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.
- How To's & Quick Tips >
- 8 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes
8 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes
Mopping a Wood Floor with Water
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Lazy cleaning not only makes your home messy, it damages your furniture and belongings. This doesn’t mean you need to spend extra time doing chores, there are still plenty of good hacks for quick and thorough cleaning. Just be sure to read the labels of your cleaning supplies to make sure they work with the material and surfaces you're scrubbing and keep an eye out for any changes after you clean.