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15 Useful Cleaning Gadgets Parents Will Wish They'd Known About Sooner

Cleaning up after kids is hard enough. Make it a little easier on yourself!

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1. A bottle brush that has a hidden detail brush in the handle and that won't clutter up your bottle rack.

anrdoezrs.net

One of our editors who's also a mom recommends it!

Promising review:

"I am a parent of 3 and have purchased many bottle brushes over the years. I was buying a new brush it seemed like every week. The OXO Tot bottle brush blows all the others out of the water. It feels durable in your hand, not flimsy. It comes with a nice base so you don't have to worry about it falling over and it looks nice at your sink. It is also made of a thick durable plastic so nothing will rust or break. The bottom easily detaches so you can use the smaller bristle brush inside for cleaning the baby bottle nipples. I've been using it multiple times a day for over a month now and I am still very pleased with this purchase. I wish I'd found it sooner!" —Aaron M.

Get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.99 (3 colors available and in stock), or from Amazon for $6.99 (although it's backordered at the moment).

2. A portable stain-lifter that'll save your carpet, rugs, furniture, and car upholstery from spilled drinks, splats of ketchup, and those dreaded mystery stains.

goto.target.com

Promising review:

"I have two young children and a cat, I'm not sure why I didn't think of getting something like this sooner. My son (10 months) came down with a stomach bug and since he is so young he vomited all over the chair and rug. This little device really cleaned everything and got it looking and smelling back go new. There was another spot on and different rug that and I had tried to clean by hand from a set in cat spit up stain and this also completely removed the stain. I am very pleased with this little device and as long as it keeps working for the coming years I will be happy!" —A

Get it at Target for $99.99, or a *very* similar one on Amazon for $97.99 (the biggest difference: Target's comes with a tool made especially for stairs. Amazon's two tools will still take out stains on stairs, though. The only other difference, as far as I can tell? Target's is green, Amazon's is blue.)

3. Or a full-size heavy-duty carpet cleaning machine, if you regularly contend with bigger carpet stains, or just want an upright cleaner.

amazon.com, amazon.com

This one comes with an upholstery cleaning tool, so you can tackle the stairs and furniture as well as carpet.

Promising review:

"This puppy cleans REALLY well. I was shocked, honestly. The carpet in my bedroom, which hosts my husband and I, our 3-year-old son, and 3 dogs, has not been cleaned in several years and I was ready to tear it out and live on concrete if need be. With this machine, however, we will definitely get several more years out of this carpet before it will need to be replaced. I was stunned at how much crap I was pulling out of the carpet simply with hot water. Seriously. Clean carpet angels singing from the heavens. With the wash / rinse switch, you can go over an area several times with clean water to pull out the "easy" stuff before you start using the detergent, which really helps to limit the amount of detergent you use." —Lauren S.

Get it on Amazon for $159.99.

4. A smart automatic vacuum that'll keep your floors dirt-free with very little effort — and that you can control with your phone or Alexa.

amazon.com

Or you can set it on a regular timer to, say, run every day at 10am, or whenever most people are out of the house. All you have to do is empty the dust bin a couple times a week.

Promising review:

"Seriously!!! This thing has been a life saver. We recently built a decent sized home, and our downstairs is around 2800 sq ft. Keeping up on vacuuming and sweeping was almost impossible with 2 young kids, a cat, and a dog! My mom talked me into one of these. I was super skeptical of spending $330.00 on a machine that I may need to sweep up after frequently. But I haven't touched a vacuum in 2 weeks!!! Our great room / kitchen / dining / laundry is all hard surfaces (tile and hardwood) and this thing picks up nearly EVERYTHING that falls on the floor! It picks up MORE than sweeping. Every other day when we empty the bin, there is so much more than just the crumbs the kids drop. This thing goes under our couch. Ask yourself — how often do you successfully vacuum under the couch? Well I do it every day now!" —T. Smith

Get it on Amazon for $318.99.

5. A refillable phone and screen cleaner sponge that'll quickly wipe off those sticky, gross fingerprints your kids keep leaving all. over. your. stuff.

click.linksynergy.com

It's a little sponge that rolls along and deposits just the smallest bit of cleaning solution.

Promising review:

"Works great on anything with a screen! My 2 year old niece thinks of the computer as a giant touchscreen phone so the whole computer has fingerprints. Used it on there and makes the computer is brand new! It's amazing how it works." —Addie Bee

Get it on The Grommet for $14.95 or on Amazon for $14.95.

6. A battery-powered sweeper that'll pick up all sorts of dry spills and messes faster than you can say "broom and dust pan."

The only effort on your part: grabbing it from the closet, and rolling it over whatever cheerios, crumbs, or other miscellaneous stuff your kiddo's left all over the floor. Then simply empty the bin. (It'll also pick up lots of hair, although you'll have to detangle it from the brushes every once in a while.)Promising Reviews:"First purchased through Amazon but third owned. A must if you dislike getting out full size vacuum for a small amount of whatever. Two things thing I have learned: 1) Remove battery section when not in use and it will have a longer life; 2) Move the sweeper slowly or it will spit out or not pick up what you want to pick up." —Judy in CA"This sweeper is awesome for hardwood and tile! I've had it just over a month and I've had no problems with it. I use it for picking up cat litter daily as well as clean up after my two year old has eaten. It's very light and moves smoothly. I also love how easy it is to dump and how the brushes come out for cleaning.Not great for carpet however. It seems to loose a lot of its power while on carpet. It just doesn't really pick up anything." —LCFGet it from Amazon for $30.45 or Bed Bath & Beyond for $39.99.
anrdoezrs.net

The only effort on your part: grabbing it from the closet, and rolling it over whatever cheerios, crumbs, or other miscellaneous stuff your kiddo's left all over the floor. Then simply empty the bin. (It'll also pick up lots of hair, although you'll have to detangle it from the brushes every once in a while.)

Promising Reviews:

"First purchased through Amazon but third owned. A must if you dislike getting out full size vacuum for a small amount of whatever. Two things thing I have learned: 1) Remove battery section when not in use and it will have a longer life; 2) Move the sweeper slowly or it will spit out or not pick up what you want to pick up." —Judy in CA

"This sweeper is awesome for hardwood and tile! I've had it just over a month and I've had no problems with it. I use it for picking up cat litter daily as well as clean up after my two year old has eaten. It's very light and moves smoothly. I also love how easy it is to dump and how the brushes come out for cleaning.

Not great for carpet however. It seems to loose a lot of its power while on carpet. It just doesn't really pick up anything." —LCF

Get it from Amazon for $30.45 or Bed Bath & Beyond for $39.99.

7. Or if you prefer a broom, a touch-less stationary vacuum that'll mean you never have to pull out a dustpan again — and that might be a better choice if you sweep up a lot of hair or pet hair, because the hair won't tangle in any bristles.

It automatically turns on when you sweep stuff up to it (tho it also has a manual mode), uses a HEPA filter, and all you have to do is empty the canister every once in a while. Promising reviews:"Sweeping is no longer one of those onerous chores for my kids. They actually like to sweep just to interact with this thing." —Zachary C. Hoskins"Love Love Love this thing. I have hardwood floors and two dogs that shed. It's so convenient to sweep the fur to the vacuum and have it suck it right up without me having to bend over with a dustpan." —kcmGet it on Amazon for $99.
amazon.com

It automatically turns on when you sweep stuff up to it (tho it also has a manual mode), uses a HEPA filter, and all you have to do is empty the canister every once in a while.

Promising reviews:

"Sweeping is no longer one of those onerous chores for my kids. They actually like to sweep just to interact with this thing." —Zachary C. Hoskins

"Love Love Love this thing. I have hardwood floors and two dogs that shed. It's so convenient to sweep the fur to the vacuum and have it suck it right up without me having to bend over with a dustpan." —kcm

Get it on Amazon for $99.

8. A self-cleaning toilet kit that you can install in almost any regular tank toilet, then cross at least one thing off your to-do list basically forever.

amazon.com

All you have to do is install it, then replace the cartridges every once in a while.

Promising review:

"In our heavily-used family bathroom, this unit lasted an amazing 3-4 months before it ran out of the cartridge, and the results started to become evident. The whole time it not only kept the water/scent clean, it kept the buildup in the waterline completely gone! I did not have to scrub the toilet once or apply any additional cleaner to it at all. Gone are the days of weekly scrubbing the nasty toilet! This is truly a great product." —Chris F

Get it on Amazon for $14.30+ (available with either bleach or a blue cleaner, at slightly different prices).

9. A hair-catcher that'll keep all your shower drains — even the ones your long-haired teenagers use — flowing freely.

You will have to either convince your family to clean the hair catchers out every once in a while or be the one to do it, though.

Promising review:

"Can't say enough good things about this product. I have a family of four and would frequently have to snake our shower drain, but it appears I won't have that problem ever again. I even give my dog baths and this collects the hair. It does not seem to slow down the flow of water down the drain significantly. I'm very impressed after using it for about a month. You don't know how much hair you wash down your drain until you use this!" —Aaron Morlock

Get it on Amazon for $12.95 (5 colors available).

10. And a dual-ended hairbrush cleaner to give to the same long-haired teen, because the last time you noticed their brush...they needed it.

amazon.com

Promising review:

"I didn't even know they made a tool for this. Wow... what used to take me so long and cost me so much effort and work, now is a minute or two job, not much work, and the results are that I'm left with an immaculate brush. Thrilled with this little tool. Took the hair right out of my brushes. Kept the hair together and was mostly able to just toss it in the trash. It has that comb on the bottom too, of which I made good use. I then swished it in some soapy water using this to get the base totally clean in a matter of a couple of minutes! " —Karin

Get one on Amazon for $7.99.

11. A set of air-tight paint touch-up pens, to easily cover up any scratches, scuffs, or other child-related marks that refuse to clean off any other way.

vat19.com

Promising review:

"I bought a few paint pens a few years ago and filled them with latex paint to match the rooms in my house. They are easy to fill, easy to use, and the paint has stayed fresh and usable the entire time. I drop them into a drawer in the room they go in, and whenever I need a touch up, out they come. Twist the bottom, brush on the paint, rinse brush with water, and recap. And I'm done!" —Diane

Get a set of two on Vat 19 for $7.99 or on Slobproof for $7.98 (each of those is about $4 per pen) — or a set of five on Amazon for $12.99 (or about $2.60 per pen).

12. A HEPA air purifier that captures the germs and the allergens floating around in the air, so your entire family's less sniffly.

And when the kids bring home colds, maybe you'll be slightly less likely to catch them yourself. Promising review:"Bought one earlier this year and was blown away. Allergies lightened up and we can breathe better. Went ahead and ordered 2 more for the rest of the house. Once a month I pop the back off (no tools needed) and pull out the charcoal spongy filter and rinse it off with dish soap in the sink. I roll it up in a paper towel to dry it, throw it back in, and turn it back on. It's now flu season and we keep the UV lights turned on all the time. It's a nice little night light, too, which is a plus. We keep the one in the living room on medium and can hear the TV fine. The one in the bedrooms are kept on high because the white noise sound is soothing to sleep to. You don't be disappointed in this purifier. So glad we bought them!" —Jennifer MyersGet it on Amazon for $87.99
guardiantechnologies.com

And when the kids bring home colds, maybe you'll be slightly less likely to catch them yourself.

Promising review:

"Bought one earlier this year and was blown away. Allergies lightened up and we can breathe better. Went ahead and ordered 2 more for the rest of the house. Once a month I pop the back off (no tools needed) and pull out the charcoal spongy filter and rinse it off with dish soap in the sink. I roll it up in a paper towel to dry it, throw it back in, and turn it back on. It's now flu season and we keep the UV lights turned on all the time. It's a nice little night light, too, which is a plus. We keep the one in the living room on medium and can hear the TV fine. The one in the bedrooms are kept on high because the white noise sound is soothing to sleep to. You don't be disappointed in this purifier. So glad we bought them!" —Jennifer Myers

Get it on Amazon for $87.99

13. A set of three water bottle cleaning brushes that'll get the gunk out of every last nook and cranny of the whole family's reusable water bottles.

Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

We reviewed and loved these — and liked that they were sturdy enough to stand up to some intense scrubbing.

Promising review:

"This brush cleaning set is by far the best one out there, and believe me, I've tried quite a few. Don't waste your money on those baby bottle brush sets that are way too flimsy to get anything really clean. This set does it all. It fits into every bottle I've tried, even the metal ones with narrow openings. Something about the angle of the bristles, they just really engineered this bottle brush to get to every nook of water bottles. And I absolutely love how the straw cleaner is super strong and long enough so it goes all the way into the middle of the longer straws to scrub every inch! Other straw cleaners are too short or flimsy and you end up bending and not even getting to clean the whole straw." —Pamela

Get them on Amazon for $9.95.

14. Heavy-duty extra-large cleaning wipes that'll make quick work of all kinds of messes — mud, lipstick, crayon, stickers, nail polish, food, just to name a few — on surfaces from carpet to countertops to leather and more.

amazon.com

Sure they're not quite a ~gadget~, but they're so useful they might as well be.

Promising review:

"Just like they promise on TV. These are great, durable and perform very well. New favorite to clean up after projects. Took bugs off front end of car, pipe dope off wrenches. They do remove permanent maker — had to try that. They are gentle on hands and tough as nails on everything else." —StevieD

"The real benefit for me is having a wipe that works for things like the grill, the oven, the dashboard of my car, muddy shoes, chairs & umbrellas that go to soccer games and practices, and lawn furniture. I frequently wipe something down, rinse the towel, and wipe again. The wipes are heavy enough to go through 3-4 rinses and wipes and still hold up. The smell is mild and doesn't linger on my hands or what I've wiped down." —COMom

Get a tub of 40 wipes on Amazon for $8.75 (about $0.22/wipe) or 90 wipes for $15.99 (about $0.17/wipe).

15. An expandable tub scrubber that makes quick work of an annoying job, so you can just enjoy having a clean bathroom.

amazon.com

And when they're old enough, it can be part of your kids chores — the expanding handle will help them reach the high corners.

Promising review:

"I keep my bathtub about once a week and it's one of those chores I absolutely hate. I simply sprayed my cleaning supplies all over the bath tub and went to town. My tub actually looks way cleaner this way. The entire product seems really durable and I don't feel like it will break at all. I also noticed that I could use a lot less cleaner then I usually use because a of the sponge. I was able to get my whole tub done so much faster then usual." —Kim Brady

Get it on Amazon for $12.99.

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