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I've tested just about every weird cleaning product — these 9 are life-changing and start at just $7

Person hiding face behind a yellow mop.
These household helpers keep me sane, no matter how chaotic life gets. (Amazon)

As a former Home editor at Real Simple magazine, I’ve tested my share of domestic products. Cleaning was one of my beats, so I was always trying out the latest mop or updated scrub brush. (What can I say, it was a glamorous job.) And now that I’m a mom of two amazing but ridiculously messy children, I’ve really put these cleaning products to use. I definitely have my favorites — those I reach for whenever soy sauce finds its way onto the walls or cracker crumbs invade my keyboard crevices (which unfortunately happens more than I care to admit). So as someone well versed in tidying up, I’ve decided to share my top nine products with you. Some are the best of the basics — like this microwave cleaner — while others are brilliant new inventions, like a mini power tool for grout that looks like an electric toothbrush (just below). To say these are satisfying is an understatement. They actually make cleaning kind of fun. Snap up a few, and you'll see what I mean!

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When I moved into my very first rental apartment, way back when, the grout around my tub was, shall we say, grout-y. I wish this tool had existed. It makes light work of dirt and soap scum. Use it on everything from faucets and grills to sliding-door tracks — you won’t want to put it down.

$20 at Amazon

These might be one of my favorite inventions ever: BPA-free silicone gloves you can use to move hot pots and pans, as well as maneuver around the grill. Here's the genius part: They're entirely waterproof, so if you accidentally dip your paws into some hot soup, the gloves won't soak it up.

$14 at Amazon

This gizmo uses steam to loosen all that baked-on grime inside that microwave. Just take off the "hair," fill the device with water and vinegar and watch Angry Mama get really pissed off and spew hot steam all over the interior. Then wipe with a damp cloth. She’s incredibly fun to use!

$9 at Amazon

I eat eggs every morning, and I’m messy. Before these brilliant pan scrapers, I’d grab a paper towel to clean off the egg remnants, then use a scrub brush. It was chaos. These little helpers make cleanup a breeze. They're also great for getting stickers off of new glassware and plates.

$8 at Amazon

I always disliked the fact that traditional steel-wool scrubbers leave behind tiny metallic remnants. Then I found this medieval-looking cleaner and never looked back. It’s gentle enough for cast iron pans, but won’t scratch. And it happily hangs on a hook.

$7 at Amazon

If I gave my kids only straws in their stockings for Christmas, they’d be thrilled. Now that reusable straws are a must in every home, these silicone wonders — and the incredible cleaning tool they come with — are sure to get plenty of use.

$12 at Amazon

I can’t get enough of this microfiber blade cleaner. I use it on blinds and air conditioner fins— which get particularly nasty because I live in a city. Just spritz with a little water and go nuts. Total miracle.

$7 at Amazon

I eat over my keyboard. (Sue me. I'm busy!) This retractable cleaning tool makes me feel like a detective working on a top-secret case. I whip it out and brush crumbs from between those keys, then use the silicone side to pick off any crud. Great for detailing watches, cameras and cell phones, too.

$8 at Amazon
Baseboard Buddy

Do my kids walk on the baseboards? Sounds impossible, but they get so grimy sometimes I think they do. That's why the Baseboard Buddy is my dear friend — it takes on both low baseboards and high moldings. The head swivels to get into wonky angles and can be used dry for dusting or wet for deeper cleaning.

$21 at HSN
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$25 at Amazon

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