Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Suburban Cleaning Myths Debunked

Does club soda remove stains better than water?
NO. Club soda is water, and no, the bubbles don't help, so there's no difference between the two when it comes to cleanup. Before using either liquid on table linens, for instance, blot any excess spill with an absorbent cloth. Also, make sure the fabric is washable--you don't want to add a water stain to the mess. If in doubt, take the item to the dry cleaner.

Should I vacuum less?
NO. Don't believe that old saw that too much vacuuming will wear out your carpet. You should vacuum once or twice a week--that's the only way to remove the grit that causes fibers to deteriorate.

Can I use toothpaste to clean silver?
YES. Toothpaste will remove tarnish, but here's the catch: It's more abrasive than silver polish, so you should use it only in a pinch and only on a small area. Follow these steps: Moisten the silver, gently rub on a little paste with your finger, rinse the spot thoroughly with warm water, and dry with a soft, clean cloth. What you should not use: toothpaste that contains tartar-control substances or whiteners.

Don't feather dusters just spread dust around?
YES. These tools are good for quickly flicking dust from knickknacks, but they don't pick up dirt--they just rearrange it. So for furniture and other flat surfaces, stick to a pretreated cloth or a microfiber duster.

Will presoaking my clothes in salt water stop the colors from running?
NO. Dyes bleed because they weren't set properly when the fabric was manufactured, and there's nothing you can do at home to change that. If you're worried that a garment will lose its color, place a drop of water on an inside seam and blot with a cotton ball or white cloth. If the color transfers, wash the piece separately in cold water. But be warned: The item will most likely come out a much lighter shade than it was originally.

Will white vinegar remove clogs in my iron?
NO. Your iron's chambers and valves aren't designed to work with anything but water, so flushing vinegar through the iron--the way you do with, say, a coffee-pot--could be very damaging. To clean most models, hold the iron over a sink and force hot steam through the vents. If that doesn't work, it may be time to replace the appliance.

Can white bread really clean wallpaper
YES. Wad up a piece of bread and use it to wipe small smudges off delicate, nonwashable wallcoverings. For big jobs, invest in a soft dough-type eraser (available at hardware stores)

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