18 Essential Cleaning Supplies for all Renters | Roost
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18 Cleaning kit essentials for every renter

Essential cleaning supplies for keeping your apartment sparkling clean and sanitary

Cleaning is sort of like going to the dentist: You dread doing it and put it off as long as possible, but once it’s done, you feel like an accomplished and responsible adult. Unlike going in for a root canal, however, you won’t get hit with a hefty bill afterward — just a tidy, fresh-smelling apartment and a smug sense of satisfaction. To start, you need a collection of essential cleaning supplies.

To simplify the process, every renter should have a handy cleaning kit with all the cleaning supplies and tools you’ll need to take your apartment from dingy and dusty to so fresh and so clean. (And if you’re having trouble getting excited about buying cleaning supplies, perhaps money will motivate you? Keeping your apartment clean and sanitary will help ensure your landlord returns your entire security deposit refund at the end of your lease).

We’ve assembled a list of everything you’ll want to keep on hand to maintain a sparkling clean apartment, along with tips on when and how to use them, and links to our favorite products. Ready, set, CLEAN!

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Essential cleaning tools

There are definitely way more exciting things to spend money on than cleaning supplies — but it’s essential to have the right tools for the job. A barebones kit of paper towels and a bottle of Windex simply isn’t going to cut it; you need a variety of tools suitable for every room of your apartment to ensure the job gets done right.

Plus, these essential cleaning supplies help you clean quickly. Below, our picks for the six gotta-have-’em cleaning tools every renter should own.

Broom and dustpan

Ah, the old’ broom and dustpan — almost as legendary a duo as mac and cheese or chocolate and peanut butter. You’ll want to keep this pair on hand at all times for regular maintenance sweeping of your kitchen, your patio and even the hallway outside your apartment.

Accidentally shatter a coffee cup on the kitchen floor? Broom and dustpan to the rescue.

Patio full of crunchy autumn leaves? Yep, broom and dustpan.

There’s a huge selection of brooms and dustpans to choose from out there, but whatever you do, make sure you buy them as a pair. This will ensure the broom’s bristles fit perfectly within the edge of the dustpan to ensure seamless sweeping.

Broom and dustpan with extendable handle

We like this broom and dustpan set with an extendable handle for easy storage, or grab this stylish miniature broom and dustpan for cleaning up equally miniature messes.


Well, duh. A vacuum is vital for keeping your floors clean, especially if you have carpet. There’s simply no other way to quickly suck up all the dirt and debris that gets tracked into your apartment rug on a daily basis.

Black and Decker super compact cordless handheld vaccum

Vacuums run the gamut from super-compact cordless handheld vacuums for cleaning small areas to upright versions specially designed for wrangling pet hair


Unless you’re a school janitor, a Swiffer is probably perfectly suitable to clean the tile, vinyl or hardwood floors in your apartment. The simplest and most affordable option is this Swiffer Sweeper Dry + Wet kit; it can be used dry to sweep up dirt and pet hair, or wet to scrub your kitchen or bathroom floor.

Swiffer sweeper 2 in 1

If your apartment has hardwood floors (ooh, fancy), try the Swiffer WetJet that squirts cleaning solution on the floor to get it extra clean and shiny.

Toilet brush

No one enjoys cleaning the toilet, but it’s also true that no one enjoys using a yucky toilet, especially our guests.

Toilet brush with container to hide the brush when not using

We also don’t like looking at the toilet brush lurking behind the toilet. Thankfully, they now make toilet brushes with containers to hide the brush when you are done with them.

Toilet plunger

Avoid embarrassing toilet overflow situations and keep a plunger on hand for any delicate plumbing situations.

Heavy duty toilet plunger with hide away storage

Believe it or not some toilet plungers are better than others. We recommend a heavy duty style plunger that can handle all, ahem, issues. A cheap plunger could leave you in a bind, yoinks!

Cleaning supply caddy

When your date (or mom) is on their way over to your apartment and you’re furiously cleaning like your life depends on it, you’ll be glad to have all your cleaning must-haves in one easy-to-carry-around kit.

Cleaning supply caddy for apartments

No need to get fancy here; a budget-friendly plastic model with a convenient carrying handle will do.

Essential cleaning supplies


Handy for scrubbing dishes, wiping down kitchen countertops after an especially messy cooking project and all sorts of other things. The most basic sponges are really the best option.

Roost Tip! When your sponges start to smell funky, just get them wet and toss them in the microwave for a minute to kill any bacteria. Good as new!

Dish scrubbing brush

A dish scrubbing brush is vital for caked-on spaghetti sauce, egg residue stuck to frying pans and things of that nature.

Dish scrubbing brush

We recommend buying two of these basic models so you have a backup when one wears out.

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Rags or microfiber cloths

We can’t emphasize this enough: Do not rely on paper towels to do all of your cleaning! It’s terrible for the environment and besides, have you seen how expensive those things are lately?

micro-fiber cleaning cloths

Keep some microfiber cloths on hand, or simply cut up old t-shirts to make rags. (You were never going to wear that David Hasselhoff t-shirt anyways.)

Garbage bags

You know, for… garbage. We really don’t need to explain this one, do we? Don’t cheap out here or the garbage bag will bust on you, and there’s nothing fun about that.

Hefty ultra-strong trash bags

Anything labeled “extra strong” should do the trick.

Roost Tip! Keep a stash of extra garbage bags in the bottom of your trash can. That way you can quickly replace the bag when you take the trash out, ensuring no gross spills in your garbage can.

Laundry detergent

Because no matter what she says, your mom doesn’t want to do your laundry anymore. If you’re sensitive to fragrances and dyes, grab an allergen-free variety to ensure no itchiness. The little detergent pods are especially handy – but keep them out of reach of little hands.

Carpet stain remover

Spills happen, and as a renter you definitely want to get that security deposit refund back. Keep a bottle of carpet stain remover on hand so you can treat any spilled red wine or ink stains pronto.

Rubber gloves

You’ll be extremely glad you have a pair of rubber gloves on hand when your friend’s puppy has a potty training slip-up on the floor, or when you have to pull a bunch of hair out of your sink drain (but that’s another article entirely).


Dish soap

Not to be confused with dishwasher detergent (although you need that too if you have a dishwasher), dish soap is the liquid stuff in a squeeze bottle that you use to clean the pot of old crusty mac and cheese you left sitting on the stove for two days. Oops.

Dawn dish soap

Disinfecting wipes

These will come in handy when you spill raw chicken juice all over your kitchen countertop.

Lysol disinfecting wipes

Disinfecting wipes kill 99.9% of yucky bacteria in a flash.

Glass cleaner

How do you get so much toothpaste all over your bathroom mirror? Never fear, glass cleaner (and a rag) will restore your mirror to respectability.

Windex glass cleaner

This stuff also comes in handy for cleaning fingerprints and smudges off glass coffee tables and windows.

Air freshener

Is your next-door neighbor boiling cabbage again? Ugh. Sometimes there’s just some unidentifiable funk in the air you need to mask quickly. A natural air freshener will do the trick.

Meyer's natural room freshener

All-purpose cleaner

True to its name, all-purpose cleaner serves, well, many purposes. Use it to clean your kitchen counter, your bathroom sink, the top of your dresser, the nasty-looking corners in the bathroom… you get the idea.

Meyer's multisurface cleaner

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Cleaning supplies 101 complete

Essential cleaning supplies can help you become the next cleaning guru. Having a sparkling clean bathroom may not win you any awards or cash prizes, but it will give you a deep sense of inner zen and pride in your apartment — and bonus, your guests won’t be grossed out by the stains around your toilet.

A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: November 13th, 2023