Products for Cleaning my house! see my list

suzienjFebruary 10, 2010

Hi-- we have a new house and so i'm super paranoid about ruining anything- hence I'm starting a list of what I can use on each thing---

I grew up with a cleaning lady so mom never taught me to this has been quite the experiance researching. I would appreciate any info on what you use to clean....

1st-- Tile floor in Kitchen-- per tile guy I am to use Ivory Dishwashing Soap b/c of the new grout..... (the kitchen is big and cleaning them on my hands/knees is killing my back) any suggestions?? is there a good mop on the market that i should get??

2nd- Granite- Using Granite Gold Cleaner and Polish

3rd- Caesarstone- I've tried a few things- Method Granite Cleaner, Soft Scrub Gel with Bleach and Perfect Countertop(from Lowes)--

4th Silestone- 409®, Fantastik®, Lysol®, or Windex®.

5th - Corian- (my brand new corian is already all scratched up) ugggg, thank god its in a small sink area that can be replaced down the road-- This is what corian says to use-- Soapy water, ammonia based cleaners (not window cleaners as they can leave a waxy build up that may dull the surface) or commercially available solid surface cleaners will remove most dirt and residue from all types of finishes. (SO What is soapy water amnia based cleaner????)

6th- Wood floors- Mirage wood cleaner and/or spray bottle filled with water/white vinegar

7th- Wood furniture- Pledge spray for dusting

8th-- Bathtub-- whats the best thing to use for bathtubs??

9th-- Tile in showers- how do you clean this??

10th- Tile floor in bathrooms - how do you clean this??

11th- Shower in general-- how do you approach showers and clean them?

Thank you!!!

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Gee, that's a long list! Here are a few things I'd recommend:

First, get yourself a well-written reference book. My favorite is Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson.

I use it all the time, and love it. She gives very specific information about what to use to clean any-and-everything, and also explains WHY and HOW it works.

Once you understand a few basics about cleaning chemistry you'll never have to worry about ruining a surface, and you'll save lots of time and effort (and money) in cleaning.

I hate to waste time, and that's why I love this book. Once you learn how to clean things right, you don't have the worry or frustration of getting bad results.

And you're not at the mercy of cleaning product companies, relying on advertising for cleaning advice. A lot of new cleaning products just don't work. It's sad, but true.

OK, in regards to your list:

#7, dusting wood furniture: Don't use Pledge on good wood furniture. It contains silicone, and will build up, and it's really not good for wood. We dust our wood furniture and cabinets with microfiber cloths; dry, with nothing on them. They're inexpensive if you buy a big package (of 20 or so) all at once. That way you'll be able to dust the whole house and always have a clean one on hand.

#7a: to keep dust to a minimum, get a really good vacuum cleaner.

#8 Bathtub: BonAmi cleanser works great on porcelain bathtubs. (Don't use it on acrylic tubs.)

I'm sure more people will have lots more advice for you!
Congratulations on your new home, and best of luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: link to the Home Comforts book on Amazon

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 10:29AM
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I agree -- don't use Pledge for wood furniture.

If you ever want to refinish the furniture (and if it's a good quality piece, it's worth it), the silicone makes refinishing a lot harder. Plus it's just a yucky thing, after the initial shine wears off. The buildup is near impossible to remove.

I wax my wood furniture occasionally and then just dust it. Properly done (super thin layers), wax does not build up. A waxed finish is gorgeous and provides a little protection from water and abrasion.

For bathtubs and tile, I use Kaboom for hard water buildup. It's not the strongest, but also the fumes don't kill me. Abrasives like Bon Ami or Barkeeper's Friend work, but I worry about the abrasive eventually dulling the porcelain. Mr Clean Magic Eraser is expensive but works well and is much gentler than powders.

Mildew requires bleach or a mildew-specific cleaner.

If your shower or tub has hard water buildup AND mildew, you have to first remove the hard water buildup, then attack the mildew. For the mildew, Clorox Bleach Pen is awesome. Give it time to work. Spraying with Method Shower Cleaner after each use does keep a clean shower clean, and has a nice jasmine scent.

Tile floors, I use a little ammonia and a tiny drop of soap or detergent. I believe it is impossible to keep grout looking clean if it is light-colored, without a LOT of work. If I put in a new tile floor, I would use the minimal grout size, and I would choose a color for the grout that is close to the color of dirt. And I would make sure the grout is floated level with the tile.

I haven't found anything better to clean grout than Mr Clean Magic Eraser. TSP and a brass-bristled brush also worked well, but is extremely harsh. Would take the skin right off your hand.

For everyday upkeep of tile or other hard floors in small areas, I mop with the Scotchbrite 3M microfiber mop sprayed with the ammonia/soap/water solution. The Swiffer WetJet works well, but I don't like the smell of the cleaner or the expense of the refills. Something like the WetJet, but with washable microfiber heads, and refillable homemade cleaning solution, would be great. Some people jury-rig the WetJet. For now, I carry the spray bottle with me and use the Scotchbrite.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 11:10AM
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I've gathered my list of favorites based upon years of watching my mother clean our house, cleaning myself, advice from various house cleaners I've had or known over the years, and advice from professional installers of various items.

I find microfiber clothes essential.

Tile floors, walls, faucets, porcelain tub, and cultured marble--the best product I've found for weekly use is a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar and a gallon of hot water. I use it throughout the bathroom, and the bathroom just shines. If I'm in a hurry I put it into a spray bottle. I spray the floor as I move along and use a microfiber mop. For extra grout cleaning I mix oxyclean with water or use Greased Lightening. If the tub or shower basin needs extra help I'll use bon ami or powdered comet. I'm tempted to try a baking soda/vinegar paste also next time I clean the tubs as it works better on my cooktop than 409.

I do sometimes use spray Comet on the shower walls.

Hardwood floors--First recommended to me by a true hardwood craftsman--Bona X. I buy the concentrate on ebay and fill my own bottle. Again, I use a microfiber mop. I spray the mop and the floor. I like vinegar and water for many uses, but hardwood floors is not one of them.

There is a line of products called "Granite Magic," Cabinet Magic, Stainless Steel Magic, etc. that I buy at Menards (Lowes may carry them.) My first custom cabinet maker recommended them.

For everyday dusting I use a plain microfiber cloth (depending upon what I'm dusting I may dampen it slightly) and/or an electrostatic duster (I think that's what its called). About every 6 months or so I'll clean all the hardwood trim, etc with Scot's Liquid Gold or Old English. Hardwood cabinets get treated more frequently as does high use wood furniture.

As to how to approach showers, start at the top, outside walls and work your way down finishing with the shower basin. The top down approach actually works best in all rooms.

I've never been a fan of the WetJet or Swiffer products. I've always felt like one was forced to continue to purchase the companion products just to use the piece of equipment.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 1:13PM
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1st-- Tile floor in Kitchen-- per tile guy I am to use Ivory Dishwashing Soap b/c of the new grout..... (the kitchen is big and cleaning them on my hands/knees is killing my back) any suggestions?? is there a good mop on the market that i should get??

Seal the grout with grout sealer. Buy a steam cleaner, preferably a canister type, and you will never have to do hands and knees cleaning again. Trust me on this one. You can pay as little as $50 for a Wagner or a few hundred dollars for a nice Italian-made unit. There have been lots of threads here on steam cleaners, do a search and you should be able to pull them up.

8th-- Bathtub-- whats the best thing to use for bathtubs??

9th-- Tile in showers- how do you clean this??

10th- Tile floor in bathrooms - how do you clean this??

11th- Shower in general-- how do you approach showers and clean them?

Same thing for these tile floors, seal the grout and use a steam cleaner. For the tub and shower, I like Comet bathroom cleaner.

Go to Costco or Walmart or an auto store and buy a package of 30 or 50 or 60 microfiber cloths. Use them on your steam cleaner and for just about every other cleaning project you have. You need a lot of them because it is better to wash them separately from other materials. If you buy a steam cleaner, make sure it doesn't need proprietary cleaning pads - it should have alligator clips so you can use a cleaning cloth of your choice (microfiber).

Here is a link that might be useful: Comet bathroom cleaner

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:38PM
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any reccos for steam cleaners? My girlfriend recco'd shark... thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:42PM
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Interesting list. May I add another no-no? Murphys Oil Soap is not good on wood, it smells very nice BUT leaves a god-awful film.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 10:30AM
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My friend just had her kitchen floor regrouted. Her tile man said she should not wash the floor on a regular basis. Just vacuum and spot wash if she spills something. Constant washing will discolor the grout. I don't know about you, but I'm in love with her tile man!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 12:21PM
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I take the less is more approach. It save me money and uses less chemicals
For wood furniture I alternate each week with dry dusting and "wet dusting" using Murphy's oil soap. Sometimes things like end tables always need "wet" dusting (buy the big bottle, get your own spray bottle, dilute with water...lasts a long time!)
For other things I make my own cleaner using water vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. Both tea tree oil and vinegar are natural disinfectants.
Spray down your bathrooms and let that sit while you dust other rooms.
I do use the magic eraser for the bathrooms/stubborn dirt/kitchen sink...doors, molding.
I also keep some good ol' comet around

I had a cleaning business for a while and all these worked very well

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:35PM
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I, too, avoid Murphy's. When I lived in Ohio I used Milsek on a damp cloth to dust furniture. It is a lemon oil based cleaner and polish in one step. Loved it. Can't find it in CA. I have a Bissell steamer and it doesn't do well in my humble opinion. Micro fiber cloths are the best invention! And, only Bona on my wood floors.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Only recommendation I would add is the Libman microfiber mop and a divided mop bucket that separates clean water from dirty water. I think I ordered the bucket from the Mr. Clean site years ago and it has served me well. Nothing more ick than dipping that mop back into the filthy water for another go. Mop heads can go in the washer. I have lot of hard floors so stocked up on the mopheads on ebay. The mops and replacement heads are also available at Wal Mart and most other stores like it. Gotta get that divided bucket too though.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:45PM
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To clean grout Bill Vincent (the Garden Web's resident tile guru) recommends a mild solution of OxiClean and water.

I have Mirage maple floors and I've used their cleaning product for several years. Recently I started buying Bona Kemi at Bed, Bath and Beyond because it's cheaper. However for regular dusting I just use a microfiber cloth.

For wood furniture simply dust with a microfiber cloth. Don't use Pledge - it just keeps building up and I think that attracts more dust. I use Harden Furniture Cream about once a year - it both cleans and polishes. I have dark cherry cabinets in my kitchen and I use the Harden cream on them too- usually once every 8 months or so.

Here's something to think about since we both live in S. Jersey- I don't know about your water but ours is slightly on the hard side and hard water is one factor in glass etching. We just remodeled one bathroom and I'm trying to find out what the best method is to prevent etching - but I get different answers so I'm still researching.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I just read the other day that ww-40 takes spots off of shower doors. I don't know if it works because my shower door is clean right now...

Krud Kutter works great for a lot of things. I buy it by the gallon at Home Depot. It's great for cleaning bath tubs. You can't use it on stone tile or marble.

Be careful breathing though....

Here's my list that I use:
Krud Kutter- great for all kinds of dirty things. The list is too long!

Dirtex- fantastic can't live without it, many uses (glass, mirrors, sink, countertop. stainless appliances, stove top....list too long!

Meyer's clean day all purpose cleaner- great again too long to list and smells great. (lilac- buy it by the big jug @whole foods/Trader Joe's)

Lemon juice concentrate and vinegar for cleaning produce

Clorox for sanitizing kitchen sink and corian countertops

Bar Keeper's friend

Comet (toilets)

Swiss Easy Cleaner for stainless polishing and pots and pans

ONE Tablespoon Cascade POWDER for dishwasher. (never use liquid or those packages, and only one Tablespoon of powder--- told to me by a dishwasher tech)
Jetdry always.

Cotton terry towels in the automotive section at Costco

Persil Laundry detergent
I used to use Oxyclean but no longer need it with my new Miele washer.....:)

I probably left something out but it's 1

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 1:18AM
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You should try oxygen bleach products for mold & mildew and the floors with grout. This stuff is environmentally friendly and very effective. I greened my whole house cleaning regimen with Natural Choices products. The stuff is really good

Here is a link that might be useful: Green Cleaning Kit

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Glad someone mentioned Barkeeper's Friend. This is the best stuff: I use it with a plastic scrubbie on toilets, sinks, tubs, tile. It is a cheap and efffective cleaner that doesn't scratch. I also could not live without microfiber cloths and find I've cut substantially down on product use by using them. They dust by themselves and clean things like mirrors with just a little dampness. My last favorite cleaner is vinegar and water: just a little vinegar in hot/warm water is a great cleaner for lots of surfaces, including woodwork, kitchen cabinets, and hardwood floors.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Wow, I never knew there were so many obsessive cleaners around. I use an environment and skin friendly all purpose cleaner (sorry, don't remember the name), or steam. That's it. Toilets get cleaned with an abrasive powder cleaner with bleach. Microfiber cloths are the best!

There are dangers to over cleanliness. I'll attach one of many links. Allergies, crohn's, and asthma are some diseases thought to be cause by it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dangers...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:48PM
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Wow, I never knew there were so many obsessive cleaners around.

Well, duh, it's a forum devoted to cleaning . . .

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 2:06PM
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I recommend NOT to use water/vinegar to clean hardwood floor! It has acidity that eats away the finish (dulls the sheen that you cannot see first time, but more you use it, the worse it gets!). Use hardwood cleaner only!
I'm only trying to help.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 6:50PM
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No vinegar on wood floors please! Buy a steam cleaner. I love my Bissel Steam Mop. No need for chemicals. I wouldn't recommend dishwashing liquid simply because it'll be too hard to remove all the soap film and that film will gradually build up on your floors. need for expensive cleaners. A polish/protectant product every now and then is good but for daily cleaning, you can't beat a microfiber cloth and a solution of 50/50 alcohol/water. NO vinegar products on granite. Nothing acidic.
Bathtub...what is it made of? Mine is acrylic. The ever popular Scrubbing Bubbles is a no-no for acrylic (says so on the can). I use a product I buy from Lowes called Gel Gloss. It's in a bright pink can. It cleans, shines and protects. You first spray it on, wipe, let dry and buff. It's for fiberglass too.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:48PM
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I need to make a correction. Altho some people DO use a steam cleaner on (sealed) hardwood floors), when I suggested buying a steam cleaner, I was talking about tile (ceramic, porcelain or natural stone). Sorry.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:28PM
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I posted a thread called Shout your grout, describing how I used Shout fabric Stain Remover on stained grout with excellent results. Just a lucky fluke that I tried it. I am going to try it on shower/bathtub tiles next time I need to clean the grout.

I also use a Product called "Invisible Glass" on windows and mirrors. My husband bought it for the car windsheild. Not only does it clean the glass, somehow the glass seems to stay clean longer also. Use a microfibre cloth made for glass.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 5:19PM
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I clean my Corian sink with softscrub - works great. I've had mine for five years and scratches aren't a problem. What have you been doing in your sink that it already has noticeable scratches??? Green Scotchbrite works well if you need to buff out the finish. I use it on my counters because it gets glossier over time and I prefer the matte finish. No need to be fussy about cleaning products - I use whatever I have around - dishwater, 409, etc.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 11:58PM
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My two cents: (1) never select a white grout; it will drive you crazy; go w/ a more neutral/natural shade. Our previous home had white tile w/ white grout on both bathroom floors. It was a nightmare. In our current house, I chose white tile w/ a sand colored grout -- piece of cake. Has sort of a european look. (2) do not use bar soap in the shower, rather use a liquid bath gel, you will see far less "soap scum" on shower walls and glass doors.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 10:02AM
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I have heard about Milsek and it is actually very good to use and all the equipments use are just perfect for getting better results but, let me tell you that, Murphy is also good in terms of getting better equipments.


Here is a link that might be useful: dry carpet cleaning equipment

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 4:18AM
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I get all of my cleaning products from one company. They are all environmentally friendly, Ph balanced, and clean everything I need to clean very well. I don't know if I am allowed to put the name of the company here so if you wish to know it, you may send me an email at

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:32PM
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I flip a lot of tract homes in Southern California and the majority of kitchens have white tile countertops. I have tried many products to clean the white grout. By far, the best product is Easy Off (no fume version) and just let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then brush scrub it off. I then use Polyblend's Grout Renew and the result is completely new looking white grout.

My other best cleaning tip is a micro fiber car wash glove. You can move it much faster than rag. I can clean walls, cabinets, etc very fast.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 1:15AM
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I also get all my cleaning products from one company, that are environmentally friendly - bigdogmom, I wonder if we use the same company?? I will never switch - they work so much better than anything I have ever used, are cheaper, and SAFE! I look forward to cleaning just because of how well they work. Plus, how easy does it make life when you can just get all your products from one company, rather than having to shop around and play the guessing game?? Never again for me!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 5:27PM
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We moved to house with mostly hardwood and some tile. After much research, we bought a Miele canister vacuum--absolutely love it! We only use the Bona system for cleaning the wood as advised by installer--also love it! You can buy the whole system at B,B & B.

On granite, I only use mild dishwashing soap (joy, etc,) and water and dry with dry towel or use wet microfiber and dry with dry microfiber. I do the same with my marble vanity and marble floor.

Also love the microfiber for many things. As graywings said: go to the wal-mart or auto store and get the ones in the auto dept. Just be sure to wash separately and don't use fabric softeners on them. They are great for dusting, mirror cleaning, countertops, etc.

The tile depends on what it is made of. Are you talking marble, ceramic, etc.?
If you use the liquid bath soap rather than bar soap, your shower cleaning will be much easier. I personally like to wipe down our shower and clear glass doors with a microfiber cloth rather than a squeegee--seems faster.

Also second the NO MURPHY OIL SOAP and pledge! I usually just use microfiber cloths to dust, but when I do have a piece of furniture that seems to need oil, I use Wieman's lemon oil and then wipe off excess with a soft cloth.

I love the cleaning pads that are not abrasive. Think there are several brands; I like the Dobies(Target) and another I get at Ace Hdwe. I use these mostly on porcelain sinks, ceramic tile, etc.

I have a microfiber mop I like for my tile floors. I like the kind that has a wringer on the handle--can't remember brand but think Target carries these.

I like Charlie's Soap for laundry. I get mine online in a large quanity that lasts forever!

Hope some of this helps. Enjoy your new home!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 4:42PM
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What about cleaning marble? Marble floors and walls in the shower?

Any recommendations for this type of material? I know nothing acidic.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:57PM
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Why use all those chemical and products..Dusting, use the little attachment with a brush at the end of your vacuum..If you have a good vacuum most of the dust won't end up back in the air like any other duster out there including micro fiber cloths..Not the fastest way to clean but sure is the best way if you are serious about removing dirt and dust out of your home..
A good vapor steamer will clean, disinfect, and santize any surface with out the use of any chemical in your home..The only chimical I use anywhere in my home is toilet bowl cleaner for inside the toilet...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:04PM
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