11 popular household cleaning and pest control myths debunked

·5-min read
Photo credit: Dougal Waters - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dougal Waters - Getty Images

There are plenty of household cleaning hacks that promise to save us time and money, but which ones are old-age myths that don't actually work?

From pest control to cleaning tricks, the team at Cleanipedia have uncovered the popular myths ahead of spring cleaning season. Want to know whether feather dusters really work? Take a look at which myths are true or not...

1. Conkers can prevent spiders from entering your home

Placing conkers around the house to deter spiders is an old wives' tale, with no evidence to suggest it actually works. We might see many of the creepy-crawlies enter our homes during autumn, but one of the best ways to keep them away is to use lemon juice.

Alice Shaw-Beckett from Cleanipedia backs this up, saying: "Rubbing a wedge of raw lemon around the likely openings where a spider might enter your house can be a good option. You can also mix lemon juice in some water and spritz it around the openings. Getting rid of spider webs will also help."

2. Feather dusters remove dust

Dusters — whether cloth, feather or synthetic — are a necessity if you want to keep your home clean. But do feather ones truly remove dust? According to Alice, a feather duster will simply move dust from one part of the home to another.

She adds: "A much better alternative is a reusable damp cloth or microfibre duster. However, ostrich feather dusters are considered good for getting rid of dust. The electric charge of the ostrich feathers traps the dust, ensuring it doesn't disperse back into the room."

3. Eating garlic will prevent you from being bitten by a mosquito

"Many believe that the strong odour of garlic puts mosquitos off biting you, but studies have shown that your diet has nothing to do with your chances of being bitten," Alice explains.

"What makes someone more susceptible to mosquito bites seems to be genetic and down to factors such as blood type. Smoke is proven to keep mosquitoes at bay, so a campfire is a far better option than eating copious amounts of garlic."

Photo credit: Robert Daly - Getty Images
Photo credit: Robert Daly - Getty Images

4. Bitter cucumber peel can help to deter ants at home

While many believe that bitter cucumber peel can deter ants at home, this in fact has little to no effect on preventing and repelling the small insects. If you're looking to keep ants at bay ahead of the summer months, some of the things you can try include using citrus fruits, sprinkling coffee grounds outside or pouring some peppermint oil onto a cotton wool pad and placing them around the room.

5. Peppermint will repel rats

Want to get rid of rats naturally? Peppermint may be the answer, as its strong scent can keep the pests at bay.

Alice adds: "If you want to get rid of a mouse using a natural and gentle alternative to poison or traps, sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil in the areas of your home that mice visit the most often or in any potential entry ways. It won't kill them, but it will deter them from visiting a particular spot."

Photo credit: Larysa Lyundovska - Getty Images
Photo credit: Larysa Lyundovska - Getty Images

6. Hairspray can remove ink stains

Despite popular cleaning hacks online, using hairspray on some surfaces can lead to additional staining and sticky marks that are hard to get rid of. To budge any stains, Alice recommends you use an alcoholic antibacterial hand wash instead.

7. Coca-Cola can clean your toilet

It might sound like a myth, but this is actually true thanks to the fizzy drink's high levels of acid. In order for it to work, Alice explains that the coke will need to sit in the bowl for "at least a couple of hours" and you will still have to scrub it.

8. Bleach can clean everything

"Bleach is a very effective and powerful disinfectant, from helping to clean surfaces and whiten your clothes, to removing mould and preventing the spread of bacteria – but it should not be your go-to for everything," Alice explains.

"For instance, it will not work as well to remove grease-laden surfaces such as those you find in your kitchen and would have to be mixed with other cleaning ingredients to produce the desired results."

9. Newspapers give windows a streak-free shine

You've likely heard about people using newspapers to clean their windows, but this old trick only worked when newspapers were made of a thicker material.

Alice explains: "The modern newspaper is too flimsy and is likely to disintegrate a lot quicker, potentially leaving more of a mess on your hands and windowsill, meaning more effort for you. Plus, the ink used today is different and can leave residue on the window. Using a good microfibre cloth will do the job just as well, if not better."

Photo credit: athima  tongloom - Getty Images
Photo credit: athima tongloom - Getty Images

10. Vinegar works on everything

Vinegar might be brilliant when used on windows and mirrors, but there are some surfaces it should be avoided on. "It won't have the same desired effect on other surfaces such as granite or wood, which can be damaged by the acidity," explains Alice.

11. Air freshener helps clean the air

"All an air freshener does is cover up bad odour in a room by perfuming it, not cleaning it," Alice says. "The best way to clean the air in a room is with an electrical air purifier or, if you want to go down the more natural route, an air purifying plant such as gardenias, which will help circulate the air. Simply opening the windows and letting fresh air in will also do wonders and so will vacuuming regularly and keeping your home smoke-free."

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