Debunking the cleaning tips from your youth

In an effort to avoid the toxic cleaning chemicals in your homes, there are a host of gold old fashioned cleaning tips you use. It’s likely they have been passed down by your mothers and your grandmothers before her.

When it comes to such remedies it’s good to sort the fact from the fiction. Is soda water really good at removing stains? Can coffee grounds be used to unclog your drains? These are the questions that need to be answered.

Cleaning company Helpling put some of those natural cleaning remedies to the test, and the answers might surprise you.


Cleaning and unclogging pipes with coffee

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Don’t be fooled into thinking coffee grounds function the same ways as sandpaper or Draino. Instead of scrubbing pipes the grounds mix with the remains in your pipes and could lead to further clogging. The best way of cleaning and clogging your pipes is to use 4 teaspoons of baking soda into the sink, then add a cup of vinegar. If it fizzes and bubbles, rinse it down with hot water and your pipes should be unclogged.

Vinegar can be used as a multipurpose cleaning agent

Unfortunately, using vinegar for ‘everything’ doesn’t work. Yes, vinegar has a strong reputation for being able to clean many, many things but here’s a few places you should be avoiding using it: stone surfaces (like granite bench tops or marble tables), around rubber seals, and on pipes. The acid from the vinegar reacts negatively with those materials.

Wearing gloves is hygienic

If you thought slipping on a pair of latex gloves would protect you from germs and bacteria, you might just be mistaken. The surface on the inside of your glove creates humidity and that’s a lovely breeding ground for bacteria to spawn. The best way to protect yourself from the nasties is to make sure your gloves are dried and stored safely after each use. You can clean them out by using hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons of vinegar.

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Coke can unclog your toilet

Have you seen the Mentos and Coke trick to unclog your toilet? The high pressure generated can clear a blockage, but the pressure can destroy your pipes. A more effective method would be to pour hot (not boiling) water one metre from the toilet bowl as the energy will remove the blockage and save you having to clean up a sticky mess.


Pots can be cleaned with tomato sauce

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If you’ve got pots with blackened bases from years of use, reach for the tomato sauce. Most stainless steel pots have a layer of copper and copper oxide is formed during cooking. Tomato sauce contains acetic acid that attacks the copper active base of the pan or pot. If you add a thick layer of tomato sauce to the base of the pan and leave it for 30 minutes before wiping it away.

Plants help rid your house of dust

Dust gets everywhere, even if you spend hours cleaning the house every weekend it will make a return soon after you’re done. The good news is having plants around your house can help filter the pollutants from the air and provide you with fresh oxygen. Ferns and orchids are good because as they catch the floating dust in the air you can wipe their leaves with a damp cloth.

Lemon juice makes your exhaust duct shine

Exhausts are like magnets for odours and oil stains. It creates a sticky mess that can be hard to remove… Unless you have a lemon. By cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the juice segment all over the surface of the exhaust the acid will quickly remove the fats and oils clogging things up. Avoid using stainless steel sponges as they tend to scratch, and you don’t want to diminish that shine.

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Oil removes sticky residues on doors

Butter and oil can dissolve glue most effectively. By mixing olive oil with a pinch of salt in a bowl and rubbing that mixture on the sticky places with a kitchen cloth, you can dissolve glue and sticky residues. When the offending material is gone, wipe the area clean with some water and a bit of detergent.

Sparkling water removes stains

Got a stain on your shirt? Red wine in your carpet? Grab that bottle of sparkling or soda water and let the carbon dioxide dissolve the colour and tannins from the fabric. Unfortunately the method doesn’t work for fat or oil stains.

Clean silver jewellery and silverware with toothpaste

If your silver jewellery is starting to look dull, get a tube of toothpaste. Scrubbing your silver jewellery and ornaments with white toothpaste  and a toothbrush will put the shine back in your pieces again.

What cleaning tips and tricks do you use? Have you used any of the tips above?