This brush aced every category with ease: No stain could withstand its stiff bristles, it rinsed clean with minimal effort thanks to its well-spaced bristle clusters, its silicone-coated handle was comfortable to grip, and its handle curved optimally to give it good leverage for scrubbing. It also had a strip of ultrastiff bristles on the back of its head meant for the toughest messes that beat out every scraper in the lineup. Though its handle was a touch long for some testers, this brush easily outperformed its competition.
This “97% naturally-derived” dish soap cut through caked-on grime quickly and effortlessly. It cleaned burnt-on chicken teriyaki more than two times faster than other soaps that we tested, and testers loved its “clean,” “herbal” lavender scent.
The Small Ring Scrubber effortlessly removed cooked-on bacon and hamburger from cast iron and lasagna from our 13 by 9-inch baking dish. This scrubber’s larger size allowed it to cover more area efficiently, and we especially appreciated its fine rings, which scoured narrow grill pan grooves with ease. The smaller rings did, however, make this scrubber harder to clean. We don’t recommend using either scrubber on enamelware or stainless steel.
Goldilocks would like this towel: It’s not too thick or too thin, too big or too small. Its fabric tightened, toughened, and grew more absorbent the more we used and washed it. Stripes camouflaged stains until they washed out and kept this sturdy towel looking fresh.
This long, relatively thin microfiber duster picked up dust and flour easily and efficiently and did a fine job of chasing down chickpeas and rice. While it’s not meant to be used wet, it did fairly well when we used it to wipe up greasy flour.
This product looks like the classic blue sponge we've all used, but its plastic-based scrubbing side has ripples. These ripples added texture, which helped nudge off cooked-on food. This sponge was absorbent and durable, and it looked surprisingly clean at the end of testing. It was also our preferred size: thick enough to hold comfortably but small enough to maneuver in tight spaces.
Every tester who tried these paper towels came back with a rave review. The sheets were thick, soft, and sturdy, and a single full-size sheet could hold nearly 1/4 cup of water—about twice as much as lower-ranked products. Thanks to their double-ply construction, these sheets looked unscathed after scrubbing—even after 300 passes across a plastic cutting board—and we detected nary a hair of lint, even on glass.
We appreciated the foot pedal on this model, which flips the lid open completely and allows it to close slowly when released, as well as its sleek but spacious frame. But our new favorite does more than just meet all our basic requirements for a trash can; its additional features show impressive attention to detail. Among them: a fingerprint-proof stainless-steel exterior, a lightweight liner that can be slid out completely for cleaning or lifted onto an interior rest for easy bag changes, air vents that prevent air bubbles from forming around the bag, and a small switch that can be easily flipped to keep the lid open for extended tasks. It also remained virtually odor-free after sitting for a weekend with raw onion, tuna fish, and hard-cooked eggs inside. Although Simplehuman manufactures custom “size Q” bags, we found that any standard 13-gallon bag will work.
This petite rectangular trash can fits neatly into tight corners of kitchens, bathrooms, and office spaces. The step-pedal mechanism that opens the lid is responsive, and its slow-close lid can be kept open when needed. The liner has a small lip that allows it to be propped on the side of the bin for easy access or to be removed entirely for cleaning. Although Simplehuman encourages users to purchase its custom bags (Code R), we found that both small 4-gallon trash bags and disposable grocery bags fit well and stayed in place. More on this test
Instead of one large plastic insert, this model contains two separate liners for trash and recyclable items, with capacities of roughly 8 and 4.25 gallons. These liners are taller and narrower than other cans with similar capacities, so you must order Simplehuman’s sturdy but somewhat pricey custom-made bags (Codes V and H) instead of purchasing regular trash bags. We also found that bulky items, such as folded-up cardboard boxes and chicken carcasses, were a tight fit, but that’s less of an issue in households that compost or otherwise produce little trash. Its responsive step-pedal lid-opening mechanism, slow-close lid, and fingerprint-proof exterior make for an impressively sleek, streamlined kitchen trash can.
This model excelled during every test: It was easy to assemble; it scrubbed up dirt, mud, pet hair, coffee, and stuck-on food spills with ease; and it was incredibly absorbent yet lightweight and nimble. We were particularly impressed by the bucket’s wringing mechanism, which rapidly spun the mop head with the push of a pedal and removed a remarkable amount of water, leaving the mop head nearly dry. We also liked the mop’s relatively long handle and wide, flat head, which was easy to remove and machine washable.
We liked that this model was light enough to maneuver easily but heavy enough to assist with scrubbing. Its sprayer was the most powerful by far; it was capable of reaching three times as far as the other models, depending on how hard we pulled the trigger. Its head swiveled not only horizontally but also vertically, which allowed us to easily flip the double-sided mopping pad as we mopped. This meant we got double the scrubbing surface area, and the machine-washable pads were plush and twice as absorbent as those from the next best model we tested. They also clung to dirt particles better than other pads, though they required extra time to install since they slipped over the mop head rather than attaching to the bottom of it.
We’ve recommended this cleaner for a decade, and it’s still the best we’ve tested. Its basic bottle design and simple trigger made it easy to hold and spray. Its nozzle dispersed a large amount of product that covered a lot of ground. We chose its lavender scent for testing and found it soothing but not stifling, and we liked that the fragrance lingered lightly to indicate cleanliness without being bothersome. (Other scents have the same cleaning ingredients and should perform the same.) Most important, this spray aced each cleaning test, completely coating and dissolving every mess and rendering stains easy to scrub away. It deposited virtually no streaks or residue and consistently left surfaces clean and dry.
We liked that this product’s small glass vials of concentrate saved us storage space. We also loved how easy they were to pour from and recycle after using. The liquid concentrate reconstituted quickly with only a few shakes of the spray bottle, and we liked the spray’s pleasant citrus-rosemary scent. Best of all, this spray performed well in all of our tests, scrubbing away messes on a variety of surfaces and leaving behind minimal streaks. It was especially adept at breaking down grease and oil. It left a few more streaks than our conventional cleaning spray winner in one test, but otherwise performed just as well—and has the added advantage of requiring no single-use plastic.
Our winning bamboo rayon option had perforated sheets that allowed us to tear off a sheet like traditional paper towels. They absorbed more than double their weight in water in our absorbency test and effortlessly dried a load of dishes without linting. They were aptly named “tough sheets,” and resisted tears even after being dragged along an abrasive plastic cutting board 100 times. The sheets wiped up messy counters in no time, shined wooden tables with ease, and cleaned glass windows without streaks. Even after multiple uses, they remained strong. We were worried about staining after we used them to wipe up bright red hot sauce, but after a quick rinse in the sink they were almost as good as new. They’re great for people who want a reusable option but want the ease of cleaning with a product similar to a traditional paper towel. One flaw Although the company claims that a roll of these sheets can fit on any paper towel holder, they weren’t universal—a tester struggled to fit them on hers.
This set of durable and easy-to-clean cloths successfully replaces wet paper towels and kitchen sponges in many applications. Wiping counters and cleaning appliances was effortless. They soaked up more than 10 times their weight in liquid and were able to scrub through sticky messes. Their size also worked well for washing dishes. We were able to rinse them out in the sink or toss them in the washing machine or dishwasher for a deeper clean.
We first reviewed these sponge cloths over a decade ago and they still perform well. They were able to erase crusty spots and grab scattered crumbs on our countertops. Each cloth was big enough to wash a load of dishes and effectively clean flat surfaces. Rinsing them clean in the sink or laundering them in the washing machine or dishwasher was effortless.
This robot was outstanding at picking up nearly every last bit of the sample messes we scattered, partly due to its unique dual counter-rotating rubber brushes. We appreciated that it would periodically dock to recharge and empty its own bin (the dock holds replaceable vacuum cleaner bags) before returning to cleaning. It quickly mapped multiple rooms accurately, making it easy to set cleaning schedules and assign it to specific rooms on demand. Its app wasn’t always the most user-friendly, with some tasks taking multiple steps, but it was adequate. One caveat: While the manufacturer guarantees that this robot avoids pet “accidents,” it didn’t do so consistently: Sometimes it was remarkably clever in dodging the larger pieces of soft plastic dog poo we placed on the floor, but it plowed right over small ones. It did avoid electrical cords as promised. We liked that this robot can be set to start cleaning when it detects that you have left the house and stop when you return, using the location on your phone or by linking to other smart home features such as your door locks. You can also set it to be silent at specific times, such as while you have Zoom meetings or the baby naps.
Very easy to set up and fill, with a large transparent body that lets you see how much soap it contains at a glance, this model was reliable and dispensed soap quickly. A volume dial lets you adjust the amount of soap it dispenses, which can range from a tiny dot of less than 1 gram of soap to a heaping 6 grams. It uses four AA batteries, which are not included. We liked that the battery chamber is in the column behind the dispenser rather than underneath, so it won’t get wet (which causes batteries to corrode and leak). We also liked that the device’s grippy silicone base sat securely and didn’t threaten to topple or slide, even on a wet countertop near the sink. Random motions near and beneath the spout do not easily trigger spurts of soap; you have to deliberately hold your hand underneath, and then it dispenses soap in less than 1 second. It performed consistently throughout testing, and its generous 17-ounce soap chamber needed no refilling after nearly two months of frequent daily use.