16 Traditional Cleaning Tricks That Don’t Actually Work
Cleaning experts are calling the bluff on these popular cleaning “hacks.”
Cleaning a chalkboard with soda
Conventional wisdom says that soda will make a smudgy chalkboard look like new again. But according to Maker, the sugar in the soda actually clings to the chalkboard surface instead, leaving behind a sticky, nasty mess. To get rid of those pesky smudges, Maker suggests mixing equal parts vinegar and water, then spraying the board and wiping it with a microfiber cloth.
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 a good glass of wine? And truth be told, this hack just doesn’t work. Reichert recommends spraying a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stain, instead.
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. However, “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 out of materials that make them even less effective than paper towels. Rubbing alcohol or vinegar on a microfiber cloth is a more surefire way to get spotless windows, according to Dougherty.
Soaking a dryer sheet in a dirty pan unsticks food scraps
This popular hack is just an old wives’ tale. “Fabric softener is designed to soften synthetic clothing and reduce static, not lift food off a surface,” Maker says. In this case, patience is key; most residue can be removed from a dirty pan when left to soak overnight, according to Maker. Add some baking soda to the soapy water if you need to tackle any particularly stubborn spots.
Using toilet bowl cleaner removes shower grime
Running low on shower cleaning product? Don’t count on your toilet bowl cleaner to get the job done. Toilet cleaners contain acids and bleach products that can destroy the finish on your tubs and tiles, Maker says. You will be better off using a dedicated bathroom cleaning product to scrub soap scum off the shower.
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. In fact, “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. As a general rule of thumb, using a small amount of product and leaving it for a few minutes before wiping it down will usually do the trick. Steal these genius cleaning hacks from professional house cleaners, too.