We Try It: Cleaning Products that Really Do Make Things Easier.

I come from a long line of women who kept spotless houses. My grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts, lady cousins and my mom all had or have very clean homes.  Homes where you could eat off the bathroom floor, homes with no dust webs, homes without that weird line of invincible dirt that forms around faucet fixtures and between the wall and the floor.

I apparently got nothing from any of these women, because even if I spent all day, every day (which, OMG) cleaning my house, it would never look as good as any of the other homes in my family. Since I’m not a bucket-collecting, housekeeping machine like the other women in my family, I take shortcuts.  Today, I’m going to share three of my favorites that actually work like they say on the package.

1.  Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel. This stuff is the shit. I have really terrible hard water, so about twice a year I have to scrub limescale out of my toilets with an industrial pumice stone. This stuff actually prevents the scale from building up at all as well as keeping the bowl clean of other unpleasantries with minimal human intervention.  The gel is applied with a plunger under the rim to a freshly-cleaned toilet, and if you place it correctly, it’s invisible. It does make a lot of waste, you can’t refill the applicator, and it only comes with five gel bloops per package. In my local store, one applicator costs around $4 US, and each gel bloop lasts for around a month.

2. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I originally bought one to fight the limescale on my glass shower door but found using damp dryer sheets was easier and cheaper. The Magic Eraser is perfect for cleaning scuff marks and gummy residue, however. For scuffs, I get the Eraser slightly damp first, then they usually wipe away with one swipe. For gummy stuff (like when you peel the sticker off of a new appliance), I wet it with a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol. I used to use Goo Gone, but I think it’s the chemical equivalent of lighter fluid, and it scares me a little.

3. Pledge with Future Shine. This stuff is a bit more work-intensive, but it pays off in having to clean the floor less often. It’s only for linoleum, but if you’re stuck with a lot of linoleum in your home, this will make it look really awesome. Before you use it the first time, you have to strip your floors. The bottle recommends using a mix of ammonia and water, but I used vinegar and water instead. I went all out and scrubbed the whole floor with a brush, then rinsed it several times by mopping with plain water, then I applied the shiny stuff.  It’s like my floor is covered in glass, it’s so freaking shiny. Pledge Future Shine uses an acrylic liquid that dries hard and shiny within 20-30 minutes. It smells a little like that grape-scented Aussie shampoo I used as a teenager. Once it’s dry, it’s like a teflon coating for your floor. Nothing sticks, nothing stains, and you can keep it clean and shiny with a damp rag for up to six weeks.

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[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

24 thoughts on “We Try It: Cleaning Products that Really Do Make Things Easier.”

  1. Does anyone have some advice for getting rid of mildew in the shower? One corner of our shower has been getting worse and worse and nothing I try seems to work. I’ve used mold/mildew killer, bleach, you name it. It looks terrible and I can’t get rid of it!

    1. I don’t think you can get rid of it. I too have investigated every possibility to de-mildew.

      If it’s got into the bath/shower sealant the only option may be to strip out the sealant and re-seal. I hear good things about the semi-rigid bath sealant strips you can get at hardware shops.

    2. Tilex Mold and Mildew. It comes in a white spray bottle with a purple label and is amazing. In our old apartment we had teensy tiny (like 1 inch square) tiles and this was the only thing I found to keep mildew out from between them. You have to have the bathroom door open and the fan on when you use it so you don’t choke and die from the fumes, but it is a miracle product!

  2. I too am a fan of the Magic Eraser. It really is magic — it removes crayon from just about anywhere the kids put it.

    My other absolute favorite: Pledge Multisurface spray/wipes – you can use the same spray for furniture, electronics, windows, appliances, etc. It doesn’t streak at all. LOVE IT.

  3. Mr. Clean Erasers are amazing. My parents have an ugly almond-colored fridge with a bumpy texture. The eraser removed years of built up “kid grime”.

    Pledge with Future is the new name for Future Floor Finish. I use it to glaze stuff I make out of polymer clay. I found a jug of it in the back of the cupboard under my parents sink ages ago and still have half of it left. I don’t even know why my parents had it. It cleans up pretty easily and is SHINY.

  4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is pretty much an invention of the gods. Scuff marks, dirty paint around light switches and door handles, it once got Sharpie off a car window (don’t ask), cleaning sneakers – seriously, there’s nothing it can’t do. I can neither confirm nor deny having spent an entire afternoon on my hands and knees cleaning my kitchen linoleum square by square, because I had done one square out of curiosity and discovered that my floor is white, not gray.

  5. I always avoid Scrubbing Bubbles because I’d read they use some really bad chemicals, like badder than normal, but maybe this stuff is more mild?

    I’m a big fan of the Mr. Clean Magic eraser. And the geranium scent from Mrs. Meyers ANYTHING.

    My sister is an environmental engineer so I’d think she’d avoid excess waste but everyone has their little cheat and hers is toilet bowl cleaning — she turned me on to the Clorox disposable scrubbies. I am so grateful not to have a poop-soaked brush standing at attention beside my commode.

    1. I use the Clorox Bleach Tablets that go in the back of the tank, which are completely smell free and are amazing. I used to have to pumice the toilets once a month because the water in my area is vicious- on top of weekly Comet scrubbing- but since I put the tablet in? Nothing. Perfection.

  6. Goo Gone scares me, I mean it works really well but the smell lingers forever and once I got it on my hands and I swear I didn’t have fingertips for like a week. I use vinegar & newspaper to clean the windows, I never believed it would work so I tried it just to prove it wouldn’t. And then it did and I was a convert.

      1. You want the sections with a lot of text actually and avoid large colored photos, those are the parts that will leave marks and only sometimes, I have no idea why the black ink doesn’t run but I swear it doesn’t. One of my cats is gross and sneezes on the windows all the time so I am forever cleaning cat boogers off ’em.

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