How to pick out cleaning supplies for an apartment, according to professionals

Plus, their best recommendations: including a Kris Jenner and Emma Grede fave

Small white-top round dining table in small apartment with black dining chairs and small bouquet plus colorful framed prints behind
(Image credit: Amanda Lauren)

Just like when living in a house, keeping an apartment or condo squeaky clean will feel like a chore to most of us. Dust bunnies, debris coming from open windows, grease from cooking in the kitchen, and just generally speaking, everyday dirt piles up a whole lot faster than in larger homes. So finding cleaning products that clean effectively and don't require too much storage is essential. 

I recently spoke with several cleaning experts to learn how they choose products to clean small spaces as well as some of their favorite picks. Remember, just because your home is small doesn’t mean it can’t sparkle. Here is what they advise:

1. Think before you buy

Maximizing space often means minimizing the number of cleaning products, so professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space, Shantae Duckworth recommends only buying what you really need. “I would encourage all apartment dwellers to keep their cleaning supplies to a minimum due to the amount of space that you have in your apartment. Your space is precious and should not be taken up with products that you don’t need or are one-dimensional,” she says. “When it comes to finding cleaning supplies, you really have to narrow down what you were looking for in a product. Are you looking for something all-natural or something that is reasonably priced? Are you looking for something that smells great? Are you looking for something that is multi-purpose?”

Pink patio doors looking onto patio in small apartment with modern clear chairs

(Image credit: Amanda Lauren)

2. Go eco-friendly

Living in a small space like an apartment often means breathing in the cleaning products you use. So Val Oliveira, founder of Val’s Services suggests only using eco-friendly or natural cleaning products: “We pride ourselves in providing cleaning services to our customers using all-natural products and have seen the positive results from not using strong or harsh chemicals like more efficient cleaning, avoiding damage to delicate appliances, and securing a safer environment at home and in the air that we breathe,” she says.

One example of a product that Oliveira likes is Safely Universal Cleaner. “[It] is a PH-balanced, plant-powered cleaner without harsh chemicals. It does an amazing job on dirty surfaces like steel, marble, hardwood, and more. All you need is to spray the surface and wipe it down with a clean cloth.”

Small white-top round dining table in small apartment with black dining chairs and small bouquet plus colorful framed prints behind

(Image credit: Amanda Lauren)

3. Choose multi-purpose products

Opting for one product that can clean multiple surfaces saves space and money. It’s also better for the environment. “Our Multipurpose Surface Cleaner is formulated to work on cleaning many different surfaces including stone, tile, sealed marble, granite, wood, and even glass. The versatility of what it can clean from tougher messes on floors and counters to windows, faucets, stovetops, mirrors, and stainless steel (it can even spot treat fabric) is endless,” explain Lindsay Droz and Kristi Lord, founders of L’Avant Collective

Furthermore, instead of stocking up on multiple bottles that you may not necessarily have room for, you can buy concentrate refills, which take up a fraction of the space. Just add water. 

Cleaning wipes such as L’Avant Collective Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes are another option especially if you don’t have room for bottles of cleaners, rags, or paper towels. “These multipurpose cleaning wipes are uniquely formulated using plant-based ingredients (made from coconuts, corn, and other biodegradable solvents) and are powerful enough to wipe away the dirtiest of sinks, floors, counters, and toilets! They make quick work of wiping down your countertops and can even work miracles on clothing stains and even stains on furniture,” Droz and Lord explain.

Not quite ready to jump on the natural products bandwagon? Duckworth is a fan of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, “They can do so many things,” she says. “Need to wipe down a counter? Clean up a mess? Use the wipes! Both of these products have served a long way in my home as well as in my organizing sessions with clients. It’s great to know that I only need these two products to be able to bring a space back to life.”

4. Go with a quality vacuum cleaner

There are lots of affordable vacuums great for cleaning small spaces, but Oliveira enthusiastically recommends the Hoover Commercial Portapower Lightweight Canister Vacuum Cleaner. “We love this vacuum cleaner because it is lightweight, easy to carry, portable, reliable, professional, and has incredible suction. This vacuum can easily reach tight corners and spaces that might seem unimportant but are necessary to clean. These include areas such as under the bed, couch, and other furniture.”

Duckworth is also a fan of Hoover and suggests the Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Floor Cleaner. “It will vacuum, mop, and dry your floors all in one machine.”

5. Consider budget options

However, if a larger vacuum cleaner isn’t in your budget, Duckworth tells me, “There’s nothing wrong with a standard broom and dust pan. These tools have proven time and time again to be able to get the floor clean and get rid of debris.”

She also recommends the Swiffer WetJet Starter Kit. “You can use a solution on any floor surface. And a bonus, you can add a microfiber cloth to the end of the mop, spray down your shower with any solution of your choice, and wipe down your showers with ease without breaking your back.”

Amanda Lauren

Hi, I’m Amanda Lauren. I’m a design expert and interior stylist who writes for Real Homes, Forbes, Real Simple among other publications. I live in Los Angeles in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park with my husband, and two dogs, Lulu and Milo. We also have a baby coming in spring 2023. I’m a big believer in finding beautiful things at all price points. There are so many places to find affordable things, you just have to look for them. If you don't find it at first, look harder!