The Dumbest Cleaning Hacks That Absolutely Don’t Work

There are some pretty crazy cleaning hacks out there, so crazy they just might not work. We’ve rounded up some of the most common cleaning hacks that people think work but actually don’t. Have you been fooled by one of these “hacks” before?

1. Soak your knives in vinegar to remove rust

That doesn’t actually work. | iStock/Getty Images

You might have heard that the best way to remove pesky rust spots from your kitchen knives is to give them a good soak in a glass of vinegar. According to BuzzFeed, this doesn’t work.

“Use a potato. Slice it in half, dip the sliced side in baking soda, and scrub your knife with the potato. Wash, and rub with a little bit of vegetable oil to help prevent more rust,” they suggest. “Not working? Stick your knife in the potato and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then wash and apply oil.”

2. Use hairspray to remove an ink stain

Aerosol hair spray

You’re better off just presoaking your clothes. | Picsfive/iStock/Getty Images

This is an old cleaning trick you might have learned from your mother. In the 1960s, when hairspray still contained alcohol, this was a pretty good trick! But, today, spraying hairspray on your fabrics will just ruin your clothes.

Instead, A Mess Free Life suggests presoaking your stained clothes in a color safe oxygenated bleach followed by a highly concentrated pretreat solution, then soaking the item in warm water in your wash basin or sink.

3. Put newspaper in your refrigerator as an odor absorber

Full fridge with fruit and veggies

Stick to baking soda. | Anna_Om/iStock/Getty Images

Even if this worked like a charm (it doesn’t), why would you want to put your fresh fruits and vegetables on top of a dirty newspaper? Not only will the newspaper not keep your fridge from smelling, but you’ll get ink all over your food.

Stick to a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. It’s proven to work, and it won’t get ink all over the contents of your fridge.

4. Wash your shower with a sponge wand filled with half dish soap, half vinegar

Shower cleaning with squeegee

You’re better off with a squeegee. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

The idea behind this one is that you can easily give your shower a good scrub before you even get out by keeping a sponge wand filled with dish soap and vinegar handy. But if you want to keep your shower from mineral build up, this isn’t the best way to go. The best way to keep your shower clean and gunk-free is to run a squeegee over your shower walls after every use. If you want to keep your shower looking good for years to come, you need to wipe away the water, not add soap and vinegar.

5. Combine baking soda and vinegar for an all purpose cleaner

Baking soda vinegar cleaning

They cancel each other out. | eskaylim/iStock/Getty Images

Baking soda and vinegar can make great natural cleaners, this much is true, but not when the two are combined. Because vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, when the two are combined, they cancel each other out and you’re left with plain old salt water (which isn’t great for cleaning).

“You get fooled into believing there’s some magic when combining these ingredients because it bubbles up and foams, but other than getting your slow drain moving again, skip this mixture and stick with your favorite cleaners for all purpose jobs,” advises 

6. Use a terrycloth cover on your Swiffer to save on disposable pads

Cleaning wooden floor

It won’t pick up the same amount of dirt as it normally would. | oebelanger/Getty images

Slipping a terrycloth cover over your Swiffer instead of using the disposable dust covers will definitely be cheaper, but your floors aren’t going to get clean. According to BuzzFeed, “terrycloth just won’t pick up the same amount of dirt that a disposable duster cover and pad will.”

Stick to the disposables or go back to good old fashion sweeping and mopping.

7. Make your own dryer balls with balled up socks and your favorite essential oil

Laundry dryer

Your socks just won’t do the job. | Brizmaker/iStock/Getty Images

The idea behind this one is to use an alternative to dryer sheets, which some people consider toxic and harmful. This hack involves balling up two socks and dripping a couple drops of your favorite essential oil into the bundle to keep things smelling fresh. However, two balled up socks just don’t have the power needed to knock around your clothes enough to fluff them up.

Instead, you can use tennis balls or make your own felted dryer balls.

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