Spring Cleaning Myths—Busted!
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Come Clean1 of 10
By Alison Gee
It's hard to think about spring without also thinking about spring cleaning—that special time of year when you're supposed to give your home a serious scouring. But, before you break out the mop and the rubber gloves, be sure you're not falling for these mistakes. Here, we debunk the most common cleaning myths and misconceptions—plus show you the best ways to spring clean.
Fighting Grime2 of 10
Contrary to popular belief, bleach is not the end all, be all of cleaners. It only kills germs and removes stains—it doesn't get rid of ground-in dirt and grime. What's more, its powerful fumes can be toxic to inhale. Stick with general all-purpose cleaners for countertop cleaning and reserve bleach for heavy-duty jobs like removing mold and mildew.
Handle With Care3 of 10
While it may seem like your bathroom and kitchen need the most attention, there are other secret germ hideouts that could be even dirtier. "Fixtures in your house such as doorknobs and switch plates should be at the top of your cleaning list," says Barbara Reich, author of Secrets of an Organized Mom. "People forget to clean these 'often-touched' areas where viruses can survive for hours."
Total Garbage4 of 10
Lemons and your morning coffee grounds might make drains smell better but they don't actually clean the garbage disposals. Worst of all, coffee grounds can accumulate and clog pipes. "Acid in lemon juice may help disinfect, but vinegar or hydrogen peroxide work best to kill germs," says Debra Lynn Dadd, author of Toxic Free: How to Protect Your Health and Home From the Chemicals That Are Making You Sick.
Soda Solution5 of 10
Although the citric and phosphoric acid in soda may help remove some stains, they do nothing to destroy bacteria and other organisms that grow in the toilet bowl and stain the surface. What works? "Vinegar," says Dadd. "Just pour some in the toilet bowl and let it sit and the stains come right off."
Natural Selection6 of 10
It's great to go green, but natural cleaners do have their limits. "Lemon juice is a good natural cleaner, but it's less effective and has to sit a long time to kill germs," says Reich. And while white vinegar is generally nonabrasive, it can damage marble, granite and other natural stone surfaces. Instead, look for EPA-registered disinfectants, which are tested for their germ-killing ability.
Upholstery Upgrade7 of 10
No, you don't have to lug your upholstery to the dry cleaners every time it gets dirty. Skip pricey professional cleanings and steam clean instead. "A steam cleaner steams away dirt with plain water to keep upholstery looking fresh," says Dadd.
Into the Woods8 of 10
More is not better when it comes to wood polish. In fact, too much of the stuff can be a magnet for dirt. The solution: Regularly dust wood floors and furniture instead of swabbing them with polish, says Mark Newman-Kuzel, president and CEO of Maid in The USA.
Suck It Up9 of 10
While it's true rotating bristles on vacuums can stretch out carpet fibers, dirt will cause more damage in the long run, so regular vacuuming can't be skipped. "Carpets come in patterns that are supposed to help hide stains, so it may look clean even when it's not," says Reich. Vacuum once a week and hire a reputable carpet cleaning company for a deep clean once a year.
One & Done10 of 10
It's great that you set aside your Saturday to clean house, but don't expect to get everything done in one day. "Spring cleaning, when done properly, can take several weeks," says Holly Bohn, expert organizer and founder of See Jane Work. "Cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing are not tasks that should be combined." Tackle just one room or room type (like bathrooms or bedrooms) at a time and you'll be more efficient and less overwhelmed.
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