Thursday, October 30, 2008

Products We Love and Hate: Cleaning/Household

I still remember the first time Josh and I went to the grocery store together after we were married. I remember it because we had to stock the house with groceries, cleaning supplies etc and could not seem to agree on a brand for anything. Both of us seemed to think whatever we grew up with (in other words... whatever our moms used) was the best. I'm pretty sure we spent about 10 minutes in the bread aisle arguing over smooth or chunky peanut butter... and even longer deciding which worked better - Windex or Glass Plus (laughing the entire time mind you... we were newlyweds after all.)
Well since then, I'm pretty sure I've tried just about every cleaning and household product imaginable. I'm a little obsessed with all things cleaning... though my two very active little children (and their even more active curiosity) make it difficult to tell. My laundry room cabinets are stuffed full of a ridiculous variety of soap scum removers, bleach pens, magic scrubbers... yes, I am one of those people who actually respond to those commercials who claim nothing short of a miracle! I mean, if it works that well (and saves me time of course,) I've gotta have it, right? Anyway, it was a bit difficult to narrow my list down, but here it goes...
3 Little Ditties That I Can't Live Without:
1) Shaklee (Basic H2 and Scour Off)
Okay, so when my friend Crystal told me that she used this stuff that was totally eco-friendly and safe for kids I had one thought - "that's all great and everything... but I need something that WORKS." Well, after lots of convincing, I couldn't help but try it out. And the verdict?? It's da B-O-M-B! Seriously. The Basic H comes in a little 16oz concentrated bottle that makes 48 GALLONS worth of cleaner. For windows and mirrors, you only need two drops of the stuff to make a 16oz bottle and no kidding - it works far better than Windex! For all purpose cleaner, you use 1/4 teaspoon and can use it for your kitchens, bathrooms, dusting... anything! The only thing I (slightly) miss is that it doesn't really have much of a scent, but I'll live without my house smelling like a lemon tree if it means I'm not bathing my kids in a buildup of harmful chemicals AND get a clean house in the process.
Even better is the Scour Off - took all the black marks off my white kitchen sink (I thought we needed a new one!), made my faucets sparkle, even worked wonders on my stovetop... I've used it on just about everything. It's like a little miracle in a tub ladies!
2) The Dyson Animal
The day I brought home my new Dyson was a wake up call for me... I suddenly realized that my family had been living in filth with our old vacuum. In fact, since I vacuumed right before I tested out my new machine and the Dyson filled up its canister the first time, I'm pretty sure it was putting more into the carpets than it was taking out! Yes, it's far from cheap... but so, so worth it. No messy bags to handle and it cleans like a dream. It is a little more tricky to use the attachments, but I wouldn't think of trading it.
3) Scunci Steamer
Did I mention I happen to have a totally irrational fear of germs? I probably wash my hands more by 10am than most people do the entire day. And I'm not saying that's a good thing! Well, this little machine was meant for me. We actually found it at Albertsons on clearance for $14.99 (regularly like $60) and figured it couldn't hurt to try. And oh my... not only does it sanitize just about everything (hello... you so do not want to know just how many germs those sweet little stuffed animals are harboring), it also works great for cleaning, and even steaming your clothes (I don't iron people.) Only bad news? Mine finally broke on me. It was a sad, sad day. I plugged it in to steam my clothes before family pictures and the light came on, but didn't heat up. Now who can find me another one for my super sweet deal of $14.99?? Didn't think so. :-(

3 Things That Are Currently Collecting Dust....

1) Bissell Spot Bot
Okay, so I should preface this by saying, I'm not implying that it doesn't work. It's just one of those things I thought would be great, then never used. We bought it (and a Hoover shampooer) when some red acrylic paint was somehow tracked into our living room. It didn't work on the spot (though neither did the shampooer) but seemed to do okay on a couple other spots we tried. What bothered me is that even when it did get rid of a stain, there was a noticeable round circle the size of the spot bot brushes in its place. Plus, it just never seemed practical for me. I'd rather pull out my shampooer once a month and get the whole room clean. I used the Spot Bot twice in two years and sold it on Craigslist. Sorry Bissell.
2) Shark Euro-Pro Cordless Handheld Vaccuum
Okay, so I guess I shouldn't really expect much from a handheld vacuum... but really. I bought the thing because I thought it would be nice for the car or picking up little messes without pulling out the real vacuum. Umm yeah. This thing doesn't pick up much. Might as well used the kids' toy vacuum. I'm pretty sure it would have picked up the same. Or maybe it's just mine?
3) Generics
This may be a time when my frugal nature did not serve me well. There are actually quite a few non-brand name things that I LOVE and think work as well as the more spendy stuff, but these were so not worth the few dimes I saved: Cuddle Soft Fabric Sheets, "Decorator" Paper Towels from Walmart, Glass Plus Window Cleaner, the cheapo imitation of Pledge... can't remember the name. Though I still stand by pretty much all the Target brand stuff. But, who doesn't love Target?
YOUR TURN! Leave a comment with your favorite and least favorite cleaning or household products! And by the way, you CAN leave a comment even if you don't have a blogger account!


Mom Ditties said...

P.S. I came across this site today... let's you read/review all kinds of products! Very cool.

hilla said...

Oh how I love posts about cleaning products- is that so weird? Great FYI thanks!

memory moments said...

So, I love the foaming hand soaps, but who can afford to buy them for kitchen and bathrooms every 2 weeks? So...I discovered a few drops of dish soap and some water make the foaming dish detergent (just re-use the foam making bottle) I also use this in the bathroom- if you want it scented, use a bit of your favorite shampoo. (after all, its the scrubbing that gets rid of the germs anyway.) I also put baby wash/shampoo in the foamer. The kids love the no tears formula in bubbly-foamy form and I love that I can use the bottle of lavender baby wash 20 times longer!

Mom Ditties said...

ohh that's a good idea... will have to try that for the kids' bathroom.. thanks for the tip!