In my last list of products recommendations I featured Endust. I will not take back what I said. It is a great product. But Orange Pledge has taken its place in my heart. Anyone who's ever asked knows that I can't stand Lemon Pledge. It's waxy and leaves a build-up. So when I took on a new client a few months back who told me her former cleaner used it for her marble counters I was dubious. But then I looked at her counters. Like glass! Beautiful, with the smooth protected feel of a car that's been recently waxed. So, I ran with it. It is not only great for marble and/or granite counters, but, like Endust, it leaves a silky, like-new finish on stainless steel sinks and appliances. And then, of course, you can use it on even the most reflective wood furniture surfaces. (Yes, it is a furniture polish after all.) Add to all this the really pleasant smell and you have a uniquely versatile product for a much more reasonable price than all those specialty products.
My next pick is a big-ticket item. My favorite vacuum cleaner. Now, to be fair, I have not worked with all the other high-end brands and so am not comparing this to those. I'll leave that up to you. I read and searched when it came time to select a new vacuum. For two decades my family used an old 1970's model Hoover. When, in the 90's, it finally went the way of all the earth I thought, "Hoover's always been good to me. Look at how long this old gal worked!" Then off I went to pick up a new Hoover. What I didn't realize is that the vacuum industry, Hoover included, had changed a few things over the years - first and foremost the quality of their vacuums. Apparently they decided that vacuums should be like razors - disposable. I was horribly disappointed and went through three of them in a decade.
Another change that came along while I was still happily dancing with my old Hoover was that remarkable invention known as the "bagless" vacuum. The industry was overrun by them, so I assumed they must be good and I must have one. Goodness knows I always hated having to buy those bags every year or so - a huge inconvenience, right? So I made the switch. Three bagless vacs (of my own, not to mention a dozen or so client vacs) later I realized I'd been duped. (Now, I know many will disagree with me on this. Please don't bother to try to change my mind. I do this for a living. I know from vacuums. If you love your bagless I give you permission to keep on loving it.) I vowed never to own another bagless machine. In case you're interested in my reasons I'll list them.
- Wimpy - they just aren't as powerful. In a vacuum, sucking is a good thing.
- Messy - nothing like cleaning a house to a lovely shine then going to empty the vacuum cup and having dust billow up and over all the surfaces within three feet, as well as all over the vacuum. And then there are the filters. They have to be cleaned and/or replaced very frequently. Far more frequently than a bag needs to be replaced.
- Touchy - I've found almost every bagless I've used to be prone to clogging and overheating. One was so bad that I could never finish a whole house even one time without it overheating.
- Fragile - Vacuums are very simple mechanical items. A child should be able to take one apart and put it back together easily, possibly even without tools, but at the very least with just a screwdriver. Belts should be easy to replace, and all other routine maintenance - even removing clogs should be simple. This has seldom been the case with any bagless I've owned. I've found many of them will clog in a place that is inaccessible. Another thing is, I have no patience for plastic parts that break. I've gotten really tired of the clips that hold attachments breaking off. I should not have to handle a vacuum with kid gloves.
- Time wasting - The cup on a bagless has to be emptied at least once, and often several times in the middle of just one vacuum job. My friends, this is ridiculous. Some homes I clean require me to empty it THREE times in one visit - each time scattering more dust. Someone told me once that it was because they pick up more than the ones with the bag, but that is not the case. The truth is, the bag compacts the dirt. A full bag weighs a lot. A full cup weighs next to nothing. In my own home I can vacuum many times, possibly a dozen or more (I've never counted) with one bag. With a bagless I had to empty it twice each time and then clean the cup and the filters. I do not want a cleaning machine than I have to spend 15 minutes cleaning when I'm done using it.
Next, I am happy to report I've found something I like even better than my trusty Bio-Clean water spot remover. It's much cheaper and requires much less product to get the job done. Purchased when I was in a pinch and my supplier was closed for an obscure holiday, here it is:
Bruce's GSR, Glass Water Spot & Stain Remover - Heavy Duty Brown.
I tried this the other day on a dingy patch in an otherwise lovely porcelain sink - a patch that even a razor wouldn't scrape off. I was flummoxed. A small smear of this on a scrubby sponge polished it off in a few seconds and left the whole sink looking like new - a thing of beauty. I love when that happens! Bruce's GSR, where have you been all my life?
(As with any product, test in an inconspicuous area first.)
So, there's my gift to all of you my friends. I know how much you all enjoy my unsolicited advice!
*Please note, I do not now and never have received any compensation for featuring products on my blog. If I did or ever do, I will let you know.
** UPDATE: I have now been using this same vacuum for over four years and remain delighted with it! Go buy yourself a Riccar!