Read these 9 Home Cleaning Products Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about As Seen On TV tips and hundreds of other topics.
Sometimes multitasking just doesn't work, especially according to recent studies. It's better to do one thing and do it well. This holds true for home cleaning products. That may be the idea behind Stainz r Out, which doesn't try to be a jewelry cleaner, dishwashing detergen,t and grout whitener all at once.
The organic-based Stainz r Out has different kits based upon the knowledge of what works on different stains and different surfaces. It has kits for:
• Kitchen and Bathroom
• General stains (as in, "What's this stain on the carpet?")
• Stain refresh
At times it seems Stainz r Out is straining a bit to be everything to everyone—it covers the most common stains and problem areas (from hard water in bathrooms to red wine on sweaters and delicates). Stainz r Out, however, still doesn't tout a jewelry cleaner in its household cleaning products. It deals in stains and stains only.
* If you're still bewildered by all the specialization, opt for a general all-purpose cleaner.
Who doesn't like micro fiber household cleaning products? It's true that they can be staticky in the dryer but they're easily washable. However, the real questions are:
• Will you let the Micro Fiber Mop stick around?
• And, can you machine wash the micro fiber?
The Micro Fiber Swivel Mop gets into hard-to-reach cleaning areas and picks up dust (after all, that static cling should tell you something) other mops don't. As with regular micro fiber wipes, the mop pad is reusable and rewashable.
* Micro fiber mops are used for regular cleaning in hospitals and are proven to work better for tough hospital stains than conventional mops.
Are two regular mop heads better than one new mop head? The US military uses cotton mops such as the Miracle Mop. Imagine dithering over household cleaning products in Baghdad. In fact, the military has a list of home cleaning products that aren't suitable for military premises (based on EPA recommendations).
* The Miracle Mop has military-efficient design and cleans without sixteen different mop settings. And, cotton is hypoallergenic. If you run a tight ship—say with your kids and spouse—the Miracle Mop may be for you.
Is that beautiful tile that came with your colonial home not looking so beautiful? Water stains, rust, and tannins (such as red wine and coffee) can make your floor, countertops, and walls look dingy. But you're hesitant to have the tile torn up and replaced. Then, you see commercials and infomercials for an array of cleaners (such as Restore 4 and the Zap Restorer) that are supposedly the tools of professional contractors. You don't want to hire a professional contractor and other home cleaning products don't seem to work.
Will Restore 4 and Zap Restorer work? The Zap Restorer kit "will bring back the original luster to dull tile, restore grout to its true color, polish scum, rust stained porcelain and shine filthy fiberglass."
The Restore 4 kit claims to be a low-cost "Miracle in the bottle that RESTORES, not cleans...works deep below the surface where it not only eliminates those common rust and hard water stains that develop with time, but restores those fixtures and surfaces to a like new finish."
• Read labels or ask the operator about the active ingredients in any cleaning product—if the operator can't answer questions, ask to speak to someone who can.
• Good Housekeeping Magazine rated the Restore 4 expensive and time-consuming, "but the best product we've found for hard-water stains."
Oxi Clean has branched out from a stubborn-stain specialist to a mulit-purpose home cleaning products supplier. The company purports to get out that stubborn latte stain on your carpet, grout, or favorite white/cream business suit—even from your baby's clothes if you happen to spill a drop while trying to sneak a morning pick-me-up at 5 a.m. The dishwashing detergent may even get the old coffee residue from your Starbucks mug. However, is the power of oxygenation cleaning really that much better than other cleaners?
Sarah Aguirre of About.com's Housekeeping Guide rates Oxi Clean products highly however, warns that repeated applications are necessary.
Yes, it's the power of orange in a spray bottle! There are many cleaning products that feature a twist of lemon, lime, or orange. Citric acid in citrus is a natural cleaner. That's why Mom and the helpful hint household experts As Seen In TV (Martha Stewart, anyone?) always told you to fight a stain with a drop or two of lemon juice! However, with so many orange cleaning products, how do you pick and choose which is right for your hardwood floors? Shop around and read reviews. Also, make sure that the one you choose is designed to work well on your particular surface.
* The Orange Glo Hardwood Floor Care Kit is a bargain—it even comes with a special applicator pad designed to work with Orange Glo. In addition, unlike many cleaners, Orange Glo works well on Formica, vinyl, tile, and fiberglass—that's just the tip of the orange peel!
Grandma always talked about storing home-grown fruits and vegetables in mason jars...the old ways are still the best, even in a hurry-up society. The Pump 'n Seal uses old-fashioned elbow grease to vacuum-seal mason jars, vacuum bags, coffee cups, as well as pots, pans and bowls. You might not even have to get out your arsenal of home cleaning products to wipe away leaks and spills!
* While some hometown TV news segments have panned the Pump 'N Seal, it works on sound principles. Your grandma might even use it too!
Three-in-one is a hallmark of the As Seen On TV item. We like to feel we're getting multiple value for our money. But are three mop heads really better than one—especially since one is all you get?
The As Seen On TV Micro Fiber Swivel Mop can reportedly do anything from sweeping up leaves on your sidewalk or deck to cleaning the garage dirt. It can also penetrate hard to reach areas and scrub stubborn floor stains. Plus, the reusable pad can work wet or dry.
* Do you need a second opinion? Reportedly, microfiber swivel mops are used for heavy-duty cleaning in many office buildings. That fact carries triple weight!
Handy Trends Perfect Jewelry Cleaner sounds like it's meant to be the Restore 4 and Oxi Clean of jewelry cleaners. You may wonder what you need with special home cleaning products when your jeweler probably gave you a gold/silver/diamond cleaner with a brush—most good jewelers, at least the ones we know, will give or sell cleaning solution with your purchase
However, six months to a year later your bracelet may look a little tarnished and your cleaning solution might not work. You can try a variety of metal polish household cleaning products, but some can be harsh on fine jewelry. Your Valentine's Day gift will end up looking like a diamond in the rough!
We've used ultrasonic jewelry cleaners on rings that are older than we are, with great results. The battery-operated Handy Trends Perfect Jewelry Cleaner might save you a trip to the jeweler. It sells As Seen on TV at $19.95 and on discount Web sites for five dollars less.
*Be careful with irregularly shaped earrings and pins as well as heavy ornate necklaces and bracelets. You get the best results with pearls and perfectly geometric shapes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|