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Save yourself time and sanity next time you clean the house by using products that will actually make the job easier. Here's a power list of seven must-have cleansers, as well as four that you shouldn't waste your money on.

1. Washing – up liquid
2. All-purpose cleaner
3. Bleach
4. Mildew remover
5. Cream cleaner (cif)
6. Soap and scum remover – limescaler remover
7. Oven cleaner

Plus, 4 products you shouldn't waste your money on

1. Antibacterial sprays and soaps

From what I understand, the only place where surface bacteria is a problem is in a hospital operating room. Some people (and some studies) have suggested that an excess of antibacterial products in our lives is cutting our natural resistance. Stick with plain old soap and water.

2. Furniture cleaner, polish, wax or oil

If your wood furniture has a polyurethane finish, it needs only an occasional dusting. (When? When you notice the dust.) Wipe smudges with a damp but not wet cloth. If you're not sure what kind of finish is on your table, chair or whatever, test with a bit of nail polish remover on a cotton ball in an inconspicuous place. If the cotton softens or sticks to the finish, you may need a cleaner, polish, wax or oil.

3. Drain cleaners

For regular maintenance, your best bet is prevention. Pour a half cup of baking soda, then a half cup of vinegar down the drain once a month or so. Rinse with cold water. When a drain is sluggish, first try a plunger. If that doesn't work, buy a biological product at the hardware store; microorganisms eat the organic material that's causing the clog, then are flushed by the drain.

4. Wax and no-wax floor products

You don't need these for tile or polyurethane floors. They don't make the floors nicer, they just make them more slippery. They also create a buildup that's a real pain to remove. Another thing to remember is this: Anything that's been sitting around, unused, for a year or more -- throw away! Chances are, you'll never get around to using it, and if you do, it probably won't be effective. Household solutions often lose their potency over time. This is a good time to remind you never to mix chlorine products (bleach, tile cleaner, mildew remover, powdered cleanser) with any product containing ammonia (which may even include some detergents) or any acid. The toxic gases that result can be fatal.