Common Household Cleaning and Maintenance Mistakes

A dog looks at a vacuum as it cleans the carpet it is sitting onRunning a household is not for the faint of heart. There is an endless carousel of chores and necessary maintenance tasks that must be completed to keep a tidy and well-kept home. We all do our best to keep up with the lengthy to-do list, but sometimes we don’t always get it right. But we are here to help! Take a look at some of the most common household cleaning mistakes people make and how to correct them.

Common Mistake #1: Using the Wrong Cleaner

It’s important to know which type of cleaners are appropriate for each surface in your home. Some surfaces require specific types of cleaning solutions. Marble, granite, stainless steel, and hardwood floors are just a few different materials needing special cleansers. Using the wrong type of cleaner may damage these surfaces—this is a costly mistake! Before you use a new cleaner, check the back for instructions on which surfaces the cleanser is designed for. Even if it is an all-purpose cleaning solution, be sure it explicitly lists the type of material you intend to clean. If you are not sure, do a quick online search or try using it on a small test area that is not noticeable.

Common Mistake #2: Using Too Much Cleaner

When it comes to cleaners and soaps, more is not always better. If you use more than the manufacturer intended, it could leave your surfaces sticky or even streaky. Have you ever sprayed too much Windex on your windows and had difficulty getting a nice clean shine without streaks? Use your cleaners in moderation for the best cleaning experience. This also applies to laundry detergent. Most people will use more detergent than is necessary to wash a typical load of laundry. If you are not washing a supersized load of filthy clothes, you do not need to use a full cup of detergent. In fact, if you use more detergent than you need, it may not all rinse out and can leave a coating on your clothes, towels, or linens.

Common Mistake #3: Scrubbing A Stain

We all know that heat can set a stain, but did you know that scrubbing a surface can sometimes create enough heat to set the stain? It’s true, and not only that, scrubbing something like carpet or furniture fabric can cause the stain to go further into the surface. The best way to remove a stain is to use a blotting action rather than a scrubbing one.

Common Mistake #4: Vacuuming Too Quickly and In Only One Direction

Another common mistake is vacuuming too quickly to allow the vacuum to suction all the dirt and dust from the deeper layers of the carpet. Moving too fast will get most of the surface debris, but the deeper stuff that has been ground into the carpet will be left behind. It would be best if you also went back over the area in a different direction to get every bit of dirt hiding in the carpet fibers.

Common Mistake #5: Overloading the Dishwasher or Loading Dishes Incorrectly

We all have our specific way that we prefer loading the dishwasher, but if you load too many dishes, your dishwasher may have a difficult time getting everything as clean as possible. This is especially true if you are loading the dishes in a way that blocks the streams of water. Be sure to load your dishes carefully - do not load fragile plastics on the bottom rack, or they may melt or warp. If you want your Tupperware lids always to fit the container, you should hand wash them or put them on the top rack. In addition, if you load too much silverware in any given compartment, you may find a couple of spoons or forks that are not completely clean at the end of the cleaning cycle. Finally, remember that some dishes are not meant to go into the dishwasher—items like wooden utensils or cooking boards, cast iron cookware, sharp knives, hand-painted dishes, and fragile things like china or crystal. To ensure these special kitchen items last a long time, we recommend that you hand wash them unless the manufacturer specifies that putting them in the dishwasher is safe.

Common Mistake #6: Not Cleaning in a Top-Down Order

Some people prefer to start cleaning by vacuuming and sweeping to make the home look and feel cleaner quickly. If you are short on time and can only complete one primary cleaning task—taking care of the floors is a great choice. However, working from the top down to the floors is a good idea if you plan to clean most of your home - before you sweep, vacuum, or mop, you should sweep down the walls, knock down any cobwebs, dust the ceiling fans and any other surfaces that have collected dust. Then move down a level and wipe down counters, polish shelves and furniture, wash windows and blinds, take down curtains to launder, and sweep down or vacuum any furniture that may have accumulated dust, dirt, crumbs, or animal dander and hair. If you clean your floors before doing these other tasks, you will likely have to go back over the floors with the broom or vacuum to clean up the dust and debris you knocked down from different surfaces.

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