Truman's Shoots Down Common Cleaning Myths

At Truman’s, we know that a huge part of being a scrappy startup is communicating with customers. Luckily, there’s nothing we love more! Since we “opened our doors,” we’ve responded to tons of questions and almost as many suggestions. We’ve also attempted, more than once, to clear up a few common misconceptions related to cleaning, and that has led us to the decision to formally and officially bust a few cleaning myths.

Based on what customers had told us, we already had a few myths in mind. But in the interests of complete and thorough investigation, we decided to check out what others had written on the subject first.

We quickly discovered “myth-busting” articles on website after website: “9 Cleaning Myths Debunked”; “14 Cleaning Myths Put to Test”. Not surprisingly, 10 was the most popular number. And much to our dismay, virtually all the lists were padded with phony myths — such as, “When blinds are closed they don’t get dirty” (of course they do!) or, “Lemonade in the water prolongs the life of cut flowers.” How is that a cleaning myth?   

We can only assume this myth-inflating flimflam was done to boost clicks. The horror!

At Truman’s, we would never stoop so low. The ingredients of our list are bona-fide home-cleaning myths only. No impurities or volumizing agents added!

Myth: Vinegar is all you need.

Fact: This is the one we probably hear the most. While distilled white vinegar has tons of uses, from cleaning coffee makers to killing weeds, it is actually not effective against a lot of ordinary dirt and grime. And when combined with alkaline soap, the two neutralize each other, so even soap can’t cut the mustard (ahem, scum). Vinegar’s strong acidic content makes it hard on certain surfaces, including granite and marble countertops, and stone floors. And it will dissolve the wax on your hardwood floors and wood furniture. (And over time degrade the polyurethane finish on wood floors, too.)

Vinegar is not a disinfectant. At full strength, it has been shown to kill about 90% of germs, but to earn the name, a disinfectant must kill at least 99%. And then there’s the fact that vinegar contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Want to learn more about what vinegar is and isn’t good for? Check out this article.

Myth: Cleaning solutions act instantly.

Fact: The great Otis Redding once sang, “Give me just a little time, yeah baby,” and the same is true for cleaning products. They all need time to do their stuff. It’s important to spray them on, then wait 2 or 3 minutes before wiping the surface clean. And disinfectants need up to 10 minutes to kill 99% of germs.

Myth: Bleach is the answer.

Fact: It depends on the question. Bleach disinfects, kills yucky mold and mildew, and whitens, but it doesn’t remove ordinary dirt from household surfaces. And take it from Martha: When it comes to stubborn bathroom stains, chlorine bleach will actually set them in, not clean them.

Myth: Feather dusters work best.

Fact: There’s no denying ethically-sourced ostrich-feather dusters look cool. And they can be helpful when you have shelves full of tchotchkes. But feather dusters are generally not as effective as microfiber cloths at picking up all the dust. Not to mention the fact that they’re expensive and drop feathers!

Myth: Ordinary cleaning cloths/rags are just fine.

Fact: It depends on what your definition of “just fine” is. (To us, “fine” always sounds like one step above “meh.”) Actually, most rags, whether store-bought or homemade from old sheets or T-shirts, have large cotton or synthetic fibers. Microfiber cloths have much smaller fibers that are able to attach themselves to even the smallest, most microscopic dirt particles — ones that ordinary cloth fibers leave behind.

Myth: Too much vacuuming is hard on carpets.

Fact: Au contraire! Regular vacuuming actually helps your carpet last longer. When dirt and grit get ground deep into the carpet, they can ruin the fibers. So go ahead and vacuum until your heart’s content! And while we’re on the subject of vacuuming, turns out there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the issue of whether to do it before you dust or after. Here at Truman’s, we’re on Team (Happily Ever) After.

Myth: More is better.

Fact: A lot of people believe that the dirtier something is, the more soap or detergent it needs. Well, we’re here to say it ain’t so! In fact, more soap or detergent can often create its own problems in the form of a sticky residue. Instead, use the normal amount of cleanser, and as Otis said, just give it a little more time, baby!

Agree? Disagree? Came looking for the answer to what Coca-Cola can and cannot clean? You can find that here. As always, let us know your thoughts!