7 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes:
Routines we use to clean the home become second nature. We may never stop to think if we’re doing it right or if we could be doing it better. Believe it or not, there are actually some right and wrong ways to dust, mop, scrub, vacuum, and clean essentially everything in the home. Worried now that you’ve been incorrect this whole time?
Mopping a Wood Floor with Water
Water is the enemy of any wood floor. While it’s tempting to get the mop and bucket out to clean hardwood and laminate floors, just like linoleum or tile, it’s harmful and not simply necessary. Sweep and vacuum often with the proper attachments, and mop with a barely-damp cloth when necessary.
Using Furniture Polish to Dust
Furniture polish, while it smells great and makes your cabinets look shiny, should be used sparingly. Most commercial furniture polish has a large percentage of oil in it, which can smear and make fingerprints more prominent. In general, a cloth, barely damp with water, will suffice for general maintenance cleaning.
Scrubbing Stains out of Carpet and Upholstery
Stains happen. Everywhere. Even in your carpets. When it does, resist the urge to scrub the stain out; that will damage the pile. Instead, blot as much of the spill up as you can with a clean, dry towel. Then, rinse it thoroughly with clean water, and blot dry again. Repeat as needed, and apply carpet stain remover if necessary, following the manufacturer’s directions.
Washing Windows on a Sunny Day
It seems obvious you should clean your windows when the sun is shining so you can see what you’re doing. But, actually, the opposite is true. Hot sun will make glass cleaner evaporate quickly and cause streaking. Instead, wait for a cloudy day, when temps are under 70 degrees.
Using Spray Cleaners on Electronics
Never use sprays like window cleaners on electronics like your TV, cell phones, or LCD screens. They can do damage, as can the wood fibers from paper towels and tissues. Use a microfiber cloth instead or—in the absence of that—a coffee filter. If you need the extra umpf of a cleaner, use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar diluted in distilled water. And always spray onto your cloth, not onto the screen.
Using Abrasives on the Tub & Tile
Using abrasive cleaners or tools on porcelain tile and bath tubs is a very common mistake. Abrasives will remove stubborn dirt, but will also dull the finish. So resist using that pot scrubbing sponge on your tub, and opt for a soft cloth and a non-abrasive liquid cleanser or a non-abrasive powder like Bon Ami. Your tub and tile will thank you.
Vacuuming in the Wrong Direction
Is there really a wrong way to vacuum? Well, there’s a better way to vacuum. Don’t vacuum perpendicular to the baseboard or you will push dirt under it that will likely get stuck there forever. Instead, vacuum parallel to the baseboard at the edges of the room. Then, make sure to vary your direction in the middle of the room to and lift, separate, and untangle fibers.