Whether you’re staring down a pile of dirty dishes or scrambling to tidy up the house before the annual in-law invasion, having an arsenal of specialized cleaning products on hand is nothing short of a godsend.
And with all the brilliant, what-will-they-come-up-with-next gadgets and gizmos just a click away, you no longer have to contend with a bevy of chemical-ridden sprays, wasteful disposables, and dingy old polyester sponges to whip your home into shape. Here are the seven lean, mean, ingenious filth-fighting machines you need to stock up on.
Remember when you discovered that Silly Putty had the power to pick up newspaper ink? This neon yellow gelatinous wonder works kind of like that, except the end result is way, way more beneficial than a gummy copy of a Peanuts panel.
Take this blob out of its case, press it gently into your computer keyboard, remote control, stereo, fan, or radiator grate (or anything with tiny, hard-to-clean crevices), peel it back, and voila: All that grit, dirt, and dust comes right off, along with 99 percent of surface bacteria.
Natural palm fibers give this handy and eco-friendly grease-destroyer its remarkable durability and impressive scrubbing powers. The concentration and strength of its many fibers mean you’ll barely need dish soap to effectively de-grime your pots and pans (seriously—a splash of hot water and a soft wipe is all it takes to clear your cast iron of stubborn caked-on crud). And its sturdy construction guarantees a long and productive life. You can buy the three-pack and save one to scrub your potatoes. Just sayin'.($8; amazon.com)
As a recovering paper towel addict, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve always been skeptical of reusable substitutions. But thanks to these attractive, 100-percent cotton dish towels, I’ve finally crossed over to the sustainable side.
They’re woven in an intricate herringbone pattern to maximize both absorbability and drying time, they’re tough enough to stand up to any spill, and they’re soft enough to buff your precious china without leaving a streak. They can also be used as pretty napkins when you're having guests over. And they’re machine washable! No better time to go green.
The only thing better than a brushed stainless steel garbage can that opens with a wave of your hand? One that’s also equipped with its very own activated carbon odor filter that lasts a whopping three months before needing replacement. This 13-gallon model's lid is operated by an ultrasensitive infrared sensor so juggling messy food waste mid-meal-prep or wiping down sticky post-cleanup fingerprints will be a thing of the past.
Not only does this funny little-animated contraption look adorable on the shelf, it also gets your microwave spick-and-span in minutes with a powerful blast of nontoxic, deep-cleaning steam. Just fill it up with water and a touch of white vinegar, pop it in for a seven-minute spin and say goodbye to all those nasty pasta sauce stains.
Repurposing glass jars and switching from disposable water bottles to reusable ones are both no-brainer decisions this day and age. But what’s not such a no-brainer is how the heck to get these odd-shaped vessels squeaky clean.
Enter this 12.5-inch silicone bottle brush. It’s basically an eco-friendly pipe cleaner on steroids. Made from dishwasher-safe BPA-free silicone, it’s flexible as a bendy straw yet structurally sound, gentle enough to handle thin stemware yet strong enough to give thicker, heavy-bottomed bottles a good, deep scrubbing. Its ergonomic design takes the stress off your poor wrists too. And you can use it time and time again without fear of bacteria buildup or grody odors like a regular sponge.
As an allergy sufferer who begrudgingly shares an apartment with two not-so-hypoallergenic felines, this peculiar pumice stone-like invention has been a total lifesaver. Lightly rake the handheld bar over couch cushions, clothing, rugs, blankets, car seats, or any other fur-magnet fabric, and it sucks up every last pesky hair without destroying the integrity of the cloth material. Magic!
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