16 Things to Never-Ever Do When Cleaning Your Home

Believe it or not, there’s a right way to clean and a wrong one. While your intentions may be stellar, some of your cleaning habits could be turning your home into a less-than-pristine scene rather than the sparkling sanctuary you aim for. 

Avoiding common cleaning mistakes can help maintain the longevity and appearance of your home while ensuring a safer and more effective cleaning process. Here are 16 costly cleaning blunders that you need to steer clear of.

1. Skipping Cleaning Day

frustrated woman with cleaning.
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Not having a cleaning routine can lead to inconsistent and inefficient cleaning efforts, which often results in some areas being neglected and a buildup of dirt and clutter over time. 

A routine allows you to break down tasks into manageable daily, weekly, and monthly activities, such as daily dishwashing, weekly vacuuming, and monthly window cleaning. This methodical approach not only keeps your home consistently clean but also makes the process more manageable and less time-consuming. 

2. Keeping Cleaning Supplies in Multiple Locations

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Storing products in multiple areas might seem convenient, but it can cause confusion and lead to wasted time searching for supplies when you need them. It’s more effective to designate a single, secure storage area for all your cleaning supplies. This strategy also helps you better track what products you have and reduces duplicate purchases.

3. Not Cleaning Left-To-Right, Top-To-Bottom

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Not cleaning from left to right and top to bottom is a common oversight that can make your cleaning less effective and more time-consuming. This methodical approach ensures that dirt and debris are not spread to already cleaned areas and that nothing is missed in the cleaning process. 

Starting from the top prevents dust or cleaning product drips from soiling surfaces below that have already been cleaned. Similarly, moving systematically from left to right (or right to left, depending on preference) ensures that every section of a room gets attention and you don’t have to waste time retracing your steps or redoing work. 

4. Wiping off Cleaning Products Immediately After Applying

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Most cleaning agents, especially those designed to disinfect or tackle tough stains, require a certain amount of dwell time to properly break down dirt, grease, or bacteria. By rushing and wiping away these products too soon, you prevent them from doing their job effectively. 

For optimal results, apply the cleaning solution and allow it to sit for the time recommended on the product label—usually a few minutes. This waiting period helps the chemicals activate and deeply penetrate the grime, making it easier to clean surfaces thoroughly with less effort. Adhering to this practice ensures that your cleaning is both efficient and effective, leading to a cleaner and more hygienic environment.

5. Mixing Cleaning Products

Cleaning wiping down a gas stove.
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Common sense might tell you that mixing cleaning products could create a more potent solution to tackle dirt and grime. Because surely if one cleaner works well, combining it with another must be twice as good. Ughh, no. This is false.

Combining different cleaners, like bleach and ammonia, can release dangerous gases. Always use products as directed and never mix them unless specifically instructed that it’s safe.

6. Using the Same Washcloth Across Different Surfaces

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When cleaning, it’s tempting to use the same washcloth of sponge across various surfaces to save time and resources. However, using the same cloth to clean kitchen counters and then the bathroom can transfer germs from one area to another. 

Stop moving dirt around. Always use separate, dedicated clothes for different areas and be sure to wash or replace them regularly to keep your cleaning routine effective and sanitary. 

7. Neglecting to Ventilate

Clean and Tidy House.
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Many cleaning products, even some labeled as “natural,” contain chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled in enclosed spaces. Without proper ventilation, these substances can linger in the air, posing health risks such as respiratory problems, headaches, or allergic reactions. 

Always make it a point to open windows or use exhaust fans when cleaning, especially during tasks that involve sprays or chemicals, to ensure harmful fumes are effectively dispersed and fresh air is circulated throughout your home.

8. Scrubbing Carpet Stains

Young woman uses cordless vacuum cleaner to clean home carpet.
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Scrubbing carpet stains might seem like the right approach to removing spills quickly, but it can actually make the situation worse. Rubbing a stain can work it deeper into the fibers and cause permanent damage. 

Instead, blot stains with a clean cloth and a suitable cleaning solution. After blotting, apply a suitable solution carpet cleaning solution using the manufacturer’s instructions and continue to blot until the stain lifts. This approach helps preserve the integrity and appearance of your carpet, preventing unsightly marks and texture changes.

9. Ignoring Manufacturer’s Instructions

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It’s painful…I get it. However, ignoring the manufacturer’s instructions can lead to damage or improper cleaning. Manufacturers design these guidelines to ensure safety and optimal performance, tailored to the specific properties of each product. 

For example, using too much detergent or the wrong type of cleaner on sensitive surfaces can cause discoloration, degradation, or irreversible damage. Similarly, using cleaning appliances outside their recommended settings can lead to malfunctions or reduced lifespan. 

Always take the time to read and follow the provided instructions carefully; this not only maximizes the efficiency of your cleaning efforts but also ensures the longevity and safety of your products and home environment.

10. Using Too Much Water on Wood and Laminate

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I get it…you want to see something get cleaning. However, wood and laminate are susceptible to water damage. Excessive moisture can cause wood to swell, warp, or develop mold, while laminate might peel or buckle. 

When cleaning these types of floors, it’s crucial to use a damp mop or cloth rather than a wet one, and to promptly dry the surface afterward to prevent any moisture from seeping into the material.

11. Cleaning Electronics With Water

Young woman cleaning tv with wash cloth.
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Cleaning electronics with water is a risky endeavor that can lead to serious damage, such as short circuits or corrosion. Electronic devices are sensitive to moisture, and even a small amount of water can cause components to malfunction or fail completely. 

Instead of using water, opt for a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces, or use compressed air to remove dust from harder-to-reach areas. For more thorough cleaning, specialized electronics cleaning solutions and wipes are available that are designed to safely cleanse without risking water damage. 

12. Putting Sharp Objects in Dishwasher

Clean dishes on drying rack in modern kitchen interior.
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Putting sharp objects in the dishwasher might seem like a convenient cleaning solution, but it can pose several risks. Sharp items such as knives can become dulled when jostled against other utensils or the dishwasher’s interior during the washing cycle. Additionally, these sharp edges can potentially damage the dishwasher’s racks and basket. It’s also a safety hazard; reaching into a dishwasher and accidentally touching a sharp blade can lead to cuts. 

To preserve the sharpness of your knives and ensure your safety, it’s best to wash sharp objects by hand, carefully handling them and drying them immediately to maintain their condition and extend their usability.

13. Using Bleach on Colored Clothing

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Bleach can discolor fabrics and damage clothes. Always check clothing labels before using bleach. If you want to make sure something is clean, buy odor-fighting laundry detergents that are specifically formulated to target and eliminate tough odors rather than just mask them.

14. Skipping Protective Gear

A housewife in a shirt is cleaning the house, wipes dust from the table with a wash cloth.
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Skipping protective gear when cleaning, especially when using strong chemicals, is a mistake that can jeopardize your health. Cleaning products, particularly those that contain harsh substances, can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and eye damage. 

Wearing gloves protects your skin from direct contact with these chemicals, while goggles can shield your eyes from splashes. Additionally, if you’re working in a poorly ventilated area or with particularly potent cleaners, a mask can help filter out harmful fumes. 

15. Overlooking Small Items

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Overlooking small items during the cleaning process is an easy mistake that can lead to the build-up of germs and dirt in areas that are frequently touched. Items like pillows, door handles, light switches, remote controls, and smartphone screens are often used multiple times a day by various people, making them hotspots for bacteria and viruses. Neglecting these items can undermine your overall cleaning efforts, as they can transfer germs back onto clean hands or other surfaces. 

To ensure a thorough clean, it’s important to regularly wipe down these small, frequently touched items with appropriate disinfectants. This not only helps maintain a cleaner and healthier environment but also prevents the spread of illnesses, especially during peak cold and flu seasons.

16. Using Harsh Abrasives on Delicate Surfaces

Woman cleaning counter in kitchen.
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Harsh scrubbing pads or abrasive cleaners can scratch surfaces or dull finishes on stainless steel, granite, marble, or ceramic. Opt for gentler cleaning tools for these materials, and be sure to test new areas before you start scrubbing. 

Opt for soft cleaning tools and follow manufacturer recommendations. Consider soft alternatives for tougher stains on sensitive surfaces like baking soda.

Everyone’s Least Favorite Parts of Cooking

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Even the most passionate and enthusiastic home cooks have some aspect of cooking they despise. It can’t be rainbows and sunshine in the kitchen all the time.

As people say, “You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.” Unfortunately, you also have to chop onions, grab the milk, dirty a pan, watch the omelet, and wipe the stove afterward. As much as we love making a new recipe or crafting a familiar favorite, we want to share some of our culinary complaints.

15 Must-Have Kitchen Tools Every Cook Needs Without the Clutter

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Having the right tools in the kitchen can make cooking more efficient and enjoyable. However, having too much of anything can be overwhelming and unnecessary.

Streamline your cooking process with the necessary tools to free up much-needed space and simplify cooking.

Decluttering unnecessary items and keeping the right tools means each tool serves a vital function in the kitchen. Here’s a list of 15 must-have kitchen tools and the corresponding items that can be discarded to minimize clutter while maximizing utility.

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