cleaning-chemicals industry takes on the final frontier…

May 5, 2010 at 10:56 am | | science and the public, stupid technology

invisible stains. Finally, there are cleaners on the market that can clean up stains that are undetectable by any of the human senses.

Have you seen that commercial for a toilet-bowl cleaner? They say, “Bleach only hides stains.” Then they pour some purple stuff on the ceramic to reveal the hidden “stains.”

Um, what? Isn’t hiding a stain mean you get rid of the stain? By definition? I think it’s nuts that the cleaning-chemicals industry is inventing the problem of invisible stains. I have a solution to this problem: don’t pour that purple stuff in your toilet!

And then there are those “chemical residues” that watch you shower. The invisible, undetectable residues. How do we know that invisible residues are there at all? The TV tells us that they are there, of course. But wait, how do we know that the alternative cleaner doesn’t leave an invisible residue?

All this reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Or, more aptly, that old joke about the elephant repellant (“You don’t see any elephants around here do you? It must be working, then!”) People need to ignore these silly commercials and relax a little bit about cleaning. Just scrub the toilet bowl every week or two with a brush, then wipe the seat etc. with diluted bleach and be done with it! Jeez!


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  1. One of the tenets of marketing is if the market you want doesn’t exist, create it.

    Comment by Chemgeek — May 5, 2010 #

  2. Reminds me of those tablets that dye your teeth. I hated those when I was a kid.

    Comment by Kendall — May 5, 2010 #

  3. i thought the exact same thing! i used to LOVE those tablets, though. I want to go get some right now.

    Comment by sam — May 5, 2010 #

  4. I was thinking this would be used to cover up a crime. Gotta get those hidden blood and semen stains off the walls, right? But in the toilet bowl? Hmmm….

    Comment by jordan — May 7, 2010 #

  5. i always just repaint after i murder someone in the bathroom: i can cover up my crime and redecorate at the same time. kill two birds with one stone, if you will.

    Comment by sam — May 7, 2010 #

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