The right stuff—for cleaning

    Consumer Reports Magazine: September 2013

    Our textiles expert has come up with the best materials to use for cleaning iron skillets, Venetian blinds, and more. If you have more-basic cleaning needs, we also have test results for Bounty DuraTowels, on page 11.

     1 Iron skillet

    A scrubber to get the main soil, then a paper towel and vegetable oil that won't turn rancid quickly.

    1 Ceiling fan

    Feather duster or long-handled cleaner made for the purpose.

    1 Nonstick pan

    No-scratch nylon scrubber.

    1 TV, computer, or phone screen

    Microfiber cloth. The microfiber should be labeled "split," which means that in cross-section, each fiber isn't cylindrical but looks like an asterisk, with open spaces that suck up moisture. Microfibers are positively charged and attract dust, which is negatively charged. Be sure to wash microfiber when it's dirty.

    1 Smoothtop stove

    No-scratch nylon scrubber with smoothtop-stove cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

    1 Fine china

    Clean sponge (wash dirty sponges in a dishwasher or a washing machine). First line the sink with a rubber mat to avoid chips, then use a rubber spatula to scrape. Dry with a clean, smooth, lint-free towel.

    1 Glassware

    Linen (because it's lint-free).

    1 Eyeglasses

    Microfiber cloth.

    1 Stainless-steel appliance

    Paper towel and stainless-steel cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

    1 Painted wall

    White paper towel or clean white cotton rag. (Paint can pick up color from dyed towels.)

    1 Wooden table

    Sponge, soft cloth, or paper towel.

    1 Carpet or upholstery, small spill or stain

    Clean white cloth or paper towel, with weight on top to blot (don't rub).

    1 Window

    Dampened sponge with cleaner; squeegee to remove liquid; damp chamois or microfiber for wiping; soft, dry cloth to remove remaining streaks.

    1 Grill

    Wire brush or steel wool. (If using on a polished surface, test in an inconspicuous place first.) Wipe off any loose bristles or fibers when finished.

    1 Toilet

    Bristle brush.

    1 Car exterior

    Microfiber cloth, leather or synthetic chamois, or terry cloth.

    1 Venetian blind

    Cotton sock. (Put one over your hand and wipe.)

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