No, a major corporation has not come knocking at my door, asking for my very influential endorsement of their products. I’m not sure why, since the several dozen people who read my blog posts every week (thank you, by the way) are clearly well-heeled and savvy shoppers who would rush to the store to purchase anything I recommended (right???).
But I found myself in a conversation this week about Magic Erasers at the lunch table at work. That’s not necessarily big news, but it was the third such enthusiastic endorsement of the product I’d given in two weeks. Since I was beginning to sound like a product spokesperson anyway, I figured I may as well put it in writing. Anyone who knows me knows that “clean” is a very subjective term in my world, and I’m not known for my Suzy Homemaker skills. I have one hanging tile which accurately states that my idea of cleaning is to sweep a room with a glance…..
So the thought of me getting excited about cleaning products is a bit bizarre, and therefore newsworthy. The incredible Magic Erasers are one of three cleaning products I’ve discovered that are heavenly for people like me who don’t like to clean, or don’t have time for cleaning, or have some physical limitations that prevent them from the old-fashioned hands-and-knees approach to scrubbing floors, sinks and tubs (even if that physical limitation is just that you are of Baby Boomer age or older).
1) Mr. Clean Magic Erasers: This product is not only effective, but it’s actually kinda fun to use. These little foam sponges remove dirt from just about any surface, including those that are notoriously hard to clean, like painted walls and porcelain sinks. You just dampen the eraser and go to work. The more you clean with it, the more it “dissolves”, until there’s nothing left. I did a little research, and it turns out that the name “eraser” is appropriate – the product actually wears away the same way a pencil eraser does, leaving a tiny bit of residue behind (but I’ve rarely had to rinse after using it). It’s made of melamine foam, which has been used for decades for things like pipe insulation and soundproofing. Then someone discovered that it cleans, too, acting like really fine sandpaper to remove dirt, scuff marks, food splatter, etc. I’ve yet to find anything I didn’t love using it on – doors, counters, sinks, walls, faucets, stove top, back splash, bathtubs, painted kitchen cupboards, hardware – you name it, it’ll clean it. Just moisten and go! No mess. No hard scrubbing required. I love it so much that I was actually excited to see that they’ve finally come out with a Magic Eraser MOP! Woo-hoo! The Magic Eraser isn’t very expensive (around $3 for 2), and they last quite a while. If you don’t use it up in one bout of cleaning (that takes a lot of cleaning, but I’ve done it), just tuck it back under the sink and let it dry. Then pull it out and remoisten when you’re ready to clean again. And for anyone who’s received any spam emails about this product being “deadly” and “poisonous” – it’s bogus – they’re non-toxic. Some trivia, courtesy of Wikipedia: Mr. Clean was born the same year as me, 1958. A true Baby Boomer cleaner! Mr. Clean’s first name? “Veritably”. No wonder he doesn’t use it much. His name in Spanish? Don Limpio. Seriously – hardly has the same impact, does it?
2) Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner: Okay, this one is a little more expensive (about $23 for the starter set, and $3 for refills). But I hate scrubbing the shower, and Hubby has a bad back and knees, so I can’t delegate the job. And dirty showers are yucky. And this stuff just plain works. You hang the machine on the shower head, and push the button when you’re done showering. Beep-beep-beep, then it starts spraying (get out of the shower first!). Twin sprays (noisily) go around and around the shower, and as the product runs down the wall, it cleans. This keeps the shower so clean that it always looks like you’ve just scrubbed it. The machine will last a long time (our first lasted almost 4 years), but you’ll have to replace batteries 2 or 3 times a year, and the refill bottles have to go in every 3 – 5 weeks, depending on how often you’re using the shower (we’re daily showerers). So it’s an investment. But we love it. It’s painfree cleaning that happens without us putting any effort or thought into it. Scrubbing Bubbles trivia? They debuted as the mascots for Dow bathroom cleaner in the 1970’s, so they’re not as old as Mr. Clean, but they are a childhood memory. The bubbles became so popular that the product name was changed. The voice of the “bubble leader” in the commercials back then was that of Paul Winchell, who was also the voice of Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh animated films.
3) Swiffer Sweepers and Dusters: Swiffer sweepers are fast and easy and effective. What more could you want? If you remember to use it regularly (which I rarely do), they can make a huge difference in the amount of pet hair and tiny particles on your hard floors. Some of my pet-owning friends use them twice daily to keep up with the hair. If the pad (dry or wet) gets dirty, just flip it over and use the other side (that’s not a corporate recommendation, but I do it all the time and it works just fine). Then throw the pad away. The pads (dry or wet) work well on hardwoods, too, and eliminate footprints and scuff marks on the wood. The Swiffer duster is pretty cool, too, especially on blinds and ceiling fans. Swiffer sweepers aren’t as exciting as Magic Erasers or Scrubbing Bubbles shower cleaners, but Swiffers are convenient, and the low profile lets you get under low objects – even the refrigerator. They’re lightweight and inexpensive (starter kits can be found for $8). It’s a no-brainer. Conversely, I do not like the Swiffer WetJet cleaner – it’s clumsy and awkward and I didn’t think it cleaned all that well for all the hassle. We gave ours away after a few uses. A plain old mop is easier and cheaper. Swiffer trivia? Well, for one thing, Swiffer WetJet Cleaner won’t kill your pets, as those spam emails claimed for years (who writes that stuff, and why???). They don’t really contain anti-freeze, and the product is actually endorsed by the “Dog Whisperer” – Cesar Millan. Introduced in the late 1990s, Swiffer’s a relative newcomer to the cleaning business, but it’s a subsidiary of mega-corporation Proctor & Gamble, which has been around since 1837. That’s a lot of cleaning history.
So there you have it – cleaning tips for (and from) the lazy housekeeper. Are there any cleaning products that you just love to use that I haven’t discovered yet? If so, please share!
Disclaimer: These are my opinions alone. I am not a scientist. So don’t be stupid – follow the directions on the packages if you’re going to try the product. It is NOT MY FAULT if you’re dumb enough to try a Magic Eraser on your grandmother’s priceless sterling silver punch bowl, or decide to use Scrubbing Bubbles in your $20,000 solid marble shower. I am NOT recommending that Magic Erasers are edible, or that you should add Swiffer cleaner to your next recipe. Non-toxic doesn’t mean they won’t make you ill. If you buy one of these products and don’t like the way it works – tough luck. I am not reimbursing your money, because it was your choice to make the purchase. I did not coerce you into doing so. Did not. DID NOT!