From how you spray products to how often you clean, these bad cleaning habits may be doing more harm than good.
Sometimes it’s obvious when you’re cleaning something incorrectly. Other times, it’s not—until something happens, like damage to your home or even sickness. The good news? Often, fixing the bad habit just saves you time and money. This is what to look out for in your own cleaning routine.
Meet the Experts
Becca Crandall is the owner of Beck Cleaning and Organization.
Bentley Rosser is the director of cleaning operations at Beck Cleaning and Organization.
Alicia Sokolowski is the president and co-CEO of AspenClean.
Using Too Many Cleaning Products
According to Becca Crandall and Bentley Rosser, owner and director of cleaning operations at Beck Cleaning and Organization, respectively, you can actually clean your entire home with Dawn soap and warm water. “Our point is that you don’t need a specific cleaner for every surface,” they explain. “Using excessive products can be costly and even contribute to indoor air pollution. We recommend sticking to essential cleaners–like wood, stainless steel, and multipurpose cleaner–to minimize the environmental impact.”
Neglecting Deep Cleans
Surface cleaning is important, but so is deep cleaning. “Schedule regular deep cleaning sessions for often overlooked areas, such as behind furniture or inside appliances,” advises Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of AspenClean. Not doing so might create a bigger problem for you later on, whether it be tedious scrubbing or expensive repairs.
Using Too Much Laundry Detergent
More isn’t always more. You may think employing an excessive amount of laundry detergent will make it extra clean, but you should always follow the manufacturer guidelines. “Not doing so can lead to soap residue buildup, cause skin irritation, damage fabric, and negatively impact the environment,” Crandall and Rosser say.
Not Vacuuming Regularly
Your carpet may look clean, but Sokolowski insists there’s always more than meets the eye. When you vacuum, you suck up invisible dirt and allergens like dust mites and pet hair. How often you vacuum depends on how often a room is used, and as well as your symptoms (think sneezing and runny noses).
Mixing Cleaning Products
This is an important one. “If you’ve ever felt lightheaded, gotten a headache, or experienced shortness of breath while cleaning, you may very well be poisoning yourself,” warn Crandall and Rosser. “Chemicals like bleach and vinegar should never be mixed together, or with other cleaning products, as they can create toxic fumes.” Be sure to read labels carefully and avoid combining products unless explicitly recommended.
Spraying Cleaners Directly on Surfaces
“You should spray cleaners onto a cloth or sponge first, rather than directly on surfaces,” Sokolowski says. Though this may feel like you’re adding an unnecessary extra step, she insists that this practice “prevents overuse and reduces inhalation of fumes.”
Not Cleaning Your Cleaning Tools
Think about it: Your sponges, mops, and brushes are exposed to the grossest stuff in your home every single time they’re used. According to Sokolowski, not washing and disinfecting them regularly can lead them to harbor bacteria—and put it right back where they got it from.
Using Specific Cleaners on Unrecommended Surfaces
Take glass cleaner, for example: “Most glass cleaners have ammonia or vinegar to break down marks like hard water and smudges,” say Crandall and Rosser. “Surfaces like granite, wood, metal, or laminate may be sensitive to the acidic substances.” Using glass cleaner on these surfaces won’t actually disinfect or sanitize them, and it may lead to damage or discoloration over time.
The same goes for toilet cleaner, which is made to tackle tough stains and germs unique to toilet bowls. It often contains hydrochloric acid or bleach that can damage the finish on surfaces, discolor material, or cause forms of deterioration.
Not Letting Cleaning Products Sit
When you’re tackling tough stains, patience is key. Let the cleaning products sit for a while and let their chemicals have time to work. “You should also allow disinfectants to sit for the recommended contact time before wiping,” Sokolowski explains. “This ensures they effectively kill germs and bacteria."
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