13 Mistakes People Make While Spring Cleaning

When it’s time to freshen up your home for warmer weather, you need the right products and a good plan. Here's what not to do when tackling this season's cleaning to-do list.

By Deirdre Mundorf | Updated Mar 30, 2022 1:56 PM

13 Mistakes People Make While Spring Cleaning

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With spring comes the promise of new beginnings. For many of us, spring cleaning offers a great opportunity to clean out the old and open up space to welcome in the new. As well, getting rid of dust, dirt, and clutter in your home can make it easier to enjoy the warmer weather that will soon be here.

As you embark on your spring cleaning adventures, don’t let yourself get tripped up by these common spring cleaning missteps.

1. Not Having a Plan of Attack

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Don’t just wake up one day and decide to start spring cleaning without a plan. Create a list of all the cleaning and organizing tasks you want to tackle, and come up with a strategy for getting them done. Your plan may involve completing all the tasks in one area of the house at a time, beginning with the most complicated ones, or attacking some of the more undesirable jobs on your list, such as deep cleaning the oven or bathrooms, first. The important thing is to come up with a plan so you’re not bouncing around the house without really accomplishing anything.

2. Trying to Do Too Much at One Time

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After you have your cleaning plan in place, set realistic expectations for how much you’ll be able to accomplish in a given time. If you don’t cross everything off your list for the day, you may feel overwhelmed or frustrated, and this could cause you to lose your momentum. You could end up with a list of unfinished tasks and no motivation to do them. Rather, try to separate your tasks into manageable chunks and work through them as you have time.

3. Cleaning the Floors First

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Before you reach for that vacuum or mop, stop and look up. You don’t want to clean the floors until the rest of the room is clean. Tasks like dusting the ceiling fans, wiping down shelves and dressers, or cleaning the walls can all dump dust and debris onto the floor, and then you’ll just need to clean the floors again.

4. Ignoring Out-of-Sight Areas

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While it may be tempting to clean only what is clearly visible to you and your guests, that isn’t the best course of action. Taking the time to clean the closets, drawers, cabinets, and other out-of-sight areas in your home will help you feel more in control, better organized, and maybe even a little lighter. You’ll appreciate the extra effort you took every time you open up a drawer or door to get something. Don’t forget to clean and dust other hidden areas, such as the top of door frames, the blinds, and the top of the refrigerator.

5. Using Too Many Paper Towels

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Paper towels can come in very handy, and there are certainly cleaning tasks that they are appropriate for. However, you don’t want to rely on paper towels for all of your spring cleaning tasks. Not only is it not good for the environment to whip through a roll of paper towels, but paper towels are also not the best choice for many cleaning jobs. For example, using a dry paper towel to dust furniture or electronics can leave scratch marks. Instead, purchase some washable and reusable microfiber cloths.

6. Using One Cloth to Clean Everything

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Reusable cloths are a much more environmentally friendly option for cleaning than paper towels, but you want to make sure that you always have a few clean cloths available. Using the same cloth for multiple cleaning tasks can spread germs and dust throughout your home. Plus, if you’re trying to clean a window or another glass surface, a damp cloth is much more likely to leave behind streak marks.

7. Choosing the Wrong Cleaning Products

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It is also important to choose the right cleaning products. When possible, try to avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals that could pose a risk to children, pets, or others in the home. Additionally, make sure the cleaning product you choose is suited for the task at hand. For example, using glass cleaner on a TV or computer screen may cause damage.

8. Mixing Cleaners

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You should never mix two different cleaning products. For instance, ammonia and bleach are often present in different cleaning solutions, and when these two ingredients are mixed, they can create toxic gases called chloramines. While this is an extreme example, unintended chemical reactions can also occur when other products are mixed together, releasing fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. If you plan to make your own cleaning solutions, be sure to confirm that the ingredients you wish to use can be safely mixed together.

9. Cleaning Around the Clutter

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You should declutter your home before you start cleaning. Get rid of anything you don’t use or won’t use in the future, and organize what remains. Once your closets and shelves are organized, it will be much easier to give your home the deep cleaning it needs.

10. Keeping the Windows Closed

spring cleaning mistakes - not opening windows

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While you’re cleaning, keep the windows open. This is an opportunity to air out your home and freshen up your space, and the increased air circulation will be good for dissipating the smell of any chemical cleaners. That said, if you or someone in your home is severely allergic to pollen, you might decide it is best to keep the windows closed. Otherwise, throw open the windows and breathe deep!

11. Wearing the Wrong Outfit

spring cleaning mistakes - not wearing the right attire

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True spring cleaning can be pretty intense. Chances are you’re going to get dusty and grimy. Choose an old outfit that you won’t mind getting dirty. Be sure to keep your comfort in mind and select stretchy and breathable materials.

12. Cleaning Alone

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If you have a roommate, spouse, or children, don’t let them skip out on the spring cleaning fun. Other people in your house contributed to the mess and will benefit from the cleaning, so be sure to involve them in the process. Younger children can help out with simpler chores, such as folding their laundry, dusting baseboards, or even sweeping the floor.

13. Forgetting to Find the Fun in Cleaning

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Taking care of spring cleaning tasks may not be your first choice for how to spend your weekend. However, if you find ways to make the job fun, the work will go by more quickly, and you might even enjoy tidying up your home. Just think back to the lyrics of “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins: “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game!”