Bucket with a few cleaning supplies

A Minimalist Cleaning Supplies Checklist for Real People

Have you watched any cleaning TikToks or YouTube Shorts recently?

‘Cause I don’t know about you, but I feel like every other cleaning influencer has some new miracle product to promote. And it’s overwhelming.

I mean . . .  how many cleaning products does one person need?

Unless you’re a full-time maid (and no, I’m not referring to a mom, though you probably still qualify), you likely don’t need every product.

So, the question becomes this: what do you actually need?

Well, lucky for you, I made an *extra* simple and realistic list of household cleaning products to help you out. (No castile soap, glass bottles, or microfiber cloths required.)

Because sometimes, it’s nice to just have someone give you a list.

In addition, I created several options to auto-populate your walmart.com shopping cart with variations of this list.

(I did this just to help you out, by the way. I don’t make money off Walmart right now).

Anyway, though, let’s get started.

Basic Household Products Checklist

I’ll just start with the basic checklist, ‘cause I know that’s why you’re here.

If you want a cute, editable, and printable version of this list, you can buy one for $1.00 in my shop (for variations on it, scroll down to “related products.” It’s a great mini-gift (like maybe as part of a basket) for people just starting out and building their own households.

Anyway, though, here’s the basic checklist:

  • General Cleaners
    • All-purpose cleaner
    • Glass Cleaner
    • (Optional) Stainless Steel Cleaner
  • Physical Cleaning Tools
    • Cleaning rags
    • Scrubby(s) and/or scrub brush
    • Toilet Brush
    • Broom and dustpan
    • Vacuum Cleaner
    • Mop
    • (Optional) Rubber gloves
  • Laundry Room Supplies
    • Laundry detergent
    • Stain-treater
    • (Optional) White Vinegar
    • (Optional) Rubbing alcohol
    • (Optional) Bleach
    • (Optional) OxiClean/Oxygen “Bleach”
  • Dishes
    • Dish soap
    • Dish Brush (Or washcloths, or a scrubby)
    • Steel Wool Scrubbers
    • (Optional) Dishwasher detergent or packets

Tips for using this cleaning products checklist:

  • Look for overlap in what your cleaners can do. Then condense.
  • BUT remember that this list is here to serve you. Use it as a guide to keep things simple. Don’t omit cleaners that make your life easier, though, simply because they’re not on this list.
  • Do double-check all cleaning solutions to be sure they can be used on the surfaces you need them for.
  • And be OH. SO. CAREFUL. if you decide to mix any products because even some natural cleaners can create harmful chemicals when combined. (This isn’t 10-year-olds making potions, y’all.)

Building Your Own Minimalist Cleaning Supplies Inventory

This is the part of the article where I explain and justify to you my decisions about this list. Then I leave you free to take my thoughts and adapt them for your life.

If you want to play reading buffet, feel free to read what you want and skip the parts you don’t want. (You know. The funky parts that look unappetizing. You know what I mean.)

General Cleaners

General Cleaners to have on hand:

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Glass Cleaner
  • (Optional) Stainless Steel Cleaner AND/OR Olive Oil

What Kind of All-Purpose or Multipurpose cleaner is Best for You?

I recommend that you pick one all-purpose cleaner and stick with it. Maybe it’s the one with the essential oils that smells soooooo good, or maybe it’s the one in the pretty glass spray bottle.

Or maybe, it’s just the cheapest “good cleaner” (Who cares about name brands anyway?) that can clean and disinfect.

This cleaner might be used for the following:

  • Bathroom sinks
  • Kitchen counters
  • Stove-tops
  • Bathtubs

You can split this go-to cleaner into two cleaners, such as a bathroom cleaner and a kitchen cleaner if you want. (I used to do this.)

Should I buy or Mix My Own Glass Cleaner?

I like glass cleaner. I buy it because I don’t like to take the time to make my own.

(Pshh. I know. I’m so lazy.)

But, if you want to be extra-minimalist and mix your own glass cleaner from simple ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice, I’ll admire you. You can totally do it.

And as it turns out, we might all be using glass cleaner for things we don’t need to anyway (at least according to Absolute Cabinets, Inc.).

Is it Worth it to Buy Specialized Stainless-Steel Cleaner?

If you have stainless steel, I personally think it’s worth it to buy a good stainless steel cleaner. I really love 409 Stainless-Steel Safe all-purpose cleaner. I have bought it before because I love it and it makes me happy, though obviously you might prefer a different product.

If you have stainless steel that needs cleaning, but you would rather not buy stainless steel cleaners, you *can* use vinegar as a stainless steel cleaner.

And afterwards, you can use paper towels and mineral oil or olive oil to polish the surface and make it shine.

In my experience, however, this method doesn’t work as well as straight-up stainless steel cleaner. But if you’re looking for cheaper or more natural ways to do things, it’s a good alternative.

And, of course, if you don’t have anything that’s stainless steel (I did in our previous apartment, but I don’t in our current one), you don’t need to buy any stainless steel cleaner.

Other types of cleaners you might want

Depending on your house, you may decide you want one or more of the following:

  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Floor cleaner

Obviously, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, and floor cleaners don’t have to be essential.

For example, I don’t plan on buying toilet cleaner again once the one I have is gone, because the bathroom cleaner I have works just as well.

But I chose to point these cleaners out because I want you to consider the following:

Are there any specialized products you really want to have (or really don’t want to have) in your life?

You may not care to buy oven cleaner, but you might have hardwood floors and love getting a specialized solution just for them.

Feel free to add or take away from this list in accordance with what you want for your life.

Physical Cleaning Tools

 Okay, so here’s the list of physical cleaning tools I suggest:

  • Cleaning rags
    • Scrubby(s) and/or scrub brush
    • Toilet Brush
    • Vacuum Cleaner
    • Broom and dustpan
    • Mop
    • (Optional) Rubber gloves

It’s pretty straightforward. I have a shark vacuum and this steam mop, and they’ve worked well for me, but you obviously don’t have to own them exactly (I couldn’t find my exact vacuum for sale to link to above, but this newer Shark Vacuum is similar and has great reviews).

If you still need to buy a vacuum or mop, you can get ones like mine, or something entirely different altogether.

I personally recommend vacuums with flexible hose settings, because I like to dust with my vacuum (I bought a soft brush head from Amazon for it). No fancy feather duster needed 🙂

But it’s all up to what you like or think you’d enjoy.

This video might be helpful for those of you with no idea where to start:

As far as other physical cleaning tools are concerned, I find it helpful to have both a foam scrubber and a large brush scrubby on hand. They’re good for different things. Some people like to have an old toothbrush, though I don’t use one much.

And of course, you only need gloves if you’re concerned about skin irritation. You might not want them if you use natural cleaning products.

Laundry Room Supplies

I list the following for laundry supplies:

  • Laundry detergent
    • Stain-treater
    • Vinegar
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • (Optional) Bleach
    • (Optional) OxiClean/Oxygen “Bleach”

I use Shout as my main stain-treater. I haven’t found anything better.

(But this awesome article from Mindful Momma about eco-friendly stain removers definitely made me think twice.)

I keep all the other items listed on hand (including the optional ones) because they work well on different stains. Take a look at this stain removal guide for some ideas on how to use them.

Do I Really Need to Keep White Vinegar on Hand?

In my opinion, white vinegar is a must-have in any home. If you want to know why, feel free to read here about vinegar and its many household uses.

Vinegar is for cleaning like quills are for porcupines. It would be weird (and disturbing) to have a naked porcupine.

I personally use vinegar the most in laundry, though, which is why I list it in this section. I often throw a cup of white vinegar in the washing machine with clothes to fight odors.

I also soak tough stains in a water, vinegar, and dish soap solution.

(I mix one part cold water with one part vinegar and add a generous bit of dish soap. Then I soak stuff in it. It doesn’t work on everything, but it works especially well on many fruit stains. You can increase the vinegar to amp up the stain-vanishing effects too.)

Supplies for Dishes

You don’t need much for dishes:

  • Dish soap
    • Dish Brush or Scrubbie
    • Steel Wool Scrubbers
    • (Optional) Dishwasher detergent or packets

I use a plastic scrub brush to wash most of my dishes. Every time I run my dishwasher, I just throw the brush in too. It’s easy and effective.

(Update: We moved and I no longer have a dishwasher. I currently use a scrubby for a day then throw it in the wash with my towels. It’s the same concept, lol.)

Are Stainless Steel Scrubbies Really Good for Doing Dishes?

If I have a particularly stubborn or crusty dish, that’s when I break out a stainless steel scrubber. (Though you should NEVER use them on non-stick pans, because they can take the non-stick coating off.)

Of course, stainless steel scrubbers might not qualify for an *essential* cleaning supply list in your mind.

But, maybe this is an example of how this list should work for you, and not against you.

I’ve reduced my cleaning supplies. But I still love my steel wool scrubbers. They make my life easier when I need to scrub terrifyingly crusty pans.

You know. The crusty pans that would make Sebastian from the Little Mermaid look not crusty. (Do you get it? ‘Cause he’s a crustacean? . . . No? Okay. Nevermind.)

Also, check out this video for more details on why and how to use steel wool scrubbers on your dishes 🙂

Pre-built Walmart Shopping Carts With Essential Cleaning Supplies

To end this article (and make your job easier), I built you some pre-made shopping carts.

I actually don’t currently make any money off of these. But I sure hope they help you out! (And if you really love them, you can share this article with your friends as payment.)

Note that you can add each list in its entirety to your shopping cart at Walmart.com and edit it at will.

The Average Person list

This is my middle-of-the-ground approach. It’s like a basic brownie mix—definitely not as good as fudge-nut brownies made from scratch, but still decent for a potluck. This list includes all the products that a basic person would need.

**Please note that the vacuum link is outdated and that the 409 and Dawn Dish Soap prices are way less than is shown in this widget (for some weird reason).

Here’s the link.

The Natural Products List

My next option includes more natural cleaners and supplies with an environmental impact that doesn’t make you question if ducklings will exist next year. They’re not all perfect, but most of them are pretty good.

I do still include the same vacuum, mop, and cleaning rags, but you can change that if you want after you’ve added the items to your cart (The vacuum is out-of-date, but you can shop similar to find some great ones).

Here’s the link.

The (Almost) Minimalist List for Someone Just Starting Out

This is what I would tell myself to buy if I were starting all over again. This list does not include the vacuum or mop. But it includes a customized mix of cheaper products along with a couple of more natural ones I prefer to buy for myself.

This is the list I would buy for a friend.

But, whether or not it’s the list for you is up to you.

So, you take a look and decide. And remember, you can always add it to your online Walmart cart and edit it anyway.

Here’s the link.

Final Thoughts About Cutting Down Your Cleaners

I like having a clean house. It makes me happy.

Though, my house isn’t always clean. Far from it.

I’d say that at this point, I have my home in a place where I can maintain it, though it isn’t always *as* maintained as I would like it to be.

But some days, I wake up, and my entire house is actually . . . nice looking. And tidy. And the area under my kitchen sink doesn’t feel like cleaner Narnia.

And I like that. I’d guess that you’d like that too.

So, I hope—in a very simple way—that this list helps you work towards it.

And if you need more help, feel free to subscribe and come back any time 🙂

Also, if you find you’re lagging in the cleaning department, feel free to check out my post on how to get motivated for cleaning!

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