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If your cleaning routine isn’t working, it might be because you’re using the wrong cleaning tools.
I have tried every popular cleaning routine, and despite my best efforts, I’ve never been able to keep up long-term. Clean Mama, Fly Lady, The Organized Mom Method, I’ve done them all.
And while I rather enjoy a good cleaning routine, I found that I was never able to get it all done.
I couldn’t understand how folks were possibly completing all of these tasks so fast.
That was until I bought a new cleaning tool. And this one tool cut the time it takes to clean my floors in half. In fact, it was more than in half. I was spending about one-third of the time getting this chore done.
This, of course, got me thinking… am I using the wrong tools to get these jobs done?
Is it possible that the basic cleaning tools I grew up with are completely obsolete and I’ve just been doing things the hard way all along?
Turns out, that’s exactly what was happening. I was living in 1995 and advancements in the things we use to clean had flown completely under my radar.
In this post, I’m going to share 8 cleaning tools that I swapped out of my cleaning routine.
I’m going to break this post down by cleaning chores instead of by tools. Why? Because, as you’ll find, there are ways of using conventional tools in unconventional ways that you never would have imagined.
Let’s get started.
1. Dusting: Blinds, Pendant Lights, Lamps, and Picture Frames
When it comes to my blinds and lamps I’ve always dusted with either a feather duster or microfiber cloths.
And while they got the job done, I often found my duster getting snagged on light fixtures, and wiping down window blinds was a long, tedious task.
So much so, that I was never able to keep up with either one of these things on a regular basis. That is until I heard about microfiber dusting gloves.
Best Cleaning Tools: Microfiber Dusting Gloves
These things are a total game changer. Imagine dusting down a set of blinds in the time it takes you to wave goodbye to someone. We’re talking about 5 seconds max for each set of blinds.
All you have to do is put on your dusting gloves, close the blinds, and run your hand from the top of the blinds down to the bottom in a quick sweeping motion.
Do this for 3 or 4 waves until you cover the entire width of the blinds and you’re done.
And no more will you have to worry about getting your duster snagged around pendant lights and other lighting fixtures.
Instead, all you have to do is gently run your fingers over each light to pick up the dust and the job is complete, with no casualties.
2. Cleaning: Countertops, Sinks, Tables, and Appliances
I’m very particular about not cross-contaminating my surfaces, so I’ve always preferred to use disposable Clorox wipes and paper towels to wipe down my countertops and tables.
But, not only did this create a tremendous amount of waste, it was also expensive and time-consuming.
I was constantly running to get more wipes or paper towels.
But, once I switched over to a color-coded microfiber cloth system, it made cleaning so much faster.
Best Cleaning Tools: Color-Coded Microfiber Cloths
I grabbed a set of the Amazon Basics Microfiber Cloths in a 3 color set and they work and wash wonderfully.
I use green for the kitchen, pink for all-purpose dusting, and gray for the bathrooms.
At this point, the only thing I used paper towels for is to wipe down my toilets. That’s it.
The cloths are significantly more absorbant than paper towels and you still have the ability to disinfect with disinfectant spray if you choose.
Best of all, I can use one cloth to wipe down my coffee table, end table, window sills, furniture, and more. When it gets dirty, I just rinse it, wring it out, and keep going.
3. Shining: Faucets, Shower Doors, Kitchen Sink
Battling hard water without a water softener system is a real chore.
I’m constantly having to put in extra elbow grease to remove stains from my kitchen sink, faucets, and worst of all my shower doors.
And, naturally, because of the amount of time it takes to do this, I put off the chore altogether.
The Best Cleaning Tools: Scrub Daddy Power Paste and Scrub Mommy Sponge
Until I discovered the scrub daddy products I used to use a solution of either vinegar and soap or I’d cut a lemon in half and rub it over the surface to break up the water stains. As you can imagine, this took forever.
Because I was using my microfiber cloth instead of something slightly abrasive, I was spending copious amounts of time trying to fully dissolve the hard water deposits so I could wipe them away with a soft cloth.
But once I was introduced to the scrub daddy sponges, it was a total game changer.
I now use the scrub mommy with the power paste.
All you need to do is apply the power paste and give it a little scrub. Then use the soft foamy side of the scrub mommy to rinse the residue. Don’t skip this part. You need that sponge to pick up the excess product while you rinse. Water alone won’t remove it completely.
That being said, you can also use a scrub mommy or scrub daddy with The Pink Stuff if you’re a fan of that as well.
Personally, I think the Scrub Daddy Power Paste works a little better than The Pink Stuff. I did a whole post testing The Pink Stuff around my home here if you want to see how it performs.
4. Dusting: Fans, Ceiling Corners, Vents, and Baseboards
If there is one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that all microfiber extendable dusters are not created equal.
Less than a year ago I purchased a very highly-rated duster from Amazon that is now broken and useless. Even before my kids were able to snap the pole in half, I wasn’t very impressed by the product.
I kept hearing that the easy way to clean baseboards was with an extendable micofiber duster.
It was supposed to save your back and knees from having to wipe them all by hand (which is what I’d been doing).
Again, as you can imagine, this took forever, which is why I only did it twice per year.
Long story short, I bought this duster and while it did extend long enough for me to reach some very high corners, it was too flimsy to tackle vents or baseboards properly.
Worse, the spindly threads kept getting stuck on my light fixtures.
Best Cleaning Tools: Extendable Microfiber Duster
But, as fate would have it, no more than 2 weeks after my kids put this duster out of its misery, I came into possession of a new one.
It was left behind by tenants we had in our rental. And guess what, it’s awesome! Absolutely, everything clings to this thing.
After a little detective work, I learned that it was a Great Value Microfiber Duster from Walmart.
Here’s why this duster is far superior to my previous one.
The microfiber used in the Great Value Duster is shorter and denser giving it a faux shag carpet type feeling. The individual threads don’t pull out and they don’t get caught easily on metal.
Moreover, the end of the duster is a small sleeve that snaps in place. You can easily unsnap and remove the duster sleeve for washing.
Beneath the sleeve is a wide, thick, metal bar that can be bent to any angle you need.
This metal is both flexible and durable. I have no fear of it snapping clear in half like my other duster.
The extension feature is also better than the previous telescoping version I had before. Instead, there’s a latch to unlock and slide out the extension pole, then you snap the latch back in place to secure it.
5. Daily Sweeping: Hardwood and Tile
The combination of dark wood floors, lots of tile, and two little kids has me either sweeping or vacuuming certain rooms on a daily basis.
Over the years I have found little tricks to speed up the process like using my vacuum hose instead of a dustpan to clean up swept piles. Or, running a robot vacuum.
And while the robot vacuum is awesome and effortless. Mine often misses spots and is much slower than doing a quick manual sweep.
Especially, late in the evening when I just want to go to bed with the floors clean. I can manually sweep and be done in less than 5 minutes vs waiting for the robot vacuum to pace across the floor for 15.
The Best Cleaning Tools: Microfiber Dust Mop
One evening I wanted to do a quick sweep of my bedroom before I went to sleep. But I couldn’t find my regular old angled broom for the life of me.
I saw the aforementioned Great Value Microfiber Duster leaning in a corner and wondered if I could bend it to 90 degrees and do a quick sweep of my hardwood.
Well, guess what, not only could I do it, it got the floors so clean, so fast I was left in a state of shock.
The combination of the thick microfiber material and the sheer width of the thing cleaned my entire floor space in less than 30 seconds.
It was then, that I realized I’d been doing this wrong the whole time. I needed a dust mop, not a broom for this job the whole time.
Frankly, I’ve never seen anyone use a dust mop outside of a commercial application. Picture seeing your elementary school custodian back in the day with the giant push mop that was practically the width of the hallway.
Those are the only ones I thought were available.
But they are readily available for residential use and you need one if you’ve been sweeping your hardwoods or tile with a traditional broom.
They will cut down your work to minutes if not seconds. And, they’re inexpensive.
This is the one I purchased from Amazon and it’s fantastic. It’s the CleanHome Mop set.
I tried to find one with the same type of material as the microfiber duster. This did me one better. It gave me three different options. One for wet messes, one for dry, and one for multi-purpose.
For under $25 this is one of the best purchases I’ve made this year.
6. Mopping: Hardwood and Tile
When it comes to actually mopping hardwood and tile and really getting the floors wet and washed, I loved (and still do) the O’Cedar Spin Mop.
Mopping with the O’Cedar Spin Mop was great because it had separate compartments for clean and dirty water.
Unfortunately, I still had to vacuum or sweep the floors before mopping.
And then, I would have to come back through with floor towels to dry the floors so my kids wouldn’t fall.
No matter how many times I’d yell “WALK IT’S WET!” someone would always forget and fall. Always.
With the amount of tile and hardwood I have to clean, this 3 step process took me hours to complete. And because of that, it almost never got done completely.
I’d end up only tackling the worst areas (kitchen, breakfast nook, entryways) and the others would fall by the wayside.
Needless to say, I was on the hunt for a better process and found it.
The Best Cleaning Tool: Bissell Crosswave Cordless Max Wet Dry Vac
After 3 years of struggling with the floors, I finally upgraded myself to the Bissell Crosswave Cordless Max We Dry Vacuum.
This machine takes care of all three of those steps in one.
No longer do I have to pre-vacuum the debris, this does it, while it washes the floor. Then, with another pass, it dries the floor!
And it’s cordless!
If you have a lot of hard floor surfaces to clean and messy kids or pets, this is the best. If something ever happened to it I’d buy it all over again in a heartbeat.
There are a number of different versions of the Bissell Crosswave, including one geared towards pet owners and one that steam cleans in addition to all the rest.
You can find them at a ton of different retailers including Amazon, but I find the best bundles come directly from Bissell. And since you’ll need the solution anyways, you might as well buy it in a bundle and get a couple of extra brush rolls too.
7. Cleaning: Bathtubs and Shower Walls
If you find your back aching after cleaning shower walls and deep bathtubs like I did, make this simple change.
The Best Cleaning Tools: A Push Broom
A cheap push broom and cleaning spray are the best cleaning tools for the job. With these, you’ll be able to clean your showers and tubs in a flash without all the bending.
I purchased mine from Dollar Tree.
It breaks down everything quickly and I give it a quick scrub with the mop, rinse, and I’m done.
The mop bristles give me more scrubbing power than the microfiber cloths I used to use. This has really cut down the amount of elbow grease I need to put into the chore.
Plus, I’m no longer having to get on my toes to reach high, then all the way down to get to the floor.
The brush also cleans a larger surface area in one swipe which also cuts time off this task.
A chore that used to take 15 minutes now takes less than 5 minutes.
8. Cleaning Carpet Stains
I’ve had to do a lot of spot-cleaning over the years, and I’m proud to say I have yet to meet a carpet stain I couldn’t conquer. Laundry is a whole other discussion, but as far as the carpets go, I had a system.
But, that system was extremely labor intensive. I used to fill a hot soapy bucket, then spray the stain with LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner (the original).
I’d let it sit for a couple of minutes and then use an iron-shaped bristle brush from Dollar Tree to scrub it with the soap water until the stain disappeared.
Sometimes I’d have to repeat the steps, and every time my arms, knees, and back would be aching.
Out of pure curiosity, I decided to see if the Bissell Little Green ProHeat was worth all the hype. I’d seen countless endorsements for it on YouTube, although most were using it for sofa and chair cushions.
In addition to carpet stains, I did have lots of upholstered items that I wanted to clean. So I bought it.
The Best Cleaning Tools: Bissell Little Green ProHeat
Spot-cleaning my carpets, stairs, and seat cushions now takes a fraction of the time.
I still repeat the same basic steps (spray and scrub). But now I don’t have to deal with the bucket, the excess water is sucked out of the carpet, and my scrub brush is attached to my spray nozzle.
LA’s Totally Awesome also came out with a carpet cleaner version, which makes things even easier.
If you’re familiar with the original product, you know it’s highly concentrated, smells horrendous (like something no one should ever breathe in), and had a huge table of solution-to-water recipes on the back of the bottle based on what you’re trying to clean.
But now, if I know I’m going after carpet stains, I just grab their carpet cleaner version, spray it, let it sit for a minute, and then go in with the Bissell Little Green ProHeat, and the stains are gone.
No mixing, no measuring, no blotting dry needed.
That’s it for this post. Those are the 8 cleaning tools that have changed the way I clean my home. After swapping out my old tools for these my home is cleaner, faster, and with far less effort.
I hope you found this helpful. Below are a few more posts you may enjoy.
- Does The Pink Stuff Really Work?
- How To Make Your Home Smell Good Naturally
- How To Declutter Your Home Fast and Easy
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