Controversial Cleaning Myths: Fact Or Fiction?

Controversial Cleaning Myths: Fact Or Fiction?

Controversial Cleaning Myths: Fact Or Fiction?

Does vinegar clean everything? Can you clean toilets with Coca-Cola? Is dishwashing by hand better than using a dishwasher? Can toothpaste clean silverware?

Separate the Facts from the Fiction and find out which is which in this helpful and informative article.

Myth: Vinegar Cleans Everything

Fiction:  “Vinegar is an acid, so it can cut through dirt and can kill bacteria, but only if you use it at full or nearly full strength,” says Derek Christian, owner of My Maid Service, a home-cleaning service in Ohio and Texas. “Most people put a capful in a bucket of water, and that doesn’t do much.” The acids in vinegar can damage natural stone and wood surfaces.

Myth: Polish Is The Best Way To Care For Wood

Fiction: Commercial polishes contain a host of different ingredients, from the recognizable (beeswax) to the huh-what’s-that (polydimethylsiloxane). The good news: They shine up your wood. The bad: They can also leave a waxy buildup. So it’s lucky that you don’t really need polish.

“Most wood furniture has a finish that seals the wood, and really just needs to be kept clean and free from dust and dirt,” Leslie Reichert, a cleaning coach says.

All you need is a damp microfiber cloth. Its tightly woven fibers trap dirt without the need for an additional cleaner.

Myth: Feather Dusters Are More Effective Than Microfiber Cloths At Dusting

Fiction: Genuine ostrich-feather dusters do attract dust, but they’re expensive and are generally not as effective as lambswool or microfiber options. “Most feather dusters just spread the dust around,” says Debrah Vanchura, cleaning pro and owner of Helping Hands in Portland, Ore. Also, they tend to drop feathers—leaving you more to pick up.

Myth: You Can Use Plants To Purify The Air In Your Home

Fact: Keeping a bit of foliage in your home might be an aesthetic choice as opposed to a practical one, but having plants in your home actually does clean and purify the air throughout it, giving you a healthier, fresher living environment as a result. Varieties like peace lilies, Boston ferns, and English ivy do the job exceptionally well.

Myth: Too Much Vacuuming Ruins Your Carpets

Fiction: This myth was likely started by someone looking for a way to get out of cleaning carpets. But the truth is, “dust and dirt that gets down into the base of a carpet can do more damage than a vacuum,” Reichert says.

Of course, you will need to use care when vacuuming delicate floor coverings such as Oriental rugs and handmade carpets. And you should never leave your vacuum in one spot too long.

“The constant beating can heat up the fibers, cause them to melt, and leave a burn mark,” Reichert says.

Myth: Too Much Vacuuming Ruins Your Carpets

Fiction: The aisle of cleaning products at your supermarket has a spray and solution for just about every household chore, but specialty cleaners are less important to maintain a clean home than you may think. As long as you’ve got the general household cleaning essentials, you’re good to go for most cleaning jobs in your house.


“The constant beating can heat up the fibers, cause them to melt, and leave a burn mark,” Reichert says.

Myth: Coffee Grounds Are A Great Way To Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Fiction: Legend has it that coffee grounds can deodorize and clean unidentified gunk off the blades of your garbage disposal. Alas, you’re better off using it as compost in your garden.

“The grounds often clog up the drains and pipes,” Johnson warns.

A better way to clean that’s still natural: Place two to three small lemon, lime, or grapefruit slices in the garbage disposal, then turn it on and rinse with warm water, she advises. (Don’t use the full fruit—just the peels.)
Fresh out of citrus? Run warm water in your sink while pouring a half-cup baking soda down the drain.

“The constant beating can heat up the fibers, cause them to melt, and leave a burn mark,” Reichert says.

Myth: Soaking Is Bad For Your Cookware

Fact: For the most part, anyway. Some kitchen and cookware needs a good soak before you can scrub away at it, but the rule definitely doesn’t apply across the board. Pieces like stainless steel pots and pans should actually never be soaked, since they are prone to water stains and soaking them could result in pitted surfaces. You should also avoid soaking your wooden utensils, since the water will cause it to warp and split.

Myth: String Mops Are Best For Removing Dirt And Bacteria

Fiction: Industrial-style string mops may look impressive, but studies have shown that microfiber mops are about 20 percent more effective at removing dirt and bacteria, Christian says. “String mops are very absorbent, so they’re great at cleaning up big spills,” he says, “but if you want to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind on the floor, use a microfiber mop.”

Reichert admits she’s not a fan of brooms, but don’t dis mops—so long as you invest in one made of high-quality microfiber.

“It picks up the dirt and holds onto it,” she explains. “There’s no cross-contamination because once the mop head’s dirty, you remove it and put on a clean one.”

Compare that to a traditional mop, where you’re basically “mopping up dirt, rinsing it in dirty water, then spreading that water all over the floor,” Reichert adds.

Myth: Coca-Cola Can Tidy Up Toilets

Fiction: Coke sure isn’t “it” when it comes to cleaning your toilet bowl: “Coke is acidic, so it could be effective at removing hard-water stains,” Debra Johnson, a house cleaning expert says. “But even the Coca-Cola website recommends using other options.” Christian prefers traditional cleansers as well. “The soda could actually darken stains, and the sugar could encourage bacteria,” Christian says.

Myth: Chlorine Bleach Is Best For Cleaning Bathroom Stains

Fiction: When you’re tackling stubborn bathroom stains, your instinct may be to reach for chlorine bleach, but in reality, the bleach will do the opposite of what you want it to do: instead of getting rid of stains, chlorine bleach sets them.

Myth: Toothpaste Cleans Tarnished Silverware

Fact: This one is actually true! Many silver cleaners contain abrasive chemicals which can be harmful to your skin and the environment, whereas toothpaste contains just the right level of effective-yet-gentle scrubbing power. Gently rubbing toothpaste with extra tartar control on silverware – or even jewelry and metal appliances – can help to restore their luster with minimal effort.

Myth: Washing Machines Clean Themselves

Fiction: Just because you rely on your washing machine to get your threads looking spotless doesn’t mean that things are always squeaky clean on the inside. Your washing machine needs a good deep cleaning every now and then to keep it working its best, so it’s best to run a short but hot wash cycle from time to time with the works (detergent and, if it’s been a while, maybe some bleach) and then rinse the machine out.Myth: Hair spray removes ballpoint-pen ink.
Fact: This may have been true years ago, when hair sprays were formulated with more alcohol (which does remove ink) than they are today, but not anymore. “Today’s hair sprays are full of stiffeners and hardeners that will just make the stain worse,” Christian says. “Just use rubbing alcohol. It’s far less expensive than hairspray and doesn’t include any extra ingredients.”

Myth: Hand-washing Dishes Is More Effective Than A Dishwasher

Fiction: Sorry to burst your soap bubble, but no matter how much time you spend scrubbing dishes, you’re still no match for a dishwasher. Its water temperature is much hotter, the dishes are exposed to soap longer, “and if you use a ‘drying cycle,’ you’re also sanitizing your dishes,” Reichert points out.

Myth: You Should Only Clean Your Windows When It’s Cloudy Outside

Fact: This might sound strange but if you wash your windows with the sunlight directly onto them, the heat from the sun will dry the windows too quickly, which in turn leaves them looking streaky. To achieve a streak-free shine, you’ll want to make sure that you wipe down your windows when the sun isn’t out or directly hitting them

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