If you’re like most people, you already think you’re spending way too much of your valuable time cleaning your home. Now imagine this scenario…all that time is wasted, because what you’re doing is actually making your house dirtier than it was before! As horrible as that sounds, it’s happening every day. We’ve talked to some professional house cleaners to get the scoop on cleaning mistakes that do more harm than good. We’re passing them along to you – we want your time spent with a mop and cloth to work to your advantage!
You walk around with a rag, swiping surfaces as you go.
Using the same cloth in different areas of your home is one of the easiest ways to spread germs from one room to another. Even if you’re spraying it with cleaning solution as you go, you’re transferring grime from your kitchen counters to your coffee table to your dresser tops. The solution – use a fresh wad of paper towels for every area, or designate a different color microfiber cloth for each room. Microfiber cloths can be washed after each cleaning spree to keep them fresh and grunge-free.
You use feather dusters.
No matter what the ad says, feather dusters don’t “trap and lock” dust particles. It’s much more effective to use your trusty microfiber cleaning cloth or paper towels moistened with an appropriate cleaner.
You’re using a dirty vacuum.
If you’re using an old vacuum filter, the decreased suction you’ll get won’t allow your vacuum to pick up as much dirt and dust as it should. You’ll also have dirt blowing back into the air and carpet through the dusty vent. Change or empty vacuum bags or canisters as soon as they’re full. Unplug your vacuum and clean the attachments, the hose and the vent with either a damp microfiber cleaning cloth or a moist paper towel.
You’re throwing all your cooking tools into the dishwasher.
Not all of your kitchen gadgets get a good cleaning this way. Items like garlic presses, zesters or graters that have uneven surfaces, nooks and crannies may not get the full effect of the wash cycle, leaving bits of food clinging to them. This residual food can spoil, possibly making your family sick. These types of gadgets should be carefully hand-washed.
You’re plopping your toilet brush right back into the holder after cleaning.
If you don’t let your toilet brush dry completely after each use, the holder traps the wet, germy brush and allows bacteria to multiply. You’re then spreading the bacteria back into your toilet with the next cleaning. Make sure to let the brush dry completely before storing it.
You’re ignoring the garbage disposal.
Your poor sink! You may be wiping it down after every use, but many people allow bacteria and germs to accumulate in the garbage disposal. Give it a good cleaning by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Boil a few cups of water and pour the boiling water down the drain. Follow with two cups of ice and one cup of rock salt. Turn on the disposal until the ice is gone. Cut a lemon in half, and send each half down the disposal. Bye-bye germs!
You’re spraying your cleaner directly on the surface.
It’s much more efficient to spray the cleaner on the towel or cloth you’re using. If you spray the cleaner right onto furniture, windows or countertops, the solution can develop build-up that can lead to greasy surfaces or streaks. These greasy, streaky patches attract and hold dust, dirt and grime.
You haven’t cleaned your washing machine.
Skin cells, residue from stains and dust mites can remain in your washing machine drum, lids, doors and detergent dispensers. They get into your wash water and can remain on your clothes, causing stagnant, musty odors.
For a top-loading washer, set to the longest and hottest setting. When the washer is nearly full of water, add 4 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. Leave the lid open and allow to sit for at least an hour. While the cycle is paused, clean the lid and any other visible nooks and crannies. Close the lid, allowing the wash cycle to run. When the cycle is done, wipe down the inside of the washer and leave the lid open to allow the washer to dry completely.
For a front-loading washer, pour a solution of 1/4 cup each baking soda and water into the detergent compartment and pour 2 cups of vinegar into the drum. Set your machine to the hottest temperature and let the cycle run. Afterward, wipe the drum, door, detergent compartment and outside of the machine. Leave the door ajar between loads for the best air circulation.
You’re abusing your cutting board.
It isn’t unusual for people to wash their cutting boards with soapy water. However, while the boards may look clean, the cut marks in the boards trap microscopic food particles that breed bacteria. Don’t put your cutting boards in the dishwasher – wooden ones can warp and crack, while plastic ones can melt. Soak your cutting board in a solution of two tablespoons of bleach and one gallon of water, then rinse well and dry completely.