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New cleaning products mix style and substance

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Two former surfing executives pumped up the style quotient in dustpans and hoses and formed Alice Supply Co. They have revamped the basics into fashion accessories with nautical-stripe dust brushes and camouflage toolboxes. The 10-quart striped metal bucket is almost too nice to use for mopping floors. $36 at http://www.alicesupplyco.com.

Caldrea's aromatherapy products, made of plant-derived ingredients, are known for their clean, fresh scent. Blends are inspired by fragrance trends in Paris. (That may be why they have such celebrity fans as Julia Roberts and Courteney Cox.) Latest scents: Sea Salt Neroli, which evokes seaside mornings with the scent of bitter orange with a tang of salt; and Sandalwood Riceflower, citrus with a splash of sandalwood. Dish soap liquid, countertop cleanser, all-purpose cleaner and window spray are $9 to $16 at Sur la Table, The Great Indoors and http://www.caldrea.com.

The turquoise Miele Neptune vacuum is a trophy home accessory as well as a powerful domestic appliance. But looks aren't all it's got. The sexy new canister model, with its 1,200-watt suction, has fresh features such as the Parquet Twister attachment for wood or tile floors and a filtering disposable dust bag. $499 at Brothers Sew & Vac, 3317 Connecticut Ave. NW, and http://www.miele.com.

Japanese design often blends fun with function, as seen in the Mondo line of cleaning tools. The well-designed brushes, sweepers , dusters, sponges and lint rollers (for pet hair on upholstery) are available in orange/pink, lime/white and blue/purple. $4.99 to $18.99 at Home Rule, 1807 14th St. NW, and http://www.homerule.com.

The latest from Vermont-based Seventh Generation Co., producers of environmentally responsible cleaning products for two decades, is the use of new botanicals to disinfect and clean. The thyme-based line has all the cleaning essentials: disinfectant wipes, multi-surface spray and bathroom cleaner. Seventh Generation has expanded from small natural food stores into mainstream grocery and drug stores with the increased demand for green products. Its products are also used by the dishy women on "Desperate Housewives." $2.99 to $6.69 at Whole Foods Market, Target and http://www.seventhgeneration.com.

Martha Stewart wanted her first cleaning products to be free of fragrance or color, as well as 99 percent plant- and mineral-based. Martha Stewart Clean includes wood floor cleaner, laundry detergent and carpet stain remover. (Remember, Stewart owns lots of cats and dogs.) Stewart told us her favorite is the glass-and-mirror cleaner because it is pleasantly ammonia-free. She also said she is developing a sisal rug stain remover and an environmentally safe oven cleaner. "We want to continually add new and different products," Stewart said. $3.99 to $17.99 at Home Depot and http://www.marthastewartclean.com.

For those who dread the messy job of measuring liquid or powder laundry detergent, the efficient pump on the new Method Laundry Detergent will be a nice surprise. Four quick squirts of the super-green formula washes one load, and it's concentrated, so that means a small bottle to tote. Great for laundromat users and dorm dwellers. A 25-load bottle is $8 at Target, Lowe's and http://www.methodlaundry.com.

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