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What Equipment Do You Need to Start a Cleaning Business?

October 7, 2021 6 min. read
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Getting the right cleaning tools and equipment is essential to starting a successful cleaning business.

This article lists out everything you’ll need to make sure you can complete every cleaning job quickly and efficiently – for both residential and commercial jobs.

Your house cleaning business supplies checklist

Cleaning business supplies come in lots of different forms! We’ve put together the following checklists to make it easy for you to get a quick list of important things you need across various business areas.

Your cleaning business may need supplies that aren’t on this list. For example, a house cleaning business that specializes in green cleaning or carpet cleaning will need specialty supplies.

In that case, use this list as a jumping-off point and include your own specialty equipment at the end.

READ MORE: Experts share whether it’s worth it to start a cleaning business

Essential cleaning business equipment

  • Vacuum cleaner, with attachments for hardwood and carpet
  • Bucket or container to carry supplies
  • Mop and bucket
  • Duster (both long and short)
  • Dustpan and broom
  • Paper towels
  • Microfibre cloths (have separate, color-coded ones for the kitchen and bathroom)
  • Glass cleaning cloths
  • Protective rubber gloves
  • Cleaning brushes (use disposable toilet brushes or ask the customer to provide one)
  • Laundry bag (for old rags)
  • Disinfectant wipes (perfect for bathroom and kitchen surfaces)
  • Shoe covers (to keep floors clean)
  • Spray bottle (to store homemade products and all-purpose cleaners you need to mix with water)
  • Trash bags

READ MORE: Unique cleaning business ideas to kickstart your company

Essential cleaning products

  • Multi-purpose cleaner (look for bottles that explicitly say they are suitable for appliances and different hard surfaces like walls, counters, desks, and floors)
  • Disinfectant (necessary for bathroom and kitchen surfaces)
  • Glass and window cleaner (commonly a spray-and-wipe solution used for mirrors, glass, perspex, and windows)
  • Air freshener
  • Heavy-duty detergent or degreaser
  • Furniture polish
  • Oven cleaner
  • Stainless steel cleaner (for stainless steel kitchen appliances)
  • Toilet and shower cleaner (buy as a separate or all-in-one solution to remove mold, mildew, and grime)
  • Dishwashing liquid (use to clean plates, stovetops, refrigerators and more)
  • Descaling agent or chemical descaler (removes limescale in kettles)
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Wood cleaner (you can make your own wood cleaning solution using one part Murphy Oil to eight parts water)

FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning receipt template

Commercial cleaning supplies list

If you’re starting a commercial cleaning business, you’ll need many of the same supplies listed above—but with a few extras you might not have considered.

What office cleaning supplies do I need?

You’ll need to replace these items regularly:

  • Multi-purpose cleaner (for walls, counters, desks, and floors)
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Sponges
  • Glass cleaner
  • Stainless steel cleaner (kitchen appliances)
  • Steel wool (for stubborn stains—use with care!)
  • Magic erasers (great for spot-washing walls)
  • Oven cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Toilet paper and paper towels (bathrooms and kitchens)
  • Hand soap (bathrooms and kitchens)
  • Dish soap (kitchens)
  • Degreaser (kitchens)
  • Garbage bags
  • Disposable shoe covers
  • Disposable toilet brushes
  • Wood and leather furniture cleaner
  • Vinegar (all-purpose cleaner and descaler)
  • Carpet cleaning solution (if you offer that service)
  • Laundry detergent (if you offer linen service)

If the office manager is handling cleaning supplies, keep in touch with them regularly and let them know when you’re starting to run low on any supplies.

READ MORE: How much to charge for commercial cleaning

Commercial cleaning equipment list

You’ll also need to invest in equipment that will last you for some time. Certain items may need to be replaced a little more often, depending on their quality and how much you use them.

  • Mop and bucket (use the bucket to carry supplies, too!)
  • Floor scrubbing brush
  • Supply cart (if your supplies don’t all fit in the bucket)
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Feather duster (both long and short)
  • Indoor window washing kit
  • Squeegee
  • Microfiber cloths (separate and color-coded for kitchens and bathrooms)
  • Spray bottles (for cleaning solutions that don’t come in one)
  • Respirator (if you’re working with heavy-duty chemicals)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Branded company uniform
  • Work apron (to protect your clothes)
  • Industrial vacuum cleaner (hardwood and carpet attachments)
  • Handheld vacuum (for fast and easy tasks)
  • Floor machine (waxing and buffing for larger spaces)
  • Carpet steam cleaner (if you offer that service)
  • Laundry bag (for linen service)
  • Company vehicle (transporting equipment to and from jobs)

READ MORE: How to get cleaning contracts

Cleaning business marketing and office supplies

Does your cleaning business need software?

Software isn’t always considered on lists of cleaning business supplies.

But just like a high-quality vacuum or reliable mop, cleaning business software can help you save time, look more professional, and run a more efficient, profitable business.

Scheduling and management software for residential cleaning businesses, such as Jobber, helps you manage key business areas like quoting and invoicing.

This helps you look like a bigger business, plan more profitable days, and stop important information from slipping through the cracks.

Without it, you could double-book your schedule or overcharge by accident. These kinds of errors can quickly cost you customers.

In a nutshell, cleaning business software like Jobber lets you:

  • Schedule visits and jobs for you and your crew
  • Easily accept online bookings
  • Create professional quotes you can manage from one place
  • Easily convert a bid into a job
  • Access all your client information from one central location
  • Craft professional invoices and get paid online
  • Use a mobile app to check schedules, tasks, job notes, and client info from anywhere

FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning invoice template

Should you supply the cleaning products?

Some cleaning services expect homeowners to supply the cleaning products, but that can inconvenience customers who don’t have the time to go shopping.

In general, you should always supply the cleaning products yourself. Not only is it more convenient for your customers, but it also offers you many benefits:

  • You’ll look more professional and organized, which will impress customers
  • You can charge more because customers are paying you for the convenience of sourcing the right products in addition to cleaning their homes
  • You can clean faster when using cleaning products you know how to use
  • You know the cleaning products will actually clean the house properly because you’ve handpicked them and aren’t relying on what your customers provide

READ MORE: How much to charge for house cleaning

But remember: Leave the option open to use the owner’s stash if they have preferred cleaning products. If the owner insists you use their cleaning products, just ensure that:

  • They provide a list of their supplies so you can determine if they have everything you need to do a proper job
  • They present the cleaning supplies to you in a container upon arrival, so you don’t waste time searching for them in the cupboards

Beyond cleaning business supplies

The right cleaning supplies are crucial to the success of your service business. They not only help you work more efficiently, but also provide the support and professionalism you need to confidently grow your business.

Of course, these supplies are just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to make hiring decisionslearn how to price cleaning jobspromote your cleaning business, and build client relationships to get more customers, referrals, and jobs.

Originally published August 2019. Last updated on October 7, 2021.

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