Surprising Homeowner Myths You Should Know About
By Natasha Burton
Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a veteran of the house-having game, chances are you may be doing (or believing) a few things that just aren’t true. (I know, hard to imagine, right?) The fact is, a bunch of common myths about the home — how to clean it, take care of it and use it — are simply, well, wrong.
So, leave your ego and long-standing beliefs at the door — I’ll do the same — to learn about five homeowner myths still held by far too many people. More than likely you’ll be surprised by at least one of them.
Myth #1: Lemons Can Clean Your Garbage Disposal
We’ve all done it. After cleaning the dishes, you discover a half-juiced lemon and toss it down the garbage disposal to give your sink a zesty little refresh. No big deal, right? Wrong. You never want to over-tax your disposal with food — asparagus, celery, egg shells, pasta and even coffee grounds can ruin the blades — so a sizable piece of fruit is also a no-no. Instead, some lemon juice and a few small scraps of peel can give it a quick refresh.
Myth #2: Flushable Wipes are Flushable
Any plumber worth their salt will tell you not to believe the claim on packages of so-called flushable wipes, proclaiming that you can, indeed, flush them. These wipes can clog up your sewer lines by snagging inside them. And they won’t break down the way good old-fashioned toilet paper does. If you’re committed to the wipe life, toss them in the trash can. Don’t ever put them in the toilet. Ever.
Myth #3: Bleach Kills Mold
Ah, one of the more inveterate homeowner myths. Bleach is known as the all-powerful sterilizer, but it’s really not very effective, or safe, when it comes to killing mold. While mold from sewage (gross!) can be tackled with bleach, better products are out there that can eliminate most types of mold. And I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to rely on the professionals when dealing with floor or wall growth of this nature, anyway.
Myth #4: A House Needs to Breathe
You may have heard this phrase before. It seems to refer almost lovingly to the drafty nature of those charming older houses. While homes do need to stay dry on the inside (see mold, above), poor insulation or a window without a strong seal is not going to be good for your home in the long run. (Really, a drafty home will just hike your heating bill.) If you’re worried about moisture within your house, that’s a whole other issue to tackle. A draft doing its thing won’t do the trick.
Myth #5: You Can Never Over-Paint
A fresh coat of paint is often seen as the answer to all sorts of house-related issues. New paint makes a room look, well, newer. It can cover up an ugly mural left by a former owner. It can make a space look bigger or brighter. However, what you don’t often hear is that when it comes to painting, you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive paint, especially in older homes or on the exterior, can crack and get more and more delicate with age, leading to even more cracking over time.
The Bottom Line
If unsure what to do about a given issue in your home, you don’t always have to try solving it yourself. (Or, if you do things a certain way because you’ve always done them that way, or because you grew up doing them that way, it may be time to rethink old habits.) In the end, keep your home happy and healthy by treating it with care — not relying on outdated advice or habits.
Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN, Cosmopolitan, and WomansDay, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including “101 Quizzes for Couples” and “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.”