We are all looking for good cleaning hacks and ways to make cleaning easier, more efficient, more environmental and less expensive. But some of the old wives' tales and accepted conventional wisdom aren't all that wise. Here are some cleaning myths and what to do instead.
Bleach isn't the end-all be-all cleaner for everything. While excellent for disinfecting surfaces, getting stains out of white clothes, and killing mold and mildew (unless the growth has metastasized out of control), bleach isn't great for just anything. It does not cut grease or loosen dirt because it doens't have granular properties or an acidic base. For that, vinegar and baking soda are better bets. Also, bleach can, well, bleach out colors, which isn't good if you don't want white spots in the middle of your green tablecloth.
But speaking of vinegar, vinegar isn't an all-purpose cleaner either. Unlike bleach, it's great for cutting grease, addressing rust, or removing dirt and baked on limescale on pots and pans. However, vinegar will damage your floors and certain kinds of countertops made from natural stone such as granite and marble. Vinegar is an acid. Bleach is a base. Consider this when you are trying to figure out whether or not to use which of these substances on what surface.
Coca-cola is not a cleaner. I can't believe this needs to be said, but it's better not to use soda for this off-label purpose. While the acid from the soda may fight hard water stains, scale, and rust, but the sugar will encourage bacterial growth and leave a sticky residue. So maybe try vinegar with baking soda or a store bought cleaner instead.
Dishwashers and clothes washing machines don't clean themselves. Both appliances have self-cleaning options and it's smart to run them periodically. Merely expecting that they experience internal self-cleaning while they are doing their jobs is not enough. Dishwashers retain food scraps, limescale and grease which can stick to limescale and washing machines can breed bacteria (even salmonella—and I thought you could only get that from uncooked chicken!).
Speaking of laundry, cold water is great to save energy, preserve colors, and prevent shrinkage, but cold water doesn't kill germs or remove all dirt. So if you are running a cycle of dirty rags, sheets and towels (which tend to be repositories for dead skin cells and human oils), or clothing that isn't going to risk shrinkage or fading, then warm or hot water might be a good choice. Also, don't use too much laundry detergent. More is definitely not better. Too much can often leave residue on your clothes and shorten their lifespan.
One other point on dishwashing: hand washing dishes does not necessarily save water, especially in a world where most appliances are now energy saver friendly. Dishwashers actually save about 5000 gallons of water per year. If you do need to hand wash something, consider using a bucket full of soap in the sink and running the water judiciously when needed to rinse off your wares.
Air fresheners don't actually freshen your air. While they do mask odors temporarily, they don't actually rid the air of noxious particles. For that you need plants like gardenias and air circulation like HVAC equipment, fans and open windows to move the particles out.
One of our favorite cleaning tools here at PopUP CleanUP is the microfiber towel. Microfiber towels, vacuums, and wet cloths do a great job of removing dust and dirt. Feather dusters do not actually get rid of dust. They simply act to push the dust around. And while string mops absorb a lot more water than microfiber mops, string mops can sometimes slosh dirty water around whereas microfiber mops are best at picking up dirt and dust.
PopUP CleanUP specializes in commercial and event cleaning and offering real solutions instead of mythological ones to make your workspace or event venues shine.