November 2, 2016 by Neal Zott
Remember the game Telephone? One person whispered a secret message to the person beside them. Then the message is passed down one by one in succession until the final person gets the message. The final person then says out loud what the secret message is, but somehow the secret message is now totally different. That’s how misconceptions are formed. They begin as truths, but over time these truths morph into completely different ideas. We see them in all areas of our lives. Here’s a list of 11 house cleaning myths.
MYTH 1: ANY CLEANER WILL DO
Multi-surface cleaners make life easy. They’re a catchall for any surface that needs cleaning. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. While great for minor jobs around the house, there can be a number of factors that play into selecting the best cleaning agent. The type of surface being cleaned, and what exactly is being scrubbed off. Grease caked on a ceramic stove stop, will be very different from grimy buildup on bathroom tile. A multi surface tool might get the job done with a lot of scrubbing, but a specialty product will take far less leg work using less product. Saving you time and money.
The good news, is high quality cleaning products come with instructions! Even though we seem like we’re born knowing how to clean, that isn’t the case. We just took the time to study every cleaning product we use, and what jobs they are best for. It’s why we are professionals. I don’t expect you to sit down and read every label, but a good rule of thumb, is always test the product in a small inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t mess anything up.
MYTH 2: BLEACH IS THE BEST CLEANING SOLUTION
Many believe Bleach is the holy grail of cleaning products. While it’s true bleach wipes out everything in it’s path, by and large it’s incredibly unsafe to use. Working with high concentration bleach can burn your eyes, nose and throat, and just diluting it with water won’t stop the toxic chemicals from potentially harming your kids and pets. While effective, Bleach should be a tool of last resort. There’s far safer alternatives that do just as good a job as bleach without the negative implications.
MYTH 3: ALL CLEANING PRODUCTS ARE USED THE SAME WAY
Each cleaning solution has it’s own way of operating. Glass cleaners for example are simple point and spray, and wipe away. They work great for quick clean-up of windows and mirrors. The same method won’t work for grease and grime. Depending on how built up the gunk has become will determine which product you use, how long the product needs to soak, and if any specialty tools will be needed to clean the surface completely. For tough heavy duty jobs, and speciality cleaner might need to sit for 5-7 minutes, then be scrubbed with steel wool, before being wiped away clean.
Learning this takes some trial and error. Over time you’ll develop an intuition for this and know with just a quick glance what the cleanup will require.
MYTH 4: VINEGAR IS BEST… IT’S ECO-FRIENDLY!
Vinegar is a great cleaning solution. It’s the base of many eco-friendly products, and outside of it’s relatively strong odor, it’s an amazing resource. For certain clean up jobs, a speciality cleaner will be required. This goes back to understanding what surface is being cleaned, and how the product will interact with that surface. There’s no catch all cleaner. I wish there was. My job of finding the best cleaning solutions for my teams would be simplified tremendously!
MYTH 5: TOUGH CLEANING JOB? USE MORE CLEANING SOLUTION!
More is not always better. Often times the opposite is true. Understand what surface or fabric is being cleaned. A small amount of a specialty product might work far better than soaking in a mountain of detergent or general cleaning solution. When you use too much cleaning solution, oftentimes you run the risk of leaving a sticky residue behind. This will also cost you money over time in wasted products!
I remember the first time I did laundry, I had no idea how much detergent to use. I assumed I couldn’t go wrong by using too much, so proceeded to use nearly half of a gallon jug of laundry detergent. The laundry machine overflowed with soap and spilled all over our laundry room. I spent the next 3 hours cleaning up soap, and knew to always research before assuming more was better.
MYTH 6: FREQUENT VACUUMING WEARS CARPET
The opposite here is true. Keeping your carpets free of dust and dirt, will extend the life of your carpets for years. Vacuuming others the fibers in your carpet to breath. It helps release tangled fibers, and keeps your carpets and rugs looking factory fresh.
Foot traffic, pet stains and spills, and dirt is what wears down carpets. Take a look at your carpets. My guess is you can tell exactly where the main pathways through your home are. These are the areas to tend to on a regular basis. Actively vacuum, and bring in a professional carpet cleaning on an annual basis. The cost of hiring a service to extend the life of your carpets, will far outweigh the cost of replacing your carpets.
MYTH 7: BUT IT SAYS “I’M GREEN”
The latest movement nationwide is “Go Green”. We see this everywhere from cars, to food. Just like people seek organic produce from their local market, many people want safer alternatives to harsh chemicals. This is great, and supporting the environment is incredibly important. But, don’t assume just because a label says “Green” or “Organic”, that that’s actually the case.
Make a habit of reading the label of every product you buy, and verifying whether what they say is “green”, actually is. Google will be your best friend here. If a certain product contains and number of things you’ve never seen before, search Google for the answer. You can do this right from your phone, and avoid the risk of buying something you don’t want being used around your family.
MYTH 8: SPRAY IT WITH FEBREZE
Cleaning solution manufacturers take advantage of the common misconception that if something smells clean, it actually is. Febreze made an entire industry out of it. A well cleaned home will smell clean regardless of what cleaning product was used. There will be no need to add a facade of cleanliness with an air freshener. Clean homes smell fresh, like to a breath of fresh air when you walk outside on a summer morning.
MYTH 9: WON’T STEAM CLEANING MY CARPETS CAUSE MOLD TO GROW?
This myth comes from the idea that mold likes dirty wet places. This is true! Mold and mildew thrive in dirty, damp, and dark conditions. If you dumped a bucket of water on your carpets each day and just let it dry, it would grow a whole ton of mold! What steam cleaning does, is wash away dirt and grime, while maintaining a high temperature that kills any bacteria remaining. It’s like hitting the reset button on your carpets.
A professional carpet cleaner is the go to source for this type of work. General house cleaning companies won’t have the equipment required to do this, but should have recommendations of local companies they can refer to.
Myth 10: HOMEMADE PRODUCTS DON’T WORK LIKE STORE BOUGHT BRANDS
Homemade products using blends found online or in magazines, often clean just as well if not better than commercial grade cleaners. These tend to be safer less harsh solutions as well. The same scrutiny involved in selecting a household cleaner from a store, should go into mixing your own proprietary solution. Test a variety of blends to find the best one for your needs. You’ll need a number of different options to tackle the various cleaning jobs around your home. This may save you some money in the long run, but will take some research and effort testing which solution is best.
Myth 11: USE WINDEX AND PAPER TOWELS ON YOUR WINDOWS AND MIRRORS
Windex is easy and for the most part, does an okay job of cleaning glass. But, speak to any window cleaning company, and I guarantee they would never allow windex in their workplace. This is because, it simply doesn’t work as well as other products. Check out some resources online, but the cheapest and best method for cleaning windows is tap water and a dash of dish soap.
You can wash your windows at home using just a few hand towels. Use one towel soaked in your cleaning solution to wash the window. Then use one or two other towels to dry the window. Be sure to dry every spot using a towel, and not leave any to dry on it’s own. Streaks are caused by water left behind. This is why commercial cleaning companies use squeegees. They block any water from being left behind.