Our experts shared two, and they will definitely surprise you.

By Lauren Wellbank
February 10, 2021
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If you're curious about how natural cleaning products work or why baking soda is such a powerful ingredient, you've come to the right place. We'll explain the science behind some of the most popular cleaning methods and tools, so you can you clean smarter—not harder. Follow along with Clean Science to see which technique we break down next.

assortment of cleaning products on marble kitchen counter
Credit: Andrey Popov / Getty Images

Dirt hasn't really changed much over the years, but our approach to how we clean it certainly has. Long gone are the days of using harsh chemicals and abrasive pads to scour everything from kitchen counters to toilet bowls. Now, we rely more on eco-friendly cleaning agents that are safe for both the surfaces they touch and the air we breathe. But when it comes to the most advanced cleaning solutions on the current market, our experts say that these "new" formulas aren't necessarily the ones they consider to be cutting-edge. In fact, products with longevity—the ones that have been consistently advanced by modern science—are the true winners.

A New Dawn

Dawn's original dish soap formula ($8.94, walmart.com) is a popular secret weapon for many professional cleaners who use it for messes well beyond the kitchen sink. "I can clean the entire house with a rag and some Dawn dish soap," says Elena Ledoux, the CEO of Superb Maids. "It's so amazing for cutting through oils [and] grime, that they use it for cleaning up industrial oil spills!" The original formula's popularity has a lot to do with its surfactants, says Morgan Brashear, a senior scientist with P&G Home Care—but the liquid has also been improved over time to meet the demands of today's homeowners. "It's no surprise that Americans are changing the way they do dishes," Brashear says. "Instead of letting them pile up for one big, post-meal wash, people are adopting a 'clean as you go' habit." This required an updated formula, she adds, now that people have stopped soaking their dishes while they eat. Enter Dawn's new Powerwash Dish Spray ($6.09, target.com), which cuts through grease five times faster than the original—and is dispensed using a foam sprayer that creates suds inside of a spray chamber. This gets your dishes cleaner without that sudsy soak—which means you spend less time at the sink. Genius.

Robot Technology

Another cleaning-centric category that has advanced by leaps and bounds? Vacuums—many iterations of which are robotic these days. Allow us to introduce you to the latest and (arguably) greatest: The LG CordZero ThinQ Robotic Vacuum ($999.99, bestbuy.com), which uses 3D dual-eye technology and laser sensors to get your floors clean while you do, well, just about anything else. Unlike many other robotic options, which are generally used as "maintenance" cleaners between traditional vacuum sessions, the ThinQ is powerful enough to replace your upright model—and it even gets smarter over time. "It can remember and learn details of your home, helping it clean faster and more effectively," notes Dan Hayes, the Product Manager of Emerging Products at LG Electronics USA. "With the ThinQ app, users can schedule their vacuum to clean specific rooms or start it remotely from anywhere—it will even send the user live images from home."

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