Myth #1 Your string mop doesn’t need to be washed because it soaks in floor soap!
FALSE While it may seem counterintuitive, your cleaning tools need cleaning too! While your mop does get dunked in lots of soapy water, that water is usually pretty gross by the end of the job. By leaving the dirty water on your mop strings to slowly dry in some dark closet, you’re essentially setting up a Germ Rave Party (minus a DJ and a few glow sticks)! If you don’t want to be wiping your floor with pond
scum the next time you clean, buy a mop with a detachable head that can be washed and dried in your laundry machine. Better yet, ditch the string mop for a microfiber flat mop, as their pads take up less room in your laundry and the microfiber picks up more dirt and leaves your floors shinier.
Myth #2 You can clean your dish sponge by squeezing it out under running water.
FALSE You can rinse your sponge in water all you want, but without a disinfectant, you’re leaving a ton of bacteria behind to grow and infect your next load of dishes! You can disinfect your sponge by either soaking it in bleach water (3/4 cup per gallon water), or running it through your dishwasher (the steam from the heat drying at the end does all the killing). Technically you can steam kill the germs by saturating the sponge with water and zapping it in the microwave for 60 seconds, but this method doesn’t help wash
away all the food residue like the other methods—if you’re a lazy rinser beforehand, it will still grow bacteria once it cools (and stink from being overcooked in the microwave).
Myth #3 Using paper towels to clean your home isn’t really that bad.
FALSE While we know they’re convenient, paper towels are pretty much the worst choice you could make for real house cleaning. First and foremost, they’re not that great at cleaning! Sure, they’re absorbent, but most paper towels fall apart when you try to scrub with them and lint on shiny surfaces like mirrors. Worst of all, they’re terrible for the environment. Most white paper towels are made with virgin pulp, which means they came straight from a tree to your hand. Unlike most virgin pulp product like copy paper, once
that paper towel has been used, it can never be recycled. That means that whole tree grew for years, and that whole factory churned tons of fossil fuels, all for the honor of wiping your counter for 30 seconds to then head to a landfill forever. If you are a paper towel addict, start by weaning yourself to using them only for situations where you’re cleaning something you don’t want to launder, like cleaning up your
kitchen counter after working with raw meat.
Myth #4 Tearing up old bath towels to use as cleaning rags is thrifty and “green.”
FALSE Reusing old towels as cleaning rags feels like you’re saving money and the environment at first glance, but sadly, the opposite is true. Old-fashioned cleaning fabrics like cotton pick up way less dirt than modern microfiber, and thread bear old cotton towels will pick up even less than cotton. When most people clean with a poor wiping cloth, they compensate by using way more soap, which is bad for both the environment and your pocketbook. Investing in high quality microfiber cleaning cloths always pays for itself as they last for hundreds of washes, reduce soap usage, and lessen cleaning labor with every use. If you must use that old bath towel, use it to sop up something too gross or dangerous to launder that needs to be thrown out, like those hardcore oven cleaning sprays.
Myth #5 When it comes to scrub brushes and scouring pads, the stronger the better!
FALSE In our culture of Bigger/Faster/Stronger, it’s easy to be seduced into buying too much firepower for the task at hand, and ending up trashing the thing you’re trying to clean. While your local home improvement store may sell very harsh scrub brushes and heavy duty scrub pads, they’re intended to be bought by professional contractors to use carefully as a one-time shock treatment, not continuously by you. By abusing the surfaces of your bathroom with overly abrasive tools, you are actually wearing down the seals and coatings on the surfaces, sometimes removing little bits of the grout or stone itself, taking years off the lifespan of your shower. Stick to the non-abrasive scrub pads and medium-duty bristles for regular cleaning. If you need more fire power, just let your soap soak longer on the surface to do the hard
work for you….patience pays off!