To put this recommendation to the test, I made two different all-purpose cleaners to use to wipe down my stainless-steel range hood. One had good ol’ NYC water straight from the tap, the other had tap water that had been boiled. The two cleaners were identical other than that.
After applying each cleaner to one side of my hood with a microfiber cloth and letting them dry, there was a clear winner: The tap water side had far more residue than the boiled water side, which looked shiny and nearly streak-free. (I didn’t have distilled water on hand for this experiment, but I imagine it would have worked even better.)
Sacha Dunn, the founder of plant-based cleaning company Common Good, says that treated water’s utility doesn’t end there. You can also use it when cleaning out your spray bottles before refilling them.
“If you get really nasty bacteria out of the tap water, it can grow some pretty gross stuff,” Dunn tells mbg. The next time you’re cleaning out a glass spray bottle to prep it for a new cleaner, she recommends making sure it’s nice and sterile by giving it a good rinse with distilled water or, if you’re using tap, making sure it’s completely dry before you use it again. Set it upside down and let all the water evaporate completely before refilling it to make sure all the gunk gets out.
To further improve your cleaners’ efficacy and prolong their shelf life, Dunn recommends placing them in dry, dark areas like under your sink or in your kitchen cupboard. This ensures they’re out of direct sun and protected from sudden temperature changes.