Inquiring minds wanted to know: What products and supplies get the Food52 Team jazzed about cleaning? (Full disclosure: No minds actually inquired, but we’re going to tell you anyway.)
I polled the Food52 team and these are their A-Team picks for cleaning tools, general cleaners, and laundry—a mix of tools from our Shop and solutions you can pick up on the way home tonight.
First thing's first: a broom that really gets the job done. We're quite partial to Andrée Jardin's vintage-inspired brooms. The extra wide head gets our floors speck-free in just a couple swipes and we're gaga for the pastel handles. So good looking we don't even need a broom closet! Equally as adorable: their miniature crumber and dustpan sets! They're perfect when you just need a little sweeping action—on your counters, in corners, or on a desktop.
The Roomba! Our Director of Business Development Amber Heffernan has named her robot-cum-vacuum, and thanks Roomba daily for all the work on her behalf.
Brushes of all shapes and sizes for every nook and cranny. A hand brush with soft but sturdy bristles can go behind the toilet, just under the front of the oven, behind the dresser, and in every tight squeeze of a space. All the better when they're vintage and adorable. A clever ceiling fan brush with an extra long handle slips right around the blades so you're not teeter-tottering on a ladder with a roll of paper towels. And who knew a radiator brush could be so handy? The long bristled wand is like a magic spell for those dust clots you've never managed to reach.
You’ve seen the commercials—that one
where they deliver a Swiffer Wet Jet to the elderly couple that has a hard time cleaning their floors? It’s too strenuous for Lee to use a regular mop! Morty doesn’t even clean! “I make dirt,” he says. And here comes the Wet Jet to save their kitchen floors and their marriage! I cry every time. The Wet Jet's admirers say it's an easy way to give floors a quick shine in between deep cleans (sorry, Lee, sometimes you gotta use a mop and a bucket). You can also slip on the dry cloths for a swipe of the floors to pick up dirt and dust BEFORE you Wet Jet.
A good spray bottle is the key to DIY-ing cleaners of your own because there are plenty of ways to clean without having to visit the store (and are environmentally conscious, to boot). Amanda Hesser combines a drop of dish soap, a splash of vinegar, and water to clean floors, walls, and other surfaces.
We really, really love Bar Keepers Friend. It removes rust, polishes copper and brass, and gets after those hard water stains on your porcelain fixtures. It can be used for scrubbing and shining and polishing all manner of non-porous surfaces, really—even walls.
Note: I first heard of BKF in college. I’d just moved into my first real apartment with four other girls and our mothers were appalled at the state our shabby digs. The Texan mother of the bunch introduced us to the miracle powder: Mix it with water, scrub on the walls, and just like that, the dingy spot was as white as if you’d just painted it. (Of course she knew about this. Texan moms know everything, know how to do everything, and then actually do everything.)
The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser camp is strong. And—did you know?—they're are actually meant to clean walls. There are plenty of generic brands and you can make one Magic Eraser last a really long time. Just add water and they’ll remove nearly every stain imaginable (I have used these on our office's white lacquered desk tables to address Sharpie situations with great success).
Welcome to New York City, where your apartment comes with a layer of grime! Our Senior Account Executive Leandra Levine uses Clorox Scrub Singles to combat this inevitability: “Literally the only thing that gets the deep black funk out of my gruesome pre-war tenement building shower. The way they burn your fingers means they're working!”
Sal Suds from Dr. Bronner's is a favorite dish soap—even though the original Dr. Bronner's claims an infinite number of uses (has anyone actually tried this as shampoo?), our Creative Director Kristen Miglore says Sal Suds works better. It's natural but has the grease cutting-power of something harsher (or so we tell ourselves).
Food52's Controller, Victoria Maynard, throws a Shout Color Catcher Sheet in with her wash, and it sucks up all the loose dye from her deepest pinks and darkest purples. Marvel at the money and time you’ll save now that you don’t have to separate lights from darks! Put them together (we know, crazy).
Tide Stain Pens: We don't know what we did before this futuristic product landed on our pharmacy's shelves. My grandma is the best stain-fighter I know, but I don't have the patience to treat, soak, rinse, treat, hand wash, and then machine wash. This is the girl-on-the-go alternative (yes, I have used this on dates—I'm a messy zealous eater).
A Food52ers laundry room is never without Dryer Balls! (And as a Shop best-seller, they're loved by you, too.)
Laundry detergent is a product worth a splurge, especially for your sheets. You want your bed to be an oasis of aromatherapy and clean softness, so we use this Seat Salt Neroli Laundry Detergent. It's derived from plants, makes our linens feel extra clean, and smells amazing.
One request from a team member plagued with clothing wrinkles: “If someone would please suggest the best affordable clothing iron or steamer I would be ever grateful.” Let us know of any good ones, and your favorite cleaning products, in the comments.