47 clever solutions to your gross problems

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 
clever solutions to your gross problems

We all have gross problems. I have them. You have them. Even the cat or dog has a few. From gunk stuck between the keyboard to lint in the corners of the dryer, with just a few of these clever solutions for your gross problems, you'll be able to check off more than a few things from that to-do list and feel victorious, accomplished, and in control. Whether it's the mold at the bottom of the shower curtain, that toilet bowl that never seems clean, a microwave that's covered in food explosions, the sink that drains slowly, or that weird smell coming from somewhere, these are problems that can be solved. And it is all so refreshingly easy to do it. Even better, most of these fixes are not only easy — they're inexpensive, too.

You might not have all of these problems. But you probably have a few of them. Won't it be satisfying to take action against them? To deal with them and finally move on? How great to never worry about any of that again? These are simple solutions to annoying problems you can actually solve. And you know what? That's probably what we could all use more of right now.

1. This quick cure for the hair that's slowing your drains

Does the bathroom sink take so long to drain that you have to watch and wait while a disgusting sludge forms in the basin? The fix to that problem is faster than brushing your teeth if you own this simple clog remover. Pull out the stopper and snake this bit of barbed plastic into the drain. When you yank it out, the hair that's blocking everything will come right out with it. There are four in this package.

2. This disk that prevents hair clogs

This stainless steel and silicone drain protector is like a colander in reverse for your shower. Set it over the drain. Wash your hair. Give the dog a bath. Is there a collection of hair gathered on it now? That's what would have washed into the drain and clogged it. Your drain is safe. Just wipe it off into the trash, and the shower water will keep right on moving.

3. These reusable sponges that absorb a ton of water

These reusable super absorbent cloths hold 20 times their weight in water. And when you wring them out, they let it go and are ready to use again. That makes them terrific for cleaning up spills, wiping down counters, getting pans dry, and more. When they get dirty, you can throw them into the washing machine. They are also biodegradable.

4. This pink paste that cleans "impossible" messes

This slightly abrasive cleaning paste has an enormous fan club among people who take cleaning super seriously — and those who were about to give up. Spread it on a sink, stove, tub, or other surface that needs a serious cleaning. (You don't need much.) Then rub it around (it foams slightly), wipe it off, and marvel at the like-new cleanliness.

5. This super-absorbent sponge that soaks up almost anything

People are using these super-absorbent and soft towels to absorb everything from the water on their own wet tresses, freshly bathed pets, or just-washed car to spills and even leaks. They are non-abrasive and huge. And the amount of liquid they soak up is amazing. Cut them to size for catching a leak. Line your crisper drawer with one. They are super useful to have around.

6. A pumice on a stick that gets rid of gross toilet stains

If you have hard water or your toilets have been long-neglected, getting the bowl clean might seem like an impossible task. Before you give up and replace the toilet, try this pumice on a stick. It scrubs off hard-water stains, long-neglected yuck, and more. It works on stained sinks, tubs, tile, and other soiled hard surfaces, too.

7. This silicone toilet brush and holder that's a huge improvement

If you've ever wanted to throw away a toilet brush rather than clean it, you know that toilet brushes are flawed. This silicone scrubber is much better. It cleans without holding onto that grossness you are trying to get rid of. It doesn't even hold much water, and it bends to get into odd corners. The wall-mounted holder has a drain so it's a complete system.

8. These silicone scrubbers that clean dishes and vegetables

You can use these silicone scrubbers to clean everything from delicate glassware to your pet because they are scrubby without being too abrasive for delicate surfaces. That makes them terrific vegetable scrubbers, too. They hold suds but rinse clean and dry out quickly. This is a six pack.

9. This shaver that keeps sweaters and wool pill free

When sweaters start to look worn, it's usually because of a few pills that have accumulated. That's not a crisis! You just need to have the right tool handy to shave them off. This wooden-handled lint and pill remover with a copper shaving head is sized to fit easily into drawers. It not only shaves pills, it grabs pet hair and other debris off clothing quickly.

10. This stainless steel "mushroom" so hair doesn't clog the drains

Install this mushroom-shaped drain filter into your shower's drain, and it will catch hair while letting water through. Every few weeks, just pop it up to clean it out so serious drain clogs never happen. It is made of stainless steel so you know it’s designed to last.

11. An all-in-one tool for cleaning your keyboard and desk

Give your keyboard a quick sweep with this handy mini keyboard brush. It eliminates dust and crumbs that have crept between the keys quickly. Pull the brush off the handle and you'll find a silicone pen that will get into crevices and clean off any crud the brush is too gentle to remove.

12. A spin brush that cleans the bathroom and kitchen with little effort

This spinning brush makes cleaning the shower, tub, or hard floors easy. Just choose the right brush head and push the on button, and it will scrub away all the soap scum and dirt from your shower walls, bathroom floor, or whatever hard surface needs cleaning. There are three brush heads so you can get into difficult-to-access corners as well as wide expanses. It is rechargeable, and the handle telescopes.

13. This mop & bucket that has 99,000+ ratings

It's like someone at O-Cedar set out to redesign the classic janitorial bucket and mop set for homes. This modern interpretation comes with a microfiber mop that wrings out easily but holds a lot of water so you can dial in exactly the wetness you want. The bucket has a step wringer so you don't have to reach down either.

14. This orange-scented spray that obliterates animal smells

If you prefer the smell of oranges to the scent your pet left on the rug, this orange oil spray can make it so. Orange oil is a natural disinfectant that smells terrific. So when your pets makes a mistakes, you don't have to live with the smell. Over 13,000 people have given it a 4.5-star rating.

15. A mop with washable microfiber pads that dusts and cleans

Snap a pad onto this clever mop handle and run it quickly over your hardwood floors, kitchen tile, or other hard surfaces. It picks up dust, pet hair, and more. When it's loaded, scrape the debris off with the included tool. You can also use a damp mop to make floors sparkle. Get three pads with each order.

16. This brush that clears dryer vents corners

Even if you clean your dryer vent filters after every load, there is quite likely still a great deal of lint still in the corners of the vent, reducing the efficacy of your dryer. This vent cleaning tool reaches into the vent and exhaust pipes and grabs all the lint that has accumulated there. They have wooden handles with a hole for hanging them near the dryer. Get two in a pack.

17. A duster that reaches high places and around corners

High bookshelves, ceiling fans, that corner that always seems to have a spider web just out of reach? This is the dusting tool you need. The handle telescopes to 53 inches so you can reach well above your head, and the microfiber dust head bends to whatever angle you need. Take the head off and throw it in the wash when you're done.

18. These silicone swabs so you can stop throwing away cotton swabs

Cotton swabs account for a startling amount of trash and plastic in our oceans. This silicone alternative to disposables can help you stop contributing to that. It's also a better tool. The tips are either nubbed or smooth for cleaning and wiping. They come in a carrying case that's cute and fits in a pocket. Just wash them and use them again.

19. This monthly treatment for your washing machine

Sometimes you have to wash the washing machine, because how can a machine that smells funky get your clothes clean? These washing machine cleaning pods are slow-dissolving tablets that foam in the washer to break down residue, mildew, and bacteria and rinse it away to leave it smelling clean and fresh. Just drop in a tablet and run a normal cycle. There are six in a pack, enough to last six months.

20. An ultrasonic cleaner that works on jewelry, glasses, and more

You wash your hands for two minutes many times daily. But what about your jewelry, glasses, toothbrushes, and other personal items? This ultrasonic cleaner not only disinfects your personal items, it gets them sparkling clean. It gets oils and gunk out from under stones and from between chains. Just fill it with tap water, turn it on, and wait five minutes.

21. A water flosser that's much more fun than dental floss

This handy, battery-operated water flosser is compact and simple to use. Fill the base with water, press the button, and blast away trapped particles between your teeth while massaging your gums. It has two pressure settings and comes with two flossing tips. It's great if you want a more thorough cleaning after flossing or if you "just can't" when it comes to dental floss.

22. These scrub brushes that attach to a power drill

Why are you doing the hard cleaning work when you have a perfectly good power drill? Attach these scrub brushes to your drill and tap that spinning power to get your shower, grout, stove, oven, sporting equipment, or even the grill clean. Choose the stiffness you need by color — medium soft yellow for the bathroom; hard black bristles for the grill — and go.

23. A unique squeegee that gets pet hair off of carpets and rugs

The natural rubber of this broom is like a magnet for pet fur so you don't have to struggle with the vacuum to clean up that spot where your fur baby likes to sleep. This fur broom also doubles as a squeegee, which is always handy to have. Plus, it has a telescoping handle to easily reach all those spots.

24. A chain-mail scrubber that's amazing for cleaning cast iron

This stainless steel scrubber makes fast work of deep-cleaning cast iron and steel pans. It quickly scrapes off whatever burned, got baked on, or is stuck to your pan without removing the seasoning you worked so hard to create. Your pans will love it. Hang it from the loop to drip dry.

25. A fun gel that details your car and keyboard

This blue goo gets right into the crevices of your car vents, keyboard, fan, cup holder, and other hard-to-clean corners and grabs the dust so you can remove it. You just press it in and pull it out. It leaves no residue and is tactile and fun to use. Plus, each one can be used a few times.

26. These wipes that keep your phone clean and smudge free

How often do you clean your phone? You'd probably clean it more often if you had a dispenser of screen wipes in a handy place. These are individually wrapped and pre-moistened so you can easily bring a few with you. They are great for glasses, too.

27. This squeegee like the pros use for cleaning windows

This window squeegee is the smart way to clean windows. There's a microfiber scrubber on one side and a squeegee on the other. Just load the scrubber end with window cleaning solution, scrub the windows, and flip it over to squeegee the glass clean. Add a telescoping pole so you can reach as high as 20 feet.

28. A pair of slippers that clean the floor as you pace

Feeling antsy? Step into these bear slippers and pace the house. Drag your feet a little. Dance about. It's a fun way to clean the floors and burn off a little energy, without getting out any cleaning supplies. These slippers are cute — they look like bears! — and comfy.

29. This spray that makes the go nicer

Be merciful to your housemates or those with whom you share facilities, and spray a bit of this Poo-Pourri in the bowl before you go. No matter how bad things are, it creates a protective barrier on the surface of the water to leave the room smelling fresh. Choose from a delightful mix of citrus, bergamot, and lemongrass, or a dozen other scents.

30. A 4-in-1 vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration

This slick, lightweight versatile vacuum does more than suck up dirt and put it in a bag. It filters everything it inhales through a HEPA filter system that traps small particles to keep them from getting back into your air. You can use it as a stick vacuum, handheld vacuum, and/or with the two attachments for accessing different hard-to-reach areas of your home. Plus, it's bagless and the filters are washable so there are no upkeep costs.

31. This rack so you can get all the gloves and towels off the counter

Where do you hang your rubber gloves to dry? And the dish cloth? This cute little hand stand is here to help with that problem. It sits on the counter, raising two hands so it's cute when it's empty. But it's also a handy place to dry empty plastic bags, rubber gloves, pot holders, and towels. (Pull the towels through the hole.) It even has a drain to direct the water runoff.

32. This handy little brush and dustbin for small messes

This tiny brush and dust pan are pretty enough to keep on the counter or hang on the wall. And they are small enough to pick up counter mess like breadcrumbs and coffee grounds as well as to sweep quickly over the dining table to brush away post-meal crumbs. The brush snaps neatly into the brush to hang.

33. A set of natural bags that get rid of all the bad smells

These little gray fabric sacks look decorative but are actually a super effective odor remover. The activated bamboo charcoal in them actually removed bad smells instead of just covering them up. Just hang them over the litter box or in your car. Toss one into your gym bag or the fridge.

34. A purifier that pulls allergens right out of the air

This budget-friendly air purifier has a three-stage air cleaning system to remove dust, pollen, smoke, odor, pet dander, and other particles as small as 0.3 microns. You can also use it to scent the air with essential oils. It's a delightful bedside or desk air-cleaning system.

35. This hilarious gadget that steam cleans the microwave

Mom is angry because the microwave is dirty! But she'll clean it. (Mom is a little doll, in this case.) Just fill her with water, put her in there, and microwave her for five to seven minutes. Steam will shoot out of her head, softening whatever mess is in there. When she's done, just wipe the interior clean.

36. This lavender pillow spray that also prevents breakouts

This is a rest-inducing pillow spray that creates a fresh lavender and chamomile scent around you as you sleep. It's also keeps your pillow clean (a pesky cause of acne) with hydrogen peroxide and essential oils before you put your skin on it. It's sized for travel so you can sleep wherever you go.

37. This splatter screen so you don't have to clean the stove as often

When you are frying chicken, bacon, eggs, or anything else that splatters, it makes a huge mess on the stove. But preventing that is so easy. Just set this splatter screen over the pan as you cook. You can still see what's going on in the pan, and it doesn't trap steam to change the cooking process. After you're done, just toss it in the dishwasher.

38. A callous remover that does all the work

There are many long and involved methods for getting rid of dry heels and foot callouses. This little machine skips right over all the baths, foot soaking, creams, socks, and other methods and uses a convex roller embedded with quartz micro mineral crystals to power through the problem. It does a high-speed callous removal gently and efficiently. Plus, it's rechargeable and waterproof.

39. This tub mat so you don't slip or grow mold in the shower

If you are trying to shave, spill conditioner, or drop a bar of soap, the shower can quickly turn into a dangerous slip hazard. These shower mats make it safer. They have hundreds of suction cups so they stay put. Since mold often grows under this type of mat, though, these are designed so you can throw them in the wash to clean them. This is a two pack so you'll always have a spare.

40. A set of brushes that clean all your straws

All those water bottles, sippy cups, and reusable straws are difficult to clean, which begs the question: What's growing in there? These brushes solve that problem. They are bendable and small enough to get into those tiny tubes so you know the interior of the cup or straw you are drinking from is clean. There are eight brushes in two different sizes to clean whatever gear you have.

41. A roll-up dish rack that fits over the sink

When you have too many dishes for your everyday dish drying solution, whip this roll-up dish drying rack out of the drawer and set it over the sink. The dishes drip right into the sink instead of onto your counters. It also serves as a cookie cooking rack or a trivet.

42. This little trash can that's right where you need it

Hang this handy trash can under a counter right where you work so you have a place to easily sweep food scraps away. Or, stash it inside the a cabinet drawer if your kitchen is too small for a full-size trash can. It hooks right over a cabinet or mounts with adhesive to a wall or cabinet. The lid opens in two clever ways and seals tight to eliminate smells.

43. These mats so you never have to clean your oven

Set one of these liners in your oven — under the cake, lasagna, chicken, or other dish that's likely to spill over — and you won't have to clean your oven afterwards. Some of those spills never really come off, right? And the next time you turn on the oven, they smoke. You can remove these mats completely when something really bad happens or wash them occasionally and keep using them.

44. This clever whisk that won't trap batter

How much time have you wasted cleaning batter that's stuck inside a whisk? It's so frustrating when all you want to do is to eat the batter! Clever engineering has eliminated that problem with this whisk. The wires do not connect at the dome so there is no balloon shape to trap your batter inside. The batter just drops right out.

45. A steam mop that gets floors super clean without chemicals

Don't want to mess around with a mop to get your tile, laminate, or even hardwood floors clean? This steam mop is so much easier. Just plug it in, fill it with water, put a fresh pad on it, and go. It's gentle but really gets floors clean — even without chemicals — and the floor will be dry almost immediately. It's light, plugs in, and comes with one pad.

46. A mildew-resistant shower curtain with 70,000+ reviews

Are you trying to ignore the mildew at the bottom of your shower curtain? But it's so easy to fix! This inexpensive, mildew-resistant shower curtain liner is fresh and clean, and it will stay that way because it has been treated for mildew resistance. Heavy magnets in the bottom keep it from creeping up on you. Over 72,000 people love how this has cleaned up their shower experience.

47. This shower head that filters your water

How clean do you feel when you get out of the shower? Not that fresh? Maybe your water is hard or loaded with chlorine or other drying chemicals. Install this water filter between the pipe and your own shower head to filter your water through 15 stages including sand, redox, and activated charcoal. Don't be surprised if your skin clears up and your hair is extra awesome.

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