Fact or Fiction: Cleaning Tips from Mom

May 01, 2018

Fact or Fiction: Cleaning Tips from Mom

“Listen to your mother:” Words to live by. Except, maybe, when it comes to cleaning. According to the Queen of Clean Linda Cobb, some things have changed. “We have to take into consideration that our fabrics and surfaces have changed,” she says. It might be time to overhaul your approach. Here, Cobb breaks down which advice from Mom is still good and what you might need to overhaul.


Mom says: Don’t use water to clean wood floors.

Linda says: Fact

Water is fine, but how you use it matters. Basically, don’t use too much water if you don’t want streaks. Start with a good quality microfiber mop and wring out excess water. To clean the microfiber, throw it in the washing machine and use hot water. And always have a few extra mopheads on hand.


Mom says: Sunshine is the best whitener.

Linda says: Fiction

Sun can whiten sheets and towels, but most people don’t hang laundry outside anymore. Instead, add a whitener to the laundry. Linda’s go-to is Out™ White Brite® to remove yellowing and discoloration.


Mom says: Baking soda deodorizes the fridge.

Linda says: Fact

Baking soda absorbs odors in lots of places, including the fridge. Try the Arm & Hammer™ air filter, with built-in odor-absorbing baking soda and attach it to the inside of your fridge. It will neutralize odors and make food taste fresher longer.


Mom says: Throw away your kitchen sponge every week.

Linda says: Fiction

Every month is fine. “I buy 12 sponges in January and number them with a permanent marker as a reminder to throw out the old sponge and replace with a new one,” she says. “Every week I soak the sponge in water, leave it wet, and microwave it for a minute or so to kill bacteria and germs.”


Mom says: Use lemon rinds to clean your disposal.

Linda says: Fact

Lemons are nature’s bleach and disinfectant, so lemon rinds not only clean the disposal, they also deodorize it. Other citrus rinds work well too.


Mom says: Use a pink rubber eraser to clean soft leathers.

Linda says: Fiction

Dining chair seats, sofa arms, and recliner headrests—or any spots where we rest our heads and arms—can get grubby. Add a little Dove or Castile soap to a damp microfiber cloth and rub it on those areas. Then, instead of rinsing, just buff with a dry microfiber cloth.  


Mom says: Use toothpaste to clean silver jewelry.

Linda says: Fact

White paste toothpaste—not gel—works well on small pieces of jewelry. Rub it on, then rinse and buff with a soft dry rag. Bonus: Toothpaste also takes grease and crayon marks off walls.


Mom says: Squeegee after you shower to prevent soap scum on glass doors.

Linda says: Fact

Most definitely, says Cobb. Keep a shower-specific squeegee, such as the luxury option from LINEA, on hand. With design-focused touches such as a crystal-like handle, it doesn’t detract from your bathroom’s Zen. Another pro tip: Wipe down dry glass with a light coating of lemon oil (from the furniture polish aisle) to prevent soapy buildup from forming.


Mom says: Use newspaper or paper coffee filters to clean glass windows.

Linda says: Fact and fiction

Paper coffee filters do a great job: They remove lint and buff well. Newspaper, however, leaves your hands messy with ink, which also can smear onto the window trim.


Mom says: Wear rubber gloves when you clean.

Linda says: Fact

Definitely good advice that still works, says Cobb. Hot water, soaps and detergents dry out skin and aren’t good for nails or manicures. Rubber gloves, such as these, block hot water and chemicals from getting on your arms or sleeves, and can be used for other heavy-duty cleaning such as washing the car and scrubbing floors.


Author Bio:

A former Senior Home Editor for Better Homes & Gardens, Sarah Egge has been a freelance writer and editor for 13 years. She covers home design, architecture, food, travel and DIY projects, and is also available for book proposals and branding-related projects. Her work appears most frequently in Better Homes & Gardens, Country Home, and many content-specific titles, such as Mediterranean Homes & Lifestyles, Christmas Ideas, and Modern Farmhouse Style. She shares a 100-year-old Prairie-style craftsman house in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband and two daughters, and can usually be found writing with a lovable mutt named Tess draped across her feet.

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