Ditch these cleaning hacks
Cleaning experts are calling out these popular cleaning “hacks” that are obsolete or never did the job in the first place!
Wash grime off a car with dishwashing detergent
While it’s true that you should clean your car with soap that fights off grease, dishwashing detergent is not the answer. This cleaning product is made to remove everything — including the polymers in your car’s paint, which speeds up its oxidation process.
What to do instead: A proper car wash cleaner is specifically designed to be used on automotive paint, so it will be much gentler on your vehicle.
Hairspray removes ink and marker stains
This trick worked back in the day when hairspray contained alcohol, the ingredient needed to remove pesky stains. But these days, you’re better off applying rubbing alcohol to the offending spot, according to Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning.
What to do instead: Dab the fabric with a stain remover and give it a spin in the washing machine to make sure the stain is gone for good.
Applying white wine removes red wine stains
The next time you spill red wine all over your shirt, don’t pop open a bottle of the white stuff. First of all, why waste another good glass of wine? And truth be told, this hack just doesn’t work.
What to do instead: Reichert recommends spraying a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stain instead.
Bleach is best
Sorry to burst your cleaning bubble. Though most people associate the smell of bleach with clean, this cleaning myth just isn’t the case. In fact, bleach doesn’t really even clean at all. It disinfects, kills germs and whitens stains, but it doesn’t clean dirt and grime from surfaces.
If you’re looking to whiten your shirt or rinse bacteria from that raw chicken in your sink, then bleach is your way to go.
What to do instead: If you’re trying to remove the grit from your bathtub, you’ll need an actual cleaning product, preferably something with some texture like baking soda.
Removing gum with peanut butter
Save the PB for your sandwiches and skip putting it on gum-matted hair or upholstery, says Melissa Maker, a cleaning expert and host of the YouTube channel Clean My Space. Not only does this hack waste food, but it will also create a bigger mess to clean up afterward.
What to do instead: Maker recommends applying coconut or olive oil to the sticky area instead.
Feather dusters dust
Sure, they’re soft and fluffy. But contrary to their name, feather dusters don’t really do much of dusting. More often than not, they just spread the dust around.
What to do instead: Reach for a vacuum with a nozzle attachment or a soft damped cloth. More than 90 percent of household dust comes from tiny flakes of skin and barely visible fabric fibres that float on the slightest air current and settle on every surface in your house.
Mixing baking soda and vinegar makes a super cleaner
Don’t get us wrong – baking soda and vinegar are great cleaning products on their own. But mix them together, and you’re left with nothing but water. What gives? Because vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, together they will fizz up and neutralise each other.
“People may think that the fizz helps to remove dirt or grime,” Maker says, “but all it will do is create a big mess.”
What to do instead: Stick to either vinegar or baking soda alone.
Soaking clothes in salt prevents fading
Experts at Goodhousekeeping.com tested this trick and found that it’s bogus. Turns out, whether or not the dye bleeds actually depends on how the material was made. “If a fabric runs, it’s just not properly finished,” says Carolyn Forte, the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab.
What to do instead: So if the colours of your clothes are running in the washer, you should blame your wardrobe, not the water you wash it in.
Rubbing wax paper on skirting boards prevents dust build-up
Wrong again! Wax paper leaves behind a sticky, chemical-loaded coating on your skirting boards that is almost guaranteed to need a second clean. Even worse, it may attract more dust and dirt in the process.
What to do instead: Maker suggests wiping your baseboards with a dry microfibre cloth, which you can attach to a flat-head mop or long pole for any hard-to-reach spots.
Using wood polish spiffs up furniture
Polishing furniture made of raw wood is a no-brainer. But most wood furniture sold today is coated in a finish, so polishing it can actually make your furniture appear duller.
What to do instead: Polyurethane, urethane, shellac or varnish finishes are all made of plastic, which should be cleaned rather than polished, according to Jan M. Dougherty, author of The Lost Art of House Cleaning. She cleans her wood furniture with white vinegar and a microfibre rag.
Mixing vinegar and dish soap removes pet stains
Vinegar is a stain remover superhero, but it’s not strong enough to remove odours and discoloration caused by pet urine or vomit. Same goes for dish soap.
What to do instead: An enzyme cleaner, on the other hand, breaks down the proteins in the stain and makes your carpet or upholstery look spotless.
Wash all clothes in cold water
Doing your laundry is a tad more complicated than just pressing a button on the washer machine. Many find it frustrating trying to decode which colour is washed for how long and in what temperature, which is probably why most people wash everything on cold. (It’s also a money-saver.)
What to do instead: Most pieces can be washed in cold water, especially dark and bright colours or delicate fabrics, as the colder temperature works wonders in removing stains and ensuring clothes don’t shrink. But some things, like whites, should be washed on hot. And man-made fibres, knits and jeans should be washed on warm.
Wiping windows with newspaper leaves fewer streaks
Odds are, your grandparents still clean their windows with newspapers, claiming it will leave the glass shiny and streak-free. “This worked years ago when the ink came off and formed a film on the window,” Reichert says. “[It] doesn’t work any longer.” Newspapers today are made of materials that make them even less effective than paper towels.
What to do instead: Rubbing alcohol or vinegar on a microfibre cloth is a more surefire way to get spotless windows, according to Dougherty.
Cleaning solutions act instantly
You can’t expect to spray a product and instantaneously have a perfectly clean, spotless surface. That’s called magic, and there’s debate on whether it even exists.
After applying a cleaning solution, let it soak in for the allotted time. And be patient. Wiping it off too early will likely result in dirt and germs remaining, as well as a huge waste of product. And you need to add some elbow grease, too.
What to do instead: While that kitchen cleaner is great for breaking up grease on the stove, it’s not going to remove itself. You’ll need to scrub it with a sponge or rag — and a lot of pressure.
The more product you use, the better the clean
Most people think that if using a little bit works well, then using more must work better. But that’s not the case with cleaning products. “When it comes to cleaning, less is often more,” Maker says. Applying too much product can actually backfire, leading to residue build-up and requiring more elbow grease to get it clean again.
What to do instead: In general, using a small amount of product and leaving it for a few minutes before wiping it down will usually do the trick.
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Source: Family Handyman