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Publication date: 02/03/2001

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Housewares Show’s products make life easier for people and pets

by Glenn Haege, America’s Master Handyman


Last week, I told you about new kitchen-oriented products at this year’s International Housewares Show held recently at McCormick Place in Chicago. This week, I’ll give highlights of the rest of the show, which showcases new products you’ll likely find in home and housewares departments later this year. Some products are already available online.

Even though there were a few hundred thousand human-related products at the show, look at what my publisher at Master Handyman Press picked as his top three picks: the Healthy Pet Drinking Water System, the Sage King Catty Corner litter box and the Dirt Devil Spot Scrubber.

Pet supplies
The Healthy Pet Drinking Water System, (626) 584-9362, is a brand-new product designed for your rugged outside dog. It comprises a 1-gallon water jug and a 30-gallon capacity Z-Filter mounted to a Health Shield antimicrobial water bowl. The Z-Filter provides your pooch with great tasting, chlorine-free water. It is priced at $19.95. The inventor said that it would save a lot of money for those who give their dogs bottled water.

The Sage King Catty Corner litter box system is an ingenious triangular litter box that makes clump removal effortless. The Catty Corner costs about $30. You can locate them on the web at .

Every dog or cat has an occasional accident. Dirt Devil developed the Spot Scrubber to handle life’s little problems. The hand-held scrubber has separate cleaning solution and dirty water tanks. It costs around $50.

For the home
Not to be outdone by the pet supply people, Elkay Water Products, (800) 432-3621, had a self-filtering water jug. Water is gravity fed through a PureSmart water filter into a porcelain water jug. The filter removes chlorine and improves the smell and taste of tap water. The unit is in the $60 range.

After all the ice we’ve had this winter, my top product pick is the Ice Breaker Mat from Scrubby Toes, (978) 372-2028. The ice breaker nonslip mat is glued or nailed onto outside steps. Just standing on the mat shatters ice into small, nonslippery pieces. Ice Breaker Mats cost about $8 and are available through catalogues such as Taylor Gifts, item No. 13827, (800) 829-1133; Improvements, item No. 199302, (800) 642-2112; and Practica, item No. G65428S, (800) 825-9817.

The Housewares Show always has some great organizers and space savers. Two of the best were the Walkway Saver Two-Place Bicycle Stand and the Smart Grip organizer.

The Walkway Saver by Jerry Kamysiak of Posen, Mich., (888) 881-1880, stores two bicycles in the place of one. It costs $40 and should be at bike stores by fall. Meanwhile, you could buy direct from Kamysiak.

Smart Grip Wall Organizer Rack by Idea Works, (800) 622-0089, holds everything with a handle, from tennis rackets to rakes. A unique spring system allows any size handle to slip in easily and be held instantly by sturdy nonslip rubber grips. The Smart Grip Wall Organizer Rack retails for $10. You can order online at .

If you are so desperate for storage you are willing to spend $1,000 to triple the storage space in a closet, the Hongsheng Rotating Clothes Stand imported by Advantage WMQ of Canada, (905) 826-0882, is just the ticket. Depending on closet size, each unit can store from 40 to 176 garments. (I hope my wife doesn’t read this.)

Cleaning products
If you are really serious about not letting anyone track dirt into the house or offices, ALMA’s CleanStep, (800) 444-ALMA, traps dirt like flypaper. CleanStep comprises 30 24-by-30-inch layers of adhesive-coated film that remove dirt from shoes, equipment and even pet paws. Dirt is stripped from anything passing over the surface. When a layer is completely used, peel away to a clean layer. CleanStep comes in white, marble, blue, gray and sandstone and costs about $40. You can get it direct from the manufacturer at .

Antimicrobial cloths and surfaces have been coming on strong. Foss Manufacturing, (800) 746-4019, has developed Fosshield Cleaning Wipes. The company calls it the next generation antimicrobial wipe because the feltlike cloth can be used with cold or hot water and cleaning chemicals without a drop in efficiency. The washable, reusable cloths are sold in three-packs priced from $4 to $6.

Scot Laboratories, (800) 486-7268, introduced five new products: Foame Soap, Foame, Zapit Microwave Cleaner, Furniture Treatment and Citrus Clean. Foame Soap is an antibacterial liquid soap that turns into foam when you press the pump. The theory being that kids will have so much fun changing liquid soap to foam they may actually get their hands clean. Foame is the same product in a more grown-up container.

Zapit microwave cleaner is designed to clean hard, baked-on spills from microwave ovens. Furniture Treatment (yawn) is another citrus-based furniture cleaner/conditioner. Citrus Clean is a very concentrated water-based citrus cleaner that removes tape, tar, gum, permanent marker and glue. All five products are priced in the $2.95 to $4.95 cleaning product niche.

EcoMax is a chemical-free cleanser/scouring powder that cleans stainless steel, fiberglass, Corian and Formica. All active ingredients are fruit and vegetable based. Priced at $2, you can look for it in earth-friendly markets.

Brushtech Inc., (800) 346-0818, introduced several new specialty brushes: a window and shower door track cleaner flexible enough to get the gunk from the corners; a long, slim drain cleaner brush to clean the hair and things out of drains before they clog; and a tea pot spout cleaning kit designed to clean any configuration of tea pot spout. Prices range from $4 to $7. They will be available at discount stores and supermarkets.

If you want to know if I left anything out of this product report, there were more than 400 items in the new product display at the show. In two articles, I only had room to write about 34 of them. Don’t worry, if something really important actually makes its way to the marketplace, I’ll write about it here or talk about it on my radio show. Stay tuned.

Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed. If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.

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