Superficially, household life hacks sound like a great idea. Rather than going through a long and laborious process for all your household maintenance, repairs, and management, you can use a “life hack” and save yourself a huge amount of time or money. Life hacks have been popular online for many years now, but they show no signs of losing their potency.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”cM_g7″ via=”yes” ]Some household realities you just can't life hack. Read on for a comprehensive run through of the most popular home-related life hacks that, sadly, just don’t live up to their billing and what you'll need to do instead.[/ctt]
Before we dive further into this subject, let’s clear up some confusion: household life hacks can be useful. Some life hacks are genuinely genius, and can be implemented to improve your home environment to great effect. There’s a place in the world for good household life hacks; after all, we all want to save money and have more free time to spend doing the things we want.
As you’ll soon discover, the problem is not with life hacks per se. The problem is with bad life hacks— and unfortunately, there’s more bad household life hacks than there are good ones. Read on for a comprehensive run through of the most popular home-related life hacks that, sadly, just don’t live up to their billing.
HACK: “Use baking soda and vinegar to clean your home.”
A few points on this one:
- Yes, use baking soda to clean your home.
- Yes, use vinegar to clean your home.
- No, don’t use baking soda and vinegar together to clean your home.
Thousands of online recipes for cleaning products involve using baking soda and vinegar in the same concoction; this article references using the two together repeatedly. There’s a serious problem for this money-saving household life hack, however: it won’t work.
When combined, vinegar and baking soda react against one another; they will visibly fizz, which many people mistake to mean the cleaning power of each ingredient is being enhanced. This simply isn’t the case; when the reaction is complete (which usually takes around 30 seconds), all that is left is sodium acetate, which has absolutely no cleaning power whatsoever. Using baking soda and vinegar in the same mixture negates the cleaning power of the individual components; use them separately for best results.
HACK: “Use electric space heaters so you’re only heating one room.”
This is a very popular “hack”, designed to save people money on their heating bills during the winter months. On some levels, it makes sense: why pay to heat your entire house when you’re only going to be using one room?
However, this hack ignores a number of facts:
- Electricity is far more expensive than natural gas, so while you may be losing less energy, you’ll be paying more for the energy you do use. This means the savings can cancel themselves out.
- It’s more than possible to configure your main heating system to just heat one room, which is a far more efficient way to achieve the goal of saving money.
- Heat provided by a space heater is predominantly directional — this is particularly true of halogen-style heaters — and thus the room itself might not warm, just the direction the heater is facing.
- If you switch rooms, you have to go through the hassle of moving the space heater with you, and the room you move to will be very cold (and possibly struggling with condensation).
Sure, you can use this trick, but is it worth it? No, not really. You’re far better off contacting the likes of Harster Heating & Air Conditioning for a custom heating solution that works for your circumstances and usage requirements. Space heaters just aren’t worth the extra cost of the electricity; they’re a suitable backup in case your main source of heat fails, but they’re not a viable long-term alternative to a good heating system.
HACK: “Use lemon to clean [multitude of items]”
Is there nothing that a humble lemon can’t clean? They’re recommended for cleaning kitchen surfaces, floors, baths… if you believe the number of household hacks regarding lemons, the fruit is all you need to keep your home clean and well-maintained. This sounds ideal; cleaning products are expensive, and lemons are cheap!
The downside? It won’t work. Sure, lemons contain citric acid, which in its pure form can indeed help cut through grease and remove stains. However, the citric acid found in lemons is not in its pure form. As a result, using a lemon to clean anything will usually just result in a sticky mess.
If you want to use citric acid to clean, then just use citric acid— the pure powder form is both cheap and easy to buy online.
HACK: “Leave bowls of water around your home to cool it down during hot weather”
This hack tends to reappear every summer, and is designed for homes without AC or suffering through a temporary AC failure. The idea is that the extra water will help cool your home, though how this is meant to happen isn’t clear.
Here’s what will actually happen:
- Warm air holds more water than cold air; that’s why winter is so infamously dry.
- Humidity makes the air feel hotter than it actually is, as body sweat can’t evaporate in humid conditions. Giving that the evaporation of sweat keeps us cool, we’re more likely to feel hotter in humid conditions, even if the air temperature is not particularly high.
- So, warm air + bowls of water = an increase in humidity. Even if the bowls of water somehow managed to cool the air temperature, they would increase the humidity in the air, resulting in your home feeling hotter.
The only surefire way to keep your home cool during the summer months is with an air conditioning system. Even fans, so relied upon by millions of people, will actually make a room warmer rather than cooling it down.
Life hacks can be useful, but they can also be outright incorrect. By knowing the household life hacks to avoid, you and your family will save yourself a lot of time, hassle, and stress. While the above may sound tempting, they simply don’t work, so focus your energy elsewhere— your home will be the better for it!
This is a contributed post.
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