A Well-Stocked Cleaning Tote

Stay on the job by carrying commonly needed tools and supplies with you in a tote as you clean.
Clean Without Chaos: Assemble a Cleaning Tote

Clean Without Chaos: Assemble a Cleaning Tote

Carry a cleaning tote with you as you move from room to room. You'll have everything you need at hand and can speed through the job in double-quick time.

Photo by: DK - House Works © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - House Works , 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Carry a cleaning tote with you as you move from room to room. You'll have everything you need at hand and can speed through the job in double-quick time.

A cleaning tote is a housecleaner's best friend. A plastic bucket or totable tray, it holds the tools and supplies needed to clean it right and clean it fast. What's inside? Check your cleaning tote for these top tools:

Cleaning apron. An apron protects clothing, keeps cleaning tools at hand and has pockets to hold spare garbage bags and collect trash or small out-of-place items. Choose a sturdy, comfortable, machine-washable apron.

Rubber gloves or washing-up gloves. Protect hands from harsh cleaning products with rubber gloves. New colors make rubber gloves a bright addition to the cleaning tote-but steer clear of frou-frou decoration. Fur cuffs or rhinestone embellishments are fun to look at, but are not meant for serious cleaning.

Cleaning cloths. White cotton cleaning cloths are the cleaner's mainstay. Fold them for easy access, and then use them to wipe fixtures dry, make mirrors gleamand remove fingermarks fast.

Scrubbing sponge. This dual-duty sponge has an absorbent side and an abrasive side. Flip from soft to tough to take out stubborn, dried-on deposits in the sink.

Squeegee. Clean windows, mirrors and glass the way the pros do. A rubber-bladed squeegee removes cleaning solution and soil with one quick swipe. Wipe the blade dry with a cleaning cloth between strokes.

Scraper. Dried-up gunk comes up fast when tackled with a smooth metal or plastic scraper. Keep the scraper handy in an apron pocket; it'll make quick work of blobs of jelly or dried-on oatmeal.

Tile brush. A handled brush with thick bristles cleans tiles, bathtub surrounds and ceramic fixtures in a flash. Bristles reach into corners; the handle keeps your hands free and clear of the cleaning fray.

Toothbrush. Tiny spaces attract big-time dirt. Tackle them with a firm-bristle toothbrush. Use it to rout gunk from around sink fixtures, sink rims or tight corners.

In addition to the above, if you are planning to buy cleaning products in bulk, you will also need the following:

Squirt bottle. Tile and bathroom cleaner works best when applied evenly and thickly. Use a funnel to decant the cleaner into a clean squirt-top bottle to get the right amount of product in the right spot-even underneath toilet rims.

Spray bottle. Whether you spritz it for light coverage or spray it for harder jobs, adjustable spray bottles make it easy to apply window cleaner or degreaser to surfaces. Use a color code or label bottles to tell them apart.

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