Gadgets That Help You Clean House

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I’m always on the lookout for tools, tips, and tricks to make my life easier. I read Life Hacker. I follow Hanselman’s Ultimate Tools List (I think I’m on the list). The thing is, I hate cleaning but I haven’t seen anyone provide a list of ways to help me so I don’t have to clean my house. I’ve found a few things I use and like, so here’s my list of things I use to make it easier to keep a clean place.

Roomba
DiscoveryRoomba - Roomba is my #1 weapon in my passive-aggressive fight for a clean home. Roomba is an automatic vacuuming robot made by iRobot. It has a home base that it charges its battery on, and when you’re ready to vacuum, you pick it up and put it in the middle of the floor, turn it on, and away it goes. When it’s done, it parks back at the home base and recharges for the next time. All you have to do is empty the dust bin and periodically clean the brushes (which I find easier and, frankly, more novel than pushing a vacuum cleaner by hand). I have two of the Discovery SE models (so I can do two rooms at once) and I love them. They do a great job (and you won’t believe it until you empty the dustbin and see how much it picks up). Plus, if you ever have any issues, iRobot customer support is actually a great experience. I’ve called them twice (once I had a problem with one of the wheels and once I had a home base charger issue) and both times were hassle-free and satisfying. Any issues I had - resolved, no questions. If you have to choose just one of the things on this list to pick up, make it a Roomba.

ScoobaScooba - Scooba is the cousin of Roomba. While Roomba vacuums, Scooba mops. Most of my downstairs is hardwood and it gets nasty. Scooba to the rescue! Technically Scooba does some vacuuming, too, but not as much as Roomba. I usually run Roomba over the hardwoods to pick up any debris and then follow up with a Scooba run. Again, you won’t believe how much gunk this thing picks up until you empty the dirty water tank and see it - it does an awesome job. The only thing I’ve run into is that on a large floor like mine you need to break it up and run in sections - something easy to do with the “virtual walls” both Scooba and Roomba have.

Kaboom! Never
ScrubKaboom! Never Scrub - I found this one by accident at the local supermarket and figured I’d give it a run. The idea is that you put this device in-line with the pipe that fills your toilet bowl and the water runs through a chlorine filter to kill any bacteria and add some bleach to the water to stop anything from growing. This thing is amazing. I have one of these in every toilet in the house. You still have to clean the outside of the toilet, but nothing grows under the rim or in the bowl. Note that if the toilet doesn’t get used (never gets flushed, or doesn’t get flushed often), then water won’t be running through the filter and stuff will eventually start to grow. We have one bathroom that rarely gets used; we flush the toilet once or twice a week to make sure it stays clean.

Caution: if you have pets that like to drink out of the toilet, this isn’t for you (or you’ll have to make sure you keep the lid closed).

Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower
CleanerScrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner - Hang this in the shower and, when you’re done, push the button. Fifteen seconds later, it sprays a cleaning solution around in the shower that gets rid of soap scum and mold. Do this daily and it’ll clean up a dirty shower or keep a clean shower clean.

Placement on this is key - if you put it somewhere so the spray head can’t shoot solution to one area of the shower, it won’t get clean; if you place it too low, it won’t reach everywhere because the spray head isn’t a fire hose. It generally is supposed to hang from your shower head, but we have one of those removable massage heads so I put a plastic hook in the shower.

I’ve found that, while it keeps the orange soap scum out, you do occasionally have to give the shower a good scrub to get rid of some of the more built-up scum. We have glass doors on the shower and still have to pay a little attention to them. Not as effective as the Kaboom! Never Scrub, but pretty darn good.

PlinkPlink - Less a cleaner and more of a freshener/deodorizer. Drop one of these in your garbage disposal and run it to get rid of the stink and give it a nice fresh lemon scent. You still will have to clean out your garbage disposal as usual (you do clean it out, right?), but in the interim you can get rid of the stench.

What gadgetry and doo-dads do you use to keep your house clean?

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