It’s first weekend in March, time for spring cleaning! But before you start, make sure you have the right tools for the job.
This five piece tool kit will get you through every apartment cleaning task! Any broom, dustpan, vacuum, mop, and bucket will work for the job – but, they might not work well. Here is what to look for in purchasing your cleaning tools. I have also listed a few efficient, moderately priced choices to help you narrow down your search.
Look at your floors – are they mostly wood, smooth laminate, or tile? Pick one with an angle (or not), ridges, and shape that you think will be best for your floor. Does your apartment contain expansive areas, skinny spaces to reach, or both? Asking these questions will help you decide what size of broom to buy – they range from tiny handheld brushes to long shop-style push brooms. Also, look for a broom with strong bristles! Hardware stores often have great brooms.
From my experience, I would suggest a multi-use broom from O-Cedar. It is angled for tight corners, and strong enough to use inside and outside.
Do you want one with a tall handle (to be operated while standing), or is a smaller scoop-style one better for you? The most important quality to look at is the structure and material of the edge platform where you will sweep dust up onto the pan. Make sure the edge is sturdy and flat. Avoid ones with an edge that looks warped or bent, or, ones that look like they may warp over time. Hardware stores usually have great dustpans too.
From my experience, I would suggest one from O-Cedar that costs about $8. It has nice rubbery cleaners to clean off the extra particles left on the broom.
There are many types of vacuums out there. Follow the same procedure you did for the broom: look at your carpeted areas and determine the size and type you may need. If you get allergies, look for one with a HEPA filter. You will want to decide if you want an upright or a luggable vacuum. If you choose luggable, an added bonus is that it will also be great for cleaning out your car! Lastly, you will want to consider if you prefer a machine with bags, or without. I prefer bag-less because it is one less item to purchase, but it requires a good area (preferably outdoors) to empty the canister (and clean it out) each time it gets full.
From my experience, I would suggest machines made by Rainbow (vintage or new). However, more affordable options include a bag-less, apartment-sized luggable from Bissell (see below), or a bag-less, upright from Hoover.
Mop & Bucket
You want a mop that is (easily) cleanable. “Swiffer” style mops (with a disposable cloth) are enticingly convenient-sounding, but I find that they break very often and it’s costly to replenish the cloths over time. I prefer a super-absorbant material that can be washed like this one.
Now, the best style of bucket for mopping will be one with a tool for wringing out the mop. This makes it so you don’t have to use your hands, or wait for the mop to drip away the excess water mix! A bucket like this makes mopping a thousand times quicker!
…And, remember to clean your cleaning tools too!
I like to clean my mop after each use. The broom, dustpan, and vacuum should be cleaned monthly (as well as after every wet mess).