Cleaning Confidential: Real Simple Editors Spill Their Secrets

Here at RS, the staff is constantly talking about the latest cleaning craze and newest sanity-saving product on the market. But there are a few tried-and-true products that they will never give up on. We got them to dish the dirt (anonymously) on favorite cleaning products and even make some cleaning confessions along the way.


Photo by Sang An/Styling by Olivia Sammons

“I use an old electric toothbrush (one of those under $10 ones). It does the scrubbing for me and is perfect for small spaces—the nooks and crannies of a sink, the hard-to-reach interior of a bud vase, and even grout. That scene from Forrest Gump where they’re cleaning the floors with toothbrushes always comes to mind when I’m cleaning this way...”
—Friend of Forrest


“My Dyson sucks—in the best way! It gets up about every bit of dust, dirt, and pet fur around the house, from throw rugs to upholstered furniture. It even tackles kitty litter. And if I accidentally vacuum up a Lego, I can see it inside the dust bin and retrieve it before my son realizes he is missing a piece.”
—Sucker for Suction


“True story: Sometimes I just vacuum my countertop in the kitchen to get all the crumbs. I also have attempted to vacuum other surfaces (i.e. blinds and dressers) in an attempt to “dust” the apartment. I’m lazy, and that’s just the way I live my life.”
—Anita Duster


“I use The Skrapr to effortlessly remove baked-on crust off pans, drops of paint on hardwood floors, and annoyingly gummy stickers off of glass, with nary a scratch or need for elbow grease.”
—Smooth Operator


“I like to wear a sock on my hand and use it as a rag when dusting or cleaning my credenza, dresser, and non-kitchen surfaces.”
—Dustin Timberlake


“After watching my mom’s unending mopping routine growing up, it’s no wonder I never washed floors as an adult. The Shark steam mop changed that. It uses water only. No chemicals. No ammonia smell to drive you out of the room. No rinsing. Very little drying time. And it’s actually kind of fun to use. The microfiber mop head gets shockingly dirty—just soak it in a basin of laundry detergent, then throw it into the washer. So easy.”
—Late Bloomer


“I never liked to vacuum—until I got the Dyson V6 cordless vac. It is so easy to maneuver under and around furniture that I basically transform into a Disney princess and start dancing and swaying as I work my way around my apartment.”
—Cinderella Wannabe


“The Magic Eraser is a godsend for my house full of kids. The walls undoubtedly become tattooed with crayon marks and scuffs by week’s end. So I’ve turned the cleanup into a game, giving my kids a piece of the moistened material. They have a ball wiping away every mark that they find.”
—Inventive Mamma


“While working the line at Le Bernardin, I learned that everyone there soaks their chef’s coat overnight in Oxiclean to keep it white (other attempts have been known to make them dingy). And, by extension, it works miracles on white sheets with the same treatment.”
—Clever Cook