Arts & culture

Fact or fiction? Summer’s biggest cleaning myths revealed

It’s finally summer! But just as the temperatures rise, our motivation to do household chores decreases. Endless myths promise to make cleaning easier for us this summer – but which of them are true? How effective is baking soda when it comes to fighting ants and does detergent really remove sunscreen stains? The UK and Ireland’s leading online cleaning platform Helpling, formerly known as, reveals the truth behind 10 of the most popular summer cleaning myths:

1. Shedding fruit flies with beer – FACT!
Especially during the warm summer months, we chase fruit flies all around our homes. The two-winged flatmates lay up to 400 eggs per day and multiply rapidly. However, we can build an easy trap with their favourite dish: cider vinegar, red wine or beer. Fill a bowl with one of these fluids and cover it with cling film. Use a fork to poke a few holes, then wait for flies to crawl through to taste the liquid – and never find their way back out.
2. Wiping sunglasses with your shirt – FICTION!
If you can barely see the ice cream right in front of you, it’s probably time to clean your sunglasses.Wiping them on a towel or your shirt seems easy, but invisible dirt and grease damage the sensitive glass. To avoid scratches, rinse your glasses under warm water and use your fingers to gently spread a drop of mild washing-up liquid on the lenses. After washing it off, dry your sunglasses with a lint-free cotton microfibre cloth – now enjoy the stainless view!
3. Baking soda helps to get rid of ants – FICTION!
Even though baking soda is a true all-rounder, avoid using it in the fight against ants! The powder kills them brutally as their stomachs swell and finally burst. The gentle alternative: spread dried tomato leaves and stalks. Disgusted from the smell, the insects leave voluntarily! Or what about switching off the lights and opening the windows? The animals follow the light out of your flat.
4. Opening the windows on a hot summer night – FICTION!
Open windows for a better sleep? No! Instead of a cool breeze, the heat from outside warms up your room even more. Tip: hang a wet sheet in front of the window! As it dries, the moisture in the air will keep your bedroom cool. Make sure to only use cotton sheets – the material stores the moisture as long as possible. Sweet and sweatless dreams!
5. Cat litter against smelly trash – FACT!
No matter how many times we take out the rubbish bag, the mouldy smell often remains. It comes from the liquids and fermentation processes of the waste, which are made worse in summer. Therefore, first thoroughly wash the bin with washing-up liquid and vinegar-based cleaner. After that, put some cat litter on the bottom of the bin and place the bag on top. The litter continuously soaks up the moisture. As soon as it clumps, simply exchange it for new litter – your home will no longer smell like compost!
6. Placing your pyjamas in the fridge? – FACT!
Hard time falling asleep on a hot night? Cold pyjamas help! Put your sleepwear in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator a few hours before going to bed. This simple trick works wonders! There is nothing better than sliding into pre-cooled pyjamas that let you forget about the summer heat outside. The cooling usually only lasts about 15 minutes – but who needs longer to fall asleep after a long workday…
7. Impregnate the grill with a potato – FACT!
Barbecues make every summer evening better – if only there wasn’t the annoying grill cleaning afterwards. Your ideal time saver: a potato! Simply heat your grill, cut a potato in half, and pick up one half with a fork. Now rub the metal grill with the potato to create your own non-stick coating. The potato starch has the same effect as oil, but is less dangerous when heated up – say goodbye to sticky leftovers!
8. Freshen up beach towels with vinegar and alcohol – FACT!
Hard to believe, but true! A glass of liquor freshens up your favourite beach towels. How? It destroys essential bacterial functions which helps to fight germs. Simply add a few drops into your washing machine and let your towels enjoy the ride. The non-alcoholic alternative: two tablespoons of cider vinegar. Keep your hands off fabric softener! It clogs the fibres and reduces the towel absorbency.
9. Baking soda fights sweaty feet – FACT!
There is nothing better than taking off your shoes after a long day – until the pungent smell makes you want to put them on again. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix – baking soda. It neutralises unpleasant odours and nourishes your skin at the same time. Sprinkle three teaspoons of the powder in warm water and soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes. By the way, regular repetition of the foot bath also helps against athlete’s foot!
10. Wipe away sunscreen stains with washing-up liquid – FACT!
Who doesn’t know the struggle: the leaking sunscreen has made a mess in our beach bag, taking away all the sunbathing fun. No need to despair! Simply pour a few drops of washing-up liquid on a wet cloth and wipe away the stain. Washing-up liquid is the miracle weapon against grease, so the surfactant dissolves the sunscreen magically. Let nothing stop your perfect summer day!

About Helpling

Helpling is Europe’s leading online marketplace for home services. On the website or via the app, customers can book a vetted and insured service provider and gain back free time within a couple of clicks. For service providers, the innovative online service makes it easier than ever to find new clients and to manage when and where they want to work.

Helpling was founded in early 2014 by Benedikt Franke and Philip Huffmann. Among its investors are Rocket Internet, Mangrove Capital, Lakestar, APACIG and Accel. Helpling currently offers its services in 9 countries: Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, UK, UAE, the Netherlands and Singapore.