Bad Cleaning Hacks that Just Don’t Work (and Alternate Tricks!)

June 5, 2018 by JulietAyer

We all would love to live a mess-free life and be able to do so in the easiest way possible. There are so many home cleaning “hacks” that have been around for years that are of suspect origin. They are supposed to be used to make cleaning easier and affordable. With all these cleaning “hacks” available, there is always that one question that pops up: “Do they really work?”. As a parent and a spouse, I question the accuracy of these cleaning “hacks” and would like to put any doubts to rest. You will be surprised how many of these cleaning “hacks” people swear by, actually do not work! Some are just plain ridiculous and can actually cause more problems than you started with. Below are two kinds of cleaning hacks -the kinds that work, and the kinds that don’t.

5 Cleaning Hacks to Avoid

1. Soak your knives in vinegar to remove rust:

This is a well-known cleaning “hack” claimed to be the best way to remove those nasty rust spots from your kitchen knives. Supposedly, giving your kitchen knives a good soak in a glass of vinegar is supposed to remove persistent spots. This method is, to say the least, a failure. I tried this method, lemon juice, and my personal favorite cleaning method : a baking soda and water combination scrub. All of these did not do a thing.

I did find that using a potato is an actual hack that does work. Here’s what to do: slice the potato in half and dip the sliced side in baking soda. Then, scrub your knife with the potato. Wash your knife and rub it with just a little bit of vegetable oil. Using the vegetable oil will help prevent the future development of rust. If you’re finding this to be ineffective, simply stick your knife into the potato and let it sit there for approximately 20 minutes. Then, wash and apply oil. Not only are potatoes an excellent baked treat, but an excellent rust remover as well.

2. Use hairspray to remove an ink stain:

This is a known trick you may have heard before, probably from your mother. In the 1960’s, this was a great trick to use, since back then, hairspray still contained alcohol. Now if you were to use hairspray on your fabrics, all this old hack will do is leave you with ruined clothing. What I had found was, pre-soaking stained clothing in bleach that is color safe and oxygenated, followed by a high concentrated pretreat solution, is a better solution. Afterwards, you should soak the clothing item in warm water in your sink or wash basin.

3. Put newspaper in your refrigerator as an odor absorber:

This hack is just ridiculous – unless you plan on catching up on some cold news. Of course, I would want my refrigerator to smell good, but using newspapers sounds crazy and that’s because it is. Even if this was a hack that did work, why would anyone want to put fresh fruits and vegetables on top of a dirty newspaper? The newspaper will not keep your fridge from any odors at all, trust me. What it will do is leave ink all over your food. A good old box of Arm & Hammer baking soda is the best way to go to about keeping your fridge odor free. For a bonus, the baking soda will not leave ink all over everything in your fridge. For future reference, newspapers are for reading, not cleaning.

4. Combine baking soda and vinegar for an all-purpose cleaner:

Although baking soda and vinegar can be wonderful natural cleaners, this is not true when they are combined. Vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base. When vinegar and baking soda are mixed together, they cancel each other out, leaving you with plain salt water. Saltwater, unlike vinegar or baking soda individually, is not great for cleaning, even a little bit. For this hack, when you combine these ingredients together, they bubble up and starts to foam. This reaction leads you to believe there is some type of magic going on, when in reality, neutralization is occurring.  Other than getting your slow drain moving properly again, your favorite cleaners are much better for all-purpose jobs.

5. Putting pillows in your dryer with some tennis balls to get them back to being fluffy, as well as killing germs with the high heat:

Admittedly, this hack isn’t completely a “hack.” There is a kernel of truth behind this hack. This will help fluff up your pillows and possibly kill a little bit of germs and bacteria. There is a much better way to do this though. You should obviously wash your pillows first. When they are done in the washer, put them in the dryer with the tennis balls. So, technically this hack works, but how it is generally stated to use is not really what should be done. Washing will help kill bacteria and germs better. To get the fluff back, using the tennis balls in the dryer with washed pillows is the way to go.

6.  Soak a Magic Eraser in the toilet to remove stains:

The Magic Eraser is a great product to have handy for sure, being multipurpose. However, soaking it in the toilet is not one of those uses.

The beauty of the Magic Eraser is actually in the formulation of the sponge. All these tiny micro-scrubbers is what makes them so wonderful and magical. Although the eraser can do a lot for cleaning, sitting in a toilet bowl is not going to make stains magically disappear. Depending on what type of stain you are dealing with in your toilet bowl, the best way to try and remove them is to actually use the sponge and scrub your toilet bowl. It may just work and the stains will be removed. Letting this sponge sit in the toilet is just a waste of a wonderful cleaning tool.

There are so many cleaning hacks out there. Some, going back in the past, and new hacks are added to the list now as well. With a quick internet search, you will find thousands of tips to try. However, that does not mean they all will work,  or will even be worth all your time in effort in trying them. The purpose of cleaning hacks is to make cleaning easier and affordable with items you already have or not that expensive to purchase. Stick with what you know actually works. We tried this cleaning hacks so you didn’t have to.