When I came home from the hospital with a newborn, I needed help. Big time.
I was exhausted and overwhelmed. To help, my husband and I hired a cleaning professional twice a month. For us, the help was well worth the cost.
If you’re starting a cleaning business—good for you! I’ve seen how cleaning services can help new parents, newlyweds, elderly people, and busy professionals. In fact, I’ve thought about starting a cleaning service myself. You can schedule your own hours and interact with a ton of people. The best part? You’re paid pretty well too.
So what does it take to launch your own cleaning company? Grit, focus, and some equipment. To help you get started, I’ve created checklist with the equipment you’ll need to make your clients’ homes or commercial businesses shine on a regular basis.
First, what type of business are you starting? You’ll need different products for homes and commercial customers.
Cleaning Equipment for Residential Cleaners
Depending on where you live, residential cleaning is a big business. During the past few years, many homeowners have recovered from the last recession and are happy to spend extra cash on cleaning services. If you live in a higher-income area, then you’re really in luck. The market for your services is needed—and probably growing.
Here are the products you’ll need:
- Cleaning uniform or apron
- Disposable gloves (latex or nitrile gloves)
- Knee pads (Trust me, your knees will thank you.)
- Shoe covers (for the really dirty jobs)
- Comfortable sneakers (You’ll be on your feet all day.)
Depending on your comfort level, you may want to buy an eye or face mask, especially if you aren’t using organic cleaning products. Over time, the smells and chemicals impact you.
Living room and bedroom
- Short duster (for tables and shelves)
- Long duster (for high areas, like the top of fans or walls)
- Dusting mitt (for easy wiping)
- Wood furniture cleaner
- Microfiber glass cloths (for mirrors and glass tables)
- Furniture vacuum attachments or a handheld vacuum (Research this carefully and get a product that’s great at vacuuming pet hair.)
- Leather cleaner (for leather furniture and upholstery)
Kitchens and bathrooms
- All-purpose cleaner
- Disinfectant cleaner
- Scrub pads (to clean kitchen and bathroom sinks)
- Toothbrushes (for scrubbing small areas)
- Grout brush (for tiled showers)
- Soap scum remover
- Sponges or microfiber cloths (to wipe down showers and tubs)
- Bathroom cleaning powder (try Comet or Bon-Ami)
- Toilet bowl brush (Use the disposable kind so you can toss after each customer.)
- Vacuum cleaner for carpets (This is something to invest in! A quality vacuum will make the job faster and easier.)
- Vacuum cleaner for hard floors (Some vacuums tackle both carpeting and floors.)
- Mop and pads (Get a wet mop and a dusting mop.)
- Floor cleaning solution
- Dustpan and brush
Want to save on a mop? Here’s a hack. Our house cleaner cut a hole in the center of a hand towel. Then she put the end of the broom handle through the hole. The hand towel covers the end of the broom and acts like a mop. When she’s done, she tosses the towel in with the wash. Voila! It’s the perfect homemade mop using products she already has.
- Microfiber glass cloths
- Window cleaning solution
- Paper towels
- Cleaning bucket
- Caddy with dividers for products
- Garbage bags (for small trash cans and large kitchen cans)
- Spray bottles for solutions and water
Want to add a special touch? Leave your business card, a kind note, or even a small flower for your customers. These are small touches that can make a big impact.
Cleaning Equipment for Eco-Friendly Cleaning
Offering natural and eco-friendly cleaning is another way to make your business stand out. Homeowners who are health- or environmental-conscious, or who have small kids want to use safe cleaning products.
But before investing in natural products, do your research. It’s important to make sure they’re truly organic, nontoxic, and actually get the job done. According to an article in New York Magazine, these are some of the best natural cleaning products in 2019, according to experts.
Cleaning Equipment for Commercial Cleaning
Not cleaning houses? There are a ton of benefits to cleaning businesses instead of homes. Companies offer a steady flow of cash—and they can pay more too. But you might need to invest more upfront. You’ll need many of the same products that are used in residential cleaning, but on a larger scale and for a team of professionals (usually 2 to 3 people, but up to 10 to 50 employees).
Search online or visit a local janitorial supply store to pick up your starter equipment:
- Disinfectant sprays
- Floor waxing machine
- Floor washer
- Commercial brooms
- Commercial buckets
- Cleaning cloths and mitts
- Dusting tools
- High performance commercial vacuums
- Large garbage bags for bathrooms and kitchen areas
- A professional cleaning uniform branded with your logo
Don’t forget you’ll want to invest in a branded company van too. A van will give your team space to store supplies and ride together—plus, a level of professionalism that’s required by companies.
The good news is you can start a cleaning business at a low cost and grow over time. Invest in a few key pieces and then build on your products over time. The longer you own your company, the more you’ll learn about the products that work well and where you can save money.
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