Testing 5 Popular Homemade Cleaning Hacks

Popular cleaning myths, busted

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk online about so-called cleaning ‘hacks. Earlier this year, consumer experts Which? asked the British public to submit their favourites. Here are the results:

  1. Using dishwasher tablets instead of washing machine cleaner

A popular tactic is to use dishwasher tablets in your washer instead of a specialist cleaner. It is true that tablets and cleaners have similarities and contain some of the same ingredients. But, dishwasher tablets lack the proper ingredients and are not as suited to cleaning a washing machine. In this case, you are better off using a machine cleaner for a better result. This one is: FALSE

  1. Using bicarbonate of soda as a stain remover

If you’ve read any previous Merry Maids blogs, you know that we recommend using bicarb as a stain remover. The science behind this is quite simple. Sodium bicarbonate can form a mild alkaline solution in water – which has a pH of around 8-8.5. This acts as a buffer that increases the pH of water. This affects the charge of stains, causing them to dissolve faster. As a result, you will find that bicarb is actually a common ingredient in many cleaning products. In this case, the popular myth is TRUE!

  1. Using peanut butter to get chewing gum out of the carpet

Now bear with us, because this one sounds bizarre, but, there is actually some simple science behind it. As ‘Which?’ explains, chewing gum contains three parts: a resin, a wax, and an elastomer. The resin is the chewy part, and the wax and elastomer act as a softener, and a flexibility producer. What this means is that chewing gum isn’t soluble in water, so you need something oil-based. That’s where the peanut butter comes in. Peanut Butter contains reserves of natural oils within its main ingredient: ground peanuts. On top of this, some brands have even more and add oils like palm oil to make it smoother. So, this one is actually true, as the oils may soften the gum and make it easy to remove from the carpet. Unfortunately, the main drawback is that you end up covering your carpet in peanut butter. So, we recommend you use a colourless, neutral smelling alternative, like mineral oil. TRUE!

  1. Using laundry detergent to get rid of burn marks

This next hack is about removing grime and burn marks from the grill, oven, and the bottom of pans. In theory, you mix some laundry detergent with water to make the stubborn grime easier to clean. And in practice, this does actually work. Laundry detergent contains enzymes, along with a combination of bleaches, surfactants, and hard-water softeners. It is the enzymes that make it useful in cleaning away grime. Burnt on food will more often than not contain a combination of fats, carbs, and proteins. Enzymes can help degrade these, making them easier to get rid of. So, this myth is also true. Please note, it’s recommended that you wash your pans again as normal afterwards. You’ll want to make sure is no residue left when you’re later preparing food. TRUE!

  1. Using lemon juice and olive oil as a wood cleaner

According to this popular myth, you can use a combination of lemon juice and olive oil to create wood polish. And there is science in favour of this. Lemon juice is citric acid, meaning it can act in a similar way to the bicarbonate of soda on certain types of stains. The olive oil then acts as a varnish and aids in the removal of fat-based stains due to its hydrophobic nature. So, this one is also true. Yet, due to the corrosive nature of lemon juice – it is not advised. At the very least, use it rarely. Over time, lemon juice and similar acidic products like vinegar can corrode wood if you use it too much. So, you’re better sticking to a proper cleaner long term.

That’s where we come in. Our maids can deal with any matter of domestic cleaning tasks: from regular upkeep to a full deep clean. And instead of using harmful remedies on your wood, rely on ServiceMaster Clean. The professional carpet, floor, and upholstery cleaners from our ServiceMaster brand family.  Forget about herbal remedies and potential cleaning disinformation. Find your nearest Merry Maids business here, and book a clean with our maids today.