I've tested just about every weird cleaning product — here are the 10 that were truly life-changing

The best cleaning products to inspire you to get your home in shipshape (Photo: Getty Images)

As a former Home editor at Real Simple magazine, I’ve come across my share of domestic products. Cleaning was one of my beats, so I was always testing out the latest mop or updated scrub brush. (What can I say, it was a glamorous job.)

And now that I’m a freelance writer and a mom of two amazing but ridiculously messy children, I’ve really put these cleaning products to use. I definitely have my favorites—the ones I reach for whenever soy sauce finds its way onto the walls or cracker crumbs invade my keyboard crevices (which unfortunately happens more than I care to admit).

So with spring cleaning right around the corner, I’ve decided to share my top 10 products with you. Some are the best of the basics — like these color-coded microfiber cloths. And others are brilliant new inventions, like a mini power tool for grout that looks like an electric toothbrush. To say these are satisfying is an understatement. Put some in your cart, and get to cleaning!

Magic Silicone Dishwashing Scrub Gloves

Magic Silicone Dishwashing Scrub Gloves (Photo: Amazon)

These might be one of my favorite inventions ever. BPA-free silicone gloves with built-in grippy scrubbers for cleaning dishes? Brilliant! They eliminate the need for a scrub brush, keep my manicure intact, and they can be tossed in the dishwasher.

Shop it: Magic Silicone Dishwashing Scrub Gloves, $11, amazon.com

Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber

Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber (Photo: Walmart)

I live in a rental apartment, and when I moved in, the grout around my tub was, shall we say, grout-y. Meaning, stains everywhere. Ew. This tool makes light work of scum. The company says it’s twice as powerful as manual scrubbing, and I have to agree. Use it on everything from faucets and grills to sliding door tracks—you won’t want to put it down. 

Shop it: Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber, $20, walmart.com

Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner

Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner (Photo: Amazon)

I can’t count how many times tomato sauce has splattered in my microwave. And even though I know I should clean those splotches right away, I never do. The result? Crud. This gizmo uses steam to loosen all that baked-on grime. Just take off the hair, fill with water and vinegar, and watch Angry Mama get really pissed off as she spews hot steam all over the interior. Then wipe with a damp cloth. She’s incredibly fun to use!

Shop it: Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner, $9, amazon.com

Stainless Steel Kitchenware Cleaner Cast Iron Cleaner Chainmail Scrubber

Stainless Steel Kitchenware Cleaner Cast Iron Cleaner Chainmail Scrubber (Photo: Walmart)

I don’t like how traditional steel wool scrubbers always seem to leave behind steel remnants. (Once I found a little piece wedged in a burner on my stovetop, causing it not to light.) Then I found this medieval-looking cleaner and never looked back. It’s gentle enough for cast iron pans, but won’t scratch. And it happily hangs on a hook.

Shop it: Stainless Steel Kitchenware Cleaner Cast Iron Cleaner Chainmail Scrubber, $11, walmart.com

Microfiber Venetian Blind Blade Cleaner

Microfiber Venetian Blind Blade Cleaner (Photo: Walmart)

I can’t get enough of this microfiber blade cleaner. I use it on my blinds and my air conditioner fins—which get particularly nasty because I live in a city. Just spritz with a little water and go nuts.

Shop it: Microfiber Venetian Blind Blade Cleaner, $6, walmart.com

Hiware Drinking Straw Brush Set

Hiware Drinking Straw Brush Set (Photo: Amazon)

If I gave my kids only straws in their stockings for Christmas, they’d be thrilled. They ask for straws so often, I should buy stock in them. And now that reusable straws are all the rage (and with good reason), these tools get more use in my house than ever.

Shop it: $5 for eight brushes in two widths, amazon.com

Quickie Household Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Variety Pack

Quickie Household Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Variety Pack (Photo: Amazon)

The amount of paper towels I use daily is criminal. These microfiber cloths have drastically cut down my usage—so they save money and trees—and I’ve noticed they get surfaces sparkling clean. Designate one color for each surface: glass; stainless steel; wood; countertops. You can use cleaning products with them but you don’t have to, and I don’t—water works just fine. And they’re machine washable!

Shop it: Quickie Household Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths Variety Pack, $14, amazon.com

Scratch Free Reusable Nylon Pot Pan Scrapers

Scratch Free Reusable Nylon Pot Pan Scrapers (Photo: Walmart)

I eat eggs every morning, and I’m messy. So these two things together means my pan stays in the sink for most of the day and then I’m left with a disaster come evening. Before these brilliant gizmos, I’d grab a paper towel (see, I told you I used a lot of them) to clean off the egg remnants before using a scrub brush. But it’s gross and annoying. These pan scrapers are a breeze and can also be used for getting stickers off new glassware or plates.

Shop it: Scratch Free Reusable Nylon Pot Pan Scrapers, $7 for two (free shipping), walmart.com

Baseboard Buddy Extendable Microfiber Duster

Baseboard Buddy Extendable Microfiber Duster

Do my kids walk on the baseboards? They get so grimy that sometimes I think they do. And I’m not getting on my hands and knees for anything. The Baseboard Buddy is my friend, for both low  baseboards and high moldings. The head swivels to get into angles and can be used dry for dusting or wet for deeper cleaning.

Shop it: Baseboard Buddy Extendable Microfiber Duster, $15, amazon.com

OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush

OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush (Photo: Amazon)

I eat over my keyboard. There, I said it. This retractable cleaning tool makes me feel like a detective working on a top-secret case. I whip it out and brush crumbs from those keys, then use the silicone side to pick off any crud. Great for detailing watches, cameras, and cell phones too.

Shop it: OXO Good Grips Electronics Cleaning Brush, $5, amazon.com

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