A couple of months ago, I was helping my brother move into a new house in Margate. The place was in an absolute state. Lino floors caked in loose dog hair, suspicious smells, and even a stew left to fester in a slow cooker. A crack team of cleaners — my mum and dad — had made the journey up from Cornwall with what they considered to be essential cleaning materials: sprays, garden tools, a hoover and … a rubber-bristle broom. I was skeptical. Why would you bother bringing a broom up six hours in the car?
Its superiority was soon obvious. I spent most of the day mumbling ‘Huh! Amazing!’ to myself as I conquered pile of filth after pile of filth. On a hard floor, the broom’s rubber bristles pluck hold of anything in their way and, unlike microfibre mops, you’re not left with the annoying task of shaking dust out of the fibres after you’re done. On a carpet, the versatility of the rubber bristles means it pulls up animal hairs or crumbs with ease. The lightweight and chunky-yet-comfy handle doesn’t leave your mitts in tatters if the task at hand is substantial, (as mine was). What’s more, the broom’s got little shoulder pads in the form of anti-mark bumpers, so you can go hell for leather at dirtier areas without the worry of scuffing up walls or skirting boards.
It’s perfect for outside too, especially if you have decking — the firm bristles cut neatly through the teeth in the wood and dig up any deep-lying dirt. What’s even better is, when switching between surfaces or from outdoor to indoor, you can simply pop it in the sink, give the brush head a quick scrub with some Fairy Liquid, and you’re good to go again. That might sound like I’ve gone a step too far with care and attention for a broom, but trust me, it’s made me realise the traditional soft-sweeping brush I had before is a hub for bacteria and dirt.
I had kindly planned to give my mum one less thing to travel home with and, well, steal the broom for myself. But my brother wanted to keep hold of it, which is probably the first tangible thing I can remember us fighting over. As soon as I arrived back in London, I popped into Wilko for some supplies and was greeted at the end of the first aisle by my new cleaning compadre — the exact lime-green one I’d been using over the weekend. It was a sign, I thought. If you want this exact broom, you’ll need to visit Wilko in-store, but the branded version (which JML calls ‘WonderBroom’) is on Amazon for a few pounds more. What’s more, in the words of Alan Partridge, ‘It’s an extender!’ and lengthens up to 1.2m long, so it can reach hard-to-get places but is easily twisted into a more compact form — perfect for places with limited storage, like my cosy flat.
Some other Strategist-recommended household items
If you’re looking for something to remove pet hair or dust on sofas and rugs, writer Hilary Reid discovered a ‘broom’ that’s essentially a giant sticky roller: “The jumbo lint roller on a long stick quickly became the essential cleaning tool I never knew I needed. Here’s how it works: Extend the handle to a comfortable length, and then roll the sticky adhesive part across the rug, so that it picks up hair, dirt, and whatever else is lurking within. Once the adhesive sheet is covered, tear it off and begin again. Roll and repeat, until you’ve finished its surface area.”
When author Laura Jane Williams wrote about her beloved spray mop, three Strategist staffers subsequently bought it (and are also besotted with the mop). Laura writes: “All the hassle of using a regular mop was gone — the effort of filling a whole bucket, checking the water was at the right temperature for whatever cleaning product I had, and then emptying the bucket and waiting for the bucket to dry … and that’s without mentioning how long it took my floors to dry. With the Vorfreude, the whole business is done within a minute — I can walk on my clean floors almost instantly, rather than perching on the stairs, waiting for them to dry.”
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