The Worst Pieces of Cleaning Advice These Experts Have Ever Heard

updated Jun 11, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

In my humble opinion, the single best best role played by anyone or anything in cinematic history is … Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The cleaning agent is the Portakolos family’s personal cure-all for anything “from psoriasis to poison ivy.” Mess-related or not, you got a problem? “Put some Windex on it.”

The Windex thing isn’t the only cleaning legend out there that isn’t exactly true. There are tons of them. In hopes of debunking the worst of the worst, and tell fact from fiction, we consulted a few cleaning experts for the worst cleaning-related old wives’ tales they’ve ever heard. Here are their choice no-nos. Funny enough, none of them talked about Windex!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Soak a dirty pan with a dryer sheet.

“One kitchen cleaning tip that really irks me is cleaning a dirty pan with a dryer sheet. While it’s advised to soak the pan with the dryer sheet and gunk is broken down overnight, there are several other ways to accomplish the same result — using a product that’s actually intended for (and safe to be used on!) cookware and that can help make this cleaning task a breeze. Frankly, even just soaking a dirty pan overnight is going to make it significantly easier to clean. The dryer sheet is superfluous at best.” — Melissa Maker, author of Clean My Space

Credit: DenisMArt

2. Clean with soda.

“I think it’s silly using Coca Cola to clean … anything at all. Sure, it’s acidic, but adding sugar and caramel coloring means it’s pretty useless as a cleaning agent. Use another kind of acidic cleaner — like vinegar — instead.” — Rachel Hoffman, author of Unf*ck Your Habit: You’re Better Than Your Mess

Credit: Emma Fiala

3. Use toilet bowl cleaner to whiten grout.

“The premise is that you use the spout to apply the toilet bowl cleaner to any grout (like floor tiles and backsplash), let it sit, and wipe it clean. There are a lot of reasons why I disagree, but first, I don’t know how you could safely rinse it from the floor. Toilet cleaner is sticky, hard to remove, and most cleaners contain bleach and other chemicals not intended for us to be walking on. ” — Becky Rapinchuk, Founder of Clean Mama and author of Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day

4. Cleaning windows with newspaper.

“I mean, I guess you could do it … but the ink could also smear on your windows or run onto your windowsill. Why risk it? Just use a microfiber cloth, which won’t leave any lint, streaks, or ink behind!” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director at The Kitchn

5. Mixing baking soda and vinegar.

“I always give a little side-eye whenever somebody recommends cleaning something by mixing baking soda and vinegar. If you remember your grade-school science fair volcano, mixing baking soda and vinegar delivers a bubbly reaction that seems like it could be a powerhouse cleaner, but you’re actually just making … water. There’s a lot happening, chemically, but the CliffsNotes version is that the result is basically carbon dioxide gas and salty water. The agitation of the fizzy reaction itself can be useful to physically break up and carry away dirt — like in a clogged drain — but there’s no magic to the mixture at all. Separately, baking soda and vinegar can be really powerful cleaners: Baking soda is great at scrubbing and deodorizing, while vinegar is a natural disinfectant. If you want an abrasive scrubbing solution, I’d recommend making a baking soda paste — take maybe a half-cup of baking soda and add a few tablespoons of water until it’s a spreadable consistency that holds together. ” Taryn Williford, Lifestyle Director at Apartment Therapy

What about you? What’s the worst cleaning advice you’ve ever heard?