SimpleLifeCorp.com - Simple Living Products
Do these products really simplify your life? Our staff does our own informal, and not exactly scientific research. We just do a real-life use of the product and give your our product review. Our results:
Sink Wizard by Tee Vee Brands
DESCRIPTION: Tiny "bottle" brush on a long flexible wire that is worked down into the bathtub drain and/or the bathroom sink drain. Designed to clear the clog or slow draining sink or bath tub without needing to remove the drain stopper.
CLAIM: "The easiest way to clear clogged and slow drains. Great for sink, tubs, showers and more!" Claims to clear clogged bathroom sink drains and bathtub drains without removing the drain stopper.
DOES IT WORK?: Emphatic yes on this one. I had a slow draining clogged bath tub drain and a slow-draining clogged bathroom sink drain. I had worked off and on for a week, using a plunger and using vinegar and baking soda, trying to get the bathroom sink and the bath tub to drain faster. The bathtub was a big challenge because I could not figure out how to remove the drain stopper. I thought I was going to have to call a plumber. Then, when I was shopping at Menard's last night, I saw the Sink Wizard on sale for $3.00. At that price, it was worth a try. The package came with two Sink Wizards, so we used one on the sink and the other on the tub.
It worked like magic. I opened the package, tossed aside the unread, folded-up page of instructions and snaked the thing down the bathroom sink drain. When I pulled it up, it had a big clump of gross black stuff. A couple more snaking down and twisting the Sink Wizard and the clogged bathroom sink drain was now a fast draining, clean pipe.
The bathtub was a little harder, for unexpected reasons. Snaking the Sink Wizard down and bringing it up pulled up huge, super gross, hairy, black, foul-smelling clogs. Yuckkky!! It only took two or three easy passes (assuming you could hold your breath long enough) and the bathtub drain was draining with a happy, clear whirlpool.
It took longer to rinse out the brushes and clean out the splattered sides of the bath tub and the bathroom sink than it did to clear the drains. Needless to say, I put both those Sink Wizard brushes in a spot where I can easily find them again. I'm a happy customer.
COST: $3.00 for a package of two Sink Wizards. (They were from Menard's and I think they were on sale.)
SUPER SLIDES by Waxman
DESCRIPTION: Flat discs with one smooth side and one cushioned side. These discs are placed under the corners or legs of heavy furniture and then the furniture can slide easily from one location to another. When finished, the disc is removed and can be reused.
CLAIM: "Effortlessly slides heavy furniture!" The package indicates they work on linoleum, carpet, cement, and ceramic tile. Waxman claims the discs can move tables, sofas, beds, dressers, desks, bookcases, and other heavy furniture. The package shows a picture of a smiling woman moving a couch , a bed, a dresser, and a bookcase.
DOES IT WORK? Actually, yes. I recently moved and shifting furniture around became a daily activity. (Groan!) The package I purchased was a bonus pack which included four 7" sliders and four bonus 3-1/2" sliders.
Contrary to the pictures on the package, though, the furniture moving was not a one person job. It was an easy two-person job, though. My teenage son was a great help. The hardest part with the sliders is to get them under the furniture. It is easiest if one person tilts the furniture a bit while the other one puts the slider under the leg or corner. With my son, it was a simple effort (ok, yes, he did the tilting while I put the sliders under) to get the sliders under the furniture. Without the sliders, I was unable to even budge the furniture. With the sliders, we easily and quickly moved a full four drawer filing cabinet, bookcases, two large oak desks, a full and very, very heavy roll-top desk, and more. At some points it seemed remarkably easy, as though the furniture weighed only a few pounds.
It was possible to move some of the small pieces of furniture by myself. It was probably possible to maneuver, with a lot of effort, all of the furniture by myself. However, the large, heavy pieces needed both a little extra momentum to move plus were unwieldy to guide without a person on each side.
Do plan ahead on getting the sliders out if you are moving the furniture into a corner. You may decide to leave the back sliders in place to make moving the piece easy in the future, but let that be a conscious decision. When we moved the roll-top desk into its alcove, we quickly realized that the back sliders were staying put because we couldn't get to them. Since we (luckily) didn't need them for moving other furniture, we just shrugged and figured it was a good thing to have them there for future use.
In conclusion, these sliders get an enthusiastic thumbs up. They worked, were reuseable, and were much, much less expensive than hiring two large men to come and move the furniture around.
Cost: About $9.99 for a total of eight sliders.
DESCRIPTION: Battery powered automatic or remote control vaccuum cleaners. These units are small, approximately the size of a large dinner plate and about 3 " high.
CLAIM: These small vacuum cleaners claim to vacuum your floors and carpets unattended. Remote controls can be added. Devices can be added to prevent the robovacs from crossing a doorway or descending stairs. The robovacs have sensors that help them to navigate around furniture and other obstacles.
DOES IT WORK? Apparently not as well as claimed. Simple Life Corp did not test this product... this review is summarized from an AP newspaper article written by Mark Jewell. According to Jewell, who tested the iRobot Discovery robovac and Sharper Image's eVac, the Discovery had some trouble navigating the rooms without getting stuck somewhere. The eVac navigated his room fairly well. Both transitioned well from hard floors to carpets. Both operate best on open, uncluttered floors.
One problem was that the units both have fairly small dust bins.
The biggest problem with these units was the power of the vacuum. According to Jewell, after both vacuums were used he was "still finding crumbs, bits of thread and uncooked pasta particles on the carpet and in the corners." He summarized his findings with "both vacuums will likely perform well if your home is soiled only by light dirt and other fine particles - a realization you will reach after the robots go over the same sizeable cookie crumb a few times without sucking it up, or snatch it briefly and spit it out a few feet away."
He did admit that the units, with their lights, chirps, and robotic movements, are amusing, even fun, to watch.
He concluded with a confession that he had to use his regular vacuum sweeper to pick up all the specks and particles that the robovacs missed.
Since I had been considering a purchase of a robovac, I read Jewell's article with a keen interest. After reading the article, however, I have would agree with Jewell -- these units are more for the techno geek or for amusement than for the gritty cleaning of your floors.
(AP article, Robovacs amusing, but no so thorough, by Mark Jewell, appeared in The Truth (Elkhart, Indiana) on Sunday August 22, 2004.
Cost: About $250 for the Discovery and $300 for the eVac
DESCRIPTION: Liquid fabric softener. Add to the rinse cycle when washing clothes.
CLAIM: (quoted from container) "Reduces wrinkles which means less ironing! . . . penetrates deep into the fabric, gently smoothing and untangling the fibres. Helps keep clothes looking like new. Helps towels stay absorbent. Clean, refreshing scent."
DOES IT WORK? We say, NO. Sorry Downy, you let us down! My normal fabric softener is regular Downy, so I had confidence in this new product. I hate ironing and also hate even mildly wrinkled clothes, so I was really excited to try this stuff. First, we sent for free samples. We received two generous samples. We first did a load of blue jeans and darks. There was no noticeable difference in the feel of the clothing or in the amount of wrinkles. Then we did a load of white (t-shirts, undergarments, etc). Again, we couldn't even tell that we had used a new product! Now I was determined to make this stuff work. I purchased a 40 oz container (enough for 40 loads) of the stuff. 20 loads later, washing office blouses and skirts, school clothes, towels, jeans, khakis, exercise clothing. . . and more. No noticeable difference. The clothes were not less wrinkled. (Regular Downy does a great job with this) The towels were not noticeably softer or more absorbent. The only benefit I noticed was that the "Calming Mist" scent of our Downy was very nice. I really liked the scent, but not enough to spend twice as much on Premium Care! The claim that we were not able to test - whether this product helps your clothes last longer. Sorry, I've lost faith.
Cost: About $5.75 for the 40 fl oz container. Does 40 loads.
DESCRIPTION: A kit, including 1 reusable dryer-safe bag and 3 dry cleaning sheets. Kit is designed to clean and freshen up to 12 garments that are labeled "dry clean only." Use by putting one dry cleaning sheet and up to four garments in the large bag and tumbling on low heat in your dryer for 10 minutes. Also does spot cleaning on dry clean only garments.
CLAIM: (quoted from box) "If you hate taking clothes to the dry cleaners for just a couple of spots or freshening up you're going to love Custom Cleaner!"
"Custom Cleaner is patented and specially formulated: to remove everyday spots such as beef gravy, tomato sauce, lipstick; for all colorfast drycleanable fabrics like wools, silks, linens, rayons, etc. DO NOT use on acetates or acetate blends; to revitalize blazers, slacks, suits, ties, scarves, blouses, dresses, sweaters, coats . . . even sequined & embroidered garments!"
DOES IT WORK? We say, YES. We cleaned four garments that had been worn several times, but had only one light stain. They mostly were just misshapen and did not smell fresh anymore. The garments, were a 100% wool blazer, a fully lined wool blend skirt, and two polyester/rayon blend dresses. All were marked dry clean only.
We followed instructions, finding the huge bag a bit awkward to seal. In fact, we must not have sealed it correctly with the Velcro closing: it came open in the dryer and two garments eventually came out. The dry cleaning solution sheet was thick and soggy when first placed in the bag.
After 10 minutes tumbling on low, we removed the garments. We followed instructions by shaking and immediately hanging the garments.
The skirt was perfect, smooth and smelled fresh.
One of the dresses was also perfect and ready for immediate wear.
The second dress was mildly wrinkled when removed from the dryer. It appeared clean and fresh. After 30 minutes hanging, most of the wrinkles were gone, but I still felt it needed touch up ironing to be equivalent to "just from the dry cleaners."
The wool blazer needed a bit more work. After removing from the dryer, the blazer was overall very clean and smooth, but I now noticed a small spot on the lapel. I used the still damp dry cleaning sheet and easily removed it. I also noticed a very small amount of fine lint. In retrospect, I realized that the blazer, a pretty and vivid blue color, had a lot of lint before I started the cleaning. I would have had much better results if I had quickly used a lint brush on the blazer before the cleaning process. A touch up with a lint brush after the cleaning made the blazer very acceptably clean and fresh.
We were relieved to note that the product caused no noticeable harm at all to our dryer or clothing.
Do we still like the product? YES! It should be considered a supplement to dry cleaning instead of a substitute. It lightly cleans and freshens. The clothes come out basically wrinkle-free, although not as crisp as when ironed (or dry cleaned). The process was very easy and took just a few moments of time. (Touch up ironing not included.) We saw absolutely no damage on our clothing or dryer from this product. It saved us a trip to and from the dry cleaners and well as some hard earned dollars. The clothes also had a fresh, mildly perfumy scent, rather than the biting chemical smell that dry cleaned clothes have. And last, but not least, the environment got a break from the pollution caused by harsh dry cleaning chemicals.
Cost: About $11.50 for the kit (we ordered from Home Trends Catalog), or a cost of $3.83 for this load. Our drycleaner would have charged about $21.00 to clean this same lot of clothing.
Description: This is a battery or electricity operated litter box. A few moments after your cat deposits a "treasure" in the box, an automatic arm will sift through the litter and deposit the clumps into a container at the end of the box. When finished, the lid on the "treasure" box closes. The litter is clean and ready for the next occurrence and the clumps are sealed in a box. Simply lift out the box, dispose of the box and its contents, and replace with a new plastic box. Manufacturer even claims that you can leave for the weekend and come home to a delightfully clean litter box.
Claim: Forget about the pooper-scoopers. This product claims to eliminate the daily (or several times daily) chore of cleaning your cat's litter box.
Also claims to eliminate or reduce the (sometimes powerful) smell emulating from the litter box. And finally, it claims to greatly reduce your use of cat litter.
Does it work? We say, MAYBE. We found the box a little tricky. First of all, the batteries didn't seem to have the strength after a few days to lift the heavy clumps created by our 21 lb. cat. So we had to convert to the electric adapter.
Then, we found that the type of litter is critical. It MUST be clumping litter, it must clump fast, and it must make hard, kind of large clumps. Also, the fill line is critical. Put in litter even 1/4" over the fill line and the arm jams up from the weight. Second, while it does reduce the cat smell, the box does not seal well enough to eliminate it.
Third, we do notice a bit of a reduction in our use of cat litter. However, the box claims that you never have to completely empty the litter and replace with fresh and we disagree. You don't have to do this as often (we used to do it weekly), but the litter does get icky and smelly and needs to be changed, about 1-2 times a month. And finally, we have the issue of the plastic boxes. They are expensive if you plan to just throw them out daily! ( About $1.00 apiece.) These are special semi-sturdy boxes and we found that we can just scoop out the clumps from the box, spray the plastic box with a bit of Lysol (or sprinkle in baking soda) and reuse the same box until it gets too disgusting and needs replacing. We average 1-2 months per liner.
Do we still like the product? Yes! It is a big improvement over the old cat box. We only have to scoop once a day (we were doing it 2-3 times daily due to having two cats). The smell is reduced. We spend less time replacing the litter box. The litter box is designed very well for manual scooping (yes, this is necessary sometimes). But don't expect miracles. And despite the product claim, I'd not leave for several days and expect to come back to a pristine litter box.
Cost: About $99.00 for the litter box (we ordered from Heartland USA) Liners are about $1.00 apiece.
Claim: Product claims to eliminate the frequent scrubbing of the shower walls and glass and to keep the shower area clean and free of grime and residues. Spray a light mist on the walls, glass, and fixtures after the last shower of the day, then walk away. Product will do all the work, then disappear.
Does it work? We say, YES! Our shower area is much cleaner now, on a daily basis! The product even gradually eliminated a filmy residuey area on the tub that we had previously been unable to completely clean -- it had been there for a few years and had survived my scrubbings and a series of cleaning lady scrubbings. We still need to do a thorough cleaning a couple of times a month, mostly in corners and under the shampoo bottles, but this cleaning is now more of a sponging than a scrub-brush-and-sweat kind of cleaning. We give this product a thumbs up!
Cost: About $3.00 a bottle - the bottle lasts about a month
Do you have a product that simplifies your life (or doesn't and claimed to!)? We'd like your input.
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