convenience, ease, & simplicity via game-changing home goods
April 6, 2016 10:35 AM   Subscribe

You have a reusable thing* that has hugely improved your quality of life at home: the kind of thing that regularly makes you feel like past-you did current-you an awesome favor by procuring it. It isn't necessarily fancy or expensive, but it can be -- a $5 silicone garlic peeler tube works, but a floor-cleaning robot does, too. What is the thing, and what does it help you do? Bonus points if it's related to cooking, cleaning, or other routine drudgery.

Basically, I want to try to make my life as similar to a wealthy person's life as possible, purely insofar as that goal can be achieved through the possession and use of everyday household objects.

I did see these previouslies; they're not exactly what I'm after. This previously is a bit more like it, but I assume there's been some improvements in housekeeping technology since 2008, and I'm aiming for workhorses rather than creature comforts. Links to specific products, brands, and processes would be much appreciated. Thank you!

* I am a renter, so movable/no-installation-required things would be best.
posted by amnesia and magnets to Home & Garden (52 answers total) 116 users marked this as a favorite
Apple peeler plus one shot Apple slicer and corer. So easy, a child can use them. Revolutionized the process of making things like homemade Apple pie (well, Apple quiche, actually).
posted by Michele in California at 10:41 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

A $2 bag of plastic clips.
posted by 256 at 10:41 AM on April 6, 2016 [9 favorites]

You might already have one, but this crock pot has really upped my leftovers game. I made these chicken taco bowls the other night and turned one crock pot meal into 2 dinners (chicken tacos first and then chicken taco bowls second) and 8 leftover lunches for work. Crock pots are so amazing.
posted by jabes at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2016

cast-iron pan

a monthly house cleaner appt
posted by vunder at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

I generally think that Swiffers are kind of bullshit, but my big exception is the Swiffer duster with the extension handle. It really simplifies dusting ceiling fans, high shelves, and other things that I would not, to be honest, get up on a step ladder to clean very often.

Microplane zester/grater. Fits in a kitchen drawer, and is great for grating a little bit of Parmesan or zesting a lemon.

I have a pretty crappy mandoline, and I don't actually use it that often, but if you slice a lot of veggies, they definitely make it go quicker. Here is a review of some mandolines. They're notoriously a little dangerous, so you might also want to get a cut-proof glove.

I love my rice cooker so much, but I cook a lot of rice. They have super fancy ones, but I just have one of the dumb $20 ones, and it works fine for my purposes.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Pyrex glass storage containers in the 1- and 2-cup sizes. I use these all the time for storing a million things (for example, making a giant batch of a recipe and then freezing individual servings). The initial investment is significantly more than plastic containers (especially if you are used to reusing things like yogurt containers), but they are incredibly durable and it's great to only have two sizes of lids to sort through.
posted by mcduff at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

These baby-soft dusting cloths are the bomb. They actually hold dust, not just move it around, and also do a great job of removing grime from furniture and knick-knacks without any polish or other product. I detested cleaning the house until I started using these.

Old Corningware. The kind that can go in the freezer, the oven, the microwave, and the stovetop. I don't think it's sold anymore, but you can often find it in thrift shops and antique stores.

A small food processor, like this one (although mine is a Kitchenaid, I think). Perfect for chopping vegetables or shredding cheese.
posted by DrGail at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2016

Seconding the (cheap) rice cooker and pyrex glass storage containers.

These vegetable peelers work better than anything I've ever used. They don't last forever (the blade rusts, particularly if you're not good at cleaning it off right away) but, at this price, that doesn't matter to me.

Also, knowing how to properly chop an onion changed my life and makes cooking so much more enjoyable. This is the closest to what I do, although I also do 2 or 3 horizontal cuts before I do the vertical cuts. This is less necessary for an onion, but is great for mincing garlic and/or shallots.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:08 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love my Mint (now Braava) floor cleaner. It is silent and didn't break in the first year like every Roomba/Scooba I ever had. It gets under shelves and tables and uses either Swiffer pads or reusable ones. It "mops" too.

Nthing Cast iron skillet
posted by getawaysticks at 11:12 AM on April 6, 2016

Lemon press. I'm into lemons in water. Live in Cali where lemons are everywhere. A heavy duty lemon press squeezes much more juice (sans seeds) with half the effort than doing it with your bare hands.
posted by zagyzebra at 11:17 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

A few inexpensive, basic household items that I never want to be without because they are so handy and versatile:

Disposable rubber gloves
An orange peeler
Magic eraser
Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (I've owned lots of cookbooks and this is the one I use the most)
Those cheap-ass rubber things that you use to open jars
A crockpot
A food chopper for onions and garlic
Muji toothbrush stand (takes up minimal space in cabinet, doesn't touch any part of the toothbrush that goes in my mouth)
If you're interested in this kind of thing, a Birchbox subscription so I can try out tons of different products I wouldn't have otherwise known about

A little more expensive:
Amazon Prime membership
Smart TVs
If you're not opposed to cable, cable. I have it mainly for the DVR because I tape a TON of shit and then whenever I'm bored I have endless hours of entertainment to watch, including stuff that might not be available at the moment via Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Finally, I don't have it yet, but after being at a friend's house and seeing how it works (and how happy he was with it) I have my eye on an Amazon Echo.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2016

The Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker was a game changer at Castle Ruki. We recently upgraded to the newest model with a built in hopper and burr grinder after having our previous model for about a decade.
posted by Ruki at 11:32 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

These vegetable peelers

Was completely coming here to say those. I have a few similar ones like these for dealing with really difficult vegetables and it's made a HUGE difference.

Robust labelmaker (something like this) has made getting my organizing done simpler and makes my stuff look nicer once it's organized.

Bluetooth speaker (I have this one) so I can bring my music to where I am working.

I love somewhere cold in the winter with heat that makes things dry. A really good humidifier (I have a boring Sears one that is easy to fill) made my house much more hospitable.

Another big thing but not quite what you're looking for is duplicates of cords and cables so I can have a charging station with cables that don't move. Cables are basically free on ebay lately.
posted by jessamyn at 11:35 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

A second laundry basket, if you do multiple loads of laundry at once. Dry clothes go in basket #1, wet clothes get dumped into basket #2 and then can be easily loaded into the dryer.

Also for laundry: fine mesh bags for delicates. They cost about a dollar. Get a bunch and use them for anything that is supposed to be hand-washed, which you can now throw in the washing machine.

Umbra grassy organizer for the bathroom: you can stick lots of toothbrushes, toothpaste, or anything you want in there.

In the kitchen, a set of plastic containers that all have the same size lid, and a pair of good chopsticks for stirring, unsticking, and other cooking needs.

mcduff above mentioned 1- and 2-cup Pyrex measuring cups; I use my 4-cup one all the time. I regularly use it to mix small batches of baked goods. Super useful because they can go in the microwave and in the fridge.
posted by chickenmagazine at 11:36 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

A few other small ones: a plastic funnel, clothespins, a smaller sized colander with a bowl it nests in, a salad spinner.
posted by vunder at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

And TV trays. It is so useful to have a portable folding simple small surface for lots of purposes.

Also nthing pyrex or other glass storage. we have these ones from Fishs Eddy, as well as some vintage Pyrex refrigerator boxes, and in any case, they are easier to clean than tupperware and no (or little) creepy plastic.
posted by vunder at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2016

It's odd to think that I used to get along perfectly well before I had a Zojirushi water boiler.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:48 AM on April 6, 2016 [6 favorites]

"The Ringer" cast iron pan cleaner. Worth every penny.

Also, a legit microplaner so I don't have to faff around trying to zest a lemon.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:50 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I upgraded from a regular can opener to the Kuhn Rikon Safety Can Opener and I, like, LOOK FORWARD to making things with canned ingredients just so I can use it. Granted, my old can opener was really dull and barely worked so every moment with it was a struggle. So maybe the real lesson is just to get a new can opener of any kind if your current one is old and dull. But I do really like the side-cut style and no sharp edges on the lid.

I really like my fancy Zojirushi rice cooker even though it takes longer than just cooking rice in a pot on a stove. The results are so much better.

My (many years old) Cuisinart electric kettle gave up the ghost and I think I lasted one week before ordering a new one. My bf uses it to make french press coffee every day, and I use it for tea pretty regularly. I like being able to pick the proper temperature and it heats up water so fast.
posted by misskaz at 11:55 AM on April 6, 2016

These things are somewhat lifestyle-specific, but:

-Champagne sealers for your wine, beer, (champagne,) and carbonated drinks, so you never have to think about how long something sits in the fridge.

-One of these towel wrap things for drying your hair

-Paper tea bags so that you don't have to wash something out every time you drink loose leaf tea
posted by capricorn at 12:03 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

The simplehuman dual trash/recycling bins are awesome, and I feel a little gleeful whenever I look at mine (I have the butterfly model.) It's the single most complimented thing in my house.
posted by punchtothehead at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Coconut oil has been a game changer for me: moisturizer, makeup remover, hair oil, lube (YES!--seriously this has been the biggest A-HA - no more sticky gross-flavored "flavored" lubes... this stuff is natural, good for you and delicious), can cook with, can use for "oil pulling" instead of teeth brushing if that's your thing.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:09 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Salad master food processor. This thing works way better than any other device I've ever used for slicing and shredding vegetables. Cranking out a few dozen quarts of borscht went from an immense chore to something that practically does itself. And they are durable as hell; my mother's is like 50 years old and gets used heavily every fall.
posted by Mitheral at 12:11 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

A large pressure cooker and a vacuum sealer, and a chest freezer. Spend a day at the stove, forget about cooking for months.
posted by kmennie at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2016

Definitely on the expensive side but a high-end canister bag vacuum. I can vacuum a floor of my house in about half the time it used to take and I really feel like I got everything up. The bag keeps the machine a lot cleaner than something like a Dyson. It's also great for the car and is a lot easier to store.
posted by coreywilliam at 12:15 PM on April 6, 2016

-A dedicated recycling bag, with handles, in a dedicated spot.

Cat-Litter Strategy (not reusable, but man, what a difference it made once I got this dialed in!)
- Litter that has little to no smell, (Dr. Elsa's Precious Cat Litter)
- Roll of pet-waste disposal bags (not reusable, but they work better than plastic grocery bags; they don't develop holes, and I have enough of them to enable me to keep the box super-duper clean)
- Odor-absorbing air-freshener thingy (Target's generic version of the Bad Air Sponge)

- Helper shelves. I have a ton of these, and they're amazing. I use them in cabinets, under sinks, and even on kitchen counters.

- Small baskets/decorative bowls, etc. for organizing our "chaos area". This space is one part "landing area", one part "junk drawer". To combat visual clutter, I have separate containers for different classes of objects which tend to wander across the space: writing implements, business cards, "tiny random crap" (e.g., screws, small binder clips, Unidentifiable Doohickeys That May or May Not Be Important Parts of Other Things), and "mid-sized random crap", (e.g., batteries, bike tubes, etc.)

- Takeya Fresh-Chill iced-tea maker. No cords, minimal kitchen real-estate required.

- A good, strong vacuum with multiple filters, (I have the Bissell Cleanview II, which has a 12-amp motor, and pre- and post-motor filters. It also has a hose attachment with little brushes, (they're spun by turbines). This is magic for keeping cat hair and dust under control.

- Hand-held broom-and-dustpans in key areas: under the kitchen sink, and next to the litter box.

- Wash Guard Wash-bags for delicate items like bras, tights and pantyhose. Get the kind that zip shut, (I learned the hard way that the kind with drawstrings--even ones with the little "locking" thingies--result in a tangled mess of strings, bra straps, favorite tights, and sadness).

- Handled scrub brushes for kitchen-sink and bathroom cleaning. Instead of using spray and paper towels for the whole process (which is both wasteful and labor-intensive), I do the first pass with a brush and a bit of cleaning spray. Then, I wipe down the surface with a wet paper towel to remove any gunk the brush loosened.

- Those slim, "velvet"-coated hangers. They take up less space than plastic hangers, and keep things from falling off and getting lost in the bottom of the closet.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 12:20 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Cuisinart Grind and Brew. Everybody tells me I make the best coffee. Everybody. I feel like I need to wink into the camera whenever anyone says it because my secret is the Grind and Brew and Pleasant Morning Buzz beans from Whole Foods.

Good tongs. Forget the brand names, just buy the stainless steel ones they use in restaurants.
posted by bondcliff at 12:21 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, SECONDING electric kettles. Once I tried them, I swore I would never, ever go back to boiling/microwaving water for tea ever again (and I haven't). I don't understand why so many people still don't use them. I guess America just isn't ready for super-fast hot water.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:42 PM on April 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Though they need replacing after a while, I'm a big fan of these bathtub overflow covers to make my bath nice and deep.

And enthusiastically thirding the electric kettle - I use mine every day for tea, quick broth, pour-over coffee, cleaning things that seem like they should be cleaned with boiling water, adding a little "oomph" to my bathwater if it's getting chilly ... that thing is indispensable.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:54 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing the slim "velvet" coated hangers. Changed my life. Costco is a good source.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:12 PM on April 6, 2016

Taco Proper's are great if you eat a lot of hard shell tacos like I do.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:43 PM on April 6, 2016

If you have cats, I can't say enough about how the Omega Paw Roll and Clean Litter Box has changed my life. I HATE HATE HATE scooping the litter box. Hate it. But with this thing, you just roll it upside down, roll it back, and pull out and empty the drawer full of waste. So. Much. Better. And I second the above-mentioned Dr. Elsey's Ultra Precious Cat cat litter. I first saw a recommendation for it here and got it and it's seriously the best litter I've ever used. The litter box is literally under my dining room table and there is no smell (which I've confirmed with non-cat owning friends who wouldn't lie to me).
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:13 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

This ice cube tray means I never have to pry another ice cube out with a knife again.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 2:39 PM on April 6, 2016

This ikea garlic press, it actually works (unlike every other stupid garlic press I had for most of my life which seemed not worth the hassle). Our household garlic intake has gone up ten fold since we got it :)

Other things that we love love love or have been totally worth the cost: Dyson cordless stick vacuum, nthing the fancy Zojirushi rice cooker (worth the upgrade from the cheap ones), linen sheets, a chromecast, a wifi app controlled lightbulb, sonicare electric toothbrush, top down bottom up blinds, a stircrazy popcorn maker (if you eat a lot of popcorn), scanpan brand frying pans.

Oh, oh! using parchment paper under basically everything you cook in the oven (french fries, baked chicken, roasted veggies) makes clean up a million times easier!
posted by pennypiper at 3:06 PM on April 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

On the flip side from all the skillets, I have an enameled cast iron French oven. It gives me a sublime sensation of joy every time I use it that I can't adequately explain, but is probably related to being able to make big batches of comfort food in a versatile, vibrantly-coloured vessel.
posted by majuju at 3:16 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

True Blues dishwashing gloves. I have to scrub alot of pots/pans and these are not only tough but somehow insulated so that the very hot water I use feels comfortable. If you have a Cost Plus World Market near you they are much cheaper there.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 3:58 PM on April 6, 2016

I'm almost embarrassed to write this, but I remain dumbfounded by how much faster, easier, and less annoying it is to change the toilet paper with a pivoting toilet paper holder instead of the collapsable axle version I've encountered everywhere else I've lived.
posted by smirkette at 4:04 PM on April 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

i love my Aeropress. I'm the only adult in my house, and a single cup of awesome coffee is the best. easy to use, easy to clean.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:23 PM on April 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

For collars and leashes, Lupine Pet offers an 'even if chewed' guarantee on their collars and leashes, so you don't have to worry about wear. They're also made in the US and have an abundance of cool patterns and colors.

For cats, definitely the Litter Robot - it doesn't take anything special (litter or cleaning products) and automates cat litter scooping. It's especially nice because then the dog can't get kitty treats out of the litter box, either. I deal with litter once a week by emptying the drawer. The cats peed onto/into the electronics and the company sent me a whole new assembly to repair it with no questions asked.

Similarly, a Roomba is great because then your cleanup time can be spent picking up things the Roomba can't get without eating (cat toys, I'm looking at you) and emptying the receptacle, instead of cleaning yourself. It's not as good as a regular vacuum cleaner, but it is way more persistent than I am.

I have a Bona hardwood floor cleaning apparatus. It has reuseable heads and some concentrate to use to clean hardwood floors. It's like the grown-up version of the Swiffers.

I also have a Zojirushi rice cooker and have been branching out recently into adding, say, chicken to my rice while it cooks for a one-pot, low-prep meal. A pressure cooker can help speed cooking times if time is short; otherwise batch cooking is a terrific way to concentrate your cooking times and simplify your during-week meal prep. The subreddit /r/MealPrepSunday has a lot of recipes.

If a machine like a Kitchenaid mixer or a food processor fits into your life, they can make meal prep much easier.

Bed-related, this mattress warmer, some really durable sheets (nice LL Bean percale sheets for summer, Pinzon heavyweight flannel sheets for winter), and some nice pillows tailored for your sleeping style.

One thing that gets overlooked is organization - a friend has been coming over and helping us arrange our house and it's amazing the difference it makes. We spend less time moving around clutter and the house feels much nicer and is easier to keep clean.

Finally, get your knives sharpened! Even a fantastic blade cuts really poorly when it's dull, and a very-sharp edge on a crap knife will still cut fantastically - they just get duller quicker and are less-ergonomic.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:27 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you water anything in your yard, one if these Gardena Aquazoom sprinklers. It lets you precision-water exactly the area you want, and has a quick connection for the hose and for other attachments.
posted by daisyace at 6:36 PM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Instant Pot is an amazing kitchen device that will save you time, money, and energy making food. Here's another MeFi thread that shows what you can make with it.

Other Instant Pot testimonials/resources you can check out: (1), (2), (3).
posted by matticulate at 6:42 PM on April 6, 2016 [7 favorites]

I've been very happy with this microfiber hand duster. It gloms up the dust.

Also, seconding the Aeropress and rice cooker recommendations.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:55 PM on April 6, 2016

When you use a wet sponge to clean flour off a counter, you get mud.
I love my Iris Hantverk Oil-treated beech and Horse hair table brush.

In Europe, people use ugly cheap 6" plastic broom and dustpan sets to clean counter and sink-- super-effective.
posted by ohshenandoah at 7:00 PM on April 6, 2016

My partner and I use to argue over who had to vacuum. Then, we bought a tremendously expensive fancy vacuum (a Miele). Now, we argue over who gets to vacuum. Worth every single penny.
posted by jacobian at 8:13 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Delta Orbital 360 spray bottle. Someone who uses 'em for a living recommended them to me. If you ever spray ANYTHING (DIY cleaning mix or whatever), it's great. Tough, works from any angle, none of that irritatingly feeble fizzing that most bottles do as soon as they're at a useful angle. Hardware stores sell them.
posted by wintersweet at 8:29 PM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Kershaw Taskmaster Shears. They're kitchen scissors that kick the hell out of every other pair of scissors I've ever owned.

We spent hundreds on a Litter Robot. It was good, but not fantastic. Tidy Cats Breeze, we like better (it just stays cleaner!), although it does require daily attention.

On the pricey side, the Saeco Superautomatic Espresso maker is pretty damn nice, and is repairable. On the less pricey side, we have a stainless steel double-walled coffee press that keeps coffee warm for two or three hours after we make it, and we've used it both in a kitchen and while camping outdoors in the winter. Win.
posted by talldean at 9:14 PM on April 6, 2016

A garlic mincer. So much better than a press! and I just chuck mine in the dishwasher.

Bamix. Is this just an expensive immersion blender? yes. is it AMAZING, can whip up anything, can grind up anything, can foam up anything, can be used as a mini food processor, can puree up a whole soup in seconds? yes! I paid TWICE what they cost now (maybe 5 years ago) and I don't regret it for a second. My basement suite home was flooding a few years ago, and with wet waterlogged floors, I grabbed my cats, my divacup, and put my bamix in the highest cupboard I could reach.

speaking of.. Divacup. Man, this has pretty much changed my life more than anything else I've ever bought. I sometimes fully forget I have my period now and I'm like "geez, why am I so hungry and grouchy!" and then "oh yeah!"

I really like the SodaStream, and the zojirushi rice cooker that a few other people have mentioned. I also have a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker (that's a lie, I have TWO!) and pressure cooking is the best. Spaghetti squash in 8 minutes? potatoes in 9? soup in 15? yams in 10? it's so convenient and fast and delicious.

Oh! I unwittingly saved the best for last!

This vacuum is the best, eff dysons. It's light, you wear it over your shoulder like a messenger bag or just hold it by its handle. it's got a ton of power, it's bagless, it's got the world's longest cord that also doesn't tangle. We have central vac, but I use this instead every single time. I've bought two in my lifetime, and if this one broke, I'd get it repaired or replaced lickity split.
posted by euphoria066 at 10:33 PM on April 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

oh! duh! and an Aeropress. Makes one cup of delicious coffee. Almost no cleanup, almost no waiting time.

(oop, someone beat me to it! missed that comment!)
posted by euphoria066 at 10:36 PM on April 6, 2016

Two items at opposite ends of the price scale:

• Electric kettles are great, but if like me you are ludicrously obsessive about tea, consider a Breville one-touch tea maker, which will heat the water to the desired temperature, brew the leaves for the desired time, and then lift them up when they're done brewing. It is absolutely a luxury item-- but for me, on a busy morning when I'm dashing around getting the kids ready for school, it routinely makes the difference between a properly brewed cup of tea and an astringent, overbrewed one. In the year and a half I've had mine, I've probably used it for 1000 cups of tea, so the price per cup is actually pretty small.

• A Sharpie pen. Keep it in your kitchen. When you open a jar of anything, write the date you opened it on the jar. Never again will you find an opened jar at the back of your fridge and wonder how long it's been sitting there, and whether it's still safe to eat.
posted by yankeefog at 3:59 AM on April 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

An iced coffee pot. I really prefer cold coffee and was brewing over ice with my Keurig. This is so, so much better. I feel dumb for all of the expensive and weird coffee stuff I own because this is really the only thing I use.
posted by almostmanda at 6:23 AM on April 7, 2016

My huge gamechanger (purchased relatively recently, hence such a late addition here!) has been a steam mop. Oh, man, do I want to go back in time and gift myself this years and years ago! So tidy! So neat! So easy! So simple! No buckets to slosh around, no nasty mop heads, no laboring to squeeze out the nasty mop heads, no dumping of gross, filthy water, no interminable waiting for floors to dry before you can walk on them ... and it's small and tucks easily away into a corner of our small(ish) apartment. I can't even tell you where our mop and bucket is right now, and I'm delighted. For the first time, my floors are barefoot-clean all the time because it's so damn handy and easy.

Mine cost only around £30, uses cleaning pads that you throw in the washing machine, and is maybe the best thing I ever bought for our house. Of course, we have mostly terrazzo and tile floors, and advice is mixed about wooden floors, so be aware and be wary. (I do use ours on the wooden floors we have, but much more sparingly with the steam, and move it quickly over the surface to avoid any saturation.)

Also note that depending on what kind you get, you may not be able to add cleaner to the water well of the steamer, and also shouldn't add essential oil or other additives that might ruin the machine. Mine is like this, and I just use whatever I want on the floor itself, or on the bottom of the cleaning pad, if I want or need something extra (which mostly I don't – fewer cleaning supplies needed!). I also use filtered water to avoid limescale build-up in the machine, and suggest you have at least one cleaning pad per room and switch them out between spaces. I don't use bleach or fabric softener on my pads when washing, to keep them from a) falling apart too soon, and b) becoming less absorbent or scrubby (though they aren't abrasive).
posted by taz at 12:13 PM on August 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

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