8 Myths About Disinfecting, Busted by Cleaning Experts

Disinfectant Granite & Stone Wipes

The amount of information swirling out there around the most effective cleaning (and sanitizing, and disinfecting) practices can be dizzying — and often, misleading. What’s likely true is that your home and the surfaces in it aren’t getting the thorough clean you think they are.

While strategies for cleaning are aplenty, one way to take guesswork out of the equation is to stock products that are a one-two punch, like Weiman Disinfectant Granite & Stone Wipes. But you also need to know how to use them appropriately.

To squash the most common misconceptions around sanitizing and disinfecting, we consulted with resident cleaning expert Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute to help us bust some cleaning myths.


Myth: Sanitizing is the same as disinfecting.

Though commonly used synonymously, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are three separate things, says Forte. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cleaning removes any visible dirt, dust, and debris from a surface by washing and rinsing, typically with soap and water, but it does not automatically disinfect.

sanitizing disinfecting

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Sanitizing mitigates the risk of illness by

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Water, water everywhere in Cat’s wildlife-friendly garden

September 22, 2020

Every time I visit my friend Cat Jones‘s garden, it’s lovelier than the time before. Over the past 4 to 5 years she’s been busily making her Steiner Ranch garden, which overlooks a wildflower meadow and a wooded canyon, into a retreat for her and her family and for the wildlife she encourages. Water features tucked here and there throughout her garden are a key part of her avian welcome mat, and she’s noticed that birds coming in for a drink or a bathe favor different water features — a birdbath, the brown ceramic fountain pictured above, shallow water dishes, a steel bowl with dwarf waterlily, and a stock-tank pond — depending on the species.

Here’s what Cat says: “The blue birdbath is favored by cardinals and eastern phoebes. The fountain by the deck is the finches’ absolute favorite, along with the mockingbirds and summer tanagers. Chickadees, titmice, and cardinals visit the dishes on the north side of the house. Doves visit the tanks, as do springtime flocks of cedar waxwings and robins. They robins and waxwings also like congregating around the base of the fountain.”

It’s interesting to hear how varied are birds’ preferences

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Shop Drew Barrymore’s FLOWER Home Fall Collection for Fall

Drew Barrymore launched a daily talk show last week, but that hasn’t stopped the star from keeping her FLOWER Home collection for Walmart at the top of consumers’ minds. The stylish furniture and home decor line’s fall offerings just dropped on Walmart.com, and as to be expected, every item reflects Barrymore’s vibrant, boho aesthetic. And like previous home releases, she turned to everyday wonders to fuel her creative process. “Inspiration comes from everywhere,” Barrymore said in a press release. “Something that you love in life can become something you love in your home. Curate your love of life and live right in it.”

From colorful botanical prints to eye-catching abstract patterns, the eclectic FLOWER Home collection for the new season includes peel-and-stick wallpaper designs, plus an impressive assortment of seating, tables, lighting, curtains, wall art, ceramics, and much more. And the best part is that Barrymore’s collection won’t blow your budget at all. For instance, you can find a set of rattan storage baskets for $45, a wood console table for $299, a floral apron for $12 — just to name a few great pieces.

Courtesy of FLOWER Home

You might think the reasonable price points mean the star had

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3 Pro Tips for Putting Together the Best Bouquets

Good Housekeeping/Edible Arrangements

The floral arts have been around for ages (just look at some of our archival issues), but for anyone who has exhausted their to-do list of tie-dye DIYs and sourdough starters, the prospect of a putting together a tidy bouquet might actually feel like a fresh idea. Whether it’s a star centerpiece or a small touch of everyday style, a charming set of stems can be a beautiful and easy way to channel your creativity and uplift your spirit.

But as anyone who has tried to assemble a thoughtful flower arrangement will know, not every decision is as easy as it looks. Lucky for you, Good Housekeeping editors have worked with their fair share of florals. So we’ve picked the brains (and even taste buds) of our pros for a set of cross-disciplinary tips to help you tap into your inner florist. Read on for the easiest ways to make your next bouquet an arrangement that will inspire you in every way.

Set the tone with color

The star of every bouquet is color and it should be one of the most important considerations of the arrangement you choose. “Most pros suggest sticking to flowers

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Tropicalesque Tanglewild, where bananas and palms grow big and bold

September 17, 2020

With the arrival of cooler weather it’s garden visiting season, and I’ve started calling on gardening friends who are willing to have me over for a socially distanced, masked, outdoor visit. How I love touring gardens! This week’s tour is at Tanglewild Gardens, a 1.7-acre garden in north Austin’s Wells Branch neighborhood, the creation of Skottie O’Mahony and Jeff Breitenstein.

It’s been two years since I saw Tanglewild on the Garden Bloggers Fling tour, and wow, what a lot has changed since then. In the spring of 2018, the lower part of the garden by the creek was just starting to be planted, and pathways in that area were simple mown-lawn or mulch. Today a limestone fire pit encircled by banana trees and other tropical-looking plants beckons you down a flight of stairs to a gravel patio.

Cushy chairs invite you to sit a while, and a low-profile, wood-plank bridge leads on across the creek to another flight of stairs and a tall arbor doorway.

Skottie pointed out that their bananas are producing! See the cluster of upside-down, green bananas at the top of the spent flower stem? I didn’t know bananas would produce fruit

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How to Store Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs add depth to recipes when added in the beginning and brightness at the end. They add color to otherwise drab-looking pasta, and can be used as a sauce for everything from grains to meat and veggies – pesto or chimichurri, anyone? As beautiful as herbs are, they don’t last long, but here’s how you can store them and use every last leaf.

What’s the difference between tender and hardy herbs?

  • Tender herbs include leafy varieties with soft stems, like basil, parsley, cilantro, and dill. (Mint can be classified as a tender herb, too, but we’ve found that it can be stored well like a hardy herb, too!).
  • Hardy herbs include types with woodier stems, like rosemary, thyme, and oregano. They’re also the ones that require less water to grow. Think: Rosemary growing in the clay-like soil of the Mediterranean and oregano growing on the sandy mountains of Greece.

    Where should you store herbs — on the counter or in the fridge?

    • Tender herbs benefit from being treated like live flowers and stored in water at room temperature – the fridge’s temperature and air can bruise bare, delicate leaves (two exceptions: Parsley and cilantro can stand
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