In the bustling world of the cleaning industry, having the right tools is synonymous with setting a strong foundation.
Required and Optional Products
The Cleaning Caddy
Invest in a good cleaning caddy that will hold your bottles upright and contain all the tools you will need on each job. If you purchase one that is weak or has sides that are too low, you will be frustrated with bottles tipping over and perhaps bottles that have leaked.
Find and interview a good janitorial supply company in your area. They carry the type of caddy you want. You will need to develop a relationship with this company because you will be doing repeat business with them and relying on their expertise with their products and supplies.
You will find other information on cleaning that refers you to your local warehouse depot store for products and supplies. Yes, they do carry chemicals that are used by a lot of janitorial cleaning companies, but this type of cleaning is done on corporate sites – not on your best client’s new home.
You do not want to use chemicals you know nothing about, and you certainly do not want to use chemicals that haven not been referred to you by someone that knows how to use them safely.
Most of these products will not leave the natural shine your clients want due to the use of inferior chemicals that dull the surface.
The following items are required in your caddy:
You can mix your own home brew using ammonia or vinegar or use what your supplier recommends for your needs. My supplier had their own product that was made for them, exclusively. I always knew which bottle was the glass cleaner in the caddy by the color – blue. I found out the hard way that it could leave a permanent stain on some carpets when it dripped from the bottle. Therefore, I requested my supplier to reduce the blue tint and it was fine. Be aware of this when purchasing your products.
All- Purpose Cleaner
All-purpose means you can use it anywhere, even on a kitchen cutting board. This should be a product that has a disinfectant, is non-toxic and can be used on any surface without the need to rinse. You should be able to spray, scrub and wipe. My all-purpose cleaner was also used on floors, was safe for pets and appeared to leave a shine that my clients always commented on. There was no special ingredient that made the shine; it was just made with good chemicals that would not leave a dull residue.
Tub and Tile Disinfectant
This is your heavy-duty toilet bowl cleaner, tub and shower cleaner and is used only in the bathrooms and laundry room sinks. This product should be non-toxic and not need to be rinsed from the tub/shower or bathroom sinks. You spray, let it sit, scrub and wipe.
An all-purpose degreaser can be used to soften any old dirt residue and grease. This type of product will leave a smear residue when used on stovetops, countertops, etc. If the dirt or grease does not need to be rinsed, you should be able to overspray with your all-purpose cleaner and wipe clean. The all-purpose will cut the smear and leave a clean surface. This product should also be safe to use on your wood or veneer cabinets. Check with your supplier or test on a small surface. Cabinets will usually need lemon oil or polish after degreasing.
Make sure you find high-grade lemon oil through your supplier. All lemon oils are not the same and the oil you buy in your local store is not high-grade lemon oil. If not, it may leave some wood finishes cloudy.
Make sure you use a product that will leave your rag moist. I used some that my supplier sold, and this was the only product of theirs that I was not happy with; it kept drying out requiring me to use more product than necessary. We finally found a professional dusting spray called ‘Misty” that left the rag moist and could get through dusting a whole house on a regular clean. If you cannot find an affordable one, use Endust or microfiber until you can. I did not have any problems with this product as it does not leave a film but is a little oily.
You can also make your own natural dusting spray.
It doesn’t dry out my wood furniture and leaves other surfaces streak-free. I still prefer terry towels for dusting because they work the best on nick nacks.
I spray my towel on both sides, fold into a square, and let it “cure” for a few minutes. This folded towel is used for dusting the whole house – all you need to do is turn it to a new side for each room to be dusted.
I always had to carry a spray polish for one-time customers. I prefer to use the client’s because when you mix different polishes, you get a lot of smearing that is hard to correct. This is also a product that I did not purchase from my suppler. Some polishes leave a real high shine and others leave a low or dull shine. This is another reason I prefer to use the client’s product because they purchase the one that leaves the shine they prefer.
Not a sponge, a scrubbie (hand pad) – the scrubbing side of a lot of sponges. These can also be purchased from your supplier. I only used two kinds:
- White for counters, stovetops and flooring (non-scratching)
- Green for tub and shower (heavy duty).
Each grade of scrubbie is a different color. If you use the wrong grade on the wrong surface, you can ruin it by leaving swirl or scratch marks. If I ran short on scrubbies, I could purchase them at Wal-Mart. In place of white, Wal-Mart carries blue and the label specifically says it will not scratch.
These should be available at your supply company, if not then look for a restaurant supply company. These are screens that are used to clean the grills in restaurants. I used these in place of a pumice stone to clean old mold and water lines from toilets. They work very quickly and do not scratch the interior of the bowl. These are also good for cleaning very dirty ovens that have burnt on residue (you must use them carefully when you get to the actual floor of the oven). Click Here for more information.
The only bowl brush you want to use are the ones you can purchase from your supplier with the fluffy white ball. An actual brush scratches toilet bowls and you certainly do not want to do that; and do not use your client’s brush for the same reason.
Tall Plastic Cup
This will be used to hold your bowl swab and can double duty to help you rinse showers.
These are two different sizes of brushes also obtained thru your supplier. The toothbrush is used around faucets, tile crevices, stovetops, etc. The tile brush is much larger and is used for larger areas like shower tile/grout.
You can do all kinds of things with a putty knife. You will use it a lot on your full-service cleans to scrape up old dirt or stuck on spills – you would be surprised all the places you use it. You can also cover it with a rag to soften the edge to ensure you do not scratch a particular surface. It also works well to scrape out very dirty ovens and get between shower door frames.
Some of the franchises carry a screwdriver to remove shower doors, unscrewing glass bulbs from fixture, etc. If used, you should have a policy in place on how and when to use a screwdriver. Many things can go wrong therefore I decided not to carry them and reduce my insurance claims.
This is another item that some of the franchises carry. Inside the house, this can be used to dry down your shower walls and doors and also is good on large mirrors. If used correctly, this can be a time saver.
Use the highest quality ostrich feather dusters you can find. The ostrich feathers have a natural oil that picks up and holds the dust. A lesser quality duster will just move the dust around. I consider the ostrich feather duster a mandatory tool because of how quickly it can do so many tasks other than furniture dusting.
Safe to use on all surfaces and did not require excessive rinsing.
Rubber and Latex Gloves
Rubber is needed when using acid cleaners and disinfecting; latex can be used while dusting and using the non-toxic chemicals.
If you do not want to use a dusting spray, you can use a microfiber cloth for dusting. Be sure to select a high-quality microfiber, as not all microfiber are equal. Dusting with a microfiber cloth can be done dry or wet. You’ll have to try both options with the microfiber you have purchased to see what works best.
Never use chemicals on your microfiber cloths. You’ll want to invest in dusting cloths that will get into grooves and allow you to feel what you’re dusting – that’s the best way to leave a dust-free surface for your clients.
If you want to learn more about starting a house cleaning business, check out our comprehensive guide on starting a successful house cleaning business. We cover everything you need to know to start and run a thriving cleaning service.