Housework circa World War II was a full-time job. Each day of the week, with the exception of Sunday, was spent focusing on a specific task, be it laundry, polishing silver, ironing or scrubbing floors.

These days, thanks to modern technology, an average-size home can be thoroughly cleaned in the span of a day.

New innovations in cleaning appliances and products focus on the fact that few people have the time to spend cleaning for hours. One such innovation gaining popularity is the Roomba, a robotic vacuum created by iRobot of Boston, Mass.

Roomba is sold in a number of outlets, but made its debut with Sharper Image.

“I learned [about the vacuum] while standing around Sharper Image, the cool gadget store, watching agog as the adorable and endearing robot vacuum Roomba bopped about the store’s floor like a mini-flying saucer a few inches off the ground,” said Margery Eagan in an interview with the Boston Herald. “It moved all by itself in bigger and bigger concentric circles until it’d sucked up every bit of lint, dust and wrapper in the joint.”

On the owner comments portion of the iRobot’s Web site, Roomba owners sing the bot’s praises:

“I bought my Roomba Red in October 2004 when I stumbled across it “recreational shopping,” wrote Christine of Louisiana. “Friends, neighbors and visiting relatives laughed, rolled their eyes, and soon bought their own. This unit is fantastic. It is excellent on pet hair, [and] great for picking up all the miscellaneous droppings the kiddies drop off their sneaks running in and out.”

For those who don’t trust robotics to get things clean , a number of new cleaning products are available, including disposable toilet brushes, “Magic Erasers,” lightweight and flexible static mops and dusters, and prepackaged, pretreated wipes for every room in the house. It’s enough to make even the biggest slob a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning.

“Clutter is fine with me if it’s not in the kitchen or where I’m eating,” said Joyce Rose, administrator for Talking Leaves Job Corps. “I’m really crazy about cleaning [but] am not a clean freak at all.”

Rose was more stringent about tidiness in her “younger days,” but realized after two bouts with cancer there were more important things in life.

“If you’re sick and you lay there and can’t clean, you just think and life is too short to spend all your time cleaning,” said Rose. “There are some good new products out there. Febreeze [air purifiers and fabric refreshers] is great and doesn’t cover up odors and some sprays do. It makes the room smell fresh.”

Mr. Clean introduced it’s Magic Eraser a little over a year ago, to rave reviews. According to a study, albeit unscientific, conducted on Yahoo Ask, an overwhelming number of respondents listed it as their favorite cleaning product. Magic Eraser is a soft cleaning pad that acts just like an eraser. Its innovative cleaning material cleans tough dirt, lifting it away from surfaces all over the home.

Tahlequah resident Shelly Bailey made the mistake of initiating her Magic Eraser on a particularly bad spot on a high-traffic floor.

“This thing cleaned so good on the one spot, it made the rest of the floor look awful,” said Bailey. “I spent the rest of the evening finishing what I had started. It [Magic Eraser] is the bomb.”

Rose’s granddaughter enjoys the Magic Eraser, as well.

“The Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are great!” said Rose “They really do clean. Betty, my granddaughter, loves to clean with them. Maybe it’s the novelty of the eraser. It cleans marks off the walls or floors, and is really good to clean around light switches and door knobs. They are also good to use on the outside of the refrigerator and inside, too.”

For those who hate to clean the toilet, (and who doesn’t) many companies have developed brushes with disposable heads. Rose recommends the disposable toilet brush, but said she has to make sure to really clean the top edge of the rim.

Cleanliness is not gender-specific, and men are just as likely to use the new products as women.

Gregg Simmons, reporter for the Cherokee Phoenix, employs a number of the new items when cleaning house.

“I use the Clorox wipes, Pledge wipes and Wet and Dry Swiffers,” said Simmons.

Simmons said the extra money spent is well worth it.

“I’m not sure how I ever made it without Clorox wipes,” said Simmons. “It makes it so easy to clean in the kitchen and bathroom. I keep buying the Swiffer products because it is easier than getting a mop and bucket, but it’s definitely not like you see on TV. I’m sweating by the time I get done, but I didn’t have to lug the mop bucket around, so I guess it’s worth it.”

If Simmons could have a new cleaning gadget invented, he would use a cartoon prototype.

“I just want that robot [Rosie] from the Jetsons that does everything for you!” said Simmons.

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