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3 November 2023

These 5 cleaning products are a waste of money

Spending precious time cleaning is bad enough without having to do the task over again because of lousy products. Get it done easily the first time by steering clear of these products.

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1. Laundry sheets

It used to be a case of choosing powder or liquid, then capsules hit the cleaning aisle shelves and now we also have laundry sheets. But we think you’re better off saying no to this trend. We included laundry sheets from Tru Earth, re.stor, Resolv and Eco Living in our recent laundry detergents test and weren’t impressed by any of them. Some of them are also very expensive.

2. Cheap stick vacuums

Sometimes we find cheap products that are just as good as expensive ones, but unfortunately that’s not the case with stick vacs. The cheapies from Kmart are all under $200 but get some of the lowest scores in our stick vacuum test results.

Erin Bennett, who oversees our stick vacuums test, says the cheaper ones often struggle in our carpet cleaning test. “The brands that sell vacuums around that price point also tend to get lower satisfaction scores in our surveys. The owners of cheap stick vacs are less satisfied than those who own more expensive stick vacs.”

3. Carpet stain removers that couldn’t beat our home recipe

While they aren’t terrible, four carpet stain removers from brands you’d recognise didn’t do a better job than our homemade mix of dishwashing liquid, white vinegar and water. Considering they all cost more than $10, we think you’d be better off giving our concoction a go first or going straight to one of the top performers in our carpet stain remover test.

4. This Sauber carpet washer

If you like the idea of giving your carpet a good wash from time to time you might be tempted to buy your own carpet washer. We’ve tested a bunch and compared them to hiring a Rug Doctor. Four impressed enough to get our Consumer Recommended tick, but the Sauber Pro Carpet Shampooer earned our Don’t Buy label. It was terrible at carpet cleaning and stain removal and left the carpet damp.

5. Top loader washing machines

Don’t even get our laundry expert Bryan Wall started on top loaders – he has some very strong feelings on them. When he gets really rarked up he says things like they should be banned. Now, we know this is going to be controversial with those of you who love a top loader, but Bryan spends a lot of time thinking about washing machine performance and here’s his reasoning.

“Top loaders don’t perform as well as front loaders for dirt removal. Ok, they are quicker, but they use masses of water – some machines can use over 100 litres per wash. That’s a bathtub full. We even found in our testing one top loader used over 240 litres of water running a delicates wash. They aren’t as gentle on your clothes either. If you want efficiency, gentleness and good dirt removal, you need a front loader.”

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