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March 23, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Clean sweep: Jump-start your spring cleaning with fresh tools that ease the load


By Andrea Dashiell / Special to Sunday Market

If your home could use a little sprucing up, now is the perfect time to tackle the household chores you’ve been putting off all winter.

Arm yourself with a cleaning checklist (find one at, throw open the windows and prepare to scrub, wipe, vacuum and polish your way to a sparkling home-sweet-home.

Key tools

If there was ever a garbage can to go gaga over, it’s the Simplehuman’s 40L Rectangular Sensor Trash Can ($200 at Macy’s). The generously sized high-tech trash can senses your approach and opens in perfect timing without so much as a nudge. The sleek design, fingerprint-proof finish, odor-absorbing filter and out-of-sight bag system will make you wonder how you ever lived without it.

Sweeping can be a drag, but it’s a bit more palatable with a happy Cost Plus World Market Mint Smiley Dustpan ($15). The handy little broom and sweet, mint-green steel dustpan are small enough to stash in the bathroom or under the kitchen sink for quick cleanups.

Keep rags, cleaners, gloves and brushes handy in the springy retro-inspired Cost Plus World Market Coral Metal Housekeeping Utility Bucket ($10). The durable metal caddie is cute enough to keep in view and small enough to tuck under a sink. The wooden handle makes it easy to tote around the house as you tackle different rooms.

Want to buy yourself a few extra hours each month? Invest in an iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot ($675 at The compact vacuum will roam your house, picking up dirt, dust, pet hair and kids’ crumbs, and can be prescheduled to perform up to seven cleaning sessions a week while you get to spend your time doing other things.

Eco cleaners

It keeps getting easier to find high-quality eco-friendly cleaners. Method’s non-toxic and biodegradable products are widely available at Target and other drugstores and smell as good as cleaning products can. The Method French Lavender All-Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner ($3 at Target) works everywhere and has a fresh floral scent.

Keep unpleasant household odors at bay with eco-friendly Fresh Wave Odor Neutralizing Crystals ($15 at Sur La Table), which are perfume-free and made with 100-percent-natural ingredients such as lime extract, clove and cedar wood.

Those short on space but big on style will want to pick up a pack of colorful Pop-Up Sponges ($17 at Williams-Sonoma).

The all-natural cellulose sponges come in pretty hues of pink, green and blue, and are gentle enough to use on delicate dishware. But the real draw is the way they compress to a flat rectangle, making them a cinch to store in tight spaces.

Little extras

Protect your manicure as you clean with The Container Store’s Waterblock Gloves ($7), 100 percent natural latex gloves with a couple of key bonus features: an easy-on cotton-flocked lining and a cuff that prevents water from dripping on your arms. The hot-pink color isn’t bad, either.

Before you delve into dusting, washing windows and polishing stainless appliances, stock up on absorbent rags, such as Shroeder & Tremayne The Original Microfiber 10-Pack Cleaning Cloths ($10 at Bed Bath and Beyond). The 10-by-10 inch clothes are reusable and machine washable.

If there’s one thing that can add ease to big cleaning jobs, it’s a good step stool. Climb up on the sturdy Ikea Bekvam Step Stool ($20) to dust ceiling fans, wash windows and clean out cupboards. It’s so versatile you’ll use it all year long, and with its stylish white-washed wood finish, you won’t feel the need to hide it away.

Once you’re done, clean yourself with Williams-Sonoma’s Essential Oil Collection Hand Soap & Lotion Set ($30). The beautiful bottles make it almost glamorous to wash your hands.

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