You make careful choices when you buy cleaning soaps and detergents. What about your cleaning tools? Does it matter what you use?
Sponges are moist and porous, so they are a very welcoming home for bacteria. Sponges mostly spread bacteria around your surfaces instead of cleaning them. If you are determined to use sponges, wring them out completely and make sure they dry thoroughly instead of leaving them in a puddle of water. Wash them in your dishwasher or heat them in your microwave, and replace them frequently.
Brushes dry faster and more completely than sponges and they have fewer nooks and crannies, so they are less likely to harbor bacteria. Run your brushes through your dishwasher regularly. Be sure they stay dry between uses by storing them bristles up. If your scrub brushes start to smell, they should be replaced right away.
Sometimes called “magic erasers,” these tools are made of melamine foam. They can be very tough and can clean surfaces very effectively, usually without using any soap or chemicals. On the other hand, they can also scratch your surfaces. They don’t feel abrasive, but they are. Don’t use them for non-stick pans, stone or granite, wood, painted or lacquered surfaces, stainless steel, or anything delicate. Consider wearing gloves when you use them.
Cleaning cloths made of fabric or yarn have the great advantage of being washable. This means that they will be cleaner than a sponge — if you wash them every day. A sour smell is an indication that your cleaning cloth is harboring bacteria, but you should plan to wash them every day even if they look and smell okay. This step avoids cross-contamination. Microfiber cloths can be particularly effective.
Disposables are not the most environmentally friendly choice, but they clean and disinfect without the negative effect of spraying strong chemicals in the air. They may also be convenient enough that you’re more likely to use them regularly than you will use a basin of soapy water and a cleaning cloth. If wipes will make it easy for you to clean kitchen surfaces after preparing raw meat or chicken, for example, they can be worth the investment. The cost is the highest in the group.
Paper towels can be the best choice for cleaning up messes, especially messes like raw meat juices. You can gather and wipe up visible messes and toss them without cross-contaminating surfaces. On the other hand, they can’t be reused or recycled, and they require cleaning solution to do a good job of cleaning or disinfecting a surface. A cleaning cloth can be used with hot soapy water for efficient basic cleaning, but paper towels will quickly disintegrate. They’re not good for the environment, either.
We hope this gives you enough information to make an informed choice about what cleaning tools to use for daily cleanup. For more thorough cleaning, or for regular biweekly maintenance, A Beautiful Day will keep your home clean and beautiful.