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5 Cleaning Myths It’s Time To Rethink

Have you been doing it wrong all along?

When it comes to keeping a clean and tidy home, you’ve likely heard some old wives’ tales about tips and tricks that work best. That “old wife” might even be your own mom. Cleaning advice tends to get passed down throughout generations, and people keep doing things the same old way without questioning whether or not it’s the most effective solution.

My mom taught me that floors should always be cleaned by hand because using a mop “just pushes the dirt around.” While I didn’t heed her advice (who has time to scoot around on the floor on their hands and knees?), I always assumed she was right and that I was just living with not-quite-clean floors. While the jury may be out on that particular belief, it turns out that there are several common cleaning myths we can definitively say are wrong. Here, we dispel five of them and tell you what you should do instead.

1. You Should Clean Windows With Newspapers

I always thought this one was odd and figured it must have come from a time before paper towels were invented. It turns out cleaning experts agree with me. “We use microfiber cloths to clean glass,” Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, a national franchise, tells Consumer Reports. “They’re the best at cleaning without streaking.”

cleaning windows photo
Flickr | michael_swan

2. Coke Is The Best Way To Clean Your Toilet Bowl

Huh? This was news to me, but apparently people are laboring under the illusion that they should use Coca-Cola to clean out their toilet bowls. Apparently, there is some logic behind this advice. Because the soda is acidic, it can be helpful in removing hard water stains. Still, you should probably stick with products that are meant for cleaning. “The soda could actually darken stains, and the sugar could encourage bacteria,” says Derek Christian, owner of My Maid Service, a home cleaning service in Ohio and Texas.

toilet bowl photo
Flickr | brizzle born and bred

3. Use A Lemon Peel To Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal

When your garbage disposal starts to smell less than fresh, you may have heard that you should drop a lemon peel in it. This sounds like a good idea. After all, lemons smell great, and it seems like a “natural” solution. However, the peel is likely to do little more than clog up your disposal. Instead, try mixing up half a cup of baking soda with one cup of white vinegar and pouring the solution down the drain, followed by boiling water.

lemon peel photo
Flickr | Rob.Bertholf

4. Always Wash Clothes In Cold Water

When I first started doing my own laundry, I always put everything on “cold” because I heard that warmer settings could make colors bleed onto each other. It turns out that, sometimes, higher temperatures are necessary to kill germs, bacteria and viruses, which are likely lurking in items like your sheets and towels.

laundry room photo
Flickr | davidmulder61

5. You Should Make Your Bed Every Day

Growing up, despite my mom’s protests, I rarely made my bed. What was the point,  I reasoned, if I was only going to crawl into it again later that night? The one exception was when company was coming over. Then I (sometimes) begrudgingly made my bed. However, scientists say the more hygienic choice is to leave your bed unmade. That’s because making the bed traps in dust mites that have developed overnight, which leads to asthma and allergies. I knew I was onto something!

unmade bed photo
Flickr | thien-kim