For many people, cleanliness is a necessary evil. It takes a lot of time to tidy up our homes, so it’s not surprising that we’re drawn to tips, tricks, and hacks that promise to make the task easier. However, many of these tips are false and can actually lead to more problems later.
We spoke to three cleaning experts about the worst cleaning tips they’ve ever heard and what they recommend doing instead. It’s time to set the record straight!
Rub a carpet stain until it is lifted
Leanne Stapf, director of operations for The Cleaning Authority, often hears that people like to attack carpet stains with whatever they’ve got. She recommends against this strategy, as it will cause it to spread and penetrate deeper into the carpet fibers or fabric. This will make it significantly more difficult to remove the stain.
Instead, Stapf recommends approaching carpet stains gently. He immediately blots the carpet stain with a paper towel or washcloth to absorb any remaining liquid.
Next, mix a solution of water and mild detergent or carpet cleaner according to the instructions on the bottle. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before blotting it until all the moisture has been absorbed.
Stacking on the Product
Many people think that using more than the recommended amount of a cleaning product will help get the job done more effectively and quickly. But according to Two Maids’ Kathy Cohoon, this can be a wasteful and even harmful habit.
“Using too much cleaning solution or laundry detergent can leave a residue, and this residue actually becomes a magnet for more dirt and builds up over time, even causing damage to surfaces or furniture,” he said.
Cohoon recommends sticking to the amount suggested in the instructions for the cleaning product you are using. This will also save you money in the long run, since you’ll only use the amount of product you actually need.
Mixture of cleaning products
Mixing cleaning products may seem like a harmless way to make them work harder, but Katrina Keith, owner of DFW Metro Northwest’s Molly Maid, says otherwise. Many cleaning products contain chemicals, and those chemicals can react with each other when mixed.
For example, vinegar is considered a safe cleaning product, but it can release a toxic gas when mixed with bleach. Play it safe and never mix cleaning products unless you’ve verified that they can (and should) be mixed.
Put a magic eraser in the toilet
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers seem to live up to their name with their ability to clean just about anything. Many people think this is due to a secret formula contained in the sponge, leading to tips like sticking an eraser in the toilet to clean it. According to Stapf, the idea is that the eraser dissolves and the chemicals remove the stains from the toilet bowl.
Unfortunately, this thinking is wrong because Magic Erasers do not contain any chemicals. They work because they are made of melamine foam, which acts like very fine sandpaper on stains.
If you want to remove stains from your toilet bowl, put away the Magic Eraser and get yourself a scrubber and toilet bowl cleaner. To keep your toilet fresh between deep cleans, Stapf suggests making your own homemade soda bombs using baking soda, citric acid, and essential oils. These are essentially the same recipe as bath bombs, albeit smaller in size and without dyes.
Ignoring remote controls
Cohoon rarely listens to people talk about cleaning remote control devices and thinks this is a big problem. These items can collect dust and dirt, especially since they are touched a lot.
“TV and gadget remotes are at the top of the list when it comes to items people forget to clean!” she said.
To clean your remote, Cohoon explains to first remove the batteries. Then use an antibacterial wipe or microfiber cloth sprayed with disinfectant to clean the entire surface of the remote. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to gently clean the buttons if they are dirty. Replace the batteries, and they should be good to go.
Use glass cleaner for everything
You may have been told that you can swap your all-purpose cleaner for glass cleaner in a pinch, but Keith doesn’t recommend this advice, especially when it comes to cleaning certain parts of your home.
“You should never use glass cleaner on monitors or television screens,” he said. “These are delicate surfaces and you could leave a residue or cause permanent damage.
To clean a television, computer, or other electronic display, first turn off the power. Then use a microfiber cloth or a screen cleaning solution specially designed for electronic screens to gently clean the screen in a circular motion. Avoid using harsh chemicals or paper towels that can scratch or damage the screen, and never spray liquids directly on the screen.
Spraying hairspray on an ink stain
Some old advice you may still hear is that spraying an ink stain with hairspray can help remove the stain. According to Stapf, this is outdated, as it was based on the idea that the alcohol in the hairspray could help remove the stain.
However, most hairsprays today do not contain alcohol, so they will not help remove ink from fabric. In fact, they can make stains more difficult to remove.
Instead, soak the stain in isopropyl alcohol for about 15 minutes and gently blot it with a microfiber cloth or absorbent paper towel. If the ink stain is on a garment, run it through the washing machine after letting the isopropyl alcohol sit.
Cleaning is an important part of maintaining a healthy and comfortable living space. However, it is important to be aware of myths and misconceptions that can lead to ineffective or even harmful cleaning practices. Here are some tips to ignore and what to do instead, straight from the cleaning experts.