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Setting the record straight on 6 common household myths

Growing up you might have witnessed your parents do certain household tasks the long way round, or just plain strange, only to justify it by saying “this is the way my mom did it”. Well since the matriarch did it that way it had to be the only way, right? Nope.

Here are six common household myths perpetrated by generations of “but so-and-so did it this way”.

Myth 1:  Microwaving a sponge kills bacteria, and saves you money

Dirty kitchen sponge

The whole truth: Yes it does work but you will have to do it for at least 2-3 minutes for it to actually get rid of the germs. It’s also going to take a lot of extra cleaning of your microwave. Germs and germs and food…Just no; no use trying to get rid of germs in a space that is full of germs. If you do decide that it is worth the effort keep in mind that the sponge should be damp before you place it in the microwave.

Myth 2:  Store your batteries in the refrigerator; it will last longer


The whole truth: This will not work; batteries will actually be less efficient when they are kept in cold temperature. Keeping them at room temperature is best. If you are tired of buying batteries invest in rechargeables.

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Myth 3:  Using bleach to clean every surface in your home is really good for your household

Cleaning surface with bleach

The whole truth:  Using bleach on every surface such as, let’s say your kitchen countertops, can be harmful to you and your family. The fumes may cause sickness, and it can damage some surfaces as well.  Bleach should be used as a disinfectant, to remove heavy stains or as an aid in keeping white linen and clothes white.

Myth 4:  Nothing cleans windows or mirrors like newspaper

Cleaning window with newspaper

The whole truth:  This is false; using newspaper to clean your mirrors or windows will leave them with bits of wet newspaper and even ink streaks, just creating more work. Instead try using coffee filters for really great results.

Myth 5:  Polishing silverware with toothpaste

Cleaning silverware with toothpaste

The whole truth:  This actually works great. Using toothpaste to polish your silverware will work much better than some of the polishes that contain a lot of chemicals. Just use a small amount of toothpaste and massage it onto your silverware then rinse off and voila! You’ll have shiny silverware that will look almost brand new. You can use toothpaste on your jewellery and your metal kitchen appliances too.

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Myth 6:  Use baking soda to unclog drains.

Unclogging drain with baking soda

The whole truth:  Many believe that baking soda will unclog drains and toilets because of the acid that it contains, but the truth is that baking soda alone won’t have any effect. It needs to be mixed with some vinegar to work work. You should start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain then a half a cup of baking soda, leave it in for about four minutes and then pour in a mixture of one cup vinegar and one cup of boiling hot water down the drain. Finally leave for about 10 minutes and then flush with another pot of boiling water.

What are some of the craziest myths or half-truths your family has believed, and stuck with, for years?

Words: Natassha Burrell


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