Home tips: Do these 7 common home cleaning methods actually work?

Can vinegar really clean a variety of surfaces, or can ketchup remove stains from pots?

Many common everyday ingredients have been elevated to the status of eco-friendly, “green” cleaning agents that are cheap and effective. But do these cleaning “hacks” really work, or do they do more harm than good?

Find out if these 7 common home cleaning myths are true or false:



All photos: Pixabay

1. Ketchup can be used to clean pots and pans


Ketchup removes burn stains off the back of metallic pots and pans. Stainless steel pots usually have a tough layer of copper, where copper oxide is formed during cooking. The acid in ketchup attacks the copper active base of the pan.


Coating the black surface with a thick layer of ketchup and letting it sit for 30 minutes, then wiping away the stains will do the trick.


2. Potted plants can absorb dust


Plants such as ferns and orchids have the ability to catch floating dust on their leaves.


Place in a dusty room, and occasionally wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth.


3. Coffee unclogs sinks


Rather than scrubbing the pipes, coffee can cause more clogging if mixed with debris, accumulating into a thick gunk.


Instead, try combining four teaspoons of baking soda and a cup of vinegar.


4. Oil removes sticky residue


The fatty acids in butter and oil dissolve glue quickly and effectively.


Mix olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl and rub the oil mixture onto sticky areas with a kitchen cloth.


5. Sparkling water removes stains


Carbon dioxide dissolves the colour and tannins from the fabric, although it doesn't work on fat or oil.


Saturate the stain with soda or sparkling water, then blot it off, without rubbing the area.


6. Vinegar is a multi-purpose cleaner


Vinegar has the reputation of being able to clean anything, but this ingredient should NOT be used for all surfaces. For instance, natural stone surfaces, such as granite and marble, as well as pipes or rubber seals can be damaged by vinegar.


7. Fizzy drinks can unclog the toilet

Partially true!

While the popular method of mixing sweets and fizzy drinks does generate high pressure, which indeed can clear blockages, the pressure generated may be too powerful for the pipe and may end up destroying it.


Pouring hot water from a height is more effective.


Written for The Singapore Women's Weekly.