We recruited staffers to take these devices home and compare them with their usual cleaning products. None was a home run for home cleaning. (The costs below don't factor in any shipping and handling.)
The claim. ”Can be used on virtually any surface. Used dry it is a dust magnet.”
Bottom line. Fuzzy Wuzzy’s flat side was effective on smooth surfaces, and its fuzzy side worked in nooks. But staff members said it wasn’t much better than their usual cleaning products.
The claim. “A window washer and wiper in 1.”
Bottom line. It requires perfect positioning to work well. The microfiber cloth was harder than regular cloth to wring when used with lots of water. And the squeegee and cloth interfered with each other while cleaning corners and edges.
The Original Smart Mop, $15
The claim. “Cuts your cleaning time in half ... no vacuuming or sweeping.”
Bottom line. It’s fine at cleaning floors, but wringing the mop can loosen a screw attaching the mop head, which can then drop off. Wringing can also cause the three-part handle to come apart. And it has no hard bar to help press the mop onto the floor—only the nub of the mop handle.
Deluxe Hi-Reach Cleaning Kit, $37
The claim. “Allows you to reach hard-to-reach places with ease.”
Bottom line. Its 8-foot telescoping pole duster does reach high, but the duster is very bendable, so staffer members had a hard time applying pressure; and it tended to bend at a weak point. In one of our samples, it broke from repeated bends.
Claim check: Groutinator and The Grout Bully
The claims. Rub the spongelike Groutinator, $10 online for two sponges of different sizes, along a grouted joint and it “instantly restores grout to original color.” The Grout Bully, also $10 online, is like paint and is claimed to “clean mold & eliminate mildew.” It’s available in five colors and comes with two sponges to remove excess product.
The check. We used Groutinator (shown) and Grout Bully on dirty floor tiles at our headquarters and on a staff member’s mildewed bathroom tiles.
Bottom line. Groutinator removed soil, but we had to sand it periodically to maintain an edge that fit into grouted joints. It also took elbow grease. It doesn’t prevent future soiling, so consider sealing your grout after cleaning.
Grout Bully goes on easily, but removing excess “paint” is hard and can cause smearing. Although the package shows the Bully being used on dirty grout, the directions say to apply it to a clean surface—which defeats the purpose. When we tried it, it hid mildew at first but didn’t keep it from returning.