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Myth busters! Alternative cleaning methods

Fact or fiction? Break through the myths you've heard with our no-nonsense guide to alternative cleaning methods. Whether you've been scratching your head over cleaning brass with ketchup or the cleaning properties of coca cola, learn all about it, here!


By Cleanipedia Team

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You may think that using items from around your home such as toothpaste or ketchup for cleaning is just a myth. However, sometimes they can make the best homemade brass cleaner, descaling product or even car cleaner. Read on to bust those myths and discover how truly useful products around your home can be.

Key Steps:

  • Use toothpaste to descale kettles, clean irons and even remove phone screen scratches.    

  • Don’t use toothpaste on suede shoes or diamond jewellery.

  • Use ketchup to clean brass, silver and copper.     

  • Don’t use ketchup near fabric or wood.    

  • Use coke to clean silver, your toilet and rusty metal too.

Everything you need to know about cleaning with toothpaste

Toothpaste can be found in every home, but did you know that it can be used to clean much more than just your teeth. There are plenty of stains you can improve with the use of toothpaste, but also some things you shouldn’t do with toothpaste.

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Common uses for cleaning around your home with toothpaste

Read on for the four most common uses for cleaning with toothpaste!

  1. Remove soap scum. With a small spot of toothpaste on a damp cloth, you can scrub away soap scum on taps, the shower, other places in your bathroom or kitchen.

  2. Descale and clean your iron. Obviously, you need to ensure your iron is switched off and cool before cleaning. Rub a little toothpaste over the surface of the iron to remove grime, limescale and give it a polish.

  3. Use toothpaste on headlights. Cleaning headlights with toothpaste is easy, all you need is a clean cloth. Simply scrub toothpaste over the surface to shine them good as new!

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Get rid of scuff marks and scratches. Whether you have scuff marks on leather shoes or light scratches on cars and phone screens, toothpaste can be used to remove them.

  • Here's how to fix a cracked phone screen with toothpaste:

    • Dampen a cloth with water, taking care to squeeze out the excess water. You don’t want to over saturate your phone.

    • Using the damp cloth to rub toothpaste into the scratch.

    • When cleaning your phone work in circular motions. This will gently sand down the uneven surface.

    • This method is only suitable for light, surface scratches. If you can get a fingernail into the scratch, it’s probably too deep for toothpaste to work.

Always be sure to test any new cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous spot first to check it won’t cause unwanted damage such as staining or discolouration.

Important times you should NOT use toothpaste for cleaning

Now you know the common uses for cleaning using toothpaste, it’s time to provide you with a few times you should never use toothpaste for cleaning.

  1. Diamond jewellery. Diamonds themselves may actually be ok to clean with toothpaste, but it’s too abrasive and hard to clean most soft metals such as gold and silver. As these metals usually make up the setting of precious jewellery, we recommend steering clear of using toothpaste to clean them. Instead, use an alternative to toothpaste such as baking soda and washing-up liquid.

  2. Suede shoes. You may be able to use toothpaste for cleaning leather shoes, but we don’t recommend trying it on suede. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to rub detergents like Persil into the suede before wiping clean with a damp cloth.

Everything you need to know about using ketchup to clean silver, brass and other materials

It may taste great as a complementary addition to many a meal, but did you know there are easy steps for cleaning brass with ketchup... and other materials too? Here are a few dos and don’ts for cleaning copper with ketchup, which also apply to silver and brass too!

  • DO use a bowl which is big enough to submerge the item you wish to clean.      

  • DO squeeze enough ketchup into the bowl to cover the item(s).     

  • DO apply the ketchup using an old towel directly onto the surface of larger items which cannot be submerged in a bowl.      

  • DO allow the ketchup time to work. We recommend at least 30 minutes, but for items which are particularly badly tarnished 50 minutes to an hour.      

  • DO always rinse your item off thoroughly in warm water, to remove all traces of ketchup.      

  • DO keep an old toothbrush handy to remove any leftover ketchup which may become caught in hard to reach areas.      

  • DO use a clean, dry towel to pat dry the item you are cleaning.      

  • DON’T use ketchup to clean anything which has any fabric elements as it could result in unwanted staining. This includes brass buttons on jackets or furnishings on your sofa.     

  • DON’T use ketchup to clean silver, brass or copper door knockers as it could leave marks on the surrounding wood.

Everything you need to know about cleaning with coke When it comes to alternative cleaning methods you may be surprised to know that you can actually use coke to clean toilet bowls, and so much more. Here are a few coca-cola cleaning tips everyone should know about:

  1. Coke in your washing machine alongside your usual detergent will help to remove grease or blood stains from clothes and fabric.

  2. Rusty bolts can be loosened with coke. Dip a sponge in coke to rub away rust from other areas too.

  3. Cleaning brass with coke is easy by either soaking the item (this is best for cleaning coins with coke, for example) or wiping it down with a cloth dipped in coke (this would work best for items such as candlesticks!).

  4. Use coca-cola to clean toilet bowls by simply pouring it around the inside of the bowl and leaving it for at least 30 minutes. Give it a flush and away you go!

  5. Noticed a marker stain on your carpet? Don’t panic! Simply apply coke, give it a scrub and then clean it away using soapy water.

  6. Pour coke into a burnt pan or kettle which needs descaling and leave it to soak. Simply rinse after to return them to their former glory.

  7. You may have heard about cleaning jewellery with coke and not believed it to be true... but it is! All it needs is a ten-minute soak and a thorough rinse and you’re ready to go.

  8. Finally, why not try cleaning silverware with coke? As with cleaning brass you can either soak items in the coke or use it to wipe them down and remove any tarnish marks.

So, whether you want to know what cleans brass, or you're searching for a home remedy for cleaning silver, look no further than some of the products you can already find in your own store cupboards at home.

Originally published