The last time I fell for a cleaning product was back in 2006, when I discovered Mr. Right – I mean – Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser®. It really does cast a spell, with its scuff-busting, mildew-melting ways. I owe the return of quite a few rental deposits to that supernatural sponge. But after having a kid, I worried whether using it to mop up all my surfaces – especially the ones my two-year-old tongues on a regular basis – was such a great idea. (Note: the makers of Magic Eraser say it contains no “harsh chemicals.” Ah, semantics!)
This spring cleaning season, I became intrigued by two so-called “green” launches. Could we be more than just eco-friendly, I wondered? The Martha Stewart Clean line sounded full of potential: 99+% plant-and mineral-based, fragrance-free, biodegradable, recyclable (from $3.99 at Home Depot, Publix, A&P, and Amazon.com). Then there was Suitor #2 – the Ionator HOM, which sprays electrolyzed water that’s strong enough to kill salmonella, yet safe enough to drink. It seemed like a dream ($169; Activeion Cleaning Solutions). Never heard of this miracle liquid? Me neither, until Allen Rathey, founder of housekeeping channel, spoke to me of its virtues. It consists of tap water that’s been zapped with an electric current, charging the ions to help them bond with dirt particles and kill germs. I don’t entirely understand that, but, hey, I never figured out the “magic” behind the Magic Eraser either (or took chemistry in high school, for that matter).
After several days of testing the Ionator HOM and Martha’s all-purpose and glass & mirror cleaners, I can say they lived up to their billing – for the most part. (I did, however, refrain from rubbing raw chicken on my countertops.) With microfiber cloths and a few paper towels, I washed windows, made mirrors sparkle, wiped up a syrup-smeared dining table, and removed soap scum from the shower door. The products surface-cleaned remarkably well. I was most impressed with the mirror & glass cleaner, which left no streaks (though it did leave behind a faint vinegar smell). Overall, the electrolyzed water required more effort to wipe dry, and was less effective on dried-on detritus. And, alas, it did nothing for my carpet stains, even though the literature claimed it would do something. (Full disclosure: those dog paw prints are years old.)
I’ve enjoyed getting acquainted with the Ionator and Martha Clean. They’re admirable, effective, and (yawn) reliable, but my feelings toward them remain strictly platonic. See, I’ve recently heard rumors of off-label upholstery uses for the Magic Eraser. Can it get rid of blue chalk on my wingbacks? Be still, my relatively eco-conscious heart.