Are you making any of these 6 mistakes when cleaning your home?
Let’s face it, cleaning isn’t on most of our top 10 favorite things to do lists. So, what if I told you that you are making mistakes that are actually doing more harm than good when you're cleaning? What if you are making your house dirtier, spreading more germs, or even damaging your home? You’d want to fix what you're doing, right? Well, today, I’m going to tell you 6 mistakes you're probably making when you clean your home, along with a couple tips to help you easily fix each mistake.
Mistake #1 – Waiting too Long to Clean
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making in their homes is waiting too long to clean. No matter what the mess is, the faster you clean it up, the easier it will be, and the less damage there will be to your belongings. For example, think about the last time you heated anything tomato in your microwave. When it splattered and exploded, did you take a damp towel and easily wipe out the interior of your microwave right away, or did you wait until the tomato sauce was completely dried and baked on until you scraped and scrubbed it away?
Messes and spills are always easiest to clean when the items still have moisture and can be easily wiped away. Once a spill dries, it will always take more effort to clean it up. Depending on what the spill is, if you wait to clean it up, you may even cause stains and damage. I’ve seen paint come off walls, finish come off appliances, and fabric stains that even professionals can’t remove—all from people waiting too long to clean up a mess.
Even putting off your routine cleaning can be a big mistake. Waiting too long to clean your shower can create stains on the shower floor and hard water damage that can only be fixed by replacing the glass and fixtures. Waiting too long to clean above your stove can cause a massive grease build-up that takes a ridiculous amount of time to clean. Waiting too long to have your carpets cleaned can cause dirt and grime to break down the fibers of your carpet and force you to replace flooring years earlier than you would have needed.
Solution: The solution to this mistake is simple. Clean up spills as soon as they happen, and get on a simple cleaning routine. If you want to see how easy a cleaning routine can be, check out my episode, How to Keep Your Bathroom Clean Without Cleaning.
Mistake #2 – Depending on Tough Tools and Harsh Chemicals
First of all, if you are depending on scrapers, scrubby sponges, and tough tools, you are making Mistake #1. When you are completing your routine cleaning in a timely manner and cleaning up messes when they happen, you will almost NEVER need a tool to scrape or scrub when you are cleaning. When cleaning is done on a regular basis, it can always be completed with a rag and an occasional scrub brush. Waiting until scrubbing or scraping needs to happen is a surefire way to cause damage to your surfaces. For example, a pumice stone is a good way to get rid of hard water rings in a toilet, and can be used once or twice without harm. But if you continually rely on using a pumice stone on a toilet bowl, you will quickly remove the protective coating, which means that ring will return quicker and thicker than it was in the past.
Secondly, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know how I feel about harsh chemicals. If you are new to my podcasts and blogs, my views are pretty simple: I don’t use them. PERIOD. Over the years of owning a cleaning company in Phoenix, Arizona, we have been asked to use some pretty nasty stuff to clean houses. I remember one day I got a phone call from an employee who needed help with a shower because the product the client wanted her to use was making her super light-headed. If that wasn’t bad enough, one day a client asked us to use muriatic acid on their glass shower doors to get all the hard water stains off. I realize these are extreme cases, but it’s likely that you are using have super harsh chemicals in your house and have no idea.
I have a bottle cleaner that I keep as an example to show when I’m talking about cleaning products. 75% of the back label is covered with warnings. Even though it clearly states that the product is dangerous if the product comes in contact with skin, is swallowed, gets in eyes, or is inhaled, you can still buy this off a shelf at any store. It’s crazy to me!
Solution: Protect yourself and your surfaces by cleaning more often, and with natural products like vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. They are much safer to use, and will naturally disinfect and clean your home.
Mistake #3 – Not Reading Labels
In my first year of business, we had a great teachable moment in the company. One of my employees had mistakenly used wood floor sealer instead of the wood floor cleaner in a house with brand new hardwood floors. The client had told her where the cleaner was, and she grabbed the first jug she saw that said “Wood Floor” on it, but didn’t read the label correctly. Luckily the problem was able to be fixed without having to sand and refinish the floors, but the 6 hours it took us to hand scrub the seal off the floor was a lesson hard learned for everyone involved.
Not reading the labels on products can cause immediate damage, or it can cause damage over time. Some surfaces require special care, so never assume that a surface cleaner is universal. Even green cleaning products can damage surfaces, so read every single label before using it on delicate surfaces.
Solution: Read and reread the labels. Taking an extra 30 seconds to verify that the product can be used on the surface you need to clean can save you hours, or even thousands of dollars in repairs.