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For Science: We Tried Weird Spring Cleaning Hacks So You Don’t Have To

Written by Emery Schaffer & Danielle Elmers

In this installment of For Science, the ladies decided to try out some of the Internet’s oddest spring cleaning hacks. Do they work? Is it all a hoax? They went on the mission to find out. Here are their results:

Danielle: It’s spring! That means breaking out the sundresses and shorts.

Emery: And remembering that you haven’t shaved your legs since October. The only downside to warm weather, really.

Danielle: True. It also means looking around your apartment and realizing that you are due for some serious spring cleaning.

Emery: How tedious. Dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing every inch of your home until your hands bleed. But why should it have to be this way? How in the world could we possibly make this fun? Do I sound like an infomercial yet?

Danielle: You really do.

Emery: Amazing, my plan is working.

Danielle: We decided that there must be some fun (yet also scientific, because of course) ways to clean our apartment. We looked up some unconventional methods of cleaning and compared the different (and SCIENTIFIC) ways of getting the same job done.

Emery: Yay science! Here are our discoveries!

SPRING CLEANING SCIENCE EXPERIMENT #1: Cleaning your toilet with coke v.s. Cleaning your toilet with kool-aid.

Emery: I’ve heard for ages that you can use Coca-Cola to clean your toilet, which seriously makes me rethink ingesting it. Why would anyone drink something that is a tried and true method for cleaning the inside of your toilet? Because it tastes really f*cking good in a rum and coke.

We love a bathroom photoshoot.

Danielle: Eh, we’re all going to die someday.

Emery: I followed the instructions to a tee: pour it in there, let it sit for a while, and then flush. While it’s sitting, the acidic properties of the soda strip the grossness off your toilet. And I repeat: why do we ingest this? Anyways, I followed the steps closely. I also sent a message of warning to my roommates, because it looked absolutely disgusting and I didn’t want them to think we were having a sewage problem, if you know what I mean. Fifteen minutes later, I flushed the experiment. No real noticeable change. I think I probably should have waited longer, but I have three roommates and we all share a bathroom so that’s almost impossible — ESPECIALLY in the mornings when we’re all getting ready for our days. A way around this is to do this experiment in the middle of the day when nobody is home, but I’m a busy woman!

This is the actual text I sent to my roommates.

Danielle: Who has the time?

Emery: In conclusion, no harm no foul. It just didn’t work super well. I think I’ll stick to cleaning products, mostly so I can stop seeing my rum and coke as a toilet cleaner.

Danielle: Speaking of beverages you can clean with: Kool-aid!

Emery: Let’s hear it!

Danielle: To be completely honest, I forgot that kool-aid came in powder form. I guess I grew up on the at the end of the kool-aid phenomenon. I still remember drinking kool-aid as a child (and being mildly afraid of the kool-aid man running through the wall of my room).

Emery: So what exactly did it do?

Danielle: The Internet told me that I could use lemonade kool-aid to clean my toilet because the acid in the powder would break up mineral building, leaving behind a shiny toilet bowl. Well, once my order arrived, I put it to the test. It was extremely simple: open toilet lid, pour powder, and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush and flushing. The #1 observation? The lemon smell was strong, instantly wafting my entire bathroom in a sugary, lemon zest type of aroma. Even my roommate could smell it from outside the bathroom. But did it actually clean my toilet? Honestly, who knows. My toilet wasn’t gross to begin with so the before and after pictures essentially look the same. Did it break down buildup? Did I have buildup to begin with? Who knows! It also made it seem like a super dehydrated person peed for the first time in days. The yellow did not match my bathroom decor at all. But it did make everything smell really good — so that’s definitely a plus. Also, now I have a set of lemonade kool-aid packets in case I ever need.

Emery: A huge flex!

SPRING CLEANING SCIENCE EXPERIMENT #2: Refreshing couch with baking soda v.s. Refreshing couch with vodka + water.

Danielle: Using baking soda to freshen up your couch sounds like such a great idea. It’s cheap, you won’t accidentally bleach the fabric, and sure you have to do a bit of manual labor with your vacuum, but my tiny arms could use the workout. So while it seemed foolproof when I thought of it, it turned out to be less than so in reality. Let’s just say you need to make sure you have a vacuum that won’t overheat and stop working before you’re halfway through vacuuming off the baking soda.

Before disaster struck.

Emery: Oh no.

Danielle: Oh yeah…I started by letting the baking soda sit on my couch and soak up the months worth of body odor, flatulence, sweat, food crumbs, spilled alcohol and embarrassingly, vomit (it was one time, don’t judge). That took about 20 minutes. Then, I rolled out my vacuum to get the baking soda off and in the process, freshen up the couch. Everything was going great until I started to hear this high-pitched screaming coming from the vacuum. It sounded like someone was trapped inside and screaming bloody-murder to be let out. But I also needed to get this baking soda off, so that person was going to have to wait. Halfway down the couch, my vacuum did the thing I was really hoping it wouldn’t do; it shut off. Died. Gave up. Went to sleep. Passed away. Half of my couch was still coated in white powder that either indicates extreme cleanliness or extreme drug use (neither of which I personally do, but again, don’t judge). So I waited another 20 minutes for my vacuum to revive itself. I got about another third done before the vacuum shut down AGAIN. I ended up sweeping the baking soda off the couch and using baby wipes to get anything that remained. But enough about me: How did the vodka go?

Emery: ANOTHER beverage used to disinfect something in my apartment? Nothing is sacred anymore. Fortunately, I’ve never been a vodka drinker, so using it to freshen up my couch didn’t bother me (but if anybody has any news about the cleaning properties of tequila, keep them to yourself. I want to live in ignorance). PLUS, any excuse to use my essential oils sounds like a party to me.

Danielle: You got your fix.

Emery: I did. The good news: This WORKED! Really well. Granted, my couch wasn’t smelly beforehand, but my couch smells so good and nothing like it came out of the basement of a bar. No vodka scent to be found. I would do this again, to everything I own.

SPRING CLEANING SCIENCE EXPERIMENT #3: Cleaning makeup brushes with soap + water v.s. Cleaning makeup brushes with soap + water + olive oil

Emery: This one sounded suss to me. But since I don’t really use makeup brushes and use my hands to apply my makeup like a child, I figured I can sacrifice the ones I do have. Also, I’ve been told that it’s very, very important to clean your makeup brushes often for the sake of skin health. And since this one requires common household ingredients, I figured it’s worth a shot. How is this better than just using plain soap and water?

Danielle: For me, plain soap and water did end up doing the trick, but I definitely needed to do a few rounds of suds, warm water, cold water, etc. The water was brown with old makeup, but my soul — my soul was cleansed. I still probably need to buy new brushes, regardless. It’s been a little too long.

Emery: Well, I mixed the olive oil with a little dish soap per the instructions I found, and doused my brushes in it. Was I ruining them? Maybe! But science don’t care. After many, many rounds of rinsing, my brushes actually came out very clean and INCREDIBLY soft (probably from the olive oil). I don’t know how technically clean they are, but this experiment wasn’t messy and seemed to work.

Danielle: That’s fun! And I love olive oil, so I might just have to try.

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