Everyone has that one friend who swears they know how to fix something using a tried-and-true method passed down from their friend’s cousin’s co-worker’s grandmother but, more often than not, these types of “fixes” are mediocre at best. 

The same can be said for cleaning “hacks.” 

Whether it’s pouring white wine on a red wine stain to remove it, or using wax paper to polish your sinks, we wanted to know if there was any truth to these cleaning myths—and shockingly, there is! Well, to some of them, at least. 

Let’s take a look at 10 popular cleaning myths and see if they’re really worth listening to. 

A woman vacuuming a carpet in a living room

1. You shouldn’t vacuum too often because it wears out the carpet.


Sorry to everyone who hates vacuuming, but this one isn’t true at all. The myth has long been that by vacuuming your carpets too frequently, you’ll wear out the fibres and ultimately ruin it. However, it’s the exact opposite. Keeping your carpet clean is key to prolonging its life! According to Molly Maid, you should be vacuuming your carpet twice per week if you don’t have any pets. If you do have furry friends, a quick vacuum once a day can help prevent build-up of fur and dander, which is important if anyone in your home has allergies. 

A sponge in a microwave, which disinfects the sponge

2. You can disinfect sponges in the microwave. 


Sponges are notorious for getting grimey next to your kitchen sink, and at some point it feels like you’re doing more harm than good when you wash dishes with them. While a bleach-and-water soak is a great way to clean your sponge, you can also just chuck it in the microwave. Good Housekeeping Institute conducted a study to find the best method of cleaning a sponge, and while the bleach method came out on top, microwaving still showed a 99.9% efficacy when it came to getting rid of germs and bacteria. Soak your sponge in water until it’s saturated, then heat it on high for one to two minutes. Doing this once a week will keep your sponge effectively germ-free!

A close up of a pen on an ink-stained shirt

3. You can use hairspray to get ink stains out of fabrics.

VERDICT: Sort of 

No, it’s not a solid answer, but that’s because while this myth used to be fact, that’s not the case anymore. Using hairspray to get ink stains out of shirts, carpets, or fabric furniture is a myth that’s been around for a while—and back in the day, it was somewhat true. Hairspray used to be made with much more alcohol than it is today, and it’s the alcohol that helps lift ink off fabrics. Instead of spraying the stain with hairspray, which isn’t guaranteed to be effective and can leave behind sticky residue, opt for rubbing alcohol on ink stains.

A baking sheet with grime and residue

4. You can clean your stubborn pans and sheet trays with dryer sheets.


Bakers and cooking enthusiasts alike will understand how frustrating it can be to clean the grime caked onto pans and sheet trays. No matter how hard you scrub, it feels like it’s now a permanent part of the accessory. However, a viral cleaning hack has made the rounds over the last few years that suggests dryer sheets are the key to success—and it’s true!

Liz O’Hanlon, director of a U.K.-based commercial cleaning service, told Best of Life that leaving your pan, pot, or tray to soak in the sink with soap, warm water, and a dryer sheet for an hour or two will lift the stubborn grime. Just rinse it with clean water and watch everything flow down the drain. 

A glass of red wine spilled on a white carpet

5. You can use white wine to get rid of red wine stains.


While the (perhaps altered) logic of white wine erasing the damage of red wine makes sense, Merlot’s lighter counterpart isn’t going to do you a whole lot of good when it comes to getting rid of stains. There are some people who remain adamant white wine dilutes the red, which is technically true, but it’s still not going to get rid of the stain entirely. If you’re really curious, it won’t hurt to try, but you’ll need to have a back-up method ready to go before the stain sets in.

Madison McCausland of Ottawa-based Mad’s Manic Cleaning Co. previously shared with us the best way to get a red wine stain out of your couch is with vinegar, baking soda, and a little patience.

“Get to the stain immediately or it’ll settle further into the fibres,” she said. “A mixture of vinegar and baking soda works wonders! Be sure to only blot the stain—soak, never rub. Use a wet white cloth to see the results as the wine comes up. The No. 1 trick with this method? Patience.”

Stacks of cola bottle cartons

6. You can use cola to clean your toilet. 

VERDICT: True…technically

Can you? Sure. Should you? Well, that’s a whole other story. The reason dentists would prefer you stay away from soda is the same reason cleaning your toilet with it technically works—it’s acidic. Especially grimey toilets that need a good scrubbing can benefit from the grime-fighting powers of cola, but it in no way disinfects the area. Plus, it’s not a quick solution. Cleaning your toilet with cola requires pouring it around the top edges of the bowl and letting it sit overnight while the carbonation “scrubs” away the grime. Flush the next morning and you’ll be left with a clean toilet, but also one that smells faintly of sugar and reminds you of movie theatres. 

A close up of a hand wiping a newspaper across a window

7. You can use newspaper for a streak-free shine on your windows. 


Streaky windows can take away the joy of natural light shining into your home, but if you’re looking for ways to get a streak-free clean, you shouldn’t be looking towards old newspapers. It’s a common myth: use newspapers to clean your windows because they don’t leave behind dust. And, yes. Technically that’s true. But what newspapers do leave behind are bits of wet paper and ink that’s transferred off the page. Not quite the sparkling window treatment you’re looking for, right? 

“We use microfiber cloths to clean glass,” said Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, in an interview with Consumer Reports. “They’re the best at cleaning without streaking.”

A close up of a roll of wax paper

8. You can use wax paper to polish your kitchen sink.


Sinks can lose their sparkle over time as we put them through the ringer on a daily basis. Water stains can make the sink look dirty even if it’s not. You can find stainless steel cleaners that’ll do the trick, but you could also give wax paper a go!

“After cleaning your sink with an antibacterial cleanser, polish your taps and handles with some wax paper,” O’Hanlon told Best of Online

Keep in mind that wax paper and parchment paper are not the same thing, so make sure you’re using the right one. 

A person applying toilet bowl cleaner to clean a toilet

9. You can use bleach to clean anything. 


Do not, I repeat, do NOT, use bleach on every surface. While it’s a useful cleaning agent for some things, like removing mould and mildew from your shower or keeping your white dress shirts bright, it’s not meant to be an all-purpose cleaner. In fact, it’s technically not a cleaner at all.

“Bleach actually doesn’t ‘clean’ anything—because it doesn’t remove soil,” said Derek Christian, owner of My Maid Service, in an interview with Consumer Reports. “It can lighten stains, making things look cleaner, and it kills bacteria, so it’s better as a sanitizer than as a cleaner.”

A person pouring a cup of coffee from a coffee maker

10. You can use denture tablets to keep your coffee maker clean. 


Hate to tell you this, but your coffee maker is a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria when not cleaned properly. If you own a single-serve coffee maker, you’re probably well-akin to descaling pods and discs required to keep your machine clean. These can get pretty pricey, which is why using denture tablets could be the solution you need! The fizzing and antibacterial properties of the tablets scrub away at the grime on the inside of your machine, leaving you with a fresher cup of morning Joe. 

Depending on the type of machine you have, the process is different, but for single-serve machines you’ll need to fill the water reservoir with warm water and drop in two tablets. Once the tablets have dissolved, run the machine until all the water is gone, then fill the reservoir again with only warm water and run it through again. Be sure to do a bit of research into your specific model so you know you’re cleaning it effectively. 

Myths come from decades of people passing along what they believe to be true, which is how you end up with suggestions like using one type of wine to cancel out another. It also makes you wonder who the first person to use Coca Cola to clean their toilet was…and what exactly they were thinking when they did it. 

Courtesy: realtor.ca

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