10 Essentials for Your Cleaning Kit



Keep several different types on hand.
Keep several different types on hand.

Regular old sponges get a bad reputation for being dirty germ carriers. That's a shame. There's nothing better than a sponge for light cleaning. Sponges are also pretty economical and Earth-friendly when compared to paper towels -- and they're available in lots of cheerful colors.

We advocate keeping lots of sponges on hand and using them often -- once you learn good sponge maintenance: Clean dirty sponges in hot, soapy water and then throw them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Repeat the process after every use. That's it. You'll kill 99 percent of the germs on the sponge, making it one of the cleanest surfaces in your home. Use sanitized sponges again and again. Just take the extra precaution of retiring them after a month or so. Sponges rule -- really!