Kitchen Hacks You Think Are Great ... but Aren't

By: Katherine C. Parker

Not all hacks are created equal. Here's our take on five best-to-skip-'em kitchen hacks that may have caught your eye.

1. The Hack: Scrub your pan with eggshells.

egg shells in a pan

The Claim: Sub eggshells for an abrasive sponge and scrub, scrub, scrub your way to perfectly clean pots and pans.

Truth Time: Ew. Remember how you're not supposed to eat raw cake batter? Same rule here. Raw eggs can contain Salmonella and other nasty bacteria. (Read this report of their contaminants when you're not mid-omelet.) Stick with the classic buffing cloths and scrub brushes, using soaking and scrubbing early—before any leftovers harden—to keep your pans dinner-ready.

2. The Hack: Push lemon peels down your sink's disposal for a quick kitchen refresh.

lemon squeeze

The Claim: Eliminate odors using natural ingredients by grinding up lemon peels in your disposal.

Truth Time: Lemon peels cause clogs—plain and simple. Even chopped up into tiny pieces there's a risk that your kitchen's drain line is eventually going to become a claustrophobic peel playground. You can use lemon juice instead—it's all of the scent, none of the clogging risk—but use it sparingly. Over time, the acid in the citrus can corrode the metal. To get your disposal clean and eliminate odors (albeit without the citrusy freshness), simply flush it with hot, soapy water or hot water and a touch of bleach.

Related: 7 Surprising Uses for Lemons

3. The Hack: Microwave your sponge to disinfect it.

sponge

The Claim: A quick nuke takes care of all the nasties.

Truth Time: Scientific Reports came out with a study that found way more bacterial grossness than you might want to know about (but if you're feeling the need for intel, read up). Microwaving can indeed kill the weak bacteria, but that leaves room for the big-time beasts to spread. Instead, look to the hottest cycle on your dishwasher to clean your dirty sponges and get in the habit of tossing kitchen sponges every few weeks.

4. The Hack: Use vinegar and/or peroxide for an all-natural countertop disinfectant.

vinegar

The Claim: These all-natural cleaners are the DIY answer to all your kitchen-counter woes.

Truth Time: Sure, these spritzes get our thumbs-up for most surfaces … but not granite or marble. The acidic ingredients will etch into the pores of your stone over time. Opt instead for warm soapy water after mealtime.

5. The Hack: Use dental floss to cut your cake!

dental floss

The Claim: A shimmy of dental floss is a smooth solution to your cake-cutting needs.

Truth Time: Yep, totally true EXCEPT be sure you're using unflavored and unwaxed floss (bet your current supply is minty fresh). You don't want any unexpected flavors tainting your perfectly baked dessert.

Watch: Healthy Cooking Hack! How to Use Stale Bread