9 cleaning myths to avoid at all costs

When it comes to cleaning every room in our house, we are all looking for smart ways to make our job easier and faster. And while we’re bombarded with various cleaning myths online or in TV commercials, not all of them are true.

Just like the basic cleaning mistakes we can make, these common cleaning myths can make your home dirtier, defeating the purpose of cleaning! So, whether you got this tip (from your grandma) or found it on Pinterest, here are 9 cleaning myths that will make your home dirtier.

1. Bleach cleans any surface

Bottles next to the basket

Bottles next to the basket (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A common myth is that bleach is the key to cleaning everything. While it is very effective at killing bacteria, disinfecting, and removing stains, it does not get rid of dirt and grime on surfaces. In this case, it is better to use household cleaners with abrasive properties, such as baking soda, or a surface cleaner.

Also, never use bleach (even diluted) on a fabric sofa, as it can remove the color along with the stain. Bleach can quickly “eat through” the fabric, leaving a small hole after daily use. The last thing you want is to completely ruin a fabric cover, or worse, be forced to invest in a new sofa.

Just remember to open windows or doors to ventilate when using bleach, and never mix cleaning products. Also, don’t make this mistake when cleaning with bleach.

2. Newspaper is great for cleaning mirrors or windows.

Window glass cleaning

Window glass cleaning (Image credit: Shutterstock)

This cleaning myth may have gone around in circles in the past, but it’s not as effective these days. According to experts, today’s newspapers are made from different materials than before, which can leave marks on your mirrors. Instead, try using white vinegar or glass cleaner with a microfiber cloth. Or you can learn how to clean windows without leaving streaks for flawless results.

3. Feather dusters can remove dust

Woman wiping dust with a feather duster

Woman wiping dust with a feather duster (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common myth is that a feather duster is the best way to remove dust. After all, it’s in the title, right? However, these soft and fluffy tools actually do the opposite. Instead of removing dust, feather dusters only scatter it on surfaces or throw it back into the air. This only leads to the accumulation of dust around the house.

The best way is to use a soft, damp microfiber cloth to pick up dust easily without scattering it, or vacuum with a small attachment. If you’re prone to indoor allergies, you can also learn how to get rid of dust mites quickly in 7 easy steps.

4. You will need furniture polish to clean the wood.

Polishing wood with a rag

Polishing wood with a rag (Image credit: Shutterstock)

We usually buy furniture polish to clean wooden furniture or surfaces. But spraying too much polish can damage our surfaces. The accumulation of residues can not only be absorbed into the surface, causing it to deform, but also cause discoloration. Any of these scenarios will create extra work as you will need to remove excess varnish.

Experts suggest that furniture polish is only good for protecting wood finishes, not cleaning them, so use the polish with care. Instead of spraying directly onto a wood surface, spray onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe surfaces evenly. You can also learn how to clean hardwood floors without damaging them.

5. Air fresheners purify the air

Lemons and baking soda

Lemons and baking soda (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common myth is that air fresheners purify the air and get rid of odors. And while spraying can instantly fill a room with fragrance, you are actually only scenting the room and masking the odor, not deodorizing the air and removing the odor. After a few minutes, the smell will return!

If you want to get rid of stubborn odors, baking soda is a natural deodorant as it absorbs and locks in odors. You can leave a small container or tray of baking soda in there to help absorb odors. Similarly, you can try this simple hack to keep your bathroom smelling fresh all week long.

6. You should vacuum before dusting

Clean the white carpet with a vacuum cleaner

Clean the white carpet with a vacuum cleaner (Image credit: Shutterstock)

How many times have you taken a quick look at your floors before dusting? We all have our cleaning rituals, but if you leave the dust for last, it will only dissipate into the air, and it will again settle on the floor that you just cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

Be sure to wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth before you tackle the floor. This way you won’t have any more hard labor. Also, try not to make any of these vacuuming mistakes for best results.

7. More laundry detergent will make clothes cleaner.

The cap is filled with liquid laundry detergent

The cap is filled with liquid laundry detergent (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There is a common myth that the more detergent you use, the cleaner your laundry will be. However, it can actually make it dirtier. When you use too much detergent, it can leave slippery soapy residue on your clothes. Not only does this mean that your clothes have not been washed properly, but they will also need to be washed again to remove this residue.

In addition, your washing machine will have to work harder to remove excess foam. If it can’t rinse them effectively, your laundry will end up with detergent residue that can cause allergic reactions when transferred to other laundry. It is always best to use the correct amount of detergent (as indicated on the package) to wash your laundry and try not to make these 7 laundry mistakes.

8. Cleaners start working instantly

Cleaning the refrigerator door with a cloth

Cleaning the refrigerator door with a cloth (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another common myth is that if you spray a cleaner on a surface, it will clean it immediately after wiping. While this may promise “fast action” on the bottle, you should allow the solution to settle on the surface before wiping it down. For example, kitchen cleaner or any household grout will take time to dissolve the grease on the stove or dirty surfaces.

Wiping off the cleaning product too early will likely result in dirt and germs still remaining. Not only will the health hazard still be present, you will also lose the cleaning agent. After spraying the solution, be sure to leave it on for a couple of minutes before wiping or rinsing it off.

9. White Vinegar Can Clean Anything

White vinegar and spray bottle

White vinegar and spray bottle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

White vinegar is commonly used at home as a natural cleaning agent, but there are things that white vinegar cannot clean. Marble and granite countertops are two of them. White vinegar is highly acidic and can attack natural stone surfaces. This can cause discoloration and damage to the finish, ruining its smooth and shiny appearance. Because marble, granite, or any other natural stone are expensive materials, repairing any damage can be costly.

Instead, keep stone countertops sparkling by simply using dish soap and warm water. And if you don’t know which vinegar to use for things that can be cleaned with it, here is the best vinegar for cleaning with great results.

Be sure to learn what makes baking soda and vinegar such good cleaners and how to clean with unscented vinegar. Also, make sure you don’t make these 7 bathroom cleaning mistakes when tidying up the bathroom, or these 5 decluttering mistakes when cleaning before the New Year.

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