for rinsing showers and tubs that don't have a hose.

If I need to strip a floor and wax it, I plan ahead and use ammonia for stripping and a wax that the client says will work on the floor.

I work in a circle from top to bottom in each room. Floors are done last.

I carry my own upright vacuum and a 50ft. heavy duty extension cord. (I hate moving to different plugs, it requires bending and takes time).

Large SG
Bag. I have spray foam for tubs and sinks. Bounty paper towels (cheap ones aren't worth it) gloves, trash bags, ear plugs, phone, wallet, keys, and air freshener.

I carry the bucket and bag everywhere and re-stock as I need to.

I also use a string mop easily rung out.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 5:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

SG--what type of vacuum do you use? What do you use on Stainless Steel?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 6:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

chavez, I was in a home supply store next to a contractor in the cleaning section and I asked him what on earth to use on stainless steel - his answer: WD40. It was an amazing tip particularly for refrigerator fronts but obviously don't spray it near a flame!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I use a powder from HD specifically made for stainless steel. Sorry, the name escapes me.

I use a Bissell upright vacuum with an extra 50ft. extension cord.

I have seen articles that say extension cords should not be used on vacuums. The manufactures say the vacuums are not built for them and can cause problems with surging, shocks and possibly fires. I really give my equipment a beating. For this reason, I keep an eye on the cord that I use for my business to make sure it is in good shape. I replace that one about once every 4 months. The cord I use for my house I've had for about 4 years and it is fine.

I also forgot to mention that I have a large bottle of "tough on grease" dish soap in my bucket. It is great for soap scum in the bathroom and shower doors. Fazzell is great for chrome.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are going to need a toilet bowl cleaner, and a basin, tub, and tile cleaner for the bathroom. You can use either the powder form or the liquid form. These both work great.

In the kitchen, you're going to need dishwashing hand detergent, and an all-purpose disinfectant. And an all-purpose disinfectant will work anywhere in the house, and it's of course going to disinfect anything- the bathroom, the kitchen. Also a Spic and Span, or a Pine Sol to use for the mopping, and you can also use it on any other surfaces just as a disinfectant as well. You're going to need a glass cleaner and a furniture polish. And also in the kitchen, an oven cleaner. This can also be used on the microwave and it works great to get all the nasty, greasy stuff off.

Of course, laundry detergent because everybody needs to get their laundry done. As far as actual cleaning utensils, you're going to need a duster. We recommend one like this because it actually static cleans the dust so it doesn't fall on the floor. A squeegee, a sponge, a toilet bowl scrubber. We have a long candle duster to get the hard to reach places, a broom, a mop, and of course, a vacuum cleaner for carpet areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaning Tips (supplies)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am very careful with toilet bowl cleaners, bleach and anything that may be very toxic. Clients supply these items. If you use them, just make room for them in the bathroom closet.

I don't use a broom, to much work. If it can't be vacuumed, it's not going to happen.

I have an agreement with clients that I don't polish furniture. I dust it with either a lamb duster or wet cloth. If they want polish used, I need more than the allotted time.

The main thing that helps me save time is keeping everything together and well stocked. Home Depot sells great cleaning supplies that are good quality and inexpensive. My favorite is ZEP concentrate. I bought a bottle of this about 6 months ago for about $8.00 and I still have some of it left.

I also dont waste time. When I hit a house IÂm like a tornado. Working in a circle from top to bottom in each room also is a time saver. You donÂt miss things when you do this and all of the dirt is on the floor ready to be vacuumed, which is the final step before I leave.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you could pick a basket of the best brands, what would you pick?


    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks to everyone... I have my first home next week. It has all wood floors, so I'm going to have to try a few different products to see which is best...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would never use Murphy's Oil Soap on wood floors - it leaves a film. For wood floors, I only use a mix of water and white vinegar. Slightly damp rags or sponges will do the job...and save you money!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that Murphy's Oil Soap should NEVER be used on wood floors. I've had a floor refinisher tell me that it is the worst thing to use on wood. He said that he has to charge extra if he needs to remove the Murphy's film first.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 11:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Since you are getting conflicting assessments about Murphy's Oil Soap, I suggest you ask you client what they would prefer. They may have something in mind. That way, you won't be blamed if something does not go quite right.

As for the film it's supposed to leave. I've been using this for at least 15 years and have never had a complaint. Perhaps the film is caused by improper use?

Murphy's is one of the best cleaners available. It's been around for at least 100 years, does not build up, takes care of tough dirt, and smells nice. IF used properly.

Justin. The best things I've found over the years are:
Murphys Oil Soap.
Scrubby Bubbles.
Zap concentrate window cleaner (Home Depot).
White vinegar.
Liquid no scratch cleaner (sorry name escapes me).
Mr. Clean


    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks SG. I bought the Murphy Soap and used it on my floors to see how it did. I have hardwood in the foyer and Vinyl in the kitchen. It did great. I used 1/4 cup of Murphys and 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket. I used a regular mop that you can twist to get rid of excess water. Perhaps the film appears if too much soap and water are used. I also asked my client if it was okay to use on her floors. She said it should be fine. They have a great website that explains everything, so I don't foresee any problems. I'll give an update on Friday.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never never never use water on wood floors. Maybe for awhile it would be o.k. but eventually the floors will start to warp/crack and then you've got big problems. I have a friend who has a new wood floor courtesy of a court ruling against her cleaning company.

There are alot of sprays on the market that do a great job cleaning. Use them maybe once a month, sweep or vacuum the rest.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 9:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can't wait to hear how your first cleaning job went.

BTW, Thanks SG.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lagatella, how do you wash a wood floor without water? I am always concerned about water getting into the cracks, but don't know any other way to wash it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing I do different is I have my clients provide all the general cleaning supplies. I give them a list and I use specific ones if they request.I request that they get a microfiber mop and a soft broom. I use their vacuums too. I dont like hauling all that crap around. Besides this way I dont carry other peoples germs from house to house.

I carry a caddy with things I use once and a while like amonia, and goo gone and silver polish and scratch covers. I save small dish soap bottles so I dont have to carry big bottles of things I just use a little of like CLR. If I can I buy the smallest sizes and refill from larger bottles. This way my caddy isnt heavy and I can have lots of things in it. I have a small coffee can in my caddy for my brushes etc.

Besides toothbrushes I carry good long handled kitchen brushes for cleaning toilets etc. I also like the no scratch kitchen sponges with the plastic handles. I use them like little mops to get behind the toilet. They work the same as the flat sponges but they give you a little extra reach so you dont have to bend so much. Good for tubs too if youre out of MR Cleans. I also carry good no scratch flat sponges. Also several plastic paint scrapers for mirrors , glass, tile., etc. And a flat head screwdriver to tighten up toilet seats.

I carry a cloth bag with all my dusters and microfiber cloths and terry washcloths and some viva paper towels. I use their paper towels for gross stuff. LOL.

Once I get a place clean I do most of my cleaning with Windex. I also use green Zep degreaser, Kaboom, Chlorox cleanup, Mr Clean erasers and Pledge spray with orange oil. I use the Pledge on stainless steel and on shower doors and occasionally on cupboards and furniture. I keep a rag soaked in Pledge in a plastic bag. A tiny bit of pledge mixed with windex makes a lot of things shine.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 12:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been reading this thread with interest. I am amazed that professional cleaners are just using stuff they buy off of the grocery store shelves. This stuff just doesn't work well at all.

I don't do cleaning for a living, but working in restaurants, we do have to do all the cleaning around the place. Professional products work a hundred times better.

I am lucky, I can order professional cleaning products for myself, for my home, through my employers account. If you have a cleaning business you can order directly for yourself.

I have a friend who does have a home cleaning business and sometimes she asks me to go out on jobs with her, to help her when she does not have enough staff. She was using junk from the grocery stores for her cleaning jobs. I couldn't believe it. I showed her the products I have, and showed her how well they work, and she was amazed.

Although every restaurant I have worked at may use a different line of professional cleaning products, The BEST I have found is by North Woods:


Over the years I have converted new empoyers to their produsts. I even give their products to friends and relatives and they come back to me begging me to get more for them.

They do appear to cost more when you look at the prices, but they are much more concentrated that the ordinary stuff you buy at the store. For instance the Dew Drop laundry detergent used only 2 ounces per 50# of laundry. Their Blue Ox cleaner is only 3 cents per GALLON (!) when diluted. AND this is some of the best stuff out there for cleaning.

They don't spend money on TV commercials. They don't print coupons and send them through the mail. They don't rent shelf space in stores. (Yes, shelf space is often rented in stores.) They don't have fancy packaging. They don't sell through a pyramid scheme.

The Fireball spray degreaser works like magic. I just pulled my refrigerator out from the wall the other day and used it on the back of it. The greasy dirt just ran off. I first sprayed it with some Mr. Clean that I use for quick wipes of my counter and the Mr. Clean barley put a dent in the built up greasy dirt. Fireball zipped it right off. No other cleaner can do what this stuff does. I just used it on my keyboard today and it is squeaky clean white again. None of the store bought stuff does what this does. Sure, the store bought stuff will clean things OK, but not great.

The Brilliance they sell cleans glass and ceramic like nothing else and never streaks. They have a window cleaner called Clarity that beats everything.

They have a hand protectanct called Force Field that is great for protecting hands when doing cleaning tasks.

I have no connection to this company. All of there prodects that I have tried have surpassed my expecations. They only sell to businesses.

There may be other companies who sell *professional cleaning products* that are just as good and are just as economical. I haven't tried them all. North Woods has become my preferred cleaning product.

I have never used North Woods carpet stain remover, because I am rather loyal to Carpet Science, which is also a *professional cleaner* made by Johnson Wax Co to sell to businesses. I love Carpet Science and I used to obtain it through one of my employers, but I see now that office supply places online carry it. It's great for spot cleaning on carpets. I used it to clean my white linen lampshades after trying to use Tide on them. Tide did nothing. Carpet Science made them look new again.

But my point is, is that if you are running a cleaning service you should be using professional products that work better and in the long run will be cheaper.

Even commercial paper towels are better and cheaper in the long run, than Bounty or what ever popular brand is advertised.


The only gorcery store item I would recommend is the disposable toilet cleaning brushes. Sure, it is cheaper to just use bleach and carry a crusty, wet, toilet scrub brush from job to job, but it is rather gross. I wouldn't waste my money using them at home but my friend who has the cleaning service uses them because she doesn't want to carry around a smelly toilet scrub brush. And you wouldn't believe how many people out there *do not own* a toilet scrub brush. Really. She always brings one along.

I would also recommend using Bar keepers Friend or Zud. These contain oxylic acid rather than chlorine bleach and will *eleiminate rust stains* and work well on grease. I think Zud is the better of the two but it is harder to find in the stores. You can order BKF cheaper by the drum 200# for $150 or 25# for $30. If you have a cleaning service you will have no problem going through tht much in a short time.

An easier way to clean is to get cotton gloves and spray your cleaner or polish on them and then go over everything rather than using a bulky rag. It's a breeze to clean lamps and figurines and even mini blinds with this method.

As far as hardwood floors go, the guy who refinished my wood floors told me to never use Murphy's Soap with water on them. He recommended Bona and gave me a sample with the microfiber mop. I have used it ever since. It cleans very well and does not damage the floors, after all how dirty are wood floors going to get? Kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways are going to be either tiled or have vinyl floor coverings on them, because they need to be scrubbed. Wood floors don't get filthy like they do.

Any comments?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 7:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all that info bud! I saved that information for future reference if you don't mind!

You mentioned the Bounty towels(not as a rec.) and I'd like to add that Bounty is terrible for cleaning mirrors and glass. I've never seen a paper towel streak so much so I believe to recommend a commercial paper towel is a really good idea. Sure Bounty blows most other towel away as far as wiping your hands and face while eating but it's not so great from streak free cleaning! I tried those reusable towels...you know those ones that are folded with tiny holes in the synthetic fabric...about 3 or 4 to a package. Well I had never tried those and was amazed at how great they were for my mirrors!

I was also reading this thread thinking it was odd that everyone was just using grocery store cleaners because I think I've used everything before in my 44 years and nothing really is very good that I've ever tried.

I don't have a cleaning service but my sister cleans for several people for some extra cash so I'm going to pass this along to her. I think her favorite product is the magic eraser sponge that will clean the strangest things that nothing else will touch. I used these to clean the permanant marker off a laptop computer and it worked like...um...."magic!" HA!

I wouldn't want water used on my wood floors either(If I had them) because water and wood just don't go together! If you were really careful and had your mop just slightly damp it would probably be OK every once in a while. It's funny how there are products for specific uses that really are bad for the items they are meant to be used for...for instance I bought new tires and asked them if they could recommend a good tire shine and was told to never use a tire shine product on them because it dries out the rubber...WHAT?! They've been in the tire business for many years so I suppose they should know what they are talking about.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tip: If you have a cleaning business have some refrigerator magnets made up with your business name and info on them.

The first time you clean a place, put the magnet on the fridge with a nice note or use it to place the bill/receipt or the list of things that you did for them that day.

They will not forget the name of the service they used and be fumbling through the Yellow Pages trying to remember who they called. Even better if you are not listed in the Yellow Pages and use a cell phone for your business.

It is also good advertising for your service since all of their friends/neighbors will see it on the fridge and ask about the service - hopefully.

If they use your service all the time they probably won't remove the magnet. You can also use the magnet to communicate with them since they are probably not there when you do the cleaning. Notes like "I noticed that your (fill in the blank) needs cleaning. Do you want me to spend extra time, next time to do this too?" or "I found a hearing aid under the couch cushions. I put it on your dresser." (This really did happen once.)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the magnet idea.. Thanks.
Okay, my cleaning job went very well. I ended up using
Bruce's floor spray on the wood and tile floors. I did use a really damp mop to spread it. The floors looked great. She was very impressed. I used the clear multi-purpose Windex with vinegar for almost everything else (windows, countertops, etc). The extendable swiffer duster was wonderful. I used it on ceiling fans, blinds and ceilings. This is a must-have. I don't think I need to buy any "commerical grade products". I believe the ones I used did a great job. I may need them if I come across a home in horrible condition. Thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the "commercial cleaning products" vein, I would call out Simple Green too. I particularly like it because it's so safe.. the MSDS sheets for a lot of commercial cleaners are scary. Simple Green will degrease your skin if it touches it, and you don't want to drink it or put it in your eyes, but it's not nearly as nasty as a lot of the "institutional use" cleaners are.

And it is a real commercial/industrial degreaser, just more widely sold in smaller containers. When they say "dilute 100:1" they do mean it. Strong stuff.

It's not the strongest out there - the really noxious degreasers (such as "graffiti remover", which is practically a can of liquid cancer, but it works great) ARE more powerful - but it's the best I've found that you don't have to wear a respirator to use safely. And it's definitely much more powerful than the "household" stuff.

The only problem I've had with it is that it will degrease your skin if a drop splashes on you.. so you get dry skin there. Just have to remember to wash it off and put some lotion on to "regrease" your skin; it's not corrosive or anything.

Also, on a similar note - if you do use commercial cleaners, READ THE MSDS SHEETS! It's pretty common to understate the warning labels on commercial products relative to residential ones, since the MSDS sheet is required in commercial settings. "Use adequate ventilation" often doesn't mean "open a window", but rather "wear a respirator". And do wear gloves and safety goggles when you're mixing them; especially in concentrated form, those cleaners are NASTY. Splash a drop of Windex in your eye, it stings a little and you'll probably be fine. Splash a drop of concentrated cleaner in your eye and you'll really need to do the 15-minute-eye-wash-then-go-to-a-doctor thing. (Can you tell that I'm a fan of PPE?)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 2:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's one of the things I like about the North Woods products. They are biodegradable, CFC free, VOC compliant, and earth safe, user friendly, ultra-effective cleaners.

Just like you say with the Simple Green degreaser, The NW Fireball has warnings to not get it in the eyes or drink it of course.

The stuff used in restaurants has to be safe because it is used around food, and on food prep and serving areas. The degreaser used to clean the inside of a popcorn machine is not even in the same glass as the degreaser used at an automotive shop.

Reading the MSDS sheets is a good idea for any product. Even bleach, borax or ammonia are dangerous in excess.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with the previous poster about the North Woods products and the food safe requirements.

Outside of that, I think the best piece of advice is to keep it simple.

I see cleaners come with mounds of product that sit by the door while they spray their multi-purpose cleaner on everything.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Welcome to the board Jason. But I wish to give a friendly reminder that advertising is not allowed on this site - no business signatures and no linkys.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been away for a while. Glad to hear your job went well Chavez.

After 15 years of cleaning houses, I'm cutting back and getting into other projects.

The business was very good to me. I got where I wanted to be financially three years ago. I consider myself very energetic, and the business has taken it's toll.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Check on flooring site -
The reason Murphy's soap should not be used on HW flooring is the floor would have to be stripped to do another coat of poly - which in high traffic areas - i.e. kitchens it is rec to do poly every 1-2 yrs without stripping
If the floor is in relatively good condition a floor person or DIY would just give the floor a scuff w/steel wool and apply poly. On floors where oil based products have been used this is not possible, as the poly will not adhere.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 12:48PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best hardwood floor cleaner?
Our floors just got finished 2 months ago and I hate...
How do you clean your oven racks?
I just ran the self-cleaning feature on my Gaggenau...
Dirty Coffeemaker Sickness!
Warning: This Is NASTY! So I make a pot of coffee everyday...
How to Clean a Disgusting Plastic Shower Floor
I have purchased a property that has what I believer...
silk comforter cleaning
I purchased 2 silk conforters in China 2 years ago,...
Sponsored Products
Franklin Corner Sectional (2 piece) - Key Largo Pumice Beige
Joybird Furniture
Nuvo 1-light Architectural Bronze Round Hood Bulk Head
Love Personalized Framed Wall Decor - 18W x 24H in. - WAL-015-F
$99.99 | Hayneedle
Progress Lighting Outdoor Lanterns. Valera Collection 1-Light Antique Bronze Wal
Home Depot
Tiffany Style Jeweled Geometric Pendant Light with Dome Shape Shade
Texas Rangers Dirt Pen
$19.99 | zulily
Black Eiffel Slope Chair in Black
$129.99 | Dot & Bo
60" Craftmade Vesta Stainless Steel Ceiling Fan
Lamps Plus
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™