3 Home Cleaning Tips And Tricks That Do More Harm Than Good

Posted on: 29 December 2014

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Are you a stickler for the household cleaning tips and tricks you find circulating social media sites? Do you stop to read any bit of information that offers new, convenient, penny-saving ways to take care of your household chores? If so, it may be time to slow down. Many of these trendy little tips and tricks offer no real benefit, and some even cause more harm than good. Below are three great examples of cleaning tricks to avoid.

Clean Your Kitchen Sponges In Your Microwave Or Dishwasher

That little sponge sitting on your kitchen sink is likely the most germ-infested thing in your entire house. It collects and holds all kinds of harmful bacteria, and then you smear those bacteria all over whatever you're cleaning the next time you use the sponge.

Thankfully, you can just throw that nasty old thing in your dishwasher or microwave to totally sterilize it... or can you?

As it turns out, your microwave does a pretty bad job of disinfecting your sponges because there are areas in it called cold spots where the heat can't reach. And as for your dishwasher, unless you have a special high-heat germicide cycle, it won't get hot enough to do the job, either. If you're relying on either of these two appliances to rid your sponges of yucky germs, you're disinfecting wrong.

Contracting salmonella or E. coli isn't a risk you want to take, so use disposable cloths to clean up any meat juice spills and sanitize your sponges daily by soaking them in a solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water for five minutes. Replace your sponges at the first sign of any funky odors.

Use Vinegar To Clean Pretty Much Anything

According to the posts on nearly every social media site, vinegar is the go-to cupboard ingredient for all of your household cleaning needs. Just mix yourself a big bucket of vinegar and water, and you can merrily go about cleaning your counters, your floors, your shower, and even your windows and carpets.

There's bad news, though. Before you rush out and buy stock in this be-all of cleaning supplies, you should know that vinegar can actually severely damage stone surfaces.

There are two main categories of stone -- siliceous and calcareous. The siliceous category consists of very hard, durable stones such as granite, slate, quartz, and brownstone. Using a mildly acidic solution of vinegar and water will perform well for cleaning these stones.

The calcareous category, however, consists of stones that are made up primarily of calcium carbonate which is sensitive to acid corrosion. Marble, limestone, and onyx fall under this category, so if you don't know exactly what composition of stone your floors or counters are made of, you could ruin them with the old "use vinegar for everything" home cleaning tip.

Calcareous stones are not only sensitive to acid -- they're expensive, too. Have any stone surfaces in your house examined by a professional before you clean them and if you find you're dealing with one of the more sensitive types of stone, it's best to leave the cleaning to the professionals, too. 

Get Rid Of Garbage Disposal Odors With Coffee Grounds

Have you seen the handy garbage disposal cleaning trick for coffee lovers? According to many DIY cleaning product blogs, you can just dump your old coffee grounds down the drain and they'll get rid of icky smells and replace them with the aroma of fresh-brewed java! This tip is so hot that some people have even come up with recipes for adorable little coffee garbage disposal cleaning cakes.

Before you bust out your mixing bowl to make garbage disposal cleaning fun for you and all your friends, you should know that coffee grounds don't break down in water, so shoving a bunch down the drain will eventually inevitably cause a plug.

Throw your used coffee grounds in your garbage or spread them in your garden to act as fertilizer. Properly clean your garbage disposal by filling it up with ice, sprinkling a generous amount of rock salt on top of the ice, and then running the disposal for five to ten seconds with the cold water turned on.

You can check it out and learn some pretty neat home cleaning tricks while browsing the Internet, but not all of them are legitimately useful. No matter what surface of your home you're cleaning, it's best to stick to the cleaning instructions on its owner's manual or to consult a reputable professional who has experience in cleaning the type of material it's made of.