We're Maryal and Chris Carter, the crazy-in-love couple behind the blog and the specs. Our love of chambray and mutual blurred vision unites us, and this is where we share our adventures in love, style, food, DIY and so much more, seen through our bespectacled eyes. Thanks for joining our journey!

 Our Favorite House Cleaning Supplies, Tips & Tricks when Prepping for Guests

Our Favorite House Cleaning Supplies, Tips & Tricks when Prepping for Guests

This post has been sponsored by SC Johnson. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

Am I the only one who, despite being an adult, still feels like fall is the start of a fresh new year and a sort of new beginning? That back-to-school feeling still totally lingers inside of me. I think part of that is because, here in Phoenix, when sweltering summer starts to fade and the idyllic temps of fall and winter peek out over the horizon, we feel the need to shake that summer dust off and freshen up our entire life, which always starts with deep cleaning our home! We’ve never really felt the “spring cleaning” fever but every single year, without fail, when that summer-to-fall transition hits, the desire to deep clean our house hits us hard and we get to work. And when it comes to our fall deep clean, it all starts with arming ourselves with the right supplies to make it easier, more efficient and most importantly, more effective. I’ve said it before here on the blog and I’ll say it again: without the right supplies, cleaning can be so much more time consuming and labor intensive than it needs to be. Who knows exactly what I’m talking about?!

So, at the end of every summer, we stock up on all of the SC Johnson Cleaning supplies I can’t live without at Albertsons, which, in my humble opinion, is the absolute best one-stop shop for grabbing all of our cleaning essentials—whether it’s the latest and greatest development in cleaning or those tried-and-trusted staples we’ve used and loved for years. They have the most robust selection of any store I frequent in Phoenix, which means that I don’t have to waste time hopping from store to store to get what I need. I can just pick it all up at Albertsons and get to work, which makes my life so much easier! And pro tip: I also use the Albertsons mobile app to score awesome coupons on all of my SC Johnson Cleaning essentials, so I save when I shop! What’s not to love?!

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs
Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

I think that part of this need to clean when fall rolls around isn’t just a result of that back-to-school, fresh start feeling though. I think a lot of it has to do with the need to start prepping for the influx of house guests that visit our dreamy little desert oasis when the weather cools off. From September straight through the holidays, we always have house guests galore, which we love, but it always prompts me to do a deep clean of our spaces in order to set the stage and get everything ready for any decor additions or refreshes I want to make to create inviting spaces that our guests will love. I learned everything I know about cleaning from my mom, who has expert level deep-cleaning skills (seriously, her cleaning skills are kind of mind-blowing!). She always instilled in us that if you’re just scratching the surface when you clean and not getting down to the nitty gritty, not only will you create more work for yourself down the line but you’re doing all of those beautiful linens and pretty furniture pieces a disservice on the maintenance front. i.e. it will compromise their durability and longevity. Basically, she made sure we understood that if you’re not cleaning around your home properly, the things you’ve invested in around your house won’t last. But, if you’re cleaning thoroughly and maintaining them properly, your investments around your home can last a lifetime!

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

Our Favorite Deep Cleaning House Supplies

Scrubbing Bubbles® Bathroom Grime Fighter Aerosol 

An ultra-effective grime fighter that makes our least favorite cleaning task, scrubbing bathroom tile and countertops, faster and easier is an absolute must for us! This is such a revelation in our bathroom cleaning regimen and bonus: the smell is so fresh and delightful! It’s a multi-surface cleaner, and we use it most on the shower and in those hard-to-reach places between tiles and around our fixtures.

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs
Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Gel Toilet Cleaning Stamp 

If you have yet to become familiar with this awesome little advancement in toilet cleaning, trust us when we say that you totally need this in your life! Basically, this little gem helps you maintain a sparkling clean (and fresh smelling!) toilet. And here’s how it works: you just stamp a gel disc under the rim of your freshly cleaned toilet bowl (you can see it in the photo, for reference) and you’ll get continuous, flush-activated freshening action—hands free! Each stamp lasts for up to 12 days, then you re-stamp and BAM… that’s it!  

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs
Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

Windex® Glass Cleaner

We all know it, we all love it, and it remains a staple in our cleaning routine because we’ve tried other glass cleaners over the years and they just don’t stack up—it’s one of the stars of any good cleaning routine! Windex® glass cleaner always gives us that unbeatable, streak-free shine in seconds when we’re cleaning and when we’re using it on windows. It’s like it instantly brightens and lightens the entire room. Simple as that! All you need are some paper towels and a bottle of Windex® glass cleaner for the ultimate streak-free shine!

Pledge® Multisurface Cleaner 

This is another critical component of our personal home cleaning routine because not all surfaces are created equal and it’s so so important to have the right cleaning product for the right surfaces in order to maintain the integrity of said surfaces. For example, you guys know that we have a lot of older antique pieces and varying kinds of surfaces around our home, including painted, stained and sealed pieces; beautiful wood kitchen countertops; etc. We absolutely love using this on them because it’s gentle and safe, won’t damage them, and will help reveal their natural beauty by doing away with yucky buildup. 

Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover 

Oh man, oh man do we rely on this a ton around our house, especially when we’re prepping for guests. No joke—this is our lifeline! We have some seriously old plumbing in our home and despite having tons of work done on our plumbing over the years, it still requires some help to function flawlessly. So, whenever we’re getting ready to host guests, we always do a round of Drano® Max Gel Clog Remover on all of our drains to make sure our guests don’t end up with yucky water backup when they’re showering or using the sinks. It works so fast, it’s always effective, it’s safe on all pipes; and it cuts right through standing water to blast even the toughest clogs from hair, etc.

6 Tips For Cleaning Quickly & Effectively

1.     Top to Bottom, Left to Right

If you haven’t latched onto this age-old cleaning trick, there’s no time like the present! My mom taught us this method when we were young and learning how to clean and tackle our summer chores. It remains one of my favorite cleaning tips for efficiency. If you clean a room starting at the top and working your way down, and clean left to right, you’ll ensure that you’re not dropping dust and other yuckiness on your already clean areas and surfaces throughout the space and basically creating double the work for yourself or worse, you don’t notice. 

Favorite House Cleaning Supplies from Albertsons, featured by top US lifestyle blog, Love + Specs

2.     Keep Supplies Easily Accessible

Using a cleaning caddy, bucket, or apron to house and haul your cleaning essentials around the house is a total game-changer. This is another one of those tips that if you haven’t already adopted, it’s high time you changed your ways—you’ll thank us later! There’s nothing that hampers your cleaning efficiency more than hoofing it back to the cabinet every time you need a new tool. If you keep it all in a bucket, basket, or apron that you can easily tote around from room to room while you clean, the work will be done so much faster, and who doesn’t love that?!

3.     There’s a Tool for That!

The right tools and advancements in cleaning can be your best friend. I know DIY cleaning hacks are fun and can be useful, but I don’t like to live in inefficiency. So, staying on top of advancements in cleaning that make my cleaning life, and in turn the rest of my life, easier, faster, or just plain more efficient and effective, like the awesome Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Gel Toilet Cleaning Stamp, are my best friend. So, stop living in cleaning inefficiency when you don’t have to!

4.     Clear Your Clutter

As everyone who knows me knows (especially Chris), I absolutely despise clutter. Despise it! Looking at clutter sends shivers up my spine, and I think part of that is because I know how hard it is to clean when there’s clutter everywhere. Trying to clean around and through clutter will add so much wasted time to the cleaning process that I’m just not willing to give, which is why before I clean, I make sure to organize or even purge any clutter around the house. That not only makes any cleaning job so much easier and faster, it gives me a chance to really truly “clean” and clear the spaces around my home instead of just shuffling stuff around. Step 1, friends! Step 1!

5.     One Job a Day

When we’re prepping for guests to visit and stay in our home, the sheer length of the list of cleaning to-dos that begins to build up in my head can be so overwhelming. If I try to tackle all of it in a night or morning, it’s going to get ugly and will probably end with me totally exhausted and annoyed. So to make my cleaning list less overwhelming and more approachable to the point where I don’t even really notice that it’s a “list” anymore, I’ll tackle one quick cleaning job a night or morning for a week or a few days before their arrival—which makes it all so much more manageable and less stressful. So, one night I’ll tackle all the mirrors and windows, the next day I’ll vacuum and wash all of the floors, the next day I’ll clean the shower and bathroom surfaces, and bam—I’m done! And I still go top to bottom, FYI. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t love dedicating a chunk of hours to cleaning task after cleaning task. 20 minutes a day is totally doable! 

6.     Wash Linens While You Work

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes even we forget this one and then we’re kicking ourselves afterwards. When you’re cleaning and prepping for guests, just strip the beds before you start cleaning. Grab the towels, get those big linen laundry loads going, and they’ll be dry and ready to rock when you’re done cleaning the house. Efficiency at its finest!

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