Best Everyday Products
January 15, 2010 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Is there a superior brand/type of [insert relatively common and cheap household product here]?

I have a couple of cheap items on my shopping list and I was curious if anyone had an instance of these products that was truly superior, even if it means a couple more dollars or whatever. Specifically, I need to buy a dish brush and a bottle opener.

But then I started wondering if there are lots of cheap, commonly used items that someone has The Best one of, and it would change my life (for about 30 seconds, occasionally), if only I knew to buy it.

So what do you own, in the common/cheap household product type of product, that you really like better than the alternatives, and I should put on my shopping list for next time I need that object? Bonus points if they're a dish brush or a bottle opener :).
posted by brainmouse to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly a dish brush, but I am quite partial to those dish sponges with the white plastic netting around the outside. They're usually yellow. IMO they really scrub a lot better than your average sponge, but do a find job of cleaning as well. They're a buck or two each as opposed to under a buck for a vanilla sponge.
posted by jckll at 10:03 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

The best bottle opener out there is the key spaded hunk of metal that they give away with gallons of paint at hardware stores.
posted by coryinabox at 10:06 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Paint keys, and it's true. Is that part of it actually for anything paint-related?
posted by cmoj at 10:21 AM on January 15, 2010

I'll do jckll one better: the Tuffy scrubber. I like it because it scrubs so well and stands up to tough use, but it doesn't collect bacteria like a sponge -- it has no real porous inside, it airdries easily, and you can pop it in the dishwasher to freshen it up. Won't scratch or rust like steel wool. I think they;re also more sturdy than those generic cheap all-plastic-mesh ones with the knob handle.

Unfortunately, I'd noticed that they were becoming harder to find (why, I don't know), and that article I linked seems to confirm that. However, you can buy a case of 24 on Amazon for under $25 (that should last you, like, two years), and they're still available at certain stores individually.
posted by Madamina at 10:23 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

A Rosle or a Fissler smooth edge can opener. You will never go back.
posted by caddis at 10:32 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oxo's soap squirting brush thing is great for dishes, though Bodum used to make one that was even better. Dunno if they still do.

The hardware store is great for cleaning supplies. Both metal and plastic putty knives are handy for removing gunk from dishes or floors. Brass wool is nice for pots. 3M's got some weapons-grade scotch-brite pads at the hardware store, too. Lots of stuff gets marked WAY up at the grocery store. Microfiber cleaning towels are half as expensive at the auto parts store, in the car cleaning section.

Does toothpaste count as a household product? Weleda's salt toothpaste is magic. I keep a spare toothbrush around so I can convert guests to its wonderful tooth scrubbing experience. It's silly expensive, but I've yet to find anything as good.
posted by paanta at 10:45 AM on January 15, 2010

Paint keys, and it's true. Is that part of it actually for anything paint-related?

Not that I know of. Its use sort of dovetails with an old, old saying I heard once..."As empty as the beer cabinet after the painters have gone."
posted by Thorzdad at 10:57 AM on January 15, 2010

You use those paint things to open paint cans. The end that you don't use for boozin' goes under the lip of the lid.
posted by NoraReed at 11:03 AM on January 15, 2010

What jckll is describing is a Dobie Pad, and yes, they are worlds better than any other sponge/scrubber thing.

For laundry spot treatment, I used to buy Shout but I switched to Zout because the bottle said Real Simple rated it the best. I felt like a total sheep at the time, but it does seem to work much better.
posted by pluckemin at 11:12 AM on January 15, 2010

Spot Shot Carpet Stain Remover did a phenomenal job on some carpets stains. Other stain removers only seemed to get the stain wet for a little while.

I have Glad brand Green (biodegradable) Garbage bags that are much better than the other brands I've tried.

I've also been super happy with any Oxo stuff I've purchased (Peeler, Salad Spinner, etc.) - so if they make a bottle opener, it's probably a good one. They might make a dish brush too.
posted by backwards guitar at 11:30 AM on January 15, 2010

You used to be able to get the Oxo and Bodum brushes at Bed, Bath and Beyond -- look there, if there's a branch near you.
posted by vickyverky at 11:39 AM on January 15, 2010

Bar Keepers Friend. Accept no substitute. I have yet to meet a pan that it couldn't restore to pristine gleam in a jiffy.
posted by mkultra at 11:40 AM on January 15, 2010

THe thing about bottle openers to me is that you lose them too often to spend any real money on them. Buy a 99 cent one (or buy two or three) and accept that you will misplace them. They all work the same. Leverage.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:49 AM on January 15, 2010

Consumer Reports
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:53 AM on January 15, 2010

Seconding Bar Keepers Friend. Cheap and amazing.
posted by toastedbeagle at 2:25 PM on January 15, 2010

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