cleaning myths

5 Dangerous Cleaning Myths

Cleaning Myths – Unproductive and Dangerous

Cleaning Myths are everywhere. This works better than that. “I sprayed this on and it was clean!” The impact of cleaning affects everyone. From the kitchen and tables in a restaurant, to the restroom in your home, the cleanliness or lack thereof, can influence odors, appearance and most of all health.

Since cleaning is actually a rather complicated science, most of us rely on what we have heard or on the broad explanations supplied by-product manufactures  in commercials or on bottle labels. The reality is that what you currently do  to clean may be the cause of your cleaning problems.

5 Cleaning Myths that explain the results you are getting and how to improve.

#1 – Clean Is A Matter of Opinion Cleaning Myths

“What I call clean and what you call clean are two different things.” This is a statement that moms make every day to their teenage kids when inspecting their rooms and although this may be a good  way to get a kid to improve the tidiness of her room, it is not the case when it comes to cleaning for health.

To clean something means to remove all soils that can attract bacteria and promote its growth.

With methods such as A.T.P. testing and even simple black light inspections, it becomes apparent that a surface that looks clean, is in fact not. Clean is not a guess or  opinion but a fact.

#2 – More Chemicals Equals Less Dirt Cleaning Myths

It is an old statement that many still believe, “A little works good. A lot works better” This couldn’t be farther from the truth for cleaning. The overuse of chemical concentrates can cause  your cleaning efforts to back fire.

When too much chemical is used it will leave a residue on surfaces that attract more dirt. Although these residues can be rinsed with clean water to remove, it adds another step to the cleaning process. Essentially you have to re-clean the surface to clean away the  cleaner. This makes no sense in the case of most cleaners.

To add to the confusion, an old trick that many chemical manufactures still employee is to direct users to use more than really needed. This leads to more product sold and also attracts more dirt so you have to clean it again sooner.

Note: Any product with an E.P.A. registration must be used at the required dilution to effectively provide the kill claims.

#3 – If It Smells Good, It’s Clean Cleaning Myths

Smell is a very powerful sense. It can influence perception in dramatic ways. When it comes to cleaning, we associate clean with an odor, in many cases it is bleach or pine or lemon. This is because these odors have been connected with many popular cleaning chemicals throughout the years. The problem is that most of these chemicals cover up to real issue and rely on a “clean scent.”

The smell of clean is no odor at all. The compounds used for fragrances are in many cases exaggerated to the point of leaving a bio film behind that can attract dirt and bacteria.

For the record, if a restroom smells like stale cherry, it’s dirty. End of story.

#4 – Disinfectant Cleaner Cleaning Myths

“Wow! It says right here on the label ‘Disinfectant  Cleaner!’ That means I only need one product to clean and disinfect!” Yes, but make sure your read the directions on the label. It won’t say it on the front of the bottle or even in the catalog descriptions, but there are always at least 2 steps to the process and the product must be used as if it were at least 2 different chemicals.

The E.P.A. disinfection guidelines all include the statement “On Pre Cleaned, Non Porous surfaces.” This means that you must clean the surface first before moving on to the next step. Very few do this. In fact, I would guess that less that 10% of housekeepers even know about this. The disinfecting step is to apply the product and allow it to remain moist for a prescribed amount of time. Then, in most cases you still have a third step to wipe the surface again to remove residue. This also removes bacteria killed in the disinfection process.

Dead bacteria become a great food source for live bacteria if not removed. If used to clean a floor, the residue can be so bad that your feet will stick to the floor.

#5 – Bleach Is The Answer Cleaning Myths

“Mom always used bleach to clean everything.” She may have but there was very little cleaning going on. Cleaning chemical properties help to loosen and suspend soil in the solution so that they can be removed. Bleach has no such properties. It is a killer of bacteria. That’s all.

If the surface is contaminated with any number of micro-organisms, bleach will kill them if used properly. The problem is that with even a moderate soil load, it is not capable of removing the excess soil and deceased bacteria. Once it has lost is killing ability in a very short time, other bacteria show up is droves to feed on this buffet and the effort put in to cleaning the surface is wasted. Bleach is also dangerous for humans since we are just a larger organism.

The fumes that give us that desired “Bleach Clean” smell are toxic and can contribute to body burden.

Knowing the facts about cleaning can help to improve your overall results and also improve your health. Taking time to find out what is actually happening when you clean can save time, money and give you the peace of mind that if you say it is clean, it is clean!

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8 replies
  1. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Great stuff. It is very hard to overcome these myths, especially when it comes to disinfectants. In addition to the three steps; clean, disinfect, then rinse, there is almost always a required waiting period for the disinfectant to work of 10 minutes. You would be hard pressed to find anyone that cleans a surface, then applies a disinfectant, keeping it wet for 10 minutes and then following up with a thorough flush and rinse with fresh water.

    Compare the cleaning of any surface to the debate over hand washing and hand sanitizing. You can sanitize your hands but the dirt and dead bacteria are still there. Wash your hands and you flush all the soil and bacteria down the drain, the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Apply this to any surface, not just hands. With proper cleaning, the soil and bacteria should be removed without a need to disinfect. There are few problems with just cleaning a surface and foregoing the disinfectant. Almost nobody cleans properly in the first place so the disinfectant would be needed to ensure no nasty critters are left to get people sick. Assuming they didn’t clean properly in the first place what are the chances they will disinfect properly? And who is going to take the chance that any bacteria were left behind, skip the disinfecting process and then catch the bullet when people catch a bug? I was going to say something about the companies that have us sold on disinfectant who would be very upset if the entire cleaning process suddenly didn’t include disinfectant but I won’t… Ooops.

    Reply
  2. ttcleanings
    ttcleanings says:

    Great blog. I especially like myth#5-bleach is the answer. Most people really do believe that once you use bleach its guaranteed clean. But centuries ago they used simple vinegar and warm water to clean and deoderize a room. Bleach has high chemical content that are harmful to our earth..
    keep up the good work. And stay informative.

    Reply

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  1. Cleaning Myths in Janitorial and Facility Services - Master Care Facility Services says:

    […] Thank you Bald Guy Clean for your Cleaning Myths insights. http://thecleanestimage.com/dangerous-cleaning-myths […]

  2. […] common misconceptions that result in incorrect cleaning habits. A few of which I wrote about in 5 Dangerous Cleaning Myths. Diligence and knowledge are the only way form cleanliness  habits that are effective. Many of […]

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