5 popular kitchen cleaning hacks that just don’t work, according to professionals

Using Vinegar and Baking Soda to Unclog Drains

Mixing vinegar and baking soda is often touted as an eco-friendly way to unclog drains. The reaction between the acidic vinegar and basic baking soda is supposed to clear away grease and grime.

However, professionals note that this combination rarely works on severe clogs. The fizzing reaction does not provide enough force to remove a truly stuck mess. At best, it might break up minor buildup. But for anything more, a mechanical drain snake is required.

Cleaning Burned Pans with Baking Soda

Some people recommend sprinkling baking soda onto a scorched pan, adding water, and simmering to loosen the char. Unfortunately, this typically only wastes time and baking soda.

The burnt spots need abrasive scrubbing to remove, not a chemical reaction. Bon Ami powder or Bar Keeper’s Friend work much better. Using steel wool and elbow grease is often required for baked-on spills.

Removing Stains with Lemon Juice

Many believe that lemon juice can whiten, brighten, and remove stains on everything from clothes to cutting boards. However, lemon juice is not a very effective cleaning agent.

While the acid may bleach color, it does not effectively combat grease or grime. The low pH also does little to sanitize surfaces or kill germs. For powerful stain removal, commercial agents like OxiClean work far better.

Freshening Garbage Disposals with Citrus Peels

Tossing citrus peels down the drain is often suggested for freshening a smelly garbage disposal. But citrus oils do not actually penetrate or eliminate disgusting waste-buildup that causes odors.

Professional drain cleaners use enzyme-based products to digest organic material while antibacterial agents kill germs and bacteria growing inside the system. Proper disposal usage and regular drain maintenance are better ways to avoid a stinky unit.

Cleaning Windows with Newspaper

Using newspaper to clean windows and mirrors is an age-old hack. But the truth is, newspaper is not an effective glass cleaner. The newsprint and chemicals leave behind streaks, lint, and residue.

Window cleaning experts always recommend using a squeegee in tandem with a lint-free cloth and a high-quality glass cleaning solution. For truly spotless shine, nothing beats microfiber towels and professional-grade window cleaning fluid.

Asking the Experts

When tackling cleaning challenges, it pays to ask professional cleaners what products and techniques work best for the specific issue at hand. Well-meaning DIY hacks often just don’t have the cleaning power needed for dirty, high-traffic kitchens. Investing in commercial-grade tools and proven cleaning agents makes cleaning easier and faster.

Common Kitchen Cleaning Questions

Cleaning the kitchen thoroughly yet efficiently can be tricky. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How can I naturally sanitize my kitchen surfaces?

Opt for white vinegar rather than harsh bleach products. Spray full-strength white vinegar directly onto surfaces and let sit for several minutes before wiping away. Vinegar is antibacterial and provides natural sanitization for kitchens.

What is the best way to make stainless steel appliances shine?

Use a microfiber cloth, dampened with a few drops of olive oil, to gently buff stainless steel in the direction of the grain. The oil lubricates and picks up residue for a flawless polished finish.

Should I use different sponges for counters vs. dishes?

Yes, you do not want to transfer bacteria from dirty dishes back onto counter surfaces. Use one sponge for cleaning counters, sinks, and stovetops. Use a separate sponge for washing dishes.

How can I remove grease buildup from kitchen walls?

Mix 2 cups warm water, 1/4 cup ammonia, and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto greasy buildup and let sit 5 minutes before wiping clean with a microfiber cloth.

What is the quickest way to clean the kitchen before company arrives?

Keep surface cleaner and paper towels on the counter to quickly wipe down high-traffic areas. Load dishes directly into the dishwasher as you cook. Declutter first, then vacuum, to speed up overall tidying.


While home cleaning hacks may be tempting to try, many simply don’t stand up to the tough cleaning needs of the kitchen. Arm yourself with the right tools and cleaning agents designed to cut through grease, eliminate bacteria, and make surfaces shine. Ask professional cleaners for their service recommendations when tackling particularly stubborn cleaning jobs. With the right techniques, you can keep your kitchen spotless every day.