If you cook, you gotta clean up. Well, you don’t have to, but that’d be pretty gross.
So, it makes sense that Serious Eats staffers—who spend a lot of time in their own kitchens and in the test kitchen—have strong opinions on what the best, most worthwhile cleaning products are. These aren’t your average dish soaps! These aren’t the sponges you could take or leave and hate touching! No—these are the standout, staffer-awarded, 5-star cleaning (and cleaning-adjacent) products that we genuinely use and recommend.
Wettex Swedish Dishcloths, 10-Pack
When I first wrote about my love of Swedish dishcloths I had no idea how many people felt the same way, or that the sentiment was shared by other members of the Serious Eats team. I really shouldn’t have been surprised, though, as Swedish dishcloths are incredible. A great substitute for paper towels, we love them for walls, counters, floors, and fixtures, and they’re suitable for use in both the kitchen and the bathroom (or really wherever you might need to wipe something up). Swedish dishcloths are lightweight, machine-washable, durable, and biodegradable, and they come in a variety of sizes and designs. — Jacob Dean, updates editor
Easy-Off Oven Cleaner
Easy-Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner
Easy-Off is potent stuff—it's basically lye in a foaming, aerosolized form—but that's exactly what makes it so useful for any major cleaning tasks. I use it not just to clean the interior of my oven, which is more or less its stated purpose (I think?), but to also clean oven cooktops and exteriors when all else fails. It eats through burnt-on grease and crud, stripping neglected surfaces back to being good-as-new. Just be careful, you don't want it on your skin or in your eyes, and the fumes can be rough, so open those windows and ventilate well when using. — Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director
Bar Keeper’s Friend
Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser
For cleaning stainless steel cookware, sinks, and Dutch ovens, this is my go-to cleanser. I prefer the liquid (soft) cleanser over the powdered version, as I find it more convenient than the powdered one that has to be mixed with water after sprinkling it on. However, both versions work exceptionally well. — Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, commerce editor
Mrs. Meyer's Multi-Surface Spray
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi Surface Everyday Cleaner
Okay, I admit that a huge part of why I love Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day multi-surface spray (and dish soap and hand soap and laundry detergent) is because they have the best scents (geranium is one of my favorites, as is Iowa pine). But, beyond the aromatherapy, this stuff just does a great job at cleaning and making the kitchen or bathroom smell good while doing it. The dish soap is also great, and cuts through grease and tough-to-scrub cooking messes easily. — Grace Kelly, associate commerce editorContinue to 5 of 16 below.
Dr. Bronner's Cleaner
Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner
This is my go-to all-purpose soap: I use it for dishes and scrubbing down my kitchen, bathroom, and floors. This soap gets real sudsy and you don't need much per use: I usually dilute a drop or two into a quart of water when cleaning and it leaves my surfaces and dishes squeaky clean. — Genevieve Yam, culinary editor
OXO Good Grips All-Purpose Squeegee
After I scrub my entire kitchen counter, I take my squeegee and sweep all the soapy water into my sink. It makes clean-up so speedy and means my counter is a lot easier to dry with a towel or Swedish dishcloth. — Genevieve
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
No kitchen cleaning product I’ve ever used has been more miraculous than Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and they're a favorite of other editors as well. Magic erasers are a lightweight, spongy, non-toxic cleaning tool made from melamine resin foam, which acts like a cross between a sponge and a very fine-grained sandpaper. My wife and I use them for an enormous range of kitchen cleanup tasks, from removing rings and stains from our unsealed stone kitchen counters, to getting dirt and grease off our stove, and to removing spatters of sauce or oil from wherever they may land. They’re also great on pots and pans, kitchen utensils, light switches, and really anywhere you’ll find lasting dirt and gunk. Pro tip: you don’t need the kind with fancy features, designs, scents, or added soaps. Just get the regular rectangular white ones and then cut them in half crosswise. Cutting them in half gives you many more uses than you’d get if you just used the whole block all at once, and you can put your own dish soap of choice onto the block, if desired. — Jacob
Biocaf Biocaf Coffee Equipment Cleaning Powder Bulk
The number one tool in any professional coffee bar is a coffee detergent, like Biocaf. It's great at breaking up old coffee and tea stains, and can be used to soak stainless steel, glass, and ceramics to rejuvenate their surfaces. If you need convincing, you can look up time lapse videos to see just how mesmerizing its effectiveness is. Just be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards: it is caustic in high concentrations. — Jesse Raub, commerce writerContinue to 9 of 16 below.
The Pink Stuff
Stardrops The Pink Stuff The Miracle Cleaning Paste
After seeing this stuff all over my Instagram, I was quite easily influenced. I mainly bought the paste to clean my white shoes, and it worked so well that they practically look brand new. While I haven't gotten around to using it anywhere else around the house, that's likely to end soon; it's supposed to be a miracle cleaner on everything from grout to rusty pots, and I can't wait to get my hands dirty. Coming soon: a house that sparkles and shines! — Yasmine Maggio, associate editor
A Sturdy Dish Drying Rack
Simple Human Steel Frame Dishrack
While this isn't our winning full-size dish rack, I've owned it since 2019 and it works fabulously. It still looks pretty great, it has removable, easy-to-clean parts, it's very spacious, and I love its wine glass rack and cup prongs. Plus, in my experience, simplehuman has really great customer service. — Riddley
Five Star Star San
Five Star Star San High Foaming Sanitizer
My husband was the one who introduced this sanitizer to me; it's a home brewer go-to for sanitizing all manner of equipment (because yeast are sensitive little buddies). But if you're into canning, fermenting, preserving, or just really need something to be incredibly clean, this stuff is the stuff to do it. — Grace
Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scour Pads
The only thing more satisfying than putting some elbow grease into removing stuck-on food bits is knowing that you can scrub as hard as you like and you won't damage the surface of your pans. The blue Scotch-Brite scour pads are great for digging into corners, and because there's no sponge attached, you don't have to worry about them getting mildewy and smelly with old dish water. Cut them in half (or even quarters!) to give yourself more fresh pads to swap in when the old ones lose their grit. — JesseContinue to 13 of 16 below.
Dawn Original Dish Soap
I have yet to try a dish soap superior to Dawn Ultra. Its ability to cut through grease is, in my experience, unparalleled, and its viscosity and ability to suds means I can add less to my sponge, and clean more dishes, compared to when I’ve used other brands. To make the price a little easier we prefer to buy it in bulk and then fill off a smaller, reusable squirt bottle that we keep next to the sink. — Jacob
Windex Original Glass Cleaner
Old habits die hard, and my attachment to Windex is no exception. It was the go-to all-purpose cleaner in all the restaurants where I used to work. We used Windex to clean all sorts of surfaces, not just glass, and its scent is burned into my brain as the scent of a clean space. The dishwashers and porters would use harsher cleaners to get the really stubborn grease and grime off ovens and vents, but Windex was more than enough for almost everything else. Sometimes I feel guilty for not using supposedly Earth-friendlier products like distilled vinegar to clean, but I just can't shake my dependence on the blue stuff. — Daniel
A Floor Scrub Brush
BOOMJOY Floor Scrub Brush
After I sweep or vacuum, I scrub the floors before I mop. Sometimes cookie dough, fruit/vegetable peels, and other miscellaneous cooking casualties fall onto the floor, and the floor brush is great for getting that stuff off. There's a floor squeegee on the other end of this brush (can you tell I really love squeegees?) that makes it easy for you to pool together and mop up that scummy water. — Genevieve
A Bottle Brush
OXO Good Grips Bottle Brush
A Soap Dispensing Brush
OXO Good Grips Soap Dispensing Dish Brush
I'm convinced OXO's dish brushes are superior, and I've owned many of their bottle brushes and soap-dispensing brushes over the years. The bottle brush fits perfectly into water bottles, coffee carafes, and other hard-to-reach vessels. The dish brush has replaceable heads and a button that pushes soap out—no need to grab a bottle of dish soap and pause washing dishes to do so. (I even know people who keep one of these in their shower and use it to clean the shower while also, uh, showering). — Riddley
What shouldn't you clean in the dishwasher?
We have an in-depth guide that can be found here for what you should and shouldn't put in the dishwasher. Most of it is pretty common sense, but in general you shouldn't put anything metal (besides stainless), anything with a blade or sharp edge, anything wooden, and anything made from natural stone in the dishwasher.
What's the best way to clean stainless steel?
To clean stainless steel, we recommend hot, soapy water for daily cleaning and dishwasher detergent, Bar Keeper's Friend, or Easy-Off for tougher-to-remove, burnt-on stuff.