8 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? Click through to see the most common mistakes and how to fix them.

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  1. 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.

    Related: Floor Care Guide - 11 Ways to Care for Your Wood Floors


  2. 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.


  3. 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.

    Related: How To - Get Rid of Every Carpet Stain


  4. 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.

    Related: 5 Things to Do with... Old Windows


  5. 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.

    Related: 9 Ways to Make Your TV Look at Home


  6. Mixing Ammonia and Bleach


    You should never mix cleaning products. Period. But you should especially never work with an ammonia-based and a bleach-based cleaner at the same time. This is most likely to occur in a bathroom or kitchen, so carefully check labels before getting to work. When vapors from ammonia and bleach mix together, they form a toxic gas that is extremely dangerous. If you discover that you, or someone in your home, has been exposed to these fumes, leave the area immediately and call 911.

    Related: 21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally


  7. 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.

    Related: 8 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Bathroom Ever


  8. 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.

    Related: How To - Clean Your Cleaning Tools


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