44 clever products that instantly make things a hell of a lot less gross

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Is there a gross spot somewhere in the house that you’ve been trying to ignore? Maybe the cat did it. Or perhaps it happened before you moved in. I have one or two of those places, too. There is a spot of black mold under a window, dirty grout in the downstairs bathroom, and a smell I don’t want to discuss that’s coming from a place I’m afraid to look. I’m done pretending these things aren’t happening, though. They all have easy fixes. (Right?) And you know who has already tried all the fixes and knows which ones work? Amazon reviewers. And they pointed me toward 44 clever products that instantly make things a hell of a lot less gross.

I turned to the people who have conquered persistent odors and lived to talk about it. They were forthcoming — sometimes with a bit too much detail, to be honest; I can’t unsee some of that — and I now know what to do about every gross thing that’s happening in my fridge, bathroom, kitchen, car, and carpets. If there is a smell you can’t abide, a stain that’s making you angry, or a mess that keeps repeating itself in the car, there is a solution. Just keep reading.

1. This weird drain trap that stops hair clogs

Install the TubShroom and say goodbye to standing water or wads of hair in the floor of your shower or tub. Its mushroom-like design traps hair below the pop-up top where you can’t see it. All you have to do is pull it up periodically to clean it.

2. A garbage disposal cleaner so your kitchen doesn’t smell

If you are sniffing the kitchen wondering where the suspicious odor is coming from, your garbage disposal might be the culprit. Dump one of these bags of foaming blue cleanser into it and turn it on to activate the foam, which scrubs the garbage disposal well into the drain and up into the sink to get rid of the smell — and the gross grunge causing it.

3. These deodorizer packets you can stick to anything

How do you eliminate the smell that comes from the trash can, the litter box, that closet where you keep the sports equipment, or your car? These packets of deodorizer that fit neatly into a plastic case you can stick anywhere. Mount it inside the litter box, closet, cupboard, or car and replace the sachet every once in a while, and it will remove the smell with no effort from you.

4. The shower curtain that won’t turn dark with mold

That gross mildew that turns the shower curtain slippery and stained? The mold that accumulates at the bottom of the curtain? That’s not going to happen with this shower curtain liner because the polyethylene vinyl acetate is impermeable to liquids, so the water doesn’t gather and invite mold and mildew. Just hang it and forget that ever happened.

5. This clever little dish drainer that takes up so little space

Giving up a big square of counter space to a dish drainer that accumulates a wet patch of mildew is not the only way. Unroll this dish drainer right over a section of your sink and that water runs directly into the drain as your dishes or produce dry. The rubbery grips hold the metal pipes just where you want them, a utensil cup doubles as a small colander, and it all stores away into a drawer when you want the sink back.

6. The soap dishes that drain into the sink

Bar soap is lovely stuff but it can make a mess on the counter, and many soap dishes quickly fill with a scummy, soapy film. But this clever design lets the soapy water drain into the sink, so the soap dries and the scum never happens. These three soap dishes are silicone, too, so you can put them in the dishwasher once in a while.

7. A bamboo shower mat that lets air circulate

No matter how many times you step onto this shower mat dripping wet, it will not trap water and create a dank place that needs to be washed. Water drips through the water-resistant, bamboo slats and evaporates. Grippy feet on the bottom of the mat make sure it never slips under you.

8. These suction hooks that hang everything in the shower

How clean is that razor that’s been sitting in a pool of water? Where do you hang a wet washcloth? These hooks suction to the wall of the shower so you can hang things, like a from a razor or loofah, so everything drips dry.

9. This in-car trash can that can handle anything

If someone dumped a half-full soda into the makeshift trash bag in your car, how would it go? You don’t want to have to clean that up. This waterproof one can hang from a seat back, sit on the floor, or sling over a console, and it can handle whatever anyone puts into it. Plus, it features organization pockets for wipes, tissues, or other sundries, and the lid keeps trash inside until you empty it.

10. A set of oven liners so you don’t have to clean up spills

No one loves to clean the oven, right? Prevention is the way to avoid that, and these oven liners let you cook that messy lasagna or roast beef and still not have to clean a pool of cheese or grease out of the bottom of the oven afterwards. Just put one of these two liners on the rack below the item that’s likely to leak. When the cooking is done, just pop the dirty liner in the dishwasher.

11. These covers for all the appliance handles that get dirty

Prevent the fingerprints that mar the clean look of your kitchen by covering the most-touched handles with these soft covers that offer a pop of color and a surface that absorbs handprints and dirt. They feel soft on your hands and you can toss them in the wash for a quick refresh while you clean the kitchen.

12. A paw washer so the pup doesn’t smear dirt in the car

When the dog has been having a blast on the beach or in the mud, letting those filthy paws back in the car or house can lead to hours of cleanup for you. Or, you could teach that pup to love getting a quick pedicure in this paw washer. It’s lined with gentle, silicone bristles so when you fill it with water and dip those dirty paws into it, it cleans them off thoroughly, top and bottom. Then, just empty the dirty water and carry on.

13. This boot dryer so your shoes are ready to wear again

If your feet get wet or sweaty at work, put them onto this boot dryer when you get home. It silently pipes warm, dry air into them to dry them out. That way, when you have to go back to work, they are dry as a bone and ready to wear. It’ll prevent odors from building and your feet won’t have to endure getting strapped into a damp pair of boots at the start of the day.

14. These cedar rings so everything smells amazing

Toss these wooden rings in your shoes, hang them in the closets, or drop them into drawers or suitcases and everything will be fantastically fresh. These rings of raw cedar smell amazing to our human palate but bugs — moths, ants, stink bugs, and more — hate the scent and won’t go near anything that smells like cedar. How can you go wrong with non-toxic, easy, and pleasantly fragrant?

15. A brush that gets the pet fur off your furniture

If there is a chair or corner of the couch that is frequently off limits because the cat or dog has claimed it by covering it with a layer of fur, this hair-removal brush is the quick answer to reclaiming it. Rub it vigorously back and forth over that spot, and it grabs all the hair and stores it in the chamber on top. Just open that up and clean it out once you’re done. Then, enjoy sitting in that spot again.

16. The soap dispenser with an infrared sensor

You don’t have to touch a pump top that’s been touched by everyone with dirty hands to get your hands clean. Just fill this touchless soap dispenser with your favorite hand soap and wave your hand under the spout. It senses you are there and drops a dollop of soap into your hand. It’s battery-operated, holds 17 ounces, and gets 19,000 five-star reviews.

17. A set of colorful fridge shelf liners

Transform the interior of your fridge from monochrome chaos to colorful order with these colorful shelf liners. They create a soft landing for jars or produce, look terrific, and are super easy to clean if something spills — just pull it out and rinse it off. You can cut them to fit your shelves, create a color-coding system, or just enjoy the look.

18. These wipes that get your screens & gadgets clean

This pop-up container of screen-cleaning wipes and an included microfiber cloth are the solution you have been looking for to get rid of the dust and fingerprints all over your touch screens and TV screens. Just wipe the screen with the wipes, then go over it once more with the microfiber for a like-new screen. The dispenser tub makes them so easy to keep them handy.

19. This gel that makes cleaning fun & squishy

Dusting irritating crevices might be something you would rather pass on doing, but playing with a lemon-scented squishy gel? That’s fun. Squish the gel cleaner into your keyboard or the vents and crevices of your car, and you’ll forget it’s work until you see how clean and fresh-smelling everything is. You can keep using it until it changes color.

20. A putty that cleans your earbuds quickly

When you stick your earbuds into your ears, they get ear wax on them and that earwax gets into the tiny openings of the earbuds know how this goes. This 24-pack of putty squares is how you get them clean without a struggle or magnifying glass: Press the earbud into these putty squares and pull it away. The gunk stays in the putty, leaving your earbuds clean.

21. These tablets for when your washing machine isn’t fresh

When you do laundry, you don’t want to be met with a bad smell from the machine you’re putting your clothes into. And these tablets are how you wash the machine that washes your clothes. Just drop one of these slow-dissolve, foaming tablets in and run an empty load. It not only freshens the machine, it gets under the accumulated crud and breaks it up so it washes away and leaves the washer smelling clean.

22. This diffuser for a car with a spa-like fragrance

New car smell is great. But what about “It smells like a wet dog in here?” The solution is easy. Just fill this adorable diffuser with water and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice and tap the top button to fill the air with a fresh smelling mist. It’s USB-powered and glows one of seven lovely colors.

23. A toilet cleaning wand with disposable pads

If you can’t abide the idea of that brush that’s been dipped in the toilet just hanging around in the bathroom, this wand, pad, and caddy is the solution. Stack the pads into the caddy and push the wand onto one of the pads. Clean the toilet — the pad is already loaded with Clorox cleaner — and them push the button on the wand to release the pad into the trash. It comes with 16 refills.

24. The fridge deodorizer that gets rid of the worst odors

Until it happens to you, it’s hard to imagine a smell so pungent that it clings to your fridge like a stubborn cloud no matter how vigorously you’ve cleaned it. But the thousands of people who tell their tales of stinky refrigerators in the reviews vouch for this miracle-working deodorizer. Just put it in the fridge and wait. That smell, whatever it is, will soon be gone.

25. A toothpaste dispenser so you never have to squeeze

Mount this toothpaste dispenser to the wall of your bathroom with the included adhesive backing, stick your toothpaste into the top, and insert your brush into the front opening. Watch this thing do all the toothpaste squeezing and dispensing — without any mess. No more paste on your fingers, counter, and clothes. It comes in three colors, sticks to any wall, and removes one irritating task from your day.

26. This sponge that’s like magic for any mess

Whether the mess you have was caused by a child with crayons, a greasy burger fiasco on the stove, years of people’s shoes kicking the baseboard, or anything else, this magic sponge will get it out. Just scrub with one of the 10 sponges in this package and like the 19,000 people who gave them five stars, you’ll be amazed.

27. The box that sanitizes your electronics with UV light

Put your phone, earbuds, wallet, keys, or anything else that fits into this box and push the button. It bathes the interior in a UV light that kills germs, even the ones hiding in the tiny crevices or on surfaces you can’t wipe down. It’s also a wireless charger so your phone — and other devices — will get a charge while they are in there.

28. This giant laundry hamper with ventilation

This huge laundry hamper will hold all your clothes for the week in one tidy spot and the perforated sides let air in so that those clothes don’t become an oppressive, stinky pile before laundry day. The lid fits securely to keep pets out, and the cutout handles make it easy to carry.

29. These dishcloths that are a hybrid of a cloth & a sponge

These weird Swedish dishcloths seem like the product of a cloth that mated with a sponge to create the perfect, super absorbent tool for washing dishes, wiping down counters, and cleaning the bathroom. They are lint-free, flexible, absorb like a sponge, and dry out super fast so you get no old-sponge odor. Reviewers love them and give them over 26,000 five-star reviews.

30. A portable air purifier for clean air wherever you go

All sorts of nasty things travel around in the air making people sick and creating odors, but this portable air purifier can clean things up. It runs the air in your immediate vicinity through both a HEPA and carbon filter to clean it. At less than one pound, it’s perfect to take on a plane, to the office, or in your car.

31. This microfiber mop that’s all you need for cleaning floors

You will use this microfiber mop with four mop pads for everything having to do with cleaning hard floors because it’s so easy. Clean up pet fur, tracked-in dirt, and anything you once grabbed with a broom using the long-pile pads. And when a mess requires a wet wipe down, use the short pile pad with some water and cleaner. When you are done, throw the reusable pads in the wash.

32. A better cap for your toothpaste and anything in tubes

Replace the existing cap on your toothpaste or ointments with one of these three cleverly designed replacement caps and forever more you can distribute a precise amount of the product exactly where you want it without any mess. The cap closes itself and keeps you from losing product all over the sink, on your hand, or wherever you don’t want it.

33. The super easy way to neutralize bad smells

When you have pets, teens, kids, or a kitchen without industrial-strength ventilation, odors can get trapped in the house. Covering them up with candles or spray scents works briefly, but this odor removing gel is much easier to use. More importantly, it neutralizes instead of masking smells, and it requires only that you open the jar once and set it near the source of the odor.

34. This tool for scraping gunk off of pans

These four plastic scrapers are the perfect tools for removing the gunk that gets cooked onto your cast-iron pans without removing the seasoned finish you worked so hard to acheive. There are several edges to fit all the corners of whatever pans you have and reviewers are also using them to clean off counters and get sticky batters out of bowls.

35. These apples that are a trap for fruit flies

A fruit fly invasion is a serious annoyance, but it’s no reason to give up a healthy fruit habit. Just nestle one of these apples in your fruit bowl — filled with the included lure — and the flies will attack it instead of your bananas and die in the process. Put one near the trash can, too, and you will soon be rid of your fruit fly problem. Over 14,000 people say they work great and give them five stars.

36. A bottle-emptying kit so you can stop struggling to get the last drop

When your mayo is down to the bottom or your conditioner is nearly empty, you have to stand there shaking a bottle while your sandwich begs to be eaten or the hot water is running out. It is, frankly, irritating. Unscrew the cap that’s on that bottle, replace it with one of these Flip-It lids, and set the bottle down upside down. When you use it again, that bottle will be primed and ready to deliver.

37. A gap cover so you don’t have to pull the oven out to clean

When was the last time you pulled out your slide-in oven and cleaned all the spills that have dripped down the sides? You never have to do it again with this stove gap cover that prevents the drip-down mess in the first place. Just cut it to fit, snap it into place, and nothing will slide down between the counter and the oven again.

38. This slipcover to protect your couch from pets & kids

If your kids, the dogs, or even you tend to spill things on the couch, cover it with this simple and inexpensive cover and stop worrying. It’s all one piece that tucks into the cushions and straps around the back for a secure fit. And it’s machine-washable.

39. A set of brushes to clean every bottle & jar you have

When you have a water bottle — or three — and the kids have sippy cups plus a collection of storage jars, you need this set of five sizes of brush to get everything clean. The tiny one gets into the straw areas, the middle ones handle every opening size, and the big one will get right into the bottom of jars and scrub anything clean.

40. This spray that removes the lingering odors from your pet’s accident

According to the almost 65,000 five-star reviews, this stain and odor eliminating spray is exactly what you need when your pet pukes or pees on the rug. Spray the enzymatic formula on, let it sit for a bit, and blot or let it air dry. That smell — you know the one — will be so gone that the pets won’t be able to find it to mark their spot again.

41. The microfiber towels that hold a ton of water

These two microfiber bath towels roll up small enough to throw in your gym bag, beach bag, or suitcase, but they hold so much water they won’t leave you dripping when you want to be dry. They open up to a huge 30 by 60 inches, so you can wrap up in them. And they air dry super fast. This perfect travel towel comes in 34 colors.

42. A steam cleaner that makes cleaning fun

Fill this steamer with water, point it at the moldy, dirty places you don’t want to be cleaning, and pull the trigger. It blasts that mess with hot steam, which is chemical-free but very effective at cleaning. The nearly 8,000 five-star reviewers have used it for everything from washing grout to the microwave and love it.

43. These produce containers that organize your fridge

Instead of squirreling your fruits and veggies away into a drawer where you will quickly lose track of them, store them in these produce-preserving containers that stack on the shelves where you can see them. They come with drip trays so your lettuce doesn’t sit in a puddle, and vents in the lids keep produce from getting too dry.

44. This dish-washing brush that solves everything

The handle of this dish brush fills with soap so you don’t need to keep a soap bottle by the sink, and that’s not even it’s best feature. Instead of relying on gravity to deliver the soap to the brush while you wash, you push a button, which uses air pressure to push soap to the bristles even when the handle is nearly empty. And you’ll love the stand with a built in drain that holds the brush handy and dry next to the sink.

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