You may have heard these just once and hold them to be true. Or they may have been passed down to you from your family that you have never questioned. We probably all believe at least one of these cleaning myths, which is why it is about time these were busted and the truth set free.
Myth 1: Vinegar cleans everything
While vinegar is a great helper in the cleaning department, eliminating the need for additional products and chemicals, it should be avoided in certain situations. Namely anything porous like stone and unsealed grout, as it is an acid and can damage them permanently.
For other non-porous yet very grimy surfaces, such as your oven, vinegar won’t cause any damage but just isn’t very effective when used on its own. Combine it with bicarb soda to create a chemical reaction or follow our other tips on cleaning with vinegar.
Myth 2: More detergent = better results
This is a habit that is easy to fall into – completely covering a surface in detergent or cleaning spray in the hope that it will either work faster, save you from scrubbing, be more effective or kill more germs.
In fact none of these are generally the case when it comes to overloading detergents – this simply creates additional steps in cleaning as you are left to tackle the bubbles and residue left from being overzealous. You probably won’t be able to completely rinse it clear, which can leave a sticky, filmy mess and creates more strain on the environment as you use more water and release more chemicals into the waterways. Just use the product in the quantity recommended or even slightly less, as you can always build up if you need to.
Myth 3: Newspaper is great for cleaning glass and mirrors
Newspapers were once a great glass cleaning material that produced results just as good as cloths or paper towels. But changes to the inks used in printing has meant that using newspapers on your windows now can just leave behind a mess of ink and streaks, covering your hands and also your windows sills (particularly if they are lighter coloured).
Skip the newspaper and instead use a lint free microfibre cloth or even a squeegee for better results.
Myth 4: Use Furniture Polish Regularly
The brilliant effect you get from polishing your timber furniture is well worth the effort spent buffing away, which can make it tempting to do this more often. But you do need to allow time for the previously applied polish to wear away, otherwise you will be piling loads of polish on top of each other and creating a sticky effect. This can have the opposite result you intended and create a magnet for dust, leaving you with a very dirty looking piece of furniture.
Depending on how much wear and tear your individual pieces are exposed to, a polish every 6 months to a year should be sufficient to protect your precious timber furniture without creating any additional cleaning headaches.
Myth 5: Every surface should be germ free
While effective cleaning should aim to both eliminate germs and dirt, the modern standard of a 99.99% sanitised home is unrealistic and can lead you to overuse sprays and aerosols, causing other problems like asthma. Focus on the most important areas where hygiene is fundamental in preventing very real health concerns, such as in the kitchen (particularly chopping boards and benches) and the toilet and bathroom. Every year, hundreds of people are hospitalised due to deadly infections such as e.coli and salmonella caused by poor kitchen or bathroom hygiene.
Areas like the floor will always harbour a certain level of germs normally and trying to fight them constantly by ‘nuking’ with sprays will have you both fighting a losing battle and left with a very slippery floor!