It’s easy to put out an article about cleaning tips and tricks online. Why? Because, who’s vetting it? Nobody! Here at Clean My Space, we have a whole team who, at any given time, might be researching several video and/or article concepts that we’re preparing to produce. As a cleaning expert, I want everything we put out to be factual and truthful. We also want it to be the most current so that anytime you read something from us you know you’re getting good information. That said, there are cleaning tips, tricks and hacks out there that just aren’t true—and it bothers us! So, I’m going to dispel some of those cleaning myths, and—full transparency—we’re going to debunk one that we actually used for years, but some recent reports have been released which have made us change our ways.
Handwashing Dishes Saves Water
When I meet someone who says that they prefer to hand wash their dishes instead of putting them in the dishwasher—even when they have a dishwasher—I shake my head. Let me tell you why. If your dishwasher was produced in the last 10 years or so, and it has the Energy Star rating on it… let me tell you a few things. First of all, your dishwasher is going to clean your dishes much faster and more effectively than you could if you were to hand wash them. But you might say, “Oh, I only have a couple of dishes. I can just quickly hand wash them and be done with it.” Well, if you put even half a load of dishes in your dishwasher and run it through, you will be saving a ton of water compared to handwashing those dishes. A study done by the EPA says that you can save an average of 5,000 gallons of water a year (and 230 hours of personal time) by using a dishwasher. An added note about using the dishwasher: your dishwasher reaches temperatures hot enough to sanitize. If you’re handwashing something, even if you wear gloves and crank that water up really high, you’re never going to get a temperature hot enough to sanitize.
In the past, you’ve heard me talk about different ways to sanitize your sponge, and if you look up how to do it online you’ll find a number of solutions which purportedly kill bacteria that lingers in the average sponge, things like:
- You can boil a sponge;
- Put them in the dishwasher;
- Microwave it in a bowl of water.
Well, I’ve recently come across a study that takes these solutions and basically negates them—all of them! Essentially, you can take a sponge and use these sanitization methods but you will only ever kill about 60% of the bacteria contained in that sponge. If you think about the structure of a sponge, it’s cellular—it’s got all those little holes. Well, it’s very easy for bacteria to burrow it’s way in there and never come out. The conclusion of this study was basically that we need to change our sponges out on a weekly basis (assuming you use it frequently). I’m not one for waste, I’m not one for throwing things out, but after reading this study and after learning about how brimming with bacteria sponges are—and often with dangerous types of bacteria like staph, coliform, E. coli, mold, and yeast—this is stuff you don’t want lingering in your kitchen. So, bottom line, take that sponge and replace it on the regular.
Fragrance-Free vs Unscented
For those of you who are concerned about scents or fragrance in products, I understand. You might have allergies, you might get migraines or some other sort of uncomfortable reaction, or you just might not like fragrance. When you see the term fragrance-free and unscented, I need you to know that those two are not interchangeable—they do not mean the same thing. Unscented means that a product has added fragrance to mask the smell of the base ingredients in the product. So, even though you don’t smell anything, keep in mind that the company has used chemicals to neutralize any smell. On the other hand, a product that is fragrance-free has indeed had nothing added to it. In this case, the product may have an odor, this is the unmasked base ingredients that you’re smelling.
If you haven’t seen an actual feather duster being used for cleaning, that’s because the last time they were relevant was in Beauty and the Beast. Aside from that, feather dusters really aren’t the most effective way to clean. When I started my cleaning service back in 2006 and I was doing initial research on the best cleaning methods out there (this was before I learned about microfiber cloths), feather dusters were still a thing. So, I went to the janitorial supply shop and I bought a professional ostrich feather duster. While it worked well enough, I noticed that it also put quite a bit of dust in the air which meant more work down the line because all of that dust was eventually going to settle on the floor. Whereas, using something more contemporary like a premium microfiber cloth, which traps dust and locks it in, is a much more effective solution. So, when you hear someone talking about using a feather duster, maybe suggest microfiber as a solution instead.
I used to think that any time I recycled an item I was doing a good deed for the planet. The truth is, it just doesn’t work that way anymore. Just because you’re putting an item in the recycling bin doesn’t mean that you’re keeping that item out of a landfill. Recent policy changes in places like China have resulted in a fairly dire situation across much of the United States when it comes to recycling. We are now facing mass amounts of recycled materials that have no end-use. So, in fact, a lot of recyclable materials are now going straight to landfill. This is the leading reason why so many companies are working on alternative solutions; whether it’s premium reusable packaging (circular economy), or most importantly: reducing, refusing, and reusing before recycling. The day is coming when we’re going to be told that we can’t recycle things anymore—there will be no more room for it! So, remember, the best thing that you can do for the environment is to find ways to reduce rather than recycle.
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