Robots, cats and mops: Japanese cleaning tools

As we saw in our article about our recent trip to Shirakawa-go, with a home it’s not so much the construction that’s important as the maintenance. This is something we’ve been thinking about as we prepare to launch PingBooks Vol.1 and today we wanted to introduce some of Japan’s very convenient and very cool cleaning tools!




A houki is a type of Japanese broom made from bamboo and millet. These days most people use a vacuum cleaner but you still can’t beat a houki if you just want to do some sweeping. Most Japanese homes do not have carpet and, since people take off their shoes at the entrance to a home, cleaning is largely a case of getting rid of dust, and so a houki is still an indispensable tool.



Sometimes, though, there are more stubborn areas that a houki can’t get clean. For these cases, a hataki comes in handy. It consists of cloth strips attached to a pole that you can make damp to clean dirt and reach those high spots.



Another standard of the Japanese home is the tawashi brush, in particular one made by Kamenoko. The Kamenoko Tawashi first appeared in the Meiji period and not just its practical uses, we love the minimal packaging and turtle logo.



Okay, we’re no longer in the “old” area of traditional cleaning tools but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Japanese household that doesn’t have a korokoro, a kind of roller with adhesive tape. They actually first appeared in 1983, courtesy of tape manufacturer Nittoms.

Cleaning is Fun!

Animal Floor Mops


With its animal body shape, not only does this series of mops look and feel fun to use, they actually have real strength too.

Mini Korokoro Cleaner


These days korokoro come in all sizes — even miniature! After all, the Japanese are famous for making everything small, right?

Cat Toilet Brush


Toilet brushes are, unfortunately, a necessity of life but that’s no reason why they shouldn’t be nice to look at! There are lots of colors and special designs out there, but this is our personal recommendation.


Smart Trashbox

This became famous a little while back. Sadly it’s not a commercial product yet but we are sure it’d be a big hit if it ever gets a release.

Gomiba Go!


Can’t be bothered to get up and throw something away? Then make the wastepaper bin come to you!

RC Sugoi Mop


The ultimate tool (or is that toy?) for lazy cleaners, not surprisingly this is another toy courtesy of Kyosho, who also made the mobile trash box above.


This robotic fur ball mop tumbles around your home, cleaning the floor thanks to its special coat. What a great idea! And nice and colorful too.

Otona no Kagaku Vol.33 Robot Vacuum Cleaner


The Otona no Kagaku series are magazines that feature gadgets that you can make. Vol.33 featured this brilliant robotic desktop cleaner.

Don’t expect any similar “extras” with your copy, but you can pre-order PingBooks Vol.1 “The Japanese Home” now.