Cleaning expert weighs in on top eco-cleaning methods

Ketchup, vinegar, and even Coke have been elevated into “green” cleaning agents by the Internet world.

But do these tricks make for just good viral videos, or do they really help to save the environment?

In line with World Environment Day on Sunday, Ms Roxanna Pelka, a manager from Helpling, a home cleaning company, put them to the test, and no, vinegar is not a multi-purpose cleaning agent.

Ketchup: The metallic pot cleaner

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 acetic 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.

Toothpaste: The jewellery cleaner

Teeth and silver jewellery share more in common than we may have known. Brushing the silver with toothpaste and a toothbrush the same way we do our teeth will polish it. The silver has to be rinsed and dipped into warm water before it can shine again.

Potted plants: The dust absorber

Plants such as ferns and orchids have the ability to catch floating dust on their leaves and can be wiped off with a damp cloth.

Oil: Sticky residue remover

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 olive oil mixture onto sticky areas with a kitchen cloth.

Coffee: The sink unclogger

Rather than scrubbing the pipes, coffee can cause more clogging if mixed with debris, accumulating into a thick gunk. The combination of four teaspoons of baking soda and a cup of vinegar works better.

Vinegar: The multi-purpose cleaning agent

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.

Sparkling water: The stain remover

No more embarrassing stains on clothes, sparkling water to the rescue. Saturate the stain with soda or sparkling water, and blot it off, without rubbing the area. Carbon dioxide dissolves the colour and tannins from the fabric, although it doesn't work on fat or oil.

Fizzy drinks: The toilet unclogger

While using the popularly shared method of some sweets and fizzy drinks generates 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Cleaning expert weighs in on top eco-cleaning methods'. Print Edition | Subscribe