I’m going to cut to the chase with this one: Do not buy the following five products. Ever. They range from useless to dangerous to your home, and I’m naming names.

  1. Pampers Kandoo Flushable Wipes. How harmless can a wipe be, you ask? Well, no one in our family died from them, but I almost did when these “flushable” wipes stopped up the pipes in my house and caused a sewage backup in our basement (yes, that is as lovely as it sounds) that cost about $1,000 to fix. After that debacle, I called the mom friend who recommended the wipes to me so that she could stop using them immediately. Guess what? The same thing happened to her, except in her case, they had to tear up her front lawn to fix the problem. Don’t be fooled by the “flushable” claim! As the Portland Press Herald explains, that can just mean the wipes will go down your toilet—never mind what happens after that.

Try Instead: Regular wipes

Toilet-training toddlers are notoriously bad wipers. If yours needs a wet wipe sometimes, just use regular baby wipes and then throw them in the garbage—like you did when the kid wore diapers.

  1. Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel. The package claims that the product “prevents buildup of limescale & toilet rings.” I don’t know about the limescale, but I can say it did nothing—and I do mean nothing—for toilet rings.

Try Instead: Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

These are the tablets you just drop into the tank and forget about. I like this Clorox one because it doesn’t make the water blue (maybe it’s me, but I don’t trust a preschooler not to take a taste of something that looks like Hawaiian Punch) and actually works.

See here for green toilet cleaner options.

  1. Born Free training cups. When reports of BPA in plastics became widespread, I went out and bought two Born Free sippy cups for $16 a pop, which led me to wonder if they were made of gold or just BPA-free plastic. And as I recall (though I’m not sure, since I threw them away) they had five parts to put together. I see that they’ve come down in price some, but they’re still on the expensive side, and they still have too many parts.

Try Instead: Cheap BPA-free sippy cups. There’s any number to choose from. My kids always liked the Playtex insulated cup, the Gerber Graduates Fun Grips, and the First Years’ Take and Toss spill-proof cups. They’re half the price of Born Free with fewer parts.

  1. Sigg water bottles

I know, if they’re good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Jessica Alba’s offspring, they should be good enough for mine, but I have several problems with Sigg products. First, they’re not supposed to go in the dishwasher. Instead, Sigg wants to sell you cleaning brushes and tablets that will “help ensure your bottle remains clean during years of regular use.” I guess if I were Gwyneth/Jessica and paid other people to clean my kids’ water bottles, that wouldn’t matter, but such is not the case. Second, I had two on which the paint started peeling off and dents started appearing within months of purchase. Third, a few years ago, it turned out that Sigg bottles actually weren’t all BPA free (though they supposedly are now). Looks like the joke’s on you, Gwyneth!

Try Instead: Thermos FUNtainers and Hydration Bottles

I wrote about FUNtainers in a previous post, and I stand by them 100%. We’ve had a couple of them for years, and they’re still going strong.

  1. Kodak EasyShare Camera

I bought one of these a couple of years ago and loved it: It took great pictures and was, indeed, totally easy to use. Alas, it stopped working about a year and one month after I bought it. Naturally, the warranty was only for a year. Figuring I just got a bum one, I went out and bought another. Lo and behold, the same thing happened—about a year and a month after purchase.

Try Instead: I have no idea. I’m hoping you can tell me.

Initially, I was going to include baby items in this list, but sadly, there turned out to be so many that they merit their own post. I’m sure all you real moms out there have your own experience with baby items that were a waste of money or worse. Email me at reneeriebling@gmail.com and let me know what they are. I’ll try to include them all in the post!


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