Common household cleaning myths debunked Leave a comment

1. Feather dusters remove dust

Verdict: True and False

A commonly found product in most households, this cheap, easy-to-use product is more useless than you think. “All a normal feather duster does is move the dust around and doesn’t absorb it,” explains Alice. In fact, the only useful duster on the market is one made from ostrich feathers. “The electric charge of the ostrich feathers traps the dust, ensuring it doesn’t disperse back into the room,” she says. The better option is to just pick up a reusable damp cloth or microfibre duster.

2. Cucumber peel will prevent ants invading your home

Verdict: False 

While home remedies are nothing new and prove to be useful when it comes to banishing house odour, they fall short at keeping ants away. “Most natural home remedies have little to no effect on preventing and repelling ants from invading your home, including cucumber peel,” Alice revealed. Your best shot at keeping ants outside is to stay on top of any spills or food-related mess in the house. Keep containers sealed and throw out old food. If this isn’t enough, then try and seal up any cracks and gaps in your walls to prevent an ant infestation.

woman cleaning floor

3. Bleach cleans everything 

Verdict: False 

Though people are quick to praise bleach as an all-encompassing product, it does have its limitations. While it is a strong disinfectant that prevents the spread of bacteria and also works to whiten clothes, it won’t clean grease-laden surfaces and should be kept away from mould.

4. You should wash your clothes in cold water

Verdict: False 

The best way to know how to wash your clothes is to consult the tag. “Temperature instruction on the wash tag of clothing and laundry is there for a reason and should be followed,” Alice explains. While cold water is more energy efficient, certain types of dirt and stains will only come out with warm or hot water.   

washing machine

5. Cheese attracts mice to traps

Verdict: True  

Everyone is familiar with this sneaky method as it’s been tried and tested in movies and TV shows for years, but surprisingly this trick is more than just a cliché! “What lures mice and rats into your home (other than needing a warm place to have their babies) is usually food,” Alice says. “Cheese is therefore a great item to use as bait in a trap, but peanut butter and sweets are also good alternatives,” says Alice.  

6. Newspapers give windows a streak-free shine

Verdict: False 

Once upon a time when newspapers were made out of a much thicker material, they worked wonders on a dirty window. However, as Alice explains, “The modern newspaper is too flimsy and is likely to disintegrate a lot quicker, potentially leaving more of a mess on your hands and windowsill, meaning more effort for you.” A good microfibre cloth ought to do the job instead.

woman cleaning window

7. Coca-Cola can clean your toilet

Verdict: True 

This bizarre trick has made waves on social media with plenty of people swearing by it, and rightfully so. “The high levels of acid in coke will help break down the gunk and discolouring in your toilet,” says Alice.

While coke is cheap and convenient, there are other solutions that are more efficient. “Using coke means it would have to sit in the bowl for at least a couple of hours, and you would still have to scrub it. So you might as well just invest in some liquid toilet cleaner, a good disinfectant spray, and bleach.”   

8. Hairspray is the best way to remove ink stains

Verdict: True and False 

This is a tricky one because it used to be true when hairspray contain alcohol, however since this key ingredient was removed, using hairspray on stains may do more harm than good. “Using modern day hairspray on surfaces can lead to additional staining and sticky marks that are hard to get rid of,” says Alice.

There are still some aerosol hairsprays on the market that contain alcohol and might be effective. While there are many other household items commonly used to remove stains, you can also just use pure alcohol or alcoholic antibacterial hand wash to remove ink stains.

couch stain

9. Vinegar works on everything 

Verdict: False 

Though there are plenty of natural and eco-friendly products available, vinegar has quickly become the natural go-to ingredient for home cleaning. The acidic nature of vinegar is what makes it great at removing grease, limescale and water marks on steel fixtures and appliances. “But as with bleach, it won’t have the same desired effect on other surfaces such as granite or wood, which can be damaged by the acidity,” says Alice.

10. Air freshener helps clean the air 

Verdict: False 

Despite the name, air freshener’s don’t work to clean the air but rather cover up a bad odour by perfuming it. “The best way to clean the air in a room, other than opening a window, is with an electrical air purifier or, if you want to go down the more natural route, an air purifying plant will help circulate the air.”


11. Peppermint repel rats

Verdict: True

While natural methods don’t work on ants, using peppermint oil to repel rats is actually a reliable method. Alice advises you “sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil in the areas of your home that they visit the most often or in any potential entry ways. It won’t kill them, but it will deter them from visiting a particular spot.”

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