Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, thinks millennials might not have learned everything they need to know about cleaning from their parents.
“I will never forget my son calling me from Georgetown University within his first week there and saying, ‘So, okay, how do you do laundry?’ ” Mangano says.
Mangano, who has gone on to invent many more household products now sold at HSN and other retailers, said her three kids did have chores growing up. But she admits that they, as well as lots of others in their generation, may not have watched closely as parents cleaned.
Mangano, who was the inspiration for the film “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, says making cleaning a priority is something 20-somethings are learning to embrace. She says most are eager to learn how to do cleaning tasks properly and efficiently. Often, “if they need to know something, they just look it up online.”
But even the most basic studio apartment needs a starting lineup of cleaning tools. So we asked Mangano for five items that are essential. She started, as you might expect, with her own self-wringing mop, of which she has sold millions since 1992.
Mangano says clean floors are the starting point of a tidy home. A mop can quickly clean up wet spills or dust dry floors and is perfect for wiping up dirt tracked in from outside. It doesn’t take up much space and will last for years vs. one-time-use cleaning products, she says. Mangano’s Miracle Mop ($19.95 on HSN; also at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Macy’s) is self-wringing and was designed so the head can be machine-washed. The mop has braided microfibers for texture and absorption, and it can be used wet or dry. The self-wringing technology means you don’t have to touch a dirty mop. Mangano says you can use hot water with lemon for mopping, if you don’t like to use chemicals.
You don’t need a large, expensive vacuum in a small place, Mangano says. But you do need a lightweight one with a cord. She says cordless models don’t have enough power. For a basic model, she suggests a stick vacuum. The Dirt Devil Vibe 3-in-1 Corded Bagless Stick Vacuum ($39.99 at target.com ) is great for a quick pickup and doesn’t take up a lot of room in a closet. This versatile design cleans both area rugs and hard floors and has a removable handheld vacuum. It is sold with a crevice tool and an easy-empty dirt cup.
A cluttered area is probably also a dirty area (after all, it’s hard to dust under piles of stuff). Mangano suggests getting special organizing items for your kitchen, bathroom, home office and bedroom that can help to keep everything neater and cleaner and also make it easier for you to find your things. One example is the Expandable Undersink Organizer ($39.99, containerstore.com). It can be adjusted to fit under the pipes in your kitchen sink or in a bathroom vanity.
A bucket is one of the most basic of household cleaning essentials. You need a bucket to use a mop properly, but you can also use your bucket to store cleaning supplies. So, Mangano says, a utilitarian item becomes a storage space saver and a way to transport your cleaning supplies around your apartment. The basic Rubbermaid 11-quart Neat-N-Tidy bucket would set you back less than $10 ($8.49, acehardware.com).
A microfiber cloth attracts dirt and can be used in hard-to-reach places, such as the top of the refrigerator and around the computer. Mangano says you can use a mitt to dust underneath furniture and to clean bathroom cabinet shelves that get gummy with residue from shampoo and other products. She likes using a mitt because it is washable instead of disposable. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Microfiber Mitt ($5.99, containerstore.com) has two sides: a nubby chenille side for dust and cobwebs and a smooth side for wiping and polishing. It’s perfect for cleaning without chemicals and safe for computer monitors and TVs.
More from Lifestyle:
Chat Thursday at 11 a.m. Inventor Joy Mangano joins staff writer Jura Koncius for our weekly online Q&A on decorating and household advice.