[I honestly have no idea why I'm compelled to write this post, but I can't stop composing it in my head, so I'm just going to get it out. I have not been compensated by a single company or product in this post. I tell you that now because I hate when I read an entire post about how awesome something is & I get all excited & then I find out at the end that the blogger was just shilling.]
Orange Glo: I had never even heard of Orange Glo before we moved into our current house. I always just mopped our (laminate) floors with my go-to mixture of 1:1 vinegar & water. But when we moved, there was a half-used bottle left under the sink and I thought, what the hell? Dudes, it was a revelation. I don't know what this stuff it, but you wipe it on and it dries and your floors stay shiny and streak-free for, like three weeks. WEEKS. As opposed to the two-days-if-I-was-lucky-and-made-everyone-walk-around-in-socks-so-as-to-help-clean-the-floors I got from vinegar.
Barkeeper's Friend: When Dash was born I went a little off the rails on the whole "living green" thing. I got rid of all non-vinegar-based cleaning products & started--I shit you not (ha!)--using recycled toilet paper. But we still needed something to scour the sinks & toilets & I read that BKF (as it's known in the Engel house) was environmentally friendly, so I gave it a shot. And it turned out to be better than anything we had ever used. Better than Comet with bleach, better than Soft Scrub. Just better. Spots that we had given up on just kind of dissolved with this stuff. I used to only be able to get BKF at Target, but I'm seeing it at my regular market now, so it must be catching on.
Magic Erasers: I thought everyone knew about Magic Erasers, but I mentioned them to my boss the other day & she had no idea what they were. Seriously, if you haven't tried one of these, RUN to the market & pick up a pack. They're these little sponges with some sort of micro-abrasive in them (I actually use them with gloves because the abrasive bothers my skin, but I know I'm in the minority). You just wet them a bit and scrub out anything--scuff marks on walls & baseboards, burnt-on drips on the stove top, Sharpie on the floor (ahem). That shit really is magic.
Folex: This is a new-to-me product. I first read about it on Little Green Notebook here, but I didn't think I needed it. I had been having perfectly adequate success with Resolve for carpet spots, and the Deathwish Couch cushions just went into the washer. But then I started to notice that the cushion covers were coming out of the dryer kind of streaked, like some parts got clean, but others stayed grimy. You can imagine how well I took this turn of events. I tried one of those dry cleaning sponges (waste of money) and a bunch of other cleaners before I finally remembered Jenny's post about Folex. So, one trip to the market for a bottle of Folex and a scrubby brush, and all my problems have been solved. Seriously. Spray, scrub lightly, let dry, done. Also, works like a dream on carpet spots & you don't have to deal with rinsing or the revolting smell of Resolve.
CLR: We live in a notoriously hard-water area. It's shocking what happens to EVERY SINGLE THING THAT TOUCHES WATER in our house. The fact that our shower is entirely enclosed in glass was giving me the shakes. I could not figure out how to deal with the spots that were getting so bad you could hardly see through the glass. I tried everything: Kaboom (save your money), vinegar (ha), my beloved Magic Erasers, Scrubbing Bubbles, Comet. Everything. Nothing worked even a little. Until I saw a commercial late one night where they soaked a shower head in CLR and it came out all shiny and I was so crazed and desperate that I bought some. This stuff rivals Folex in its ability to exceed expectations. Seriously, you just spray it on & wipe it off and all your shit is glittery as unicorn farts.
Vinegar & Water: I would be remiss if I didn't mention my beloved solution of 1:1 vinegar & water in a spray bottle. We use it for everything that wasn't mentioned above--mirrors, tabletops, counters, sticky toys...the list is endless. It's cheap & green and really does work for 90% of what you need.
Dust Buster: I'm surprised about how few people I know with a Dust Buster. If we didn't have ours A: I'd be in an insane asylum from all the crumbs or B: I'd have to drag out the big vacuum cleaner at LEAST once a day (likely many, many more times than that). But with the little DB that just lives in a quiet little corner of the kitchen, I can keep on top of crumbs & cat hair & whatever else Dash drags into the house and only have to break out the big vacuum once a week. (SOMETIMES EVEN LESS THAN THAT. SHH).
And there you have it. We also use Tide for laundry & brush our teeth exclusively with Crest, but I have no idea if they're better or worse than anything else. I just buy them because my mom bought them. For hand washing dishes we use Mrs. Meyers Parsley because it smells like heaven and I think the bottles are cute. We haven't found a dishwasher detergent that we feel strongly about either way. We highly endorse clumping cat litter (with at least three cleanings daily) and Prozac for cats.
(If you thought this post was batshit crazy, wait until I tell you about the doll house I'm making. For myself.)