SCHROEDER: Out with old-fashioned cleaning tips

If your parents and grandparents taught you to clean, their best practices may no longer be best given today’s innovations in cleaning products and appliances. Let’s debunk some cleaning myths.

The Old: Silverware should always be washed by hand.

The True: Silver cutlery can be put in the dishwasher as long as it isn’t washed in the same basket as stainless steel cutlery. If the two metals touch, the silver may be permanently damaged. One advantage of washing silverware by hand is that the patina is enhanced by rubbing that occurs during the washing and drying process.

The Old: To clean well, you need hot water.

The True: Thermal energy is one component that can help clean, and there are times when warm or hot water is recommended, but today’s cleaning products are designed to be just as effective in cold water. The default temperature for your washing machine can be cold (or tap cold if you have that setting) and you don’t need hot water to clean the dishes. Just turning down the temperature can save 80% on the energy using in cleaning.

SCHROEDER: Out with old-fashioned cleaning tips

The Old: Washing dishes by hand is more energy efficient.

The True: A dishwasher with an Energy star rating can actually use less energy, water and soap. This is often true even if the dishwasher isn’t full. There are still things you should wash by hand, but for the rest of it, don’t do extra work for the sake of going green. Dishwashers these days are designed to be efficient.

The Old: Hairspray is a great way to remove ink stains.

The True: This technique surfaced – and often worked – when alcohol was a key ingredient in hairspray. Today, hairspray formulas are either low-alcohol or alcohol-free. Use undiluted rubbing alcohol or a stain-removal product formulated for ink stains instead.

The Old: Club soda is a good stain remover.

The True: There’s no scientific basis for the claim that club soda removes stains. Its success is probably due to the fact that it’s usually close at hand so the stain is treated promptly. Tap water is cheaper and works just as well. Be aware that water treatment may only dilute, but not remove, the stain. Stain sticks, stain wipes and prewash stain removers are usually better remedies to avoid stains.

The Old: Crumpled newspapers are great for cleaning windows and mirrors.

The True: While this may have worked at one time, paper and ink formulas have changed, so you may end up with smudges on your windows and casings. Paper towels or a microfiber cloth are better solutions.