Monday, October 18, 2010

Crystal clean... Instantly!

I remember many years ago seeing ads on TV for CLR, a cleaner that was supposed to remove calcium, lime and rust stains from bathroom fixtures, kitchen tools/utensils, etc.  The ads had a constant tagline of "Crystal clean... Instantly!" and showed people washing white residue from shower walls and coffee pots in moments.  At the time I wondered if the stuff really was as good as the advertising claimed it was and how nasty the chemicals in it actually were.  Fast forward 15 years to last week and my shower has residue building up on the tap and in the tub and is slowly looking worse month by month.  It is just normal buildup from water drying on the surfaces over years so my 'this must be cleaned now' trigger took a long time to go off since it was so gradual.  I had tried scrubbing most thoroughly with regular spray and got absolutely nowhere so finally I decided to bite the bullet and go find some CLR someplace to get rid of it.  I must say that my hat is off to whatever marketer made those original ads since I have not seen one in well over a decade and yet still I remember them and still I went looking for that exact product.  I did not find that exact name brand, but I did find the generic version of the same thing, and I figure the generic brand 15 years later must be as good as the original.

I bought this stuff, took it home and tried it out.  I was expecting it to be a lot less effective than the commercials but I was not expecting it to be a complete failure.  I tried soaking things, I tried scrubbing things, I tried everything I could think of and the only conclusion I could come to is that this stuff is absolutely useless.  I normally don't sweat it if a cleaner can't handle something but since this stuff is extremely unhealthy, not particularly cheap and *specifically* designed to handle the thing I am trying to clean I expected it to do something instead of nothing.  After an hour of trying things I eventually decided to test the ultimate weapon.

I figured that if super strong cleaner didn't work maybe super strong cleaner with a steel scrubber would.  In fact it worked marvellously.  I scrubbed everything off that I had been struggling with with little effort, which was great and all, but I began to wonder if the CLR had done anything at all or if it was just the scrubber.  I tried scrubbing things that the CLR had not been applied to and lo and behold it worked great.  I got all the junk off I had been wanting to clean and the useless CLR I went out to buy had no part in it; all the credit goes to the scrubber I had sitting below the sink all these years.

So I want to say to whoever created and marketed that CLR all those years ago:  Your ads were very, very effective.  I will remember them forever and they made me think your product worked.  Your product is shoddy, useless, a mess for the environment and a disgrace.  There may not be eternal punishment for people who do such things, for which I am grateful, but there are times when roasting some marketing people would bring a little smile to my face.


  1. I actually know several people use regularly use CLR to clean things and they think it works exactly as well as those ads suggest. It might be that the imitation CLR you bought is the problem.

  2. I love Bar Keepers Friend in the liquid form. It has yet to fail in cleaning whatever you throw at it, including permanent thick black magic marker. It's powerful, but not harsh.

  3. that stuff is HORRIBLE. Rob uses it to clean the tub, and my eyes BURN no matter where I am in the house. And I think it's just as clean with vinegar.
    Nice to keep up with you on the blog Sky ... I like hearing (reading) your thoughts on things. Makes me feel like you're not so far away!

  4. Based on these comments I suspect the stuff I got is not at all like the real CLR. My stuff was fairly mild, no crazy smell or anything and it was a failure at cleaning. However, if the real CLR is that nasty I think I don't want to use it.