08
Jun

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Were Cleaning Wrong

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Were Cleaning Wrong

Cleaning your house is an emotional roller coaster — you want to clean it, you procrastinate, you finally clean it and then your house is dirty again. But if you’re not cleaning your house correctly, certain items stay dirty and that can be bad for your health.

We want you to stay healthy. So we’ve rounded up some of the best advice we’ve ever heard on how to clean the stuff in your home — from the bedroom to the bathroom and beyond.

1.Toilets
Even though your shower is sparkling and your toilet bowl looks impeccable, there’s one area you’re probably missing, and that’s the back of your toilet. Though it’s hard to see, it’s easy for urine and fecal matter to build up there, leaving a residue that’s both gross and tough to clean. Try this HuffPost hack from author Jolie Kerr: Roll up a few paper towels like a cigar, soaking them in a bathroom cleaner and “floss” the area until it’s spick-and-span.

2. Garbage disposals
Though you might be convinced your kitchen garbage disposal gets rid of all the food you throw down there everyday, it’s important to clean the (likely smelly) disposal once a week. Instead of using a store-bought sink cleaner, using homemade white vinegar ice cubes (yep, just freeze ‘em yourself) or throwing in citrus rinds and cold water is just as effective.

3. Towels
Aside from squashing that whole “higher thread count is better” rumor, luxury linens designer Nancy Koltes also shot down the use of fabric softeners to “clean” towels. “Fabric softeners or worse, fabric softener sheets, function by putting a coating on fabrics which cannot be removed, rendering towels in particular less absorbent.”

cleaning towels

4. Humidifiers
Using a humidifier helps prevent congestion in the winter and alleviates the symptoms of psoriasis, but it can also do serious damage (like give you the flu or another serious lung infection) if you’re not cleaning it regularly and the right way. Instead of just changing the water every so often, the Mayo Clinic advises changing the water in the tank daily, cleaning your humidifier every three days and making sure the surrounding area is dry. Make sure to deep clean your humidifier at least once a month by taking everything apart and scrubbing it with white vinegar.

5. Pet hair
Pet hair can be one of the biggest nuisances in cleaning your home and despite daily cleanings, you might not always get up all the hair and fur you want to. One of the best tricks in the book is to wet a pair of rubber gloves and run it over furniture — ensuring you get everything the vacuum, tape and lint rollers did not.

6. Workout clothes
If you think you’re really washing the smell out of your workout clothes by simply using detergent, think again. Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple, told HuffPost’s OWN that she recommends adding white vinegar and baking soda to kill the smelly bacteria. Put clothes in the washer as your normally would, adding vinegar the first time you run the load. After one wash, use a half-cup of baking soda, and then throw clothes into the dryer.

doing laundry

7. Red wine stains
Contrary to popular belief, using white wine to get out red wine stains isn’t the best option for cleaning them up. Instead, Ingrid Johnson, Professor and Assistant Chairperson of Textile Development and Marketing at the Fashion Institute Of Technology, told us to sprinkle salt on freshly-spilled wine before blotting it up, and oxi products for old red wine stains that have already dried.

8. Coffeemakers
Instead of cleaning out coffeemakers with hot water (or worse, coffee) every so often, Carolyn Forté, director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, told us, “The carafe, lid and filter basket should be cleaned daily with warm, sudsy water.” This advice also applies to cleaning Keurigs, though Forté recommends running white vinegar through the machine every few months as well.

9. Knives
Are you one of those people that thinks just about anything can go in the dishwasher? If so, your sharp knives are getting duller by the wash. Make sure to take anything that’s not dishwasher safe (yes, that includes those knives) and hand wash them with warm water and soap.

dishwasher knives

10. Sheets
It’s estimated that people spend about one-third of their lives asleep, which means we have to try even harder to keep our bedding extra clean. While we thought washing our sheets once a week was acceptable, for those who eat or snack in bed, one expert told us that wasn’t nearly enough. According to Kadi Dulude, the owner of top New York City cleaning service Wizard Of Homes, those who eat in bed will want to wash your sheets at least every three days.

  • Banana Peel
    Jupiterimages
    Use a banana peel to polish your silverware — blend the peels with a little bit of water to make a polishing paste.
  • Cucumber
    Getty Images
    Use cucumber slices to polish stainless steel pots, pans or your faucet and sink. Also use it to remove marks from walls — it works like an eraser.
  • Onions
    Getty Images
    Get your grill piping hot and use an onion half (stuck onto the prongs of a long-handled fork) to scrub the grates clean.
  • Tea
    Getty Images
    Use your used tea bags (cooled) to clean wood surfaces like cabinets and floors and use the cooled tea as a polish — the tea’s tannins do all the work of cleaning.
  • Walnuts
    Getty Images
    Use a walnut half to remove scratches from wood cabinetry or furniture — its natural oils help lift scratches.
  • Rice
    Getty Images
    Use a small amount of rice to clean out your coffee grinder — just whizz and dump.
  • Ketchup
    alamy
    Use ketchup to polish all kinds of copper: pots, pans and bowls. The natural acidity of the tomatoes will make the copper shine.
  • Stale Bread
    Getty Images
    Use stale bread to clean your spice grinder or coffee grinder — it will remove any leftover residue and smell.
  • Coffee Grinds
    Corbis
    Use used coffee grinds as a hand scrub or a cleaning scrub for greasy surfaces. You can also use the grinds to deodorize your fridge.
  • Club Soda
    Schweppes
    Use club soda to remove stains from fabrics and carpeting. It’s also great for cleaning your cast-iron skillet — just pour some into your hot skillet after cooking and let it work its magic.
  • Olive Oil
    Getty Images
    Use olive oil to buff your stainless steel pots and pans. Also use it to clean your cast-iron skillet — make a paste with some coarse salt and scrub.
  • Salt
    Corbis
    Coarse salt is great as a natural scouring agent. Use it to scrub your wood cutting board (with a lemon half). Pour some table salt onto an oven spill to make it easier to clean up later. Table salt also works to lift a fresh wine stain from a tablecloth — wash the fabric soon after.
  • Lemon
    The natural acidity of lemons is great for cleaning. Use a lemon half to clean and remove stains from your wood cutting board and use it to polish your copper (with some baking soda). It also works to remove lime scale from your kitchen faucet. Put a lemon half down your garbage disposal to deodorize.
  • Vinegar
    Getty Images
    White vinegar can be used as an all-purpose surface cleaner — for tough cleaning use it straight but for general cleaning halve it with water. Also use vinegar to remove water stains from glasses.

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