As if the constant dedication required to keep a home clean wasn’t enough, it seems that so many cleaning products we use are designed to barely work — or worse — to have to be constantly replaced or refilled. Living in a small home in a large city, I struggle with virtually no storage space for multiple contraptions and more dust and dirt accumulation than most — plus, I have a cat. So, not only do I need products that can be stored easily, they must be multi-purpose and not clunky eye sores.
Thankfully, we are no longer tethered to the default products found in small back aisles of the grocery store. These days, there are a handful of products that I’ve come across that not only deliver, but actually last and are designed with the user in mind. Not only do they help with the most ordinary of tasks, but they garner the some of the most extraordinary results. But most importantly, they have made my life that much easier.
Here are six innovative cleaning products that I’ve discovered, and will now never live without.
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Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
If you’ve ever struggled to gain control over the amount of hair just ONE animal can produce throughout your home and are still failing, resorting to living your life covered in a pet hair tornado, then this is THE holy grail of pet hair brushes for you. No more going through countless sticky paper lint rollers, throwing away money on single-use sheets. I’ve tried every type of brush possible and even purchased two pet-specific vacuums that just kind of worked, but were also really bulky and annoying. Then came along the little roller that could.
When pushed in a back-and-forth motion on any fabric surface, this roller picks up pet hair (and lint, and fuzzies from blankets etc.) and stores it into a back compartment that is easy to discard. Since it gathers the hair, it’s not just brushed off the surface onto your floor’s abyss to inevitably form hundreds of rogue dust bunnies throughout your home. The simple white design means it can be left hanging around, blending with its surroundings (I hate products that have corny paw designs or cartoon cat faces). This, combined with almost daily cat brushing (after which I clean up with the ChomChom) has made cohabiting with my favorite furry friend a little less… well, furry.
Microfiber Magic Streak Free Cleaning Cloths
Where to buy: $9.99, Amazon
I made a fatal rookie mistake when I moved into my new home: In an effort to make it appear modern and open and chic, I purchased both a glass dining table and coffee table. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had also given up the privilege to ever have a streak-free clean table surface.
I tried paper towels, microfiber cloths, and all different types of sponges along with every possible type of surface cleaner, looking for a streak-free shine. Absolutely none of them delivered. Not only did my tables suffer, but so did the mirrors throughout my home, picture frames, and basically every smooth surface that needed to be regularly dusted. Then I found the microfiber Magic Streak free cleaning cloths.
These are truly miracle rags. They clean everything with just a touch of water, and are machine washable. With the feel of a very thick paper towel, they are STRONG, and have yet to experience essentially any wear and tear. I use them not only on my coffee and dining table, but on windows, mirrors, bookshelves and every and any smooth surface to keep it all dust free. And since they just require water, I have saved on purchasing multiple types of surface cleaners, while reducing allergens from spreading throughout my home from dusting. Currently I am on month three of the same cloth with no holes.
Tip: They do not absorb like a paper towel and are best used as surface cleaners.
Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser Liquid
Where to buy: $14.95, Amazon
This product may not come as a surprise to some, but when I realized this wasn’t just another form of Comet and was capable of cleaning the uncleanable and came in different forms (soft cleaner, powder, spray cleaner, etc.), it was revolutionary.
I had the powder form just for the occasional stainless steel kitchen sink basin scrub, but wasn’t aware of the full extent of its capabilities or of the other options by any means. The soft cleaner comes with non-scratch pads that were able to get rid of years of gunk on my cookware. My stainless steel pots and pans were mirror-gleaming again, and I even found I could use it to restore knives, silverware, my stovetop, enamelware, ceramic, and porcelain. The list goes on. It, of course, is known to restore brass and metals, but it does so much more from kitchenware to appliances to anything in the bathroom.
Drill Brush Power Scrubber Cleaning Drill Brush
Drillbrush Power Scrubber Brush Set
Where to buy: $19.95, Amazon
If you’re interested in cleaning the tub in about a minute (and looking pretty badass while you’re at it!), drill brushes are a pretty fun weapon to add to your cleaning arsenal. Sometimes the scrubbing aspect of cleaning can be just too daunting, and is all together swept under the rug, so to speak, until we find the energy or the pressure of guests coming over.
But if you simply attach one of these brushes to your existing drill, you can get in between grout, tile, and banish buildup without too much work on your part (though depending on your angle, your drill might feel heavy). The drillbrush has a plethora of purposes and several different color coded lines, but for me, it was all about minimizing the bathroom scrub time.
Tip: Combine with Bar Keepers Friend to blast mineral deposits.
Turbo Mop Microfiber Floor Cleaning System
Where to buy: $31.40, Amazon
Cleaning floors has to be my least favorite task due to the prep work of moving everything around and then interacting with so much dirty water. Every mop that I tried was a joke, eventually rotting in a forgotten corner and collecting cobwebs. I dabbled with Swiffers, but the guilt of single-use pads ate at me, not to mention their exorbitant refill cost. They essentially have no scrubbing power and you’re better off just using a paper towel and some Windex.
Thankfully, this eco-friendly mop brush is designed with longevity and ease of use in mind. It comes with a scrubber pad and a microfiber pad (plus a set of refillables). The sleek aluminum handle screws on for adjustable height and moves 360 degrees with such ease and control, it’s almost fun to operate. It has an elevated feel that I didn’t know was possible for a mop. I prefer water and solution with the occasional rinse out, but some users swear by just using a spray cleaner. The fact that the head Velcros straight on (no fussing with alignment or push holes) and that they are machine washable makes this an all-star floor (and wall, and even celling!) mop that you’ll be reaching for time and again.
Bonus: V11 Dyson Animal Cordless
Where to buy: $562.99, Amazon
This vacuum is clearly out of the price range of the other products, and the price is so daunting it borders on almost unattainable. But, the greatest lesson in household cleanliness has to be: an excellent vacuum is worth every penny.
To share a personal (horror) story: I have a shag area rug and decided to do a test when I received the Dyson V11 to judge if I should return it. First, I used my old, $100 model I’d had for four years on the highest suction setting over the entire rug and then unleashed the Dyson immediately after to see if it would pick up anything extra. I was shocked, and absolutely disgusted, to find that the Dyson's entire basin of the dirt reservoir quickly filled up with fine black dust — just from a once-over of my area rug after it had just been vacuumed. The rug is white. I had no idea dirt was lurking so deep.
Now, if you live in a large home and like to do all of your vacuuming in one sweep, a cordless may not be right for you. The Dyson cordless sticks get a lot of flak about battery life wearing out, especially on the older models below the V11 (which are considerably cheaper by the way). But for me, in a smaller home with wooden floors and several area rugs, this has been revolutionary for spot cleaning and addressing heavily trafficked areas in a jiffy. Plus, it is intelligent enough to automatically differentiate between surfaces. I love that I can just grab it with no plugging in, and the fact that it swaps into a handheld means I no longer have to manage two separate contraptions.
So, if you’ve ever considered springing for a high ticket vacuum, this is our official pat on the back to say yes; time to suck it up because powerful suction is 100 percent worth it.
Tip: Watch out for sales and fluctuating prices.