5 High-Tech (and Low-Tech!) Cleaning Tools You Need Right Now

5 High-Tech (and Low-Tech!) Cleaning Tools You Need Right Now

When it comes to the way in which people live their lives these days, one thing is very clear: Just about everyone is looking for ways to reduce their reliance on harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals. Reducing your exposure to chemicals may improve the strength of your immune system, and it can potentially even reduce your cancer risk.

One of the reasons why you’re most likely to expose yourself to chemicals in your everyday life is because you’re trying to clean things as effectively as possible. We flood our laundry with bleach and chemical-laden fabric softeners. We spray chemical air fresheners to control musty odors. We use harsh carpet cleaners to remove pet smells. In these and other cases, it’s possible to rely on some high-tech cleaning tools – not to mention a few low-tech options you may not have considered – to clean things naturally and reduce your exposure to toxins. So, if you’ve spilled a bit of Glazed Donuts by Loaded on your shirt, don’t reach for the bleach – try one of these high-tech cleaning tools instead.

Ultrasonic Ozone Cleaner

One of the greatest high-tech cleaning tools that you can own is an ultrasonic ozone cleaner – the bigger, the better. You can find a cleaner that holds a few gallons of water for a few hundred dollars, and cheaper options are also available. If you own a battery-powered toothbrush, chances are that you’re already familiar with the cleaning power of ultrasonic vibrations. By vibrating extremely rapidly, an ultrasonic toothbrush can power through just about any stain – and a larger ultrasonic cleaner works in the same way. All that you need to do is fill the cleaner with water and drop in whatever you’d like to clean. If you buy an ultrasonic cleaner that generates ozone, that’s even better because ozone is a natural disinfecting agent that removes stains and kills microbes. You can use an ultrasonic cleaner to wash produce, jewelry, clothing – just about anything you can imagine.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a bit of a low-tech cleaning tool that’s become extremely fashionable in recent years as people have searched for ways to make their environments smell better without spraying – and inhaling – harsh chemicals. Buying an essential oil diffuser is a great way to make your home smell nice without using chemicals, but it’s far more effective to remove unpleasant odors than it is to cover them. Activated charcoal has extreme adsorption capacity stemming from the fact that just one gram of it has more than 32,000 square feet of total surface area. It’s usually sold in mesh bags. Activated charcoal filters are also available for most good home air purifiers. If you buy it in bagged form, you’ll simply place it in any musty area where unpleasant odors tend to develop. For instance, you could place the bags under your sinks, in your closets, on your toilet tank, under your car’s seats and next to your pet’s bed or litter box. As air passes through the bag, the charcoal naturally traps the airborne molecules that carry unpleasant smells. A bag of activated charcoal can remain effective for a couple of years if you occasionally refresh it by placing it in direct sunlight.

Battery-Powered Stick Vacuum

Are you old enough to remember when battery-powered handheld vacuums were all the rage during the 1990s? If you are, you probably remember that those vacuums had some serious shortcomings. That’s because the rechargeable batteries available in those days simply weren’t up to the task of powering something like a vacuum. If you were burned in the past by a battery-powered vacuum that couldn’t do any real work, you’ll find that the experience is completely different when you use a stick vacuum powered by one of today’s modern lithium-ion batteries. Although it’s true that battery-powered vacuums still aren’t quite as powerful as vacuums that operate on wall power, it also has to be said that the best vacuum for your needs is the one you’ll actually use. The fact that you can have a battery-powered vacuum always on a charging cradle and ready to use is an unbelievably useful thing that makes it infinitely easier to keep your home clean.

Automatic Air Purifier

If you enjoy living in a home that smells great – and who doesn’t, right? – an automatic air purifier is one of the best high-tech cleaning tools you can possibly own. A modern air purifier requires nothing but a fan and multiple filter stages, and it doesn’t release chemicals into the air. When you turn the air purifier on, the built-in fan forces air to circulate through the filters, trapping airborne contaminants and allergens and releasing clean air back into the environment. As we mentioned above, an air purifier will often have an activated charcoal stage because carbon is so good at removing odors from the air. It’ll usually also have a coarse filter that removes airborne dust as well as a HEPA filter that removes tiny allergens like pet dander and pollen. Put those three filter stages together, and you’ve got a powerful chemical-free cleaning tool that reduces allergens and can keep any home smelling fresh.

Self-Cleaning Litter Box

If you have a cat, you’re well aware of the fact that the litter box is always the smelliest area in any cat owner’s home. If you have a large enough house, you can minimize the impact of the smell by putting the litter box in an out-of-the way corner of your basement – but that’s not an option for everyone. If you can’t hide your cat’s litter box, the next best option is to hide the stuff that makes the litter box smell bad – and these days, it’s possible to buy a litter box that actually does the work automatically. A self-cleaning litter box has a motion detector that allows it to detect when your furry friend has finished its business. When the cat steps out, the litter box automatically rakes the clumps into a charcoal-filtered box for later disposal.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.