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Paper isn't always best

Paper isn't always best
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Paper towels are a hot commodity these days, so the last thing any of us would want is to be wasting some. And yet, if you’ve recently cleaned your electronic screens, mirrors or bathtub with paper towels, you’re wasting paper towels. Here are the 12 things you should stick to cleaning with sponges or reusable cloths instead.

The bath

The bath
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Think twice before reaching for the paper towel to remove that icky residue from your sink, shower or bathtub. According to Sara Hernandez, cleaning specialist, the best way to remove soap scum (residue) from your bathroom is to use a mixture of vinegar with washing-up liquid to cut through the grime and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Here are 22 bathroom mistakes you never knew you made. 

Wiping your hands while cooking

Wiping your hands while cooking
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It’s easy to just grab a sheet off the roll to dry your greasy, sticky fingers, but try to resist. Martha Stewart Living recommends wearing an apron while cooking, and chances are you’ve got one hanging in the kitchen you’ve been neglecting. You’ll not only save paper as you cook, but you’ll also protect your clothing in the process. Just wipe your hands on the apron after washing them, and move on to the next step in your cooking process.

Carpets and rugs

Carpets and rugs
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Accidentally spill soft drink on the rug? Don’t reach for the paper towel. “Wiping up spills or scrubbing stains with a paper towel will leave paper residue on carpeting, and it does not do a thorough job of wiping up,” says Deretta Richards, cleaning specialist. “Instead, use a clean dry cloth to soak up spills, let it dry, then vacuum.”

There’s another problem with using paper towels, warns professional cleaner Olivia Monash of Fantastic Services Group in Australia. “Scrubbing the stain will make the lint to go deep into the fibre and it will be difficult to vacuum afterward. Use a sponge instead.”

Dinner plates

Dinner plates
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Wiping kitchen plates and cups with paper towels because they’ve been sitting unused in the cupboard for a while is a bad idea, says Monash. “This would be anything but nature-friendly, not to mention that tiny particles might stick to dishes and later on end up in your digestive system.” Use a rag or damp cloth instead to wipe off those plates or mugs.

Electronic screens

Electronic screens
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Keep paper towels far away from your TV screen, laptop and even your mobile phone. “We would never recommend using paper towels on delicate glass surfaces like LCD or plasma TV screens,” says Carol Smith, owner of HireaMaid. “The fibres can cause permanent etching of the screen. Instead, use a product and microfibe cloth designed specifically for these surfaces.” Adds Smith: “It’s also important to not apply too much pressure when cleaning these screens, because it may cause damage to the crystals inside an LCD.”

Beware of these common mistakes we all make with antibacterial wipes. 

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Mirrors and windows

Mirrors and windows
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When cleaning windows and mirrors, use microfibre cloths – a favourite of professional cleaners – instead of paper towels. “I used to be a firm believer in Windex and paper towels to get my windows and mirrors sparkling, but I’ve since converted,” says Lifestyle expert Ayn-Monique Klahre of Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, an online food magazine. Microfibre cloths, explains Klahre, work just as well (if not better) and they’re reusable. “If you don’t have cloth, newspaper or even a paper bag will also work. And the best part: None of them leave lint behind the way a paper towel can.”

Enjoy these 35 nearly forgotten house cleaning tips from the past. 

The toilet

The toilet
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“Paper towels are not effective in cleaning toilets,” says professional cleaner Carolyn Osborne, Crew Leader, Housekeeping Associates. “Instead, use Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner or Comet Toilet Bowl Cleaner with bleach and a toilet bowl brush to make your toilet bowl sparkle.”

Learn which everyday items are dirtier than a toilet seat. 

Cutting boards

Cutting boards
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“When cleaning up stains such as meat juices on a wooden surface like a cutting board, do not use a paper towel as it will not thoroughly soak up all of the liquid. Use a clean, damp cloth with disinfectant on it to remove all residue,” recommends Lisa Sorensen, Crew Leader, Housekeeping Associates.

Learn these 5 food safety tips for proper food handling. 

Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses
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“Raw paper can be hard enough to scratch your lenses, and it will leave lint,” says Olivia Monash of Fantastic Services Group in Australia. “Instead, always use microfibre cloths as it cuts the oils that cause smudges and wipes them away.”

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team