Get the best cleaning tools for your home

11:25 AM

As you may know, I have made the decision not to hire a new maid in the new flat. There are several factors that motivated and made this decision possible.
Including my being done babysitting an adult, and living in a far more practical setting than in the previous flat.

I'll get back to all this in a future blog post, for now I want to focus on the main reason why "no-maid strategy" works.
It pretty much all boils down to the quality of the cleaning tools.

For the longest time, India was pretty much behind, and didn't even seem to see a reason to change things.
The problem is that those old school desi-style cleaning tools are utter RUBBISH. I will not chew my words, make no excuse, if you still think those cheapo grass brooms are the best thing ever, good for you!
I find them crass, impractical, demeaning and bordering on the dehumanising. Any broom that force the sweeper to bend in two and stoop that way should be banished from our lives. And not surprisingly, I learned from my Indian friends that they hate using it, but still see no problem in only providing this option to their maid. And sadly, few maids will want or even know how to use anything else.

The reality, is that once you made the move beyond the "jhaadoo ponchha" (grass broom and mopping cloth) you will realise how much they sucked.

What if I told you that with a few basic tools and supplies you can no only get your household chores done faster, but also much better?

I decided to put together a list of all the things I use on a near daily or weekly basis in my home. All of it is available in most stores, and of course on Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon, it goes without saying that all the links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on any of them and decide to make a purchase, I'll get paid a commission, at no extra cost to you.

Scotch Brite flat mop

This is the cleaning tool I bought the first time I saw it for sale and I never regretted it. I attempted to train my former maid in using it the right way. Sadly, that bit proved to be an endless and fruitless battle. 
That mop is the most efficient out there to lift the dirt of the ground IF you use it correctly. And by correctly I mean the mop should be damp enough but not soaking wet. For it to perform there should be some friction between said mop and the floor. My maid refused to get that, because it meant spending 30 minutes instead of 5 cleaning the floor. 
The mop comes with a little scraping tool to help you rinse and scrape the dirt off it as you go. 

I highly recommend buying 2-3 refill pads for the mop. Because to ensure your home stays clean on a daily basis you will be better off tossing your dirty pad in the laundry basket everyday and start your cleaning with a fresh pad. 
They machine wash very well and I own 4 refill pads, I have had them since 2011 and they are still working really great. That is how durable this mop broom is. 

Gala Mr.Tall broom

This is the broom that should replace that stupid grass broom in every household across India. For the record, when we talk of brooms in the west, this is the type of broom we mean, and once you used one, there is no turning back. 

I bought this one just before moving to this flat, after looking everywhere in stores in vain for years. I only saw it available on Amazon, despite Gala being a well known Indian brand of household cleaning tools. 

This broom will lift a lot more dirt with far less back ache and it will help you gather it all neatly in a pile. 
I can sweep my floor in half the time the good old "India jhaadoo" takes to do the job, and the floor is cleaner after I am done. 

If I were to nitpick on this particular brand though, I would have preferred a wider brush and the original stick that comes with it is a tad bit short. The good new though is that the brush can be screwed on the handle of the Scotch Brite mop above. So I promptly discarded the too short Gala handle and use the same handle for both the broom brush and the flat mop. It also reduce the clutter in my utility area. 

Oh and contrary to what some of the reviews on Amazon say, it is totally 1000% possible to use this broom to sweep under furnitures, I do it under our bed and under the chest of drawer ALL. THE. TIME! 

Gala Dust Control Mop

If you have a home that gets really dusty, or if like me, you have pets, it really pays off to have a "dry mop" or "dusting mop" on top of your regular broom. 
In the old flat I used this one a lot because due to the fact we had to leave windows open. This invited a lot of dust from the construction site nearby. My maid used to sweep in the morning, and I would do some "dust control" in the evening. 

That dusting mop has a nice wide pad that swivels and reach corners, it also can go under furnitures with ease to go grab all those dust bunnies and doggy hair that like to hide in those places.

I still use it in the new flat, just before I have guests over to grab all those pet hairs that fly about all the time. 
In our 3BHK flat, I am done grabbing all the flying dust and hair in 5 minutes with this magic broom. 

I strongly recommend buying one refill pad for that mop as well. That way you can toss the dirty one in the laundry basket and have the mop still handy to catch dust by using the second pad. 

Scotch Brite Bathroom Squeegee Wiper

I broke a lot of squeegees over the year, hence the reason why I recommend this one. First because it is sturdier, and then because it gets a lot more water pushed away than the cheaper more conventional squeegees. 

I am super anal about bathroom hygiene, and while I actually use the mop and broom to clean both my bathroom daily, I used the Squeegee after every bath/shower to get all the excess water safely in the drain. This prevents accidents like slipping and puts an end to that black footprints syndrome that plague most Indian homes. Last but no least, less stagnant water in the bathroom also means less chances of mildew growing in corners. 

I also use the Squeegee to clean our balconies, two of them have no pigeon nets yet, and it works wonder at getting those pigeon poops off the balcony floor and into the drain. 

Gala Dustgo Dustpan and brush

We all have a dustpan in our home, but let me tell you it pays to just buy the one that comes with it's own little sweeping brush.  You have better control over pushing the swept dust in the pan with an appropriate brush (as opposed to the grass broom that usually makes it difficult).

I like this one because the brush clasp into the handle and then you can hang both of them on a hook when not in use. 

Scotch Brite Toilet brush with holder

I still remember the time DH went to work on an assignement in Zurich in 2008 and was amazed at how we keep toilet brushes in special holding stand over the there. 

To be fair they were hard to find in India then and like most people we had our toilet brush just lying around. It was disgusting, unhygienic and luck had it that when he returned from that Swiss assignment we stumbled upon that Scotch Brite set. 
The holder thingy is still the one we used then, but we have gone through a few brushes already, fortunately, Scotch Brite understands that toilet brushes need replacing more frequently than the holding stand, and you can buy the "loose brush" .

Ceiling dusting brush

I bought one of these a couple of years ago from a shop in the neighbourhood and that has been one of these things I wondered why it too me so long to buy. 

The handle is telescopic, and the duster is meant to reach those ceiling spider webs with ease. I also use it to clean the top of the split AC unit, and in the old flat the grills on my windows. 
It grabs a lot of dust effortlessly and when it gets too dirty you simply give it a quick wash under running water and let it dry. 
No corners, hard to reach spots and door frames stand the excuse of staying dusty with that nifty tool. And it really takes minutes to get the job done. 

beside if you are a bit of a Starwars geek, you can get it to extend to its full length just shaking it one and you'll feel like a Jedi Knight crusading against evil cobwebs and dark side dust bunnies! 

Black & Decker 2 in 1 Steam Mop

We bought this one a couple of years ago, and I even blogged about it in details. I cannot stress enough how neat this one is. 
This model has a removable steam tank and attachment to use it to clean everything in your home, it's not just a mop, it's a steam cleaner. 

The little brushes help steam the gunk out of your bathroom and kitchen corner, the high pressure nozzle attachement will lift the dirt off your tiles' grout and the window cleaner attachement will make cleaning windows super easy.

I use it about once a week in the new flat, I am diligent enough about moping the floor with the flat mop the other days that sticky grime takes time to build up enough for the steam mop to become necessary. 
In the old flat I had to do it 2-3 times a week, thanks to the fact it was getting dirty faster and my maid didn't really care about floor cleaning. 

The only con of a steam mop, is that its quite an investment at first, but let me assure you it pays for itself very quickly.

With these tools in your home I can guarantee you that tackling some of the household chores yourself will be much easier. 
On most days I am done with cleaning my home in under an hour. On a deep cleaning day (once or twice a week) I will spend 1.5 hours at the job. 

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  1. Anonymous12:52 PM

    Most of these are fantastic but I find the bathroom wiper most handy. We have broken many a wipers. I not sure whether the mop or the tall broom would reach under heavy ornate beds or sofas when they are in close proximity with less space for maneuverability, unless they have telescopic handles. The dust pan and the brush is innovative, the jaddo does make things difficult.

    Our bedroom bed has very low ground clearance, virtually kissing the floor. It is impossible to look/clean under it. Many a times, mice get stuck under it, then we have to shift the bed and clean it out, along with dust. We would love to have a gadget which could get under the bed and clean the muck out. The only possibility I could think is to pour water but that would leave a mess. Whoever, designed the bed did a fantastic job, but did not thought about anything accumulating under it.


    1. The tall broom will fit under any furniture that offers enough of a gap to accomodate the width of its brush head. The dust control mop has a really long handle and it bends all the way down to the floor, making the mop and stick about 3-4 cm high when in that position! So unless you have less space than that under your bed, it will fit.

      If all fails, you could use a air blower to blow the dust out from under the bed and then sweep it.

  2. lovely post..but how do you manage to store all these/or where do you keep them ...
    example the bathroom squeege itself take more,not possible to keep inside the small indian bathrooms

    1. I have a tiny bathroom in this flat, just like I had in the previous one, the squeegee is propped up in a corner of the shower area right now, but it can also be tucked behind the toilet.

      All the other tools I keep in my utility area, I converted my old shoe cabinet as a cleaning products cabinet. As I said in the blog post I use the same handle for the scotch brite mop and the Gala tall broom, so I tuck the broom on the stick between the wall and the cabinet, and I store the flat mop attachment in the shoe cabinet. The dust control mop is tucked on the other side of the cabinet along with my tall ladder. The steam mop is standing in front of the cabinet propped against the side wall.

      The dust pan and the ceiling cleaning duster are hanging from nails on the walls. All the mop refills, dusters, kitchen towels and the steam mop accessories fit in the shoe cabinet.

      The cleaning products I use along with these tools are all standing in one of these plastic shopping basket thing you can buy in most household store and the basket is in the kitchen cabinet under the sink.

      In my previous flat the utility space area was small, so I relocated most of the cleaning tool to the extra bathroom. We had 3 bathroom in the previous flat, and one shower area was never used, so I put a shower curtain and hid the cleaning stuff behind it.

  3. It's a fabulous post. Thank you so much for posting all these tools. I have been cleaning my house myself these past 2 weeks and realised the importance of good quality tools. I want to ask you if you think a vacuum cleaner is required to clean the mattress and sofa cushions occasionally. Also your views on dishwasher would be very helpful. Can you also please tell us about the cleaning products you use. Thanks so much

    1. Hi! Thanks for leaving a comment.

      I wrote a post about cleaning products, one about making it a year without a maid (we completed 3 years as I write this) and both those posts answer a lot of the questions you are asking.

      A vacuum cleaner is definitely a good idea to give the sofa a sold clean up every couple of months, it's amazing the amount of crap that finds its way in the folds between the cushions.

      I have had a dishwasher for 2 years now, and I can't recommend it enough, it saves you time and it saves a lot of water (despite popular beliefs) and the dishes do come out duper clean, even with oily greasy dishes you get after cooking Indian food. One thing to keep in mind though is that you can't put pots and pans made of aluminium, hard anodised or otherwise in a dishwasher, and all non stick pans can't be put in it either, so only put your stainless steel pots and pans along with all your other regular dishes and plastic containers.

      I also wrote a blog post about getting a robot cleaner last year, which we still use daily and can't live without.

      You can find all those posts in the archives between April 2017 and February 2019


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