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French Cleaning Supplies

There are lots of good things about America: chocolate chip cookies, allowing you to turn right on a red light, and our national treasure: actor, Luke Wilson. But one area where France appears to be beating us is how they approach cleaning supplies. I took these pictures at a local department store, BHV. It is aisles and aisles of the prettiest cleaning supplies you’ve ever seen. It’s like the Martha Stewart stylists set up these displays. Beautiful wooden handles with natural bristles, feather dusters with graceful handles, brooms that look so quintessentially “broom-ish.” Who knows why the French need so many bottle brushes, but here I am wanting to buy five of them, just because they are beautiful. These products actually make me want to clean. (Also those feather dusters make me want to get a French Maid costume!)

What motivates you to clean (other than notices from the health department?) Pretty products? Nice smells? Pretty wooden brooms? Also, can you answer the question: why do French people need so many bottle brushes?

  1. Anne

    March 21, 2011

    Have you noticed the French obsession with bleach (javel)? It's in everything. Also it's virtually impossible to find ammonia. What's up with that?

  2. Lindsey (urbanmums)

    March 21, 2011

    I admit nice cleaning supplies aid in my motivation to clean. I love the grapefruit method spray – so good.

    I also clean when i'm on the phone with family overseas – it takes my mind off the mundane act of cleaning when i'm having a good catch up.

  3. mnemonique

    March 21, 2011

    oh, the packages are so beautiful. Unfortunately they are not available in Poland 🙁 I'd definitely buy them 😀
    Spring hugs to you!

  4. STE

    March 21, 2011

    Bottle brushes are perfect for cleaning all those delicate wine glasses, bien sur! I, too, love to clean! Before I had my son two years ago, I dumped all the harsh chemicals in favor of yummier smelling, environmentally friendly cleaning products. And now, I even use a mix of white vinegar and water to clean almost anything.

  5. Theresa (Miss Charlotte)

    March 21, 2011

    I can't stop pining over the supplies…you realize I have to share. Is it possible for one to think of cleaning supplies as elegant? Only the French can make cleaning a toilet chic…

  6. Baboon

    March 21, 2011

    Honestly, nothing motivates me to clean other than knowing that a guest is coming….! But nice clieaning supplies a pretty packaging help. The French need a lot of bottle brushes to clean all of those delicate and much used wine glasses!

  7. Deanna (Silly Goose Farm)

    March 21, 2011

    I agree with STE – it's all the wine. Gotta prevent those stains on glass somehow!

    I make most of my own cleaning products. I own a farm and we have well water and our grey water is also released onto the property. Knowing that my main water supply comes right from under my feet makes me 10x more cautious about what I put in the system.

    Also, I try to keep on top of cleaning (usually) and give the house a good scrub-down before I go to bed each night. Waking up to a clean, peaceful house is the best motivation for me! When all else fails, I hire a cleaning lady to come in for two hours and tackle the mess 🙂

  8. Jill V.

    March 21, 2011

    Why does everything in France seem so much cooler? Yet another reason to get on a plane and just go there!

    Thanks for sharing all your French finds with us!

  9. Fairycakemother

    March 21, 2011

    Details about the bottle brushes please! Chunky bottles need a different brush to a delicate bottle. I'd have 3-4 brushes if I could find them!

  10. Giulia

    March 21, 2011

    I do like the smell of method cleaners, and I like that I'm not harming the planet, however I still dislike cleaning 🙂
    I would say the bottle brushes are for the wine glasses and the decanters.

  11. Ashley

    March 21, 2011

    To answer your last question first: wine!

    But, really, I am motivated internally to clean regardless of the look of the bottle. I can admit, though, to an unhealthy obsession with Mrs. Meyers!

  12. Desi McKinnon

    March 21, 2011

    i'm obsessed. i feel like i can smell the wooden handles and the natural pine.

  13. Rose

    March 21, 2011

    Those brushes are making me swoon! I have been searching for a non-tacky, non-plastic little brush-broom and a full sized broom for ages and haven't found anything I like. Know of any websites that sell such pretty wares online?

  14. Quezal

    March 21, 2011

    I adore Method products; good for the earth, witty humor on the back labels, the pretty packaging, the lovely smells *swoon*

    It used to be that only Target sold them where I live, which meant driving an hour, but now Lowe's sells them and I can get them in a 20 minute drive, score!!

  15. r8chel

    March 21, 2011

    I like products that smell good and not like chemicals. And I like packaging that is aesthetically pleasing. But most importantly, I like products that WORK!

  16. Katie

    March 21, 2011

    Because of you I bought a handmade beautiful simple broom from a guy in Kentucky who makes them the way his great grandfather taught him.

    It is perfect and I love sweeping the floor now.

  17. Michelle

    March 21, 2011

    it's cleaning day at my house and now i can't wait!
    my motivation is that then my house is clean.

    i know.
    not terribly creative but it's just the best feeling in the world.

  18. melissa

    March 21, 2011

    Sunshine motivates me to clean. Also a general feeling of stress brings out the need to clean, organize, tidy something.

    I love those little brooms.

    My favorite cleaning item right now that makes me want to wipe down every surface is Seventh Generation's all-purpose disinfectant. It uses thymol as the disinfecting agent and it makes everything smell as if I've rubbed it down with fresh thyme. Glorious.

  19. LydiaB

    March 21, 2011

    I must say that I LOVE lOVE LOVE the Meathod Almond Floor cleaner! It smells SO good and even if I just do a quick wipe instead of a real clean, it makes my floors look SO much better!

  20. Scott and Lindsey

    March 21, 2011

    Oh pretty. I hate cleaning, but love a clean house. Some pretty supplies would definitely help.

  21. Tuesday

    March 21, 2011

    Im a cleaning product fanatic, especially the ones that are kind to our planet. Love the photos

  22. Rachel

    March 21, 2011

    I just bought Method hard floor cleaner, and it totally rocks! It smells like lemon and ginger, cleaned exceptionally well, and didn't leave any residue on my laminate floor. This is the first Method product I've purchased, and I absolutely will be buying more.

  23. Sarah

    March 21, 2011

    Oh my gosh, I'm right there with you about having a love for cleaning supplies. I LOVE these pictures you posted. I can't remember if I've shared this on this blog or not, but when I visited the UK I visited this store called Labour and Wait. It had similar cleaning supplies as well as other house hold items that I think are right up your alley =)

    – Sarah

  24. The Maltese Kat

    March 21, 2011

    I love cleaning products but don't like cleaning. I was in Greece a couple years back and while staying at my friend's sister's house I realized she cleaned her floors each morning. It smelled so nice. Oh, how I wish I could be motivated enough to do that. I even purchased floor cleaner than smelled like hers when I got back to the states thinking that would do the trick…not so much. I love the rolls of sponge cloth you can get in Europe – we eliminated paper towels in our house after stocking up on them last time overseas.
    I love a clean house, just don't love cleaning. I would like to change that and find pleasure in it though because I WANT to like it. I do, I do, I do!
    *{Maltese Kat}*| Le Blog

  25. Alison @ Thistle and Plum

    March 21, 2011

    I use bottle brushes to clean my flower vases. I had a horrible time even finding a bottle brush here in the U.S. I'm thrilled to learn that the French appreciate their use. If you need to clean the bottom of of a tall thin glass container, there is no other way!
    I also love the Method cleaning line. I'm partial to the cucumber scent and the scentless products they make.

  26. Madina Aryeh

    March 21, 2011

    I have to say that I prefer Swiffer; no pretty feather or wooden handle can beat that. Yes, it's not reusable but I try to be responsible in all other areas. Other than that, I use as little chemicals as possible: microfiber clothes are part of my cleaning arsenal for many years and they let me drop Windex before it was known that it's toxic. Those clothes leave your mirrors absolutely spotless.
    Those shelves sure do look pretty.

  27. Diane

    March 21, 2011

    Oh this is fantastic! Don't you love that funky BHV? Have you been to the basement where you can buy nuts, screws, bolts and there is the most adorable cafe that serves delicious quiche? Oh Paris… how I miss you!

  28. nanne

    March 21, 2011

    i love the method kitchen soap…it smells great and really does clean up greasy hands….i also adore the mrs. meyers' products.

  29. ferardandy

    March 21, 2011

    i LOVE method. it is so awesome. and clean clean clean.

  30. rebecca

    March 21, 2011

    I agree with Jill V – you aren't helping with my intense [albeit unwise] desire to hop on a plane and visit France. ALso, packaging/presentation are definitely what I look for in cleaning products. And the healthier they are, the more willing I am to buy.

  31. Hillary

    March 21, 2011

    I saw on twitter that you were looking for some good pizza places in paris. I've noticed on David Lebovit'z blog that he's mentioned some. Here are his top:

    La Briciola—Naples style
    64, rue Charlot (3rd)
    Tél: 01 42 77 34 10

    Al Taglio—Roman style
    2, bis rue Neuve Popincourt, 11th (off rue Oberkampf)
    Tél: 01 43 38 12 00

  32. mskaz

    March 21, 2011

    I absolutely love Method's granite countertop cleaner. It smells so lovely and does a great job.

  33. "hi, i'm ginnybranch stelling and i love love."

    March 21, 2011

    ohmygod ohmygod i want to be in that shop!!!!! i have not found anything like that in the us!

  34. michelle

    March 22, 2011

    Anonymous needs to go watch a Luke Wilson movie. 🙂

  35. frenchstage

    March 23, 2011

    Who has time to clean in Paris?!

  36. jill

    March 25, 2011

    hooray! call me a weirdo, but i dropped my husband off at a cafe and spent a couple of hours exploring bhv… it was my favorite spot in paris. i went home with tons of notebooks, garden twine, and yes, a cute duster!

    also, i just saw the bill cunningham documentary and was amazed to see that his signature blue smock that he wears constantly is a street sweeper's uniform, sold at bhv.

  37. Carrie Paige

    April 28, 2011

    I am such a sucker for cleaning supplies! My BF always has to rip them out of my arms at the store and remind me that I don't need anymore than I already have.

    It just makes clean a joy when you have the right products! These French ones look like a cleaning dream!

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