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Revealed: The truth behind the biggest cleaning myths

From the right way to use bleach to what vacuuming really does to your carpets, we reveal the facts behind these phony cleaning tips

By Amy Lewis, 10 January 2016
Revealed: The truth behind the biggest cleaning myths

Does vacuuming really damage your carpet? Will using more bleach kill more germs? Does cleaning the kitchen with vinegar really work?

The inside of your washing machine does indeed harbour germ build-up which can transfer onto garments

We reveal the true cleaning tips behind these popular dust-busting myths.

The myth: The more bleach you use, the tougher it is on dirt and stains
The truth: When it comes to busting grime with bleach, effectiveness isn’t about how much you use, but how long you leave it on the area. Bleach works by breaking down chemical bonds during a process called oxidation. So the longer you leave the bleach on a patch of stubborn dirt, the easier it’ll be to wipe away, as the chemicals will have had more time to act. Always check the product label for usage guidelines.

The myth: Use hairspray to tackle an ink stain
The truth: While old-school hairsprays used to be the go-to solution for removing ink stains, modern versions of the product are now less effective due to the reduced amounts of alcohol used in them. To really tackle ink stains, it’s best to leave the hairspray for your tresses only, and try some rubbing alcohol or Surgical Spirit on the inkblot instead.

The myth: Vinegar is the best chemical-free kitchen cleaner
The truth: While vinegar can certainly get to work on many stubborn spots in the kitchen and bathroom, minus chemical fumes it’s actually not the best germ killer. If you want to be sure all germs have been blasted, especially when preparing raw meat, it’s safer to use a more thoroughly tested antibacterial cleaner.

The myth: The inside of washing machines are self-cleaning
The truth: Despite washing your clothes in soapy suds, the inside of your washing machine does indeed harbour germ build-up which can transfer onto garments. The best way to make sure the machine is squeaky clean inside is to run an empty cycle every so often, using a little bleach to kill all lingering bacteria.

The myth: Feather dusters are the business when it comes to dust
The truth: Unless your feather duster is actually made from real feathers (ostrich feathers are thought to be the best) rather than synthetic fibres, you’re likely just spreading the dust around your home. Microfibre cloths are the best at attracting dust particles and having more control over the wiping action will limit the amount of spreading.

The myth: Too much vacuuming will damage your carpet
The truth: Sorry, but this isn’t a good reason to skip the vacuuming. In fact, leaving dirt and grit to settle in the carpet is actually worse than anything else, as the particles are abrasive and can damage the fibres in rugs and carpets. It’s a good idea to aim for a weekly vacuuming session, which will leave your flooring in perfect condition.

The myth: Coca cola drinks are great for cleaning the toilet
The truth: While the acids in coca cola drinks are thought to help break down dirt and stains, the high sugar content will likely do the opposite for any bacteria that’s lurking in the bowl. Rather than feeding the germs, it’s safer to blitz them with a tested toilet cleaning product.

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