Home-made green cleaning products ‘just don’t work and could cause illness’

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Life-hack dangers: Sometimes mother doesn’t know best

With households keen on going green and rejecting chemicals, there’s a warning that many popular home-made cleaning ideas spread through the internet don’t work.

A national cleaning company notes that many ‘mum blogs’ and Pinterest posts happily spread eco-cleaning ideas, with little proof that they’re effective.

According to the ContractCleaning.co.uk company, some products could even be damaging to sensitive items around the home, while others fail to kill germs that could cause illness.

“Usually, there’s wisdom in these so-called ‘old wives’ tales’,” says ContractCleaning.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “but lately we’ve noticed that many ineffective and strange ideas get traction given enough exposure on the internet.”

The major problem is that once an idea gets popular, it immediately spreads across the net through Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, and discussion forums such as Mumsnet. One that makes regular comebacks is the myth that lemon juice diluted in water is an ideal green cleaner for kitchen surfaces.

“Yes, a lemon solution makes things look shiny and clean,” says Hall, “But they do nothing to wipe out germs in the same way that bleach-based products can.

“In households with young babies and other vulnerable people, that’s putting family members at risk of food poisoning and other illnesses,” the Contract Cleaning spokesperson says.

That’s even before you consider the damage that citric acid in lemon juice does to sensitive surfaces. While initial results look good, repeated use will soon cause tarnishing and irreparable damage.

“And don’t get us started on claims about vinegar,” says Hall. “Vinegar is fine in moderation, but it’s not the wonder-cleaner that people make it out to be. Good old soap and water actually does a far better job.”

Fad cleaning ideas often mean that any old rubbish can be passed off as a ‘life hack’, and end up doing more harm than good, ContractCleaning.co.uk says.

“We’d always be wary of any unusual cleaning tip gleaned from the internet,” Hall say. “The probability is that it hasn’t been properly tested and doesn’t stand up to the originators’ claims. These people might also be making it up as they go along.”

ContractCleaning.co.uk says this danger is especially acute in the cleaning of areas where food is prepared.

“Honestly, it’s not worth cutting corners when it comes to kitchen and food preparation areas,” says Hall. “We’d only recommend bleach-based products and cleaning materials and products that have a proven track record.”

But that’s not to say that over-the-counter green products lack cleaning power.

“We’ve said before that many green products can be just as effective as their equivalent environmentally-damaging products, and we’d heartily recommend them,” says ContractCleaning.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall. “But the proof is in the cleaner’s track record, and we’d only use those that get the job done effectively.”

ContractCleaning.co.uk says that while old wives’ tales have their place, it’s not worth taking the risk around kitchens and bathrooms.

“Life hacks can be fun to experiment with,” say Hall, “But not at the expense of your family’s health.”

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