Home & DesignCleaning

2 Home Hacks We Debunked, and 4 That Get The Job Done

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Finding a "hack" for an annoying home or kitchen chore is, ironically, as easy as opening a browser and zipping over to Pinterest, or thumbing a magazine at the newsstand, or chatting with your holier-than-thou neighbor for just a little too long.

There's an easier way! they all sing. Some, we pocket forever as time-and-sanity-savers; others, we test and critique.

So for Easiest, Fastest, Best Week (this week!) we branched into the home, where the purported hacks run just as rampant as in the kitchen. Our editor Caroline Lange and I went on Facebook Live on Tuesday to test a few out—armed with just a photo and a quick line of instruction from the internet.

We Tested 21 Viral Internet Food Hacks—& Some Really Do Work!
We Tested 21 Viral Internet Food Hacks—& Some Really Do Work!

Here are the six supposed home cleaning hacks we tested and—thanks in large part to your good advice—what we found worked and didn't.


Ice cubes will fix carpet indentions

We didn't let them melt all the way, but 20 minutes after dropping off an a few ice cubes in the divots where our office's couch legs had been, there were... still indentions. Wet indentions. We wondered if a carpet with a higher pile could be fluffed up using this method, but ours is a flat weave and the crushed fibers didn't budge with assistance from the ice.

A screenshot of a Pinterest search for "carpet indentions."
A screenshot of a Pinterest search for "carpet indentions." Photo by Pinterest

Iron salt to get the gunk off an iron

Nope. We tried ironing fine grain salt and then crunchy, chunky salt—using medium, and later very high heat—and none of the melted-on gunk budged off our iron.

Yes! Yes!

Lemon + salt will get the rust off your cutlery

Yes it will! At first, we were trying straight lemon juice—but you mentioned that we should add salt! So we did, and the little added abrasive was just the thing to wipe the rust clean. To do this at home, cut a slice of lemon, sprinkle salt on your rusty cutlery, and rub the lemon slice over it to wipe away the rust. (And then, going forward, store your utensils in a dryer place!)

Strong black tea can be used to swipe your mirrors clean

We read this hack—never before on Caroline's or my radar—on The Krazy Coupon Lady's website, which could be a wonderful website, but the tenor of the name alone made me pretty doubtful that the trick would hold up. I was wrong! Dipping a paper towel or rag in strong black tea and wiping it over a dirty mirror removed every last streak. Bathrooms everywhere rejoice.

20 All-Natural Spring Cleaning Tricks For the Kitchen
20 All-Natural Spring Cleaning Tricks For the Kitchen

Olive oil will get the sticky-tacky feeling off a sticker on a jar

As Jeremy Davis, one of our faithful Facebook Live viewers on that particular segment, noted, "adhesive is petroleum/oil based," which is why using water alone won't remove a sticker's gunky trace. The internet holds lots of tips for different oils that will, however: We found that tea tree oil removed the first layer of gunk after some time, while plain olive oil was even more effective (and faster) at getting the sticky-tacky layer completely clean.

To do this yourself, rinse the sticker under water to remove the papery layer, then drop olive oil all over it and rub away with a kitchen rag. Keep rubbing! After not too much time, it will ease away.

The easiest way to clean your stainless steel fridge is with vinegar

We've seen this before—but what's a test of purported hacks without re-testing one of your own! A small pour of white vinegar on a kitchen rag will wipe away streaks on stainless steel with just one swipe. You'll want to rub it in the direction of the grain, and it only takes a number of seconds.

Any other home (or kitchen) hacks you'd like us to test out for you? Share tips in the comments!

See more of our easiest, fastest, best week

Tags: Kitchen Hacks, Home Hacks, Tips & Techniques, Easiest, Fastest, Best Week