Cleaning products are often so unattractive that they seem un-designed, as if the only thought given to their form involved slapping a new sticker onto the same old unconsidered plastic piece that's been in production since 1982. There are exceptions, however, and these high-quality tools stand out for being well thought out and beautiful to behold.
- Dustpan and Broom: Manufactured at a small factory in Gnosjo, Sweden, this metal dustpan is a gorgeous shade of fire engine red. The handheld broom that comes with it was handmade by the Iris Group, a Swedish organization that employs visually impaired people. The set is available at the Cooper Hewitt Gift Shop for $52.
- TubTrugs: Designed for gardeners, these plastic buckets are hard-working pieces that are also great for laundry, organizing, or recycling. They come various colors, sizes, and prices, and they're lightweight and flexible but remarkably strong.
- Modern Brooms: Designed by Stefano Giovannoni for Magis, the candy-colored bristles make these brooms unique. They're currently on sale at Nova 68 for $69.
- Vipp Pedal Bin: Vipp's pedal trash bins are handmade in Denmark. The company has a record of high-quality manufacturing that dates back to their founding in 1939. Prices are steep, but their products are built to last many, many years. You can find Vipp pedal bins at the Conran Shop for $250.
- Vipp Toilet Brush: We believe in spending a little more for something that will last, but $200 for a toilet brush seems pretty ridiculous. However, if we were ever to rethink the toilet brush as an investment piece, we'd probably put our money on Vipp's smart engineering and high-quality materials. DWR advertises this as "The last toilet brush you'll ever buy." For that price, it better be.
- Iris Hantverk Table Brush: Iris Hantverk is a Swedish company that crafts cleaning tools from natural materials like wood and horsehair. This table brush is a sort of mini broom and dustpan used for sweeping crumbs from a tabletop. It's currently on sale at Design Within Reach for $35.
- Muji Broom: Japanese retailer Muji is a really good resource for well-designed, affordable cleaning supplies. This is their hand broom ($6.95), but you can find equally attractive dustbins, mops, trash cans, and recycling bins in their online store.
- Muji Lint Roller: Our problem with lint rollers is the fact that thy get so sticky and disgusting when they're sitting in a drawer. This $7 roller from Muji solves the dilemma by providing a sleek plastic sheath to protect the roller while it's not being used.
- Caldrea Ostrich Brush: We've found Ostrich feather dusters to be the best at attracting, holding, and shaking out dirt. This one from Caldrea is a really beautiful design with white feathers and a pear wood handle, priced at $60.
- Top Waste Management System: Available from Vessel for $99 per bin, this system is color coded to simplify the sorting process for recyclables. Bins can be mounted to the wall or locked together in a line.
Add your favorite easy-on-the-eyes cleaning tools in the comments below.