Mary Moppins


I previously used a basic cotton deck mop, which is the best of the conventional choices, as far as I’m concerned. Most of the grocery store alternatives to the cotton deck mop are flimsy and don’t work very well. This mop is superior to others in several respects. First is that it is solid and sturdy. It is a real tool rather than a flimsy piece of junk. Second is that it works so much better. It takes less water and cleaner and less effort but picks up dirt better and faster. I use mine with vinegar and water or other environmentally preferable cleaning solutions. Third is that you don’t have the problem of storing a wet, dirty mop.

This mop is basically a cylinder at its base, with Velcro-like hook fasteners that hold onto a typical terry cloth towel. The towel or rag you use comes off the mop head when you are done and goes into the wash. Nothing hangs around wet in your cleaning closet getting funky. It’s similar in design to the Cuban Mop previously reviewed on Cool Tools, but with a better means of keeping the towel on the mop head.

-- Katie Bretsch  

Mary Moppins Best Home Mop

Available from Mary Moppins

Mary Moppins - Mop in Action from AO.Creative - Ryan Welch on Vimeo.

Scooba Floor Scrubber


The Scooba 5900 floor scrubber doesn’t do as good a job as a professional house cleaner, but my wife and I are lazy, and we figured an automatic floor scrubber that washes the floor and does an ok job would still be better than the job I do. I used the same logic on vacuuming and bought a couple Roombas. We’ve come to find out these robots don’t do just an ok job, they actually do a very good job each and every time they run. I’m always amazed at how dirty the water is when I clean out my 5900 and I cannot believe how clean our floors are. My floors are now automatically swept, then mopped every week. I only spend 10 minutes preparing the 5900 robot: adding hot water and a cup of the Scooba Clorox solution, then emptying the dirty water, cleaning a few parts and putting it on the charger for the day after tomorrow (we now sweep and mop up to three times a week). The robotic brothers and sisters all like to entertain. I clearly have the cleanest floors; and the best thing is I’m not the one doing the scrubbing anymore. I bought my Scooba brand new from distributors on eBay and ended up saving a lot of money and still have full warranties.

-- Don Tharpe  

Scooba Floor Scrubber
Manufactured by iRobot

Available from Amazon

Chilewich Woven Vinyl Rugs

These woven vinyl floor coverings are synonymous with high-priced “design” boutiques and museum gift shops. Translation: $$$$. But boy are they resilient. After three years of countless beverage spills, dirt, dust, mud, food, foot traffic, and housebreaking a dog, the 5’10” x 9′ rug we keep in our living room looks as pristine as the day we first laid it out. I thought a rubbery rug might feel a bit too industrial. It’s functionality won me over. The entire backing is vinyl so it never slides around on our hardwood floors. Best of all, in the event of a spill or restless canine bladder, you wipe it down with a damp cloth. No trips to the cleaners, and less likelihood of stains, depending on the color (our tan/dark brown one has yet to harbor a permanent spot *knock wood*). You vacuum it as you would carpet or a hardwood floor. The only other maintenance is to scissor the edges if part of the weave frays (we’ve done that maybe three times in three years). Though we scored a substantial discount, I’d pay full price if another room in our home ever calls out for a rug. Chilewich also makes a variety of indoor/outdoor mats, coasters and place settings. The small kitchen mat we’ve had for two years has been sprayed with dishwater, food droppings, you name it, and it still looks great. It’s also much kinder to bare feet than our home’s frigid, wintertime tiles.

Chilewich Woven Vinyl Rugs
Available from Unica Home

Manufactured by Sultan

Oriental Rugs Today

You would think that natural dyed, hand spun, hand-woven carpets from villages in the Mid-East and Asia have disappeared with the caravans, but you’d be wrong. Like the revival of other gourmet goods around the world, traditionally made carpets are in a renaissance. Some experts feel that these contemporary wool carpets exceed the quality of the classic old ones, which command classic antique prices (hundreds of thousands of dollars). At the moment, the new, better ones are far more affordable (and yes, this book deals with the issue of child labor). Fueling the revival of these traditional ways are improved methods of natural dying, and a better market mechanism. You can order some carpets directly on the internet, which passes more money to the weavers. A good hand-woven carpet can last many generations and be used every day. This is art you use — you touch, sit and walk on it. For an overview of the rejuvenation of this wonderfully gorgeous yet utilitarian craft go to this book. It’s the best guide on where they are weaving, what they are making, and where to get them. (more…)

-- KK  

Oriental Rugs Today
Emmett Eiland
2000, 199 pages
$4+, used

Available from Amazon