Odds are your mother and your mother's mother used these cleaners — and we're still stocking our cleaning cabinet with them today!
First developed in 1846 by two brothers-in-law living in Massachusetts, this "bicarbonate of soda" was first sold in paper bags packed by hand. (Did you know that it's actually mined from the ground? The largest natron deposit — the source of baking soda — in the U.S. is found in Wyoming.) Due to its growing popularity (and not just as a leavening agent for baking), Church & Dwight Company was consolidated and the baking soda was trademarked under the brand name "Arm & Hammer." Nowadays, of course, we use it for everything from deodorizing fridges to getting stains out of fabrics to cleaning teeth.
Made from the leftover feldspar from scouring soap production, this gentler cleaner was first introduced in New England in 1890. Bon Ami is still making powder cleanser with the cute chick on the label, along with a line of natural dish soaps, all-purpose cleaners, and liquid cleansers.
As home cookware gained in popularity, the need for tough cleaners rose as well. Enter Brillo, invented in the early 1900s and patented in 1913. These steel wool scouring pads (originally packaged with soap before it was incorporated into the product) promised to clean the most baked-on messes from pots and pans.
Now Brillo comes in a wide range of scents, as well as in singles, scouring balls, branded sponges, and more.
Scott Paper Towels
The Scott Paper Company first introduced their paper towels in 1907, as a more sanitary alternative to cloth towels in restrooms. These convenient cleaners caught on and, by 1931, the company was marketing them as kitchen cleanup tools too. (They're Good Housekeeping Seal holders to this day too, having first earned the distinction in 2001.)
Scott (now owned by Kimberly-Clark) launched its Naturals line in 2009; these environmentally responsible paper towels are made with the 60% recycled materials and also carry the Green Good Housekeeping Seal.
According to the Clorox Company, bleach wasn't a household essential when this liquid formula launch in 1913. By 1932, it was available nationwide, and this staple first earned the Good Housekeeping Seal in 1934. Recently, the formula's been concentrated to perform better in high efficiency washing machines.
Before Tide came along, households across America washed clothing with regular, old soap. Advertisements called this powder detergent the "washing miracle" when it launched in 1946.
Now with dozens of scents and innovative formulas, including Tide Pods, Tide Coldwater, and VIP winner Tide Total Care, this cleaner is still tops when it comes to busting tough stains.
Ajax Powdered Cleanser
The first Ajax cleanser was launched in 1947 by the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company (now known as Colgate-Palmolive).
This foaming polisher and cleanser was later joined by a whole line of all-purpose cleaners and dishwashing products.
Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner
Mr. Clean has been the face of cleaning for Procter & Gamble since 1957, and the iconic all-purpose cleaner hit the market shortly after. It may have changed packaging and scents over the years, but this tough formula is still a top performer.
The line has grown too, with the addition of ready-to-use sprays and the Magic Eraser collection.
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