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8 Myths About Cleaning That Do More Harm Than Good

by Andra Hopulele
4 min. read

Ever feel like no matter how much you clean your home, it never feels quite clean enough? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve fallen for one or two of the many myths that do more harm than good when cleaning your home. While some of these simply lead to inefficient cleaning, others can permanently damage surfaces. So, here are 8 cleaning myths to beware of!

Bleach cleans everything

Bleach is often regarded as the go-to household item for cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and its uses seem endless. Yet one thing to remember is that bleach is, in fact, a disinfectant, and doesn’t actually clean anything. Bleach does not remove grease or grime from the surfaces, and it doesn’t get rid of mold either. A much better alternative is using a specialized product for each job, such as dishwashing detergent to remove grease, or a gritty cleaning solution to remove grime or limescale. If you do want to use bleach to disinfect surfaces, remember that it needs to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

Vinegar cleans everything

Vinegar is another item that shouldn’t be used to clean everything. When combined with baking soda, it is great for removing grease stains and limescale, as well as unclogging drains. However, vinegar is acidic, and will only damage surfaces such as granite and marble countertops, hardwood or stone flooring, and iron utensils.

One thing you must never do is mix bleach and vinegar together. This will create a chemical reaction that results in chlorine gas, which is toxic, and requires immediate medical attention if you’re exposed to it.

Feather dusters remove dust

Feather dusters are another item that seems designed to make cleaning easier but does not, in fact, get the job done. Unless you have one that is made out of 100% ostrich feathers, there’s a good chance that it’s just moving the dust around, without actually picking much up. Microfiber dusters are a much better alternative, as they can also be washed and reused, making them more eco-friendly.

Air fresheners clean the air

Don’t let the name fool you: air fresheners have the same air cleaning powers as perfume, which is to say, none. In fact, the volatile compounds that make your house smell like rainforests or cinnamon buns are not only bad for the ozone layer, but also for your health, if used excessively. A much healthier and effective way to clean the air in your home is simply opening the window.

Vacuum cleaners damage the carpets

Another common myth is that the brush and the rotating beater bar on the vacuum cleaner will pull, stretch, and wear down the surface of carpets. However, not vacuuming the carpets is what causes the real damage. Dust and grit building up in the carpets can become abrasive, and can break down the pile underneath, making them thinner and even threadbare. Not only that, but dust is rife with mites and bacteria. Vacuuming the carpets is not only hygienic, but it can also prolong their lifespan. The only thing to be careful of is using the right setting (carpet instead of bare floor).

Wood needs frequent polishing

Wood finishes can add a touch of style to your home, yet they are often costly, and you may be tempted to keep them looking pristine by giving them a frequent polish. But although a shiny hardwood floor or table looks very appealing, wax can build up on the surfaces and, over time, might even make the wood look dull. A much more effective way to preserve the shine is to give wooden surfaces a regular wipe with a microfiber cloth, and only polish them once every two or four months.

Coffee grounds remove waste disposal smells

Although you can use coffee beans to ‘reset’ your olfactory glands, putting coffee grounds down your waste disposal to remove unpleasant smells is an old wives tale. In fact, coffee grounds will clog your drain pipes, and may even cause damage to the blades over time. A better alternative is using half a cup of baking soda, and letting the water run for a few minutes.

Washing machines and dishwashers clean themselves

There’s a reason why manufacturers include a cleaning cycle for both. Powder detergent and conditioner can build up on the elements of your washing machine, and if you mostly wash your clothes with cold water, this will create a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, food bits left inside the dishwasher can rot and cause unpleasant smells, especially if you don’t leave the door open for it to dry. Not only that, but hard water can create build-ups on the elements, which will damage both appliances over time. Therefore, it’s best to run a cleaning cycle with a limescale remover once a month.

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