The $13 Tool That Solved My Most Annoying Cleaning Problem


One of the worst things about being an adult is having very specific problems you have to solve yourself. One of these dilemmas I faced last year was how to clean my bathtub. I had just moved into a new apartment that was wonderful and amazing except for one thing: The bathtub was built into the wall and had a tall-ish boundary you needed to climb over to get into it. It had sliding doors on the top half, too. It was fine, if not great for showering, but wasn’t so good for cleaning (or shaving your legs) since there was no ledge to perch on and the boundary was too high to bend over and attack from the top. Therefore cleaning it was an immersive, full-body experience. I would have to sit in the tub (on a cloth), and clean one side of the tub and then scoot over to the other side. It was wildly inefficient and I thought there had to be a better way… so I decided to ask literally everyone.

I quickly found out that worse than having a very specific problem is not having an elegant way to describe it when asking for solutions. Trying to spare my friends, family and colleagues the rigamarole of my situation, I just asked them, generically, “How do I clean my bathtub?” They would answer, generically, with things like “bleach,” “rags” or “I don’t know, ask Mom.” Deciding I had to be a little more specific, I then started asking “How do I clean my tub without having to get in my tub?” to almost anyone who would listen. I couldn’t think of a better or more elegant way to say it. I don’t know if they just had very easy-to-clean bathtubs or if they just stopped listening, but they didn’t have any solutions for me. Even my cleaning wizard coworkers didn’t fully understand my plight. I felt doomed to a lifetime of drudgery just because I wanted the occasional luxury of taking a bath. Serves me right!

But eventually, I stumbled upon a spectacularly clever product while browsing Amazon that seemed that it would solve all my problems: OXO’s extendable tub and tile scrubber. It had a long handle that telescoped to 42 inches, meaning that it would not only help me clean my tub, but also would help me clean my tiled walls—all from outside of the tub. It was also only $13, which was a price I was willing to fork over to Jeff Bezos. I quickly ordered and cancelled my plans two days later so I could test it out the moment it arrived and see if it was all that I had wanted it to be the.

It was! Not only did could I stay out of my tub with the doodad, I didn’t even have to kneel down. I could comfortably stand and use its scrubber head to deep clean my tub. My 20-minute weekly routine was cut down to a mere 10 minutes—and the tub never looked better. I texted all my friends and family raving about it, and the majority of them responded, “Cool!”

The moral of this story is that sometimes you just have to wait until you find the solution to your problems. There is no way to Google it or ask for it—you just have to be in the right place and time and it will come your way. However, this is not true for people who need to know how to clean their tubs without having to get in it. Now I have written this and it’s Google-able, I have saved tens of people from the wild goose chase. Good deed of the day, complete!

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