The Weird World of Niche Cleaning Products

A look at seven of the world's wackiest specialized cleaning devices.

The Weird World of Niche Cleaning Products Credit:

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Spring has sprung—or is soon to spring, depending on your location—and it's time to clean! Of course, we understand that for most the idea of spring cleaning isn't cause for exclamation marks... unless they're part of a bleeped-out phrase muttered under your breath.

For most of us, cleaning is an objectionable activity at best. So objectionable, in fact, that an entire industry of supposedly revolutionary products has emerged, promising to turn housework into a transcendently speedy and even (gasp!) enjoyable experience. Many of these gizmos are laughably specific, often designed to clean just one item.

If you make a habit of buying "miracle" products from QVC at 3AM, or if you have almost as many cleaning gizmos as cups and plates, consider this an intervention. It's the first step in a long recovery process that will end with you spending less time trying to find the magic cleaning bullet, and actually getting more cleaning done.

Mop Slippers

Why push a purpose-built mop across the floor when you could shuffle around the kitchen like you're on a chain gang instead? That's a question no one has ever asked, aside from Evriholder, maker of the Slipper Genie Microfiber Cleaning Slippers.

These slippers probably seemed like a great idea when the concept was drunkenly scribbled on a cocktail napkin at the end of a bender, but we can't imagine combining slippery floors, sopping-wet footwear, and Michael Jacksonesque dance moves is a very good idea. Tread carefully, everyone.

Mop Slippers

Ok, we'll admit, they look pretty comfortable.

The Fuzzy Wuzzy Blind Brush

Here's another from the "this seemed like a good idea at the time" pile. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Microfiber Blind Cleaner is essentially an oversized fork wrapped in microfiber cloth. The idea here is that you can clean surfaces you can't actually see, like the far side of blinds, fan blades, and bookshelves.

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The Fuzzy Wuzzy promises a leisurely, time-saving cleaning experience, but in reality it's going to save you about a minute at best. And anyway, an old sock works just as well and costs basically nothing.

The Fuzzy Wuzzy Blind Brush

The Fuzzy Wuzzy blind brush in all its glory.

Decanter washing brush

If you swear by decanted wine, then the KLOUD long neck foam tipped wine bottle scrubber is what you've been waiting for your whole life.

This malleable brush allows the user to clean the inside of narrow-lipped wine decanters with ease. Sure, it's completely unnecessary, but at the very least it fulfills a purpose that wouldn't otherwise be served.

KLOUD Wine Decanter Cleaner

A perfect gift for your nouveau riche friends

Wine glass cleaner

But we hear you: "Screw the decanter, what about the wine glasses?" Well, worry not, there's always the Final Touch wine glass cleaner brush.

We're a little mystified by this one, to be honest. We understand that a wine decanter is pretty tricky to clean thoroughly with standard equipment, but a wine glass? Last time we checked, regular old sponges were still perfectly capable of getting in there.

Wine Glass Cleaner

If you need a specialized sponge to clean wine glasses, chances are, you're doing it wrong.

Weighted bottle cleaning sponge

Okay, this is really pretty clever. If you've ever tried—and failed—to clean a flared reusable water bottle, you're going to love this.

These sponges are weighted, so they're able to reach every recess of the bottle with minimal fuss, using only the power of gravity. Simply let them soak up some suds and toss them into your favorite water bottle, then give it a few shakes and let momentum do the rest.

Weighted Sponge

The sponges are weighted with ceramic balls.

Oxo small cleaning brushes

Ok, we'll admit it: At first glance, the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set (MSRP $11.98) actually seemed like a great product at a great price. But alas, that sentiment lasted for only the 30 seconds it took us to realize that it's basically a glorified toothbrush.

Our recommendation? Head to your local Target and get a regular old toothbrush for $3. There, we just saved you nine bucks. You're welcome.

Toothbrush Comparison

One of these cost $12 and one does not...

Hummingbird feeder cleaning set

It doesn't get more specific than a hummingbird feeder cleaning set.

In this thing's defense, hummingbird feeders do look difficult to clean, both from a design standpoint and because they use sugar water, which is inherently sticky. And for safety's sake, you probably don't want to mix your bird and human cleaning products. Still, we can't imagine that these devices work any better than your standard wire brush.

Hummingbird feeder cleaner

It doesn't get more niche than a bird feeder cleaner.

Hero Image: Flickr user "rotorod" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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