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The kitchen is one of the home's most challenging areas to keep clean. From dishes to food splatter, it will inevitably get dirty, and it can be a daunting task to tackle all of the surfaces that need upkeep. Having the right tools designed for kitchen messes is of the utmost importance, so you can scrub and disinfect every nook and cranny of one of the busiest rooms in the house.
From sponges to cleaning cloths and other tools that make this task easier, here are the best kitchen cleaning supplies.
Best Bottle Brush: Sur La Table Silicone Bottle Brush
Silicone easier to clean than traditional bristles
Scrubs without scratching
Fits into most bottles
Only comes in one size
From Champagne flutes to your favorite water flask, this silicone bottle brush can reach into just about any cylindrical vessel to scrub it clean. The bristles don't hold onto gunk or have crevices where mold and bacteria can gather, and they're easy to keep clean because you can put the brush directly into the dishwasher. The bristles are also firm enough to scrub, but soft enough to prevent scratching, and the flexible tip lets you access acute angles that a round-bristle brush might not be able to reach. It measures 14 inches long, too, so you can clean even the deepest of thermoses, and it comes in three vibrant colors.
Best Sponge: Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges
Works well at scrubbing away debris
Can be cleaned in the dishwasher
May cause scratches with too much force
Scotch-Brite makes some of the most widely used sponges in the U.S., and we get why they're popular: They work well and hold up against seriously tough messes, whether it's food caked onto dishes or splatter stains on the stove. The scrubber side helps slough away debris, while the non-scrubber side helps keep the suds going as you hand wash dishes.
Furthermore, you can use these sponges to wipe down countertops and other surfaces; use the scrubber side to remove more stubborn residue that won't come off with a simple swipe. They're also ideal for washing nonstick cookware—for the most part. While these are marketed as no-scratch, they have the potential to leave marks if you use too much elbow grease on more delicate surfaces, like Teflon-coated pans or melamine dishes. Other than that, they work wonderfully for the price and are available in multi-packs, so you always have a fresh sponge at your disposal.
Best Scrubber: Crown Choice Non-Scratch Heavy Duty Scourer Cloth
Easy to clean and disinfect in dishwasher
Food rinses out easily
On the pricier side
Does not get sudsy while washing dishes
An alternative to sponge, these nylon scouring cloths provide heavy-duty scrubbing power without leaving scratches or removing enameled finishes. You can use them to remove food debris from dishes and all types of cookware from stainless steel to nonstick and beyond.
Thanks to the mesh design, it's easy to remove melted cheese or fried egg—foods that would typically imbed themselves into a traditional sponge with a scrubber side. The design makes them sturdier than most sponges, and because they don't hold onto moisture, there is less of a chance for becoming smelly. Just place into the dishwasher for no-fuss disinfecting.
The only downside to these cloths is that they don't really absorb soap, so you won't get the lather that you normally would with a sponge. Try using without soap on cast iron to get rid of any stuck-on bits of food or pairing with Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Cleanser to remove stains from enameled cast iron and stainless steel.
Best Cookware Cleanser: Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Cleanser
Gentle, but efficient
Can be used on many surfaces
Restores cookware shine and removes grease
Requires elbow grease for stubborn stains
When it comes to keeping pots and pans spotless, this liquid cleanser is one of the best at removing stains and buildup from repeated use. Paired with a non-abrasive scrubber and a little elbow grease, you'll be able to make stainless steel shine brightly again and remove marks from the outside of a well-loved enameled cast iron Dutch oven. This cleaner can be used to remove tough stains from cooktops, rust from stainless refrigerator doors, and knife marks from plates—it's truly a multipurpose cleaner that can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. Bar Keepers Friend also makes a less expensive powder formula that can be sprinkled on surfaces and used similarly when water is added, though many prefer the liquid version because it's ready to use.
Active Ingredient: Oxalic acid | Size: 26 ounces | Safe For Use On: Enamel, porcelain, cast iron, brass, steel, bronze, copper alloys, aluminum, and ceramic
Best for Garbage Disposal: Glisten Disposer Foaming Cleaner
Nontoxic and biodegradable
Refreshing citrus scent
Must leave sink running to use
Cleaning the kitchen sink is pretty straightforward, but without regular attention, your garbage disposal can get pretty funky. Bits of decaying food can cling to the blades and attached pipes, and a germy biofilm can form around the rubber splash guard that covers the drain. This cleanser creates a powerful foaming action that scrubs away grungy buildup using a steady stream of hot water and the action of your garbage disposal. The resulting foam loosens all odor-causing detritus and sends it down the drain, so all you're left with is a fresh sink and light lemon scent.
The manufacturer recommends using these biodegradable, septic-safe packets once a week for best results. Though we aren't a big fan of letting the water run, the entire process is under two minutes, so it keeps water waste to a minimum.
Active Ingredients: Malic acid, sodium lauryl sulfate | What's Included: Four uses
Best Cleaning Cloth: MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, Pack of 12
Lifts and holds dirt, grease, liquids, bacteria
Outlasts traditional cleaning cloths
Can be used with just water
Must be washed separately from other laundry
Microfiber cleaning cloths have become particularly popular because of their ability to catch dust and moisture, thanks to the millions of fibers that attract and hold whatever you're trying to wipe up. While there are myriad options of microfiber cloths out there, MR.SIGA is a trusted manufacturer of cleaning supplies at affordable prices, and these do not disappoint. The inexpensive, high-quality clothes feature reinforced stitched edges to prevent unraveling and are designed to last for hundreds of washes. Use them with just water to do quick wipe downs of kitchen surfaces or opt to pair with your favorite cleaning spray for areas that need a little more attention, like the stovetop or inside of the microwave. You can also use a clean microfiber towel to dry dishes, as they are incredibly absorbent.
To clean these cloths, be sure to wash them separately from other types of laundry (without fabric softener or bleach) and hang dry or tumble dry on low. They'll be good as new.
Materials: Polyester/nylon blend | Size: 12.6 x 12.6 inches | What's Included: 12 cloths
Best for Hard Floors: Dyson Omni-glide Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Rollers pick up fine particles
Easy to maneuver
Battery lasts 20 minutes on regular setting
Canister is very small
A broom and dustpan are great, but if we're being honest, they tend to spread dirt around more than we care to admit. Enter the newly released Dyson Omni-Glide, a handheld vacuum specifically designed for hard floors. The head is comprised of multiple soft rollers made of nylon (to capture large debris) and anti-static carbon filaments (for fine dust), and it features four 360-degree casters that let you maneuver the vacuum forward, backward, sideways, and around curves with a simple twist of the wrist.
Our tester loved how thoroughly this vacuum picked up dry spills, like coffee grounds and flour, without sending particles flying. The canister is small, but it's enough for picking up a fair amount before having to empty it. Be warned that the maximum run time is 20 minutes on a fully charged battery using the regular setting—the maximum setting drops it down to just six minutes of use.
Like all Dyson vacuums, you can clean your filter by rinsing it with water and drying it thoroughly. Though the price is steep, if you have hard floors throughout the house, it will come in handy everywhere. It's super compact, allowing you to get into small spaces, and won't take up a lot of room when not in use.
Materials: Plastic/polycarbonate | Size: 3.62 x 8.18 x 42.4 | Weight: 4.2 pounds | Run Time: Up to 20 minutes
"I used this to clean up an especially messy spill of coffee grounds, and I'm happy to say it got every last grain, even under the recessed edge of our lower cabinets." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
Best Mop and Bucket: O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System
Very effective at removing grime
Lightweight and easy to use
Easy to wash mop head
Smaller than expected
Construction feels flimsy
When sweeping and vacuuming aren't enough to get your floor clean, it's time to break out an old-fashioned mop and bucket. This set includes a microfiber mop and a bucket with a foot-activated spinner to wring out excess liquid. Use the microfiber mop when it's dry to remove any dust or particles from the floor, then use it wet to clean away dirt and grime. Use the spinner to control how wet you want your mop to be, and then when you're done, toss the mop head into the washing machine to clean it for your next use.
Our tester liked the way this performed, but noted that the mop felt a little flimsy and the construction could use some improvement, and therefore wouldn't recommend it for someone with an intense mopping regimen. However, if you're only using it to occasionally mop the kitchen or bathroom, it will work just fine.
Materials: Plastic/microfiber | Size: 19.5 x 11.7 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 5.4 pounds
"I was surprised at how much dirt the O-Cedar Mop picked up, even though the surface looked relatively clean to begin with." — Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best Trash Can: Simplehuman 50-Liter Rectangular Step Trash Can
Sturdy construction with step-activated lid
Easy to clean with removable liner
High price tag
Designed for use with specific bin liners
It might sound a little over the top to spend a lot on a garbage bin, but this step can from Simplehuman is totally worth it. Made with an easy-to-clean stainless steel exterior, this sturdy can features a soft-close lid and strong steel pedal engineered to withstand daily use. The inner bucket liner keeps any potential leaking contained and separate from the outer casing, too, so you can remove it completely when it comes time to disinfect it.
This model has a generous 50-liter capacity that is great for larger households, though Simplehuman also makes a 38-liter model for smaller spaces. Its smart design includes hinges on the interior, which means you can push the receptacle flush against the wall, wasting zero space. The only caveat is that it works best with the Simplehuman's custom-fit liners, which the brand promises won't ever slip. Best of all, this trash can is backed by a 10-year warranty and is designed to last for years.
Materials: Stainless steel, plastic | Size: 25.7 x 12.8 x 19.8 inches | Capacity: 50 liters (38-liter model available)
"I've had my Simplehuman trash bin through six years and three apartments, and it still looks brand new despite how often I use it. It's thoughtfully designed and very easy to keep clean." — Bernadette Machard de Gramont, Product Tester
What To Look For in Kitchen Cleaning Supplies
Pick construction over price whenever possible, as you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to cleaning supplies. For example, high-quality microfiber cloths should be tightly woven, not flimsy, and sturdy enough to withstand multiple launderings. Very inexpensive versions might start to fray and fall apart after even a single wash.
Silicone is also a wonderful material for items like bottle brushes and pan scrapers, as they withstand daily use. While we fully embrace choosing eco-friendly options whenever possible, it’s good to note that sometimes that means the materials used in making something like a biodegradable sponge will start to break down faster than traditional models—something to keep in mind depending on how frequently you use them.
Ease of Use
When purchasing cleaning tools and supplies, you’ll also want to consider how they feel in your hands as you use them. Ergonomic handles and directional flexibility can make a big difference when it comes to getting into a tight kitchen corner or the crevices of your blender carafe. Also, you want to be able to properly store your supplies when they aren’t in use, especially if space is a concern.
It may sound excessive to some, but cleaning supplies need regular maintenance, too. Being able to thoroughly disinfect sponges, scrubbers, mops, and more is another facet to consider when purchasing. The ability to run them through the dishwasher or laundry is a big plus, as are rinsable parts and non-porous surfaces (like stainless steel) that are easy to wipe down.
How often should you replace your sponges?
According to this study conducted in Germany, we should be changing our sponges every week.
"Besides changing them frequently you also need to keep them sanitized," says Alex Varela of Texas-based cleaning service Dallas Maids. "Boiling and microwaving your sponge might be helpful, but up to a point because it doesn't destroy all types of bacteria."
What are the advantages of using microfiber cloths to clean?
"Microfiber cloths absorb up to 98 percent of moisture," says Varela. "This is helpful because moisture, along with organic compound, like food, is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. [Microfiber cloths] can also capture up to 99 percent of microbes. This means that, along with a good cleaning product, your kitchen surface will be not only clean, but also sanitized."
How often should you change out a mop head?
The best answer is "when needed," as it depends on how often you use your mop and how dirty the mop head gets. With typical use, you'll want to aim for changing it every two to three months or sooner.
How do you clean a garbage bin, and how often?
Varela suggests adding a few drops of vinegar or bleach to the bottom of your trash bin every time you take the garbage out, as long as the surface isn't stainless steel. He also suggests cleaning the bin with boiling water and a cup of vinegar, which will remove any odors.
"The secret here is to be consistent," Varela says. "Doing this once a week is more than enough."
What's the best way to clean your sink?
Depending on what your sink is made of, you can use a variety of methods. Porcelain sinks can be cleaned with baking soda and a sponge or a bleach-based cleanser to remove any tough stains. Stainless steel sinks can be cleaned with soft abrasive cleansers, like Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend, and a non-abrasive scrubber. Be sure to give your sink a really good rinse to get rid of any leftover detergent. If your sink smells, you'll want to be sure to clean your garbage disposal, as well.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
This piece was written by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, a Los Angeles-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a two-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight. She interviewed Alex Varela of Texas-based cleaning service Dallas Maids for this article.