6 Common Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid

March 7, 2018

It can be hard to find time to clean your home. So, when you do, you want to make it as quick and effective as possible. But, what if some of your cleaning habits are doing more harm than good? In an effort to keep your house clean and get it done as quickly as possible, you may be doing some serious damage. These are some of the most common cleaning mistakes to avoid whether you are just tidying up or tackling spring cleaning:

Cleaning Mistake #1 – Using Stringent Cleaners on Painted or Finished Materials

Getting smudges on doors and walls is unavoidable. If you have kids, you may be adding crayon marks or markers to that list. Although stringent cleaners can help eliminate the spot in a hurry, they often end up damaging surfaces, especially because they often contain bleach or other harsh chemicals that strip away the surface.

After a few uses of this type of cleaner, the paint or finish can start to degrade and turn what seemed like easy cleaning into a painting or refinishing task! Start out by trying to use a simpler cleaner first to keep everything intact. You’ll be surprised what a little all-purpose spray and elbow grease can achieve as long as that “all-purpose” cleaner is safe to use on the surface you’re trying to clean.

Depending on what surface you are trying to clean, there may even be a list of approved cleaners to use and cleaners to avoid from the manufacturer. This is common when it comes to the best way to clean stainless steel appliances. Referencing this list can help you avoid damage while also getting quick, effective cleaning results.

Cleaning Mistake #2 – Spraying Cleaners Directly Onto Electronics

Keyboards, TVs, monitors, phones, speakers, and more can become egregiously dusty. You might be tempted to spray cleaner directly onto them, but you’ll want to resist the temptation! Excess moisture can get inside electronics, which causes them to malfunction, break, or in some cases, even generate sparks.

Instead, spray your cleaner on a cloth or rag first to prevent a catastrophe and still keep your electronics clean. You can also invest in a can of compressed air for a damage-free way to remove dust from electronics in between cleanings. This is a great way to keep water and moisture away from your electronics and prevent electrical hazards in your home.

Cleaning Mistake #3 – Saturating Areas with Liquids

It may be tempting to try to soak a spot to make it easier to clean. Although more can be better in some cases and you do want to give cleaners a chance to work before wiping them away, it’s generally not a good idea to saturate areas with liquids during cleaning. Allowing too much cleaner to splash over surfaces can be detrimental.

In addition to wasting cleaner and creating a potential slipping hazard, you could be causing damage to porous materials over time. If you have hardwood floors or countertops, they can bow with too much moisture. In these cases, consider using something like wet pad cleaner or hand-cleaning rather than a standard mop.

It may mean some additional work upfront, but thoroughly drying surfaces that could warp from moisture is necessary. At any rate, it’s much better than installing new flooring or having to refinish, reseal, or even replace a countertop!

Cleaning Mistake #4 – Mixing Cleaners

It may be popular to DIY your own cleaning products, but it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing, what you’re mixing together, and the consequences of mixing them. It’s usually not too much of an issue with things like lemon juice and vinegar. With these, you just need to make sure you get the balance right and that you aren’t using them on the wrong surfaces or products.

Issues generally arise when people purposefully, or accidentally, mix cleaners, especially with bleach. Although bleach may be an ingredient in some cleaners, you usually never want to mix it with any other cleaner on your own as they often create a dangerous chemical reaction. In some cases, skin and eye irritation are the least of your worries.

Cleaning Mistake #5 – Not Using Gloves

When embarking on a cleaning adventure, usually the list of supplies doesn’t include gloves unless there’s yard work. Homeowners get so concerned about the mess that they don’t even think about their hands!

Prolonged periods exposed to stringent cleaners can leave hands raw and cracked, so don’t forget the gloves! It’s easy to give all-natural cleaners a pass, but they aren’t an exception. They are still acidic on your hands and there is always the risk of cross-contamination with your eyes or mouth, so don a pair of gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward for safety.

Cleaning Mistake #6 – Working From the Bottom to the Top

Sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping can seem like easy wins when it comes to cleaning, which makes cleaning floors a tempting place to start. But, starting at the bottom and working up to the top is one of the most common cleaning mistakes to avoid.

As you clean walls, windows, fans, ceilings, etc., dirt and dust will float down to the lower surfaces. If you clean the floor before you clean the things higher up, you likely will need to touch up areas or re-clean the lower surfaces and floors entirely.

Avoiding these common cleaning mistakes and keeping spring cleaning tips in mind can make spring cleaning this year and cleaning year-round a breeze!