TikTok has gotten us to do all kinds of things we’ve never imagined we’d do: relive our Y2K-era beauty routine, make pancake cereal and now, actually look forward to cleaning. No, seriously. #Cleantok videos have compiled 16.8 billion views and climbing, as people everywhere glean a strange satisfaction from seeing what was once grimy start to sparkle. After a deep dive down that rabbit hole—and testing several of this year’s new launches—here are what we’re deeming the best cleaning products of 2021. Because why play spectator to someone else’s sparkling floors when they could be yours?
The Best Multi-Purpose Cleaners
1. The Pink Stuff
Best for Tough Stains & Scuffs
Heralded as a “miracle cleaning paste,” this vegetable oil-based scrub contains baking soda and quartz, giving it just enough grit to tackle caked-on grime without eroding surfaces. People swear by it to remove baked-on grease and rust from pots and pans and erase scuffs from walls, shoes and tile floors. (See it in action here.)
2. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Multi-Surface Cleaner
Best Eco-Friendly Cleaner
Not only does this product come in lots of fresh and original scents (we prefer lavender for its soothing nature), but the naturally derived, vegan formula is surprisingly effective at removing glommed-on messes. Plus, it isn't tested on animals and it's packaged in a recyclable (and refillable!) bottle.
3. Safely Clean Freak Kit
Best Cleaning Kit
Kid going off to college? Friend moving into a new home? Restock their cabinets with a full set of plant-based (and effective) cleaning essentials. This set of six must-haves includes Safely’s hero product, the Universal Cleaner, which is great for wiping down counters or spot-treating smudges on floors, as well as glass cleaner, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer, hand soap and hand lotion (for a little self-care after all that scrubbing).
4. Method All-Purpose Cleaning Wipes
Best Cleaning Wipes
Method uses its Powergreen technology to clean up messes. Basically, this means environmentally friendly, nontoxic ingredients derived through chemistry. Also, the brand’s wipes are compostable at municipal facilities (not in your backyard, unfortunately) and the cleaning agents in the formula are plant-based.
5. ColorCoral Dust Cleaning Gel
Best Cleaning Putty
It looks like a cross between Silly Putty and slime, but it’s so much more than a ball of goop for your kids to fight over. ColorCoral’s gel works wonders for extracting dust and dirt from hard-to-reach (and oft-ignored) areas, like car vents, keyboards and air conditioners.
6. Carbona Pro Care Oxy-Powered Outdoor Cleaner
Best Outdoor Furniture Cleaner
So you’re spending more time in your backyard, which means you’re now noticing just how freaking fast your furniture starts looking muddy and moldy. That’s where Carbona’s outdoor cleaner comes in: The dispensing top features a built-in scrub brush, so you can easily spot-treat stains, mildew and even bird poop. Plus, it works on everything from outdoor rugs and cushions to window awnings and wood and rattan furniture.
The Best Disinfectants
1. Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner and Bleach
Best All-Around Disinfectant
This spray works on multiple hard surfaces, so you can carry it with you as you move from room to room. As a bonus, this formula has a less powerful bleach odor but still gets the job done. Pro tip: After spraying, let it sit on the surface for one minute before wiping away so the product can work its magic.
2. Lysol Disinfectant Spray
Best Spray Disinfectant
This powerful spray not only kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and fungi but also zaps flu and cold viruses. It can be used on soft surfaces, too, which is nice. Be sure to follow spray instructions—again, to fully sanitize and disinfect, you’ve got to let it sit on stuff for anywhere from ten seconds to ten minutes to do its job. One perk is it’s meant to simply air-dry (so no wiping everything down after).
3. Keystone Peroxide Disinfectant and Glass Cleaner
Best Disinfectant for Glass Surfaces
If pressing hands, noses and cheeks against the window to get a good look outside has become the new hobby at your house, maybe invest in this product for your glass surfaces. It kills norovirus “in as little as 45 seconds” and doesn’t leave streaks on glass. It works on other hard surfaces, too.
4. Clorox Scentiva Multi-Surface Cleaner
There’s no need to light a candle or fire up your diffuser after a cleaning session when you use Scentiva. This multi-surface cleaner is recommended for use on synthetic marble, stainless steel, glazed ceramic tile, glazed porcelain, plastic and fiberglass, and the scents—Tuscan Lavender and Jasmine, and Tahitian Grapefruit Splash—are surprisingly sophisticated. (So much so that someone asked what scent we were wearing—and where they could buy it—after smelling our freshly scrubbed counters.)
5. Method Antibac Bathroom Cleaner
Best Bathroom Cleaner
Method’s Antibac is antiviral and antibacterial, killing 99.9 percent of germs, and it’s strong enough to cut through soap scum and hard water. Equally satisfying, though, is what you can’t get from a #cleantok vid—the spearmint scent that fills the room as you scrub. It almost makes up for all that scrubbing, honestly.
The Best Products for Cleaning Up After Pets
1. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover Spray
Best for Pet Accidents
What makes this cleaner one of the best around for pet accidents is its enzymatic formula. It not only destroys the smell of urine and feces but also prevents animals from going back to that spot again for repeat performances. It comes in both dog and cat versions!
2. Scotch-Brite Pet Hair Lint Roller
Fastest Fix for Cleaning Up Pet Hair
Less a specific mess and more a constant struggle, pet hair becomes super noticeable the more time you spend at home. It’s also alarming to see how much accumulates when you finally air out closets and drawers. These rollers are designed to pick up pet hair and not let it go.
3. Natural Care Flea and Tick Carpet Powder
Best Carpet Powder
Nothing lingers like pet smells in a well-loved carpet. Plus, with the warmer weather approaching, the chance of bringing ticks into the house is going to increase. This all-natural powder kills ticks and fleas, is safe for pets and deodorizes.
4. ChomChom Roller
Best for Pets That Never Stop Shedding
When a lint roller just isn’t enough, you need the ChomChom Roller. It’s another TikTok favorite that’s absurdly satisfying to use, simply because it’s so effective at picking up Every. Last. Pet. Hair. At $25, it’s more of an investment, but there are no adhesive strips or batteries to replace, so you’ll have it for quite a while (provided you clean out the hair trap on the regular).
The Best Random Cleaning Gadgets
1. Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Best Upholstery Cleaner
Stained carpets, couches and car seats are no match for this portable little cleaner. All you have to do is fill the tank with water and the Spot & Stain Cleaning Formula, then grab the suction handle and start swiping your upholstery and rugs. Seeing the trail of brighter, lighter fabric after each pass will both delight you and make you question your hygiene.
2. Shark Wandvac
Best Vacuum for Hard-to-Reach Areas
When we asked an editor about the best thing she bought for her kitchen in 2021, she didn’t hesitate: “The Shark Wandvac.” It was an unexpected answer—not the air fryer? The Instant Pot? The Always Pan?!—until she explained that this cordless vac is ultra-portable (it’s about the size of a wine bottle) and unbelievably good at picking up crumbs under cabinets, around burners and surrounding the trash can. While she swears by it in the kitchen, it’s great for cleaning up dirt in every nook and cranny of your house.
3. Walker Essentials Swedish Dishcloths
Best for Kitchen Cleanup
If you’re trying to wean yourself off paper towels, look no further. Swedish dish towels work like sponges, but they’re way better at mopping up liquid, and they’re great for wiping down countertops and drying dishes. Plus, they’re reusable and compostable.
4. Swash Laundry Detergent
Most Innovative Laundry Detergent
Ask any cleaning expert—and even washing machine repair tech—the biggest mistake people make when doing their laundry, and you’ll get a resounding: “You’re using too much detergent!” So it’s only fitting that Whirlpool stepped in to save us from ourselves. The appliance company launched its own laundry detergent, Swash, which works remarkably well at removing stains and odors—and helps prevent people from going detergent overboard. Give it one squeeze, and it pours exactly as much detergent as you need for a standard-size load; give it two squeezes if you’re trying to cram all of your clothes into a single wash. No sticky, drippy caps to deal with, no overpouring. Oh, and it’s ultra-concentrated, so one bottle lasts 83 loads.
5. Hiware Window/Blind Duster Brush
Best for Cleaning Blinds
Dusting—dislike it or abhor it with every fiber of your being? The latter? Same. That’s what makes this blind cleaner brush so appealing: Its three, microfiber cloth-covered arms sneak in between blinds, cleaning away dust and lint in record time.
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