The Cleanest of the Clean

There are lots of cleaning products out there, but which ones actually clean? Here’s a list of seven cleaning products that Good Housekeeping magazine claims really get the job done:

The iRobot ScoobaThe Scooba first picks up dirt; then it washes the floor with water and a Clorox cleaner; finally, it squeegees and dries the floor.
• The Good Housekeeping Research Institute says that crayon on walls, scuffs on floors and even dried-out refrigerator spills wipe up easily with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Duo, and The Consumerist agrees.
• The Woolite Podis a handy, hand-held carpet-cleaning tool that’s about the size of a computer mouse.
• We reserve reservations about Good Housekeeping’s endorsement of the Grease Bullet, because we’ve heard nothing about it….except how big of a scam it is. At $1 a tablet, it should work just like it does on TV. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Anonymously says:

    The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works really well on your interior car trim. Since it’s abrasive, don’t use it on clear plastic or anything with a glossy finish (like wood trim).

  2. moejuda says:

    Do the iRobot machines really work? The geek in me really wants one. Plus, I like the idea of a little machine cleaning my apartment the whole day while I work.

  3. gwai lo says:

    I swear that Magic Eraser IS magic. It cleaned off old sticker adhesive and marks/scuffs/smudges that even a bleach based cleaner wouldn’t.

  4. bluegus32 says:

    Wasn’t it here on the Consumerist that I saw an article that said that Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner works for crap?

    Sounds to me like Good Housekeeping has been bought by sponsors. Who would have thought that such a reliable publication would stoop so low?

    Hmmmmmm. Turns out that sarcasm is lost in type. So for clarification, by “reliable publication” I really meant “shameful rag.”

  5. Ishmael says:

    I have an Automatic Shower Cleaner, and it works well for me.

    Not to mention good ol’ Scrubbing Bubbles and Soft Scrub.

    That Clorox cleaner with Teflon, however, doesn’t work for sh*t. Not only does it not clean very well, that whole Teflon line is a farse. I ended up cleaning more often with that product than anything else.

  6. Skeptic says:

    “Sounds to me like Good Housekeeping has been bought by sponsors.”

    I don’t even know what to say. Of course this is true. Good Housekeeping is an **advertising supported** magazine which offers its “Good Housekeeping Seal” of approval only to its advertisers! This is the polar opposite of Consumer Reports which does not accept advertising of any kind.

    Supposedly the “Research Institute” reviews all ads submitted to the magazine and theoretically rejects poor quality products. If true, that would be admirable but it wouldn’t make the Institute an unbiased source of endorsement–especially since they **only** endorse Good Housekeeping advertisers regardless of how superior a non-advertisers product may be.

  7. The only thing I haven’t been able to clean up with my magic eraser is what appears to be a coffee splatter stain on a white wall in a rental property of mine. Anyone have any suggestions for that, other than beating the renter senseless?

  8. MattS says:

    I’ve used the Magic Eraser to remove my daughter’s crayon masterpieces from my walls, and while it really does work, there is one caveat: afterward, if you look at your wall from a wide angle, and preferably with some light shining on the wall, you’ll very clearly see the areas where you used the Eraser. I’ve found it best to wipe down the Magically Erased area with a damp sponge to remove whatever pixie dust the thing has left on the wall. Otherwise, I love it.

  9. moejuda: “Do the iRobot machines really work? The geek in me really wants one. Plus, I like the idea of a little machine cleaning my apartment the whole day while I work.”

    My mom has a first-generation Roomba and yes, it works. She has a couple caveats. First, if you have a long-haired pet (like a Sheltie), during shedding season Roomba may not be able to keep up. (And if it tangles and nobody’s home to hear it growl, you can have a problem.) Second, if you get a new carpet, particularly with a deep pile, it too “sheds” a lot of loose fibers the first few times you vacuum it, and she found it worked better to vacuum with the upright a few times so roomba wouldn’t stall out when it sucked up tons and tons of fibers.

    She sets the roomba to run in a bedroom (she has 5) when she goes to work in the morning. She generally vacuums the living room and family room herself, but having roomba do the bedrooms means it drastically cuts down the amount of vacuuming she does. She also sets it to do emergency vacuuming before guests arrive when she doesn’t have time because she has to cook or clean something else.

    It’s not as “good” a vacuuming job as a regular vacuum, but it definitely does an adequate job, particularly in lower-traffic areas, and means she only has to “really” vacuum bedrooms every six months or year or so.

    That is the first-generation one, though. I’m told they’ve improved as time has gone by!

  10. Meg Marco says:

    Anything that doesn’t clean up with a magic eraser should react better to bleach. Try Comet and a lot of elbow grease.

  11. jthree says:

    I was going to extol the virtues of Magic Eraser too, but you guys have done a great job already!

    As for old sticker adhesives, WD-40 works like a charm.

  12. homerjay says:

    The one spot that I never thought to use magic eraser till someone pointed it out was my glass top electric stove. I used to beat myself up getting the burned-on stuff off with REAL abrasives like Comet. The magic eraser still requires some elbow grease but works faster and with a LOT less effort. Once I’ve erased all the stuck on stuff, I go back to the cooktop cleaner to give it a nice shine.

  13. VA_White says:

    I own a Scooba Floor-Cleaning Robot. I love love love it. Especially now that Target carries the special Scooba juice in their store and I don’t have to buy it over the net and pay shipping.

    The Scooba cleans a good-sized kitchen floor in about 35 minutes and gets the floor so clean you could lick it. I am not joking. I ran the Scooba *after* my very thorough housekeeper left and the dirty water was gray.

    Maintenance and cleaning is pretty simple. My nine-year old begged to take over “mopping” duty which means he is in charge of Scooba’s filling, cleaning, and charging three or four times a week. My ceramic tile floors have never been cleaner.

  14. shaunirving says:

    One product I don’t hear a lot about, but is the most diabolical cleaner known to man, is Greased Lightning… available at Wal-Mart. It’s a super-strength multi-purpose cleaner but is insane on laundry stains… bleeding colors, sweat stains, and even hair dye. And it doesn’t fade stuff at all. It’s so good it’s scary.

  15. homerjay says:

    Okay, I’m considering the Scooba now. :) But wait! Did I hear it shouldn’t be used on Pergo-style floors??

  16. formergr says:

    “That Clorox cleaner with Teflon, however, doesn’t work for sh*t. Not only does it not clean very well, that whole Teflon line is a farse. I ended up cleaning more often with that product than anything else.”

    Thank you! I thought I was losing my mind when I used it, as everything seemed *more* dirty, not less. Teflon my ass, more like a dirt-magnet!

  17. aka Cat says:

    I have one of the newer Roombas, and I loved* it. It doesn’t completely replace using a full-size vacuum, but if you’ve got pets it’s the best ever for getting the pet fur up. The little rubber beater bars are like fur magnets, seriously. The more pets you have, the more often you need to empty the roomba and clean its brushes, but it’s quite easy.

    * Past tense because a power surge killed the charging station, and I’ve been too lazy to buy a new one. I think I’ll do that right now.

  18. VA_White says:

    Did I hear it shouldn’t be used on Pergo-style floors??

    Unfortunately, you heard right. Scooba has to be used on sealed hardwood, vinyl, or tile because the cleaning method is wet, not damp. Wet cleaning can damage laminate flooring.

  19. homerjay says:

    thats a shame… Finally a product that everyone raves over and I can’t use it.

  20. capturedshadow says:

    For the coffee stains on white walls try some cheap toothpaste and a stiff brush. It worked for me with crayon marked walls.

  21. OnoSideboard says:

    My favorite cleaning product (other than the Magic Eraser) is Incredible Stain Remover. I’ve bought it at Bed, Bath & Beyond but I believe it is also available at grocery stores. It can be used on clothes and fabrics, but I mainly use it for the carpet. You squirt the stuff on the stain, rub with a towel, and voila! Stain is gone!

    Works on absolutely every stain, old and new. Particularly good for getting bong water and burn marks out. So I hear.

  22. My favorite is Plink, which doesn’t clean a stain but kills sink funk and cleans the crap off your disposal blades! And leaves my kitchen so lemony-fresh!

  23. infinitysnake says:

    “Anyone have any suggestions for that, other than beating the renter senseless?”

    Tilex works for me on white walls. I have four kids and white walls, that’s how we keep up with their nastiness.

  24. MeOhMy says:

    I can’t speak for the Scooba. It looks cool, but I also have laminate floors and I am additionally turned off by having to buy a proprietary cleaning solution.

    The Roomba is just awesome though, and it works especially well on bare floors. My wife thought I was crazy when I got it, but she soon realized that it was doing a heck of a lot more than that upright vac that we almost never used.

    As mentioned above, it does not work well on high-pile/shag carpet, but it’s great on berber and the like. Kicking it off when you leave the house is definitely cool. You can also get a scheduler add-on for around $30 that lets you program it to clean automatically. The geek in you will really love being able to set up a cron job for your vacuum cleaner. Now if only it could e-mail you whether or not it successfully completed the job…