Mythbusting: Weird Housekeeping Advice from your Parents

Photo by Last Hero (Flickr)
Photo by Last Hero (Flickr)

Parents have an answer to everything. It doesn’t matter how bizarre it is: They have a solution to every problem we throw at them. It’s great when you have a stain that isn’t leaving or a smelly room that needs deodorizing, but sometimes parents are wrong: Sorry, Mom! It’s not their fault, though; this false information was passed on from their parents. Basically, we can blame Grandma. But before you toss the butter and lemon slices, some of those strange cleaning tricks do work! Here are some cleaning tricks that I have put to the test; some are myths, while others are truths.

Cold Water Kills the Active Ingredient in Bleach: MYTH

My mom washed all of her clothes in hot water. When I asked her why she didn’t use cold to wash her whites, she replied, “Cold water kills bleach, silly. Why do you think they use chlorine in warm pool water?” It made sense, but after a little research, I found that hot water actually kills the active ingredient in bleach, and bleach should never get warmer than room temperature.

Use Lemons to Remove Coffee Stains: TRUTH

Coffee stains in the cup are quite the eyesore, but my mom had a solution, of course. While handing my mom a glass to drink out of, I tried to explain that the cup was not dirty but stained. She nodded her head once, went to the fridge, and pulled out my bag of lemons. Within seconds, the coffee line was wiped away with a lemon slice.

Clean Tile Grout With Toothpaste: TRUTH

Toothpaste is awesome! Just think about how clean and white it makes your teeth. Toothpaste has tiny abrasive particles that work great at scrubbing plaque and food residue from your teeth. It also scrubs tile grout like a pro. Our bathrooms have white grout that gets dirty quickly, and having our toothpaste handy makes shining it up an easy task.

Use Bleach to Remove Rust: MYTH

I’ve mentioned that in my earlier years, bleach was my best friend when cleaning. I definitely inherited the “bleach love” from my mom. So it didn’t surprise me when my mom suggested bleach when I had rust stains on my clothes. Unfortunately, bleach does not work. In fact, it helps the rust absorb into the clothing easier.

Clean the Walls With Bread: TRUTH

This might be the weirdest tip I have ever read, and the fact that it works makes it even stranger. There is something about rubbing fresh bread on the walls to clean handprints, dirt, and marks off that will make you feel safely rebellious, especially when Mom tells you to. Bread works like a sponge and can safely remove dirt and dust from areas around the home.

Let the Whites Dry in the Sunshine: MYTH

This might have been true years ago, but chemicals in fabrics have changed drastically. The sunshine can cause the material to react to the sun and turn it a yellowish color in response.

Use Butter to Polish Stainless Steel: TRUTH

This is one of those tricks that makes you raise an eyebrow, but butter works wonders at polishing stainless steel. The only problem with butter is that it is messy. Getting the butter off takes twice the work! To prevent a mess, use olive oil instead.

Keep Matches Near the Toilet: TRUTH

I remember going to a friend’s house and seeing a box of matches and a bowl on the back of the toilet. I wondered if they enjoyed smoking while using the bathroom, but I soon realized that it was a way to deodorize a room. It definitely sparked my interest, and I put the matches to the test. To my surprise, it worked great!

Everybody has their own special way of cleaning, and I am always open to new ideas to try and test. What weird ways do you get your home clean? Do they really work, or are they myths passed on down the years?

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