We all do it. We spray a cleaning solution on a surface, wipe it down with a cloth or vacuum it, sweep and mop it, and consider our homes clean. It will pass the white glove test, and it certainly smells nice. The only snag to it is that we’re making cleaning mistakes left, right, and center.
These are 17 of the cleaning mistakes we don’t want to make.
1. Not Wearing Gloves
Most people just want to clean and get it over with, because they have fun stuff to do. They spray and wipe, not considering what’s soaking into their skin every time they do. The chemicals they’re spraying on surfaces play havoc with their bodies as they soak into the skin. Wearing gloves is the most critical mistake of those who clean can fix.
The gloves don’t have to be those yellow rubber gloves our grandmothers wore. Today’s cleaning gloves are lined in cotton and waterproof, so they’re comfy to wear. You can even wear doctor gloves and just toss them when you’re through.
2. Using The Same Cleaning Cloth In Every Room
The chicken you cut up on the cutting board leaks its juices onto tiny cuts in the counter. Bacteria spreads when you move the cutting board. You wipe down the counter, the sink, and wash the cutting board. You did all this with the same cloth.
Then, you use the same cloth to wipe the dining table and tidy up the bathroom. You have just spread bacteria and germs around the house. Touching surfaces and then touching the face is the quickest way to get sick.
It may seem like overkill, but cleaning each room with a dedicated cloth is the safest cleaning habit you can use. It will keep you and your family healthier longer.
3. Not Cleaning Faucets, Doorknobs, And Handles
These are the number one germ storage places in a home or business. Keeping them wiped down with disinfectant wipes just makes good sense.
4. Mixing Chemicals
Many people who clean think that if they mix a cup of bleach or ammonia with dishwashing soap or another cleaning agent, then the dirt will magically disappear. It might, but while it’s working, you’ll be breathing the gases that mixing the two chemicals produce.
Don’t mix chemicals. Aside from the gases they produce, the chemicals used for cleaning are sufficient unto themselves. There’s no need to add anything.
5. Using A Duster
Dusters just spread the dust around. Spray a cloth (never the furniture) with a dusting agent, then wipe down surfaces and furnishings. Use a microfiber cloth, because they absorb more and better than cotton.
6. Stashing A Wet Toilet Brush
Tucking a wet toilet brush back into its holder packs germs in the holder. Place the damp brush beneath the toilet seat so it can dry before replacing it in its holder.
7. Not Sanitizing Sponges
Using a dirty sponge to clean the kitchen and/or the bathrooms spreads germs. Soak the sponges in clean water, then microwave on high for one minute twice a week.
8. Cleaning Tiles Improperly
Using abrasive cleansers on tile is unnecessary and eats away at the finish as well as the grout. Use a gentle cleanser and rinse thoroughly.
9. Washing Windows On Sunny Days
No matter what type of window cleaner you use, whether natural or chemical, the sun will dry it so that it streaks the windows. Wash windows on cloudy days, and this won’t happen.
10. Vacuuming Improperly
If you’re vacuuming willy-nilly in any direction, then you’re spitting dust back out onto the floor you just “cleaned.” Vacuum in a grid going in one direction, so you get all the dust. Clean the vacuum’s brushes, and empty the bag once it’s one-third full. If it’s a bagless vacuum, wipe down the insides once a week.
11. Not Mopping Hard Wood Floors Properly
Wood and water don’t mix well unless you have vinyl tile wood floors or laminate. These require simple dust mopping, and that’s it.
Wood floors need minimal water, no soap at all, and a well-wrung out mop. Mop the floor in small blocks. Rinse the mop thoroughly, wring it out thoroughly, and mop another small block. Rinse and repeat.
12. Not Cleaning The Cleaning Supplies
If you’re not cleaning your cleaning supplies at least once a week, then you’re spreading dirt and germs around the house. A quick rinse isn’t enough; cleaning supplies should be soaked in soapy water and kneaded to remove the dirt and germs. Rinse thoroughly and dry them in a light and sunny place (never in the dark.)
13. Not Cleaning The Garbage Disposal
If food sits in the disposal, it creates germs and bacteria. It should be flushed with hot water every day. Run some finely cut citrus peels through it a couple times per week. This gives the disposal a pleasant smell plus killing bacteria.
14. Not Cleaning The Trash Bin
Yes, bacteria and germs accumulate in trash bins, but it’s the smell that gets us down the most.
Wash it out with hot soapy water at least once a week to destroy bacteria as well as the stench.
15. Scrubbing Stains On Carpet
Carpet fibers are known for absorbing stains. When juice, wine, ketchup, chocolate, or some other stain gets into the carpet, don’t wipe. Blot. Blot all the moisture up first. Then spray a cleaner or even clear water on the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes. Blot up all the moisture you can. Then spread baking soda on the stain until it absorbs the stain. Vacuum the baking soda, and you’ll be good to go.
16. Putting The Wrong Things In The Dishwasher
Woodcutting boards, garlic presses, kitchen knives, cheese graters, sieves, all have crevices that are hard to clean. In addition, dishwashers dull kitchen knives. Wooden cutting boards’ cracks. Crevices should only be cleaned with salt, and lemon juice, then rinsed thoroughly and air-dried. They should be stored in the light instead of a dark drawer or cabinet.
17. Storing Toothbrushes In The Dark
Medicine cabinets for storing toothbrushes and kitchen drawers for storing cooking brushes might seem safe places. However, the dark fosters the growth of bacteria. Any brushes touching a human face or food should be thoroughly cleaned, dried, and stored in the light. Just don’t store toothbrushes close to the toilet.
Clean is a relative term. What looks pristine to one person looks messy to another. What everything has in common, though, is that germs and bacteria fight for a place in our toothbrushes, cutting boards, cleaning cloths, brooms, and mops. The germs and bacteria won’t bother us if we take a couple extra steps to clean and sanitize our surfaces and that with which we clean them. Happy cleaning!