The best cleaning products to freshen up your home

Put on a goood and get to work.

clean desk area
Just imagine if this were your desk. Breathe in. Breathe out. Now get to it.Gabriel Beaudry / Unsplash

Two years ago, Popular Science and Working Mother teamed up to share the most effective ways to clean up your home. To keep that list fresh—and account for new cleaning tricks picked up over the past year—we've updated it with newer, better models of certain devices. You don't have the time for a leisurely scrub-down, so we'll cut the crud, showing you the optimal way to sweep a floor, sharing our tips for cleaning your electronics, and tracking down the best ways to actually (for real, in real life) remove a stain.

And now: we're coming clean about the products that'll make your digs shine, from inventive tech to the stand-bys we swear by. Cleaning doesn't have to be a chore—especially if there are robots. Which there are. So many robots.

Brush Hero Wheel Brush

Brush Hero Wheel Brush

A time-saver for the out-of-doors.Amazon

Sometimes elbow grease doesn't cut it. Connect the Brush Hero Wheel water-powered brush to your hose or shower to cut through tougher build-up with ups to 15 pounds of turning force. The apparatus can spin in both directions and has interchangeable brushes so you can swap out soft or hard bristles. If you're cleaning something outside, this can cut down on time, effort, and water.

AIRMEGA 400S The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier

AIRMEGA 400S

Don't forget to clean the air you breathe.Amazon

Feel like you’re cleaning without dedicating any actual time or work to do so. The AirMega 400s comes in three smart modes: auto-speed, Eco, and sleep. Auto mode adjusts the filtration based on the room’s current air quality, Eco shuts down after the AirMega determines the air quality is good for 10 or so minutes, and sleep mode turns the fan speed down to make it quieter. It can be controlled via WiFi on iOS and Android devices where you can monitor the speed, indoor and outdoor air quality, and schedule in real time. The device covers up to 1,560 square feet and will tell you when you need to change your filters.

Scrub Daddy Smile Sponge

The Scrub Daddy Smile Sponge

A scrubber that's happy to see you.Amazon

The Scrub Daddy Smile Sponge is a cult favorite for three reasons: (1) it's adorable, (2) its name is unambiguously hilarious, (3) the two-sided sponge, with a scratch-free FlexTexture on one side and a foamy material on the other, works super well for tougher build-ups. That FlexTexture gets its name from its ability to adjust its stiffness according to water temperatures. Said another way: heat up your water for a softer sponge (for woods and ceramics, for example) or keep your H2O cool for a tougher scrubber (ideal for stovetops or hard-water build-up around faucets). The ResoFoam side is softer and more absorbent, so it's meant to be used for spills. Scrub Daddy insists it will not scratch glass, wood, or stainless steel, and claims to have a "semi-closed cellular structure" that keeps schmutz from adhering to it. Upgrade your sponge. Seriously.

Mr. Clean Latex Gloves

Mr. Clean Latex Gloves

Protect your hands.Amazon

Before you start cleaning, glove up. The Mr. Clean latex gloves are lined with cotton for comfort, are reusable and have an embossed palm for improved grip. They're a classic for a reason.

Easy Off Oven Cleaner

Easy-Off Oven Cleaner

A super strong oven cleaner.Amazon

Easy-Off oven cleaner is the power player that works sans noxious fumes. The product contains Butane and Monoethanolamine, which both help loosen carbon molecules and break down buildup in your cooker. Once build-up has softened, sodium hydroxide works its way through fatty acids. The foamy texture of the product ensures that the chemicals don't quickly evaporate.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Erase the resilient stuff.Amazon

If you have a toddler, you already know this one. Extra durable Mr. Clean Magic Erasers will snatch the crayon and grease stains from walls, rip the grime off of tubs, and remove stubborn coffee stains from cups. It is made out of melamine foam, which has an extra fine sandpaper-ish texture. Be wary of using it on glossy or delicate surface, though.

Simichrome Polish

Simichrome Polish

Respect and protect your metals.Amazon

The extra fine, microscopic abrasive particles in this Simichrome polish scrubs away oils and tarnishes. After polishing, the paste leaves a thin protective film coating to prevent further corrosion and slow down tarnishing and oxidation. It will, quite literally, make your house shine.

Dyson Ball Multi Floor Vacuum Dirty Devil

Dyson Ball Multi Floor Vacuum

Suck it up.Amazon

The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 is light and slim. Its slender profile means it turns easily, and gets into your house's trickiest corners. Also: it's easy to carry up and down stairs. The vacuum works on hardwood, tile, and carpets and has a self-adjusting cleaner head which automatically changes when you go onto another type of floor. Cool.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal

Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal

A lightweight and cord-free vacuum.Amazon

The Dyson Cyclone V10 cord-free Animal vacuum—equipped with a V10 Dyson digital motor—picks up 25 percent more dust than the previous V8 model. It’s quieter, lighter, and easier to maneuver, too. The battery gives you an hour of suction, even when you’re deep-cleaning your carpets. It also transforms into a handheld vac.

Shark ION robot vacuum

Shark ION robot vacuum

A souped-up dustbuster.Amazon

While you’re wiping down your counters, scrubbing your oven, or power-washing your siding, a robot could be vacuuming. A great and relatively affordable option is the Shark ION robot vacuum, which cleans using side-sweeping brushes and ample suction. It also comes with bonus handheld vacuum, which can reach the spots that the round robot’s sensors let it go. The robot features an extra large dustbin and is designed to handle pet hair like a champ. It’s even got a “Max Mode” for increased suction power.

SonicScrubber

SonicScrubber

An electric scrubber for blackened grout.Amazon

If you want to use a little less elbow grease when scouring your life, opt for SonicScrubber, which is basically an electric toothbrush for ovens, sinks, bathroom corners, grout lines, and other hard-to-clean areas. The device oscillates 8,000 times a minute, making the cleaning process much quicker. It comes with five brush heads for various surfaces.

Roomba 980 Vacuuming Robot

Roomba 980 Vacuuming Robot

Leave the vacuuming to someone else.Amazon

The Roomba 980 Vacuuming Robot isn't quite Rosie from The Jetsons, but it’s a huge help, nonetheless. It comes with "multi-room navigation” and boasts 10 times the suction power as earlier models. It agitates, brushes, and sucks, picking up dust, crumbs, and hair with about five times the air as earlier models. While you are cleaning your bathroom, let it take care of your living room or kitchen. It is voice activated—works with Alexa and Google Assistant—and cleans both hardwood floors and carpets. It's only 3.6 inches tall, so can fit under most pieces of furniture, too. The Roomba uses sensors to navigate and learn your home floor plan. The best part is that it automatically recharges itself once it is done with a cleaning cycle. Each charge lasts for 2 hours of cleaning.

Libman Wonder Mop

Libman Wonder Mop

Throw it in the washing machine when you're done.Amazon

The Libman Wonder Mop is another classic. Here's why: it's fast-drying, machine-washable, and absorbent like whoa. Slide the mop head up and twist to wring out the water.

OXO microfiber duster

OXO microfiber duster

Rid your house of dust.Amazon

Sometimes things don’t need a deep clean. If you’ve got delicate items that need a quick dusting, the OXO microfiber duster will remove and trap those bunnies. It’s lightweight, has a comfortable handle, and is perfect for vases, glassware, or picture frames. Once you are done, pop off the head and throw it into the washing machine.

Orgrimmar duster brush

Orgrimmar duster brush

For dust stuck in tight spaces.Amazon

No matter how many paper towels you waste, you’ll never get all the dirt that’s accumulated on your window blinds or the screens of your air conditioner. The Orgrimmar duster brush’s three microfiber cloth blades are designed to fit in between such surfaces. Five cloths are included.

iRobot Bravata Mop

iRobot Bravata Mop

A smart swab.Amazon

The Braava mopping robot is similar to a Roomba except that it mops. Duh. It charges itself, uses GPS navigation to remember where it has mopped and where it still has to clean, and has two modes—dry sweeping and damp mopping.

DrillBrush

DrillBrush

Clean using your drill.Amazon

Some things you can’t clean by hand. DrillBrush power scrubbing brushes are the way to go for tougher spots, like outdoor walls and blackened grout. The stiff nylon brushes fit directly into your power drill and promise cut through tub grime way quicker than scrubbing by hand. I used these the other week to buff out some scratches in my metal shower frame.

Grillbot

Grillbot

Grills can get gross.Amazon

Don’t forget the grill! The Grillbot will scrub it for you, with three cycles that range from 10 to 30 minutes. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and requires four hours of charge time to reach full power. The brushes are removable and dishwasher-safe.

Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner

Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner

For higher windows.Amazon

You can’t always reach the high windows in your house—but dust bunnies can. The Gladwell Gecko Robot window clear is a Roomba-esque cleaner that uses artificial intelligence to detect window frames and avoid obstructions. The robot uses suction to crawl on the window, wiping away dirt so you can avoid wobbly ladders. Move it with a remote control or the company’s smartphone app. It comes with detachable microfiber pads and an 18-foot-long power cable. It’s worth noting that the device doesn’t remove water stains.

Windex All-In-One Window Cleaner

Windex All-In-One Window Cleaner

Make all of your glass smudge-free.Amazon

The Windex Outdoor All-In-One Window Cleaner reaches up to 11 feet and cleans up to 20 windows with a single pad. Take your cleaning to a higher level.

Karcher WV 50 Window Vac

Karcher Window Vac

Another way to squeegee.Amazon

It's a cordless power squeegee! The battery-operated device has a built-in vacuum and features double-layered 11-inch blades made of neoprene—a synthetic rubber that only weighs 1.5 pounds.

Roav HydroClean power washer

Roav HydroClean power washer

For the outdoor grime.Amazon

Don’t forget all the dirt that’s slowly built up on your house siding, deck, or car exterior. Roav’s HydroClean power washer sprays 1.78 gallons per minute to blast through layers of grime. It’s electric-powered and comes with three nozzles and two hoses—one 35 feet long and the other 19.6 feet long.

Zep Commercial Foaming Glass Cleaner

Zep Foaming Glass Cleaner

A powerful window cleaner.Amazon

Our technology editor's dad is a master craftsman in the glazer's union, and he swears by this stuff for cleaning windows. The Zep Foaming Glass Cleaner will dissolve grease, oil, and fingerprints.

Goo Gone Remover

Goo Gone Remover

Goo Gone sticker remover.Amazon

Remember when you—or someone else in your house— thought it would be a great idea to put stickers on a wall or mirror? Get around to finally removing those stickers with some Goo Gone. The orange scented, oil-based cleaner, removes goo from carpets, clothing, metals, and finished woods.

Foam Painting Brushes

Foam Painting Brushes

Nudge the dirt away.Amazon

As paintbrushes, these are pretty bad. As mini-dusters to get at hard-to-reach areas like your keyboard, car vents, or refrigerator coils, foam brushes are ideal. Cheap, too.

Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Rid your washing machine of odors.Amazon

This stuff works with pretty much all washing machines, getting rid of odors and mildews with tablets of sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate.

Parker & Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream

Parker & Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream

No more oily smudges on your kitchen cabinets.Amazon

For annihilating grease, food stains, and general stickiness, consider Parker & Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream. It's made of white mineral oil, so it's food-safe and makes for a nice shine on wood finishes. It's also got glycerine for removing stains and prevent dust from sticking to the surface.

Bonzer-shine Keyboard Cleaner

Keyboard Cleaner Goo

Crumb-free keys.Amazon

If you didn't catch our DIY article about how to clean your keyboard without breaking it, one way to clean your keyboard is by using a compressed gas duster to remove dust and dirt. This Multi-Purpose Cleaning Gel is another way to remove dust and hair. Take the gel out of the bag and press the clean side onto the dirty surfaces. Once pressed down a few times, fold it over to create a new clean area and repeat. Satisfying.

WD-40

WD-40

Lubricate those squeaky cabinets.Amazon

You know that door that’s been squeaking all year? Give it a quick spritz with some WD40, which lubricates moving bits, protects metal surfaces, and removes grime. Carbon dioxide propels the (secret!) WD-40 formula out of the can. This stuff is just the best.

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