13 Cleaning Mistakes The Pros Want You To Stop Making

13 Cleaning Mistakes The Pros Want You To Stop Making

We all have our own routines and rituals when it comes to keeping our homes clean. But the pros reckon there are several mistakes the majority of us are making. Before you get going on the all-important spring clean, we asked them to share their advice…
Photography: ISTOCK / RAWPIXEL

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MISTAKE: Working With Too Much Product

“Many people assume that when it comes to household cleaners, more equals better. However, this simply isn’t the case. Using too much product can oversaturate cleaning materials, like microfibre cloths, which can leave streaks. In addition, you’ll spend more time cleaning overspray than you will windows, countertops or baseboards. Remember a little cleaning solution goes a long way, and that it’s easier to add more cleaner than to mop up excess.” – the team at cleaning service Merry Maids

MISTAKE: Spraying Cleaning Solutions Directly Onto Surfaces

“Some surfaces need to be cleaned carefully and spraying a cleaner directly onto it can be too harsh or too wet. Spraying cleaners onto a surface also releases more of the cleaner into the air, which can be irritating to people with asthma or allergies. Instead, spray your cleaner onto a cleaning cloth, then wipe the surface.” – Jill Nystul, household expert and owner of the blog OneGoodThingbyJillee.com

MISTAKE: Using Dirty Cloths

“If you’re working with dirty materials, you may as well not even bother. Soiled cloths or sponges won’t do you any favours, as they just spread grease and grime around surfaces, rather than removing it. In addition to being gross, it can also be unhealthy. Make sure you work with a clean cloth from the get-go. In addition, rinse sponges or freshen cloths as needed if you’re working on large-scale housekeeping projects, like cleaning the freezer or light fixtures.” – the Merry Maids team 

MISTAKE: Overfilling Your Vacuum Canister

“If your vacuum canister is constantly packed full of dust and dirt, it’s probably impeding your vacuum’s airflow. This can wear out your vacuum’s motor over time, to the point where it eventually loses suction altogether. Instead, just make it a habit to empty the canister every time you use your vacuum. It may not be strictly necessary, but once it’s a habit you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do it.” – Jill Nystul

MISTAKE: Cleaning Your Floors First

“If your floors are obviously dirty, it can be tempting to clean them first come cleaning day. But if you do, you’ll only be making more work for yourself later on. The most efficient way to clean a room is to start at the top and work your way down. That way, you don’t have to worry about pushing dust and dirt onto a clean floor, which could make you backtrack and waste precious time. By cleaning your floors last, you’re ensuring that every speck of loose dust and dirt will get picked up right as you finish cleaning. It’s an easy way to leave a room as clean as possible.” – Jill Nystul

MISTAKE: Treating Carpet Stains Incorrectly

“People often try removing stains from furniture and carpets with spot cleaners designed for linens and clothes, which is a huge mistake. When we tell this to our clients, they always ask – “What’s the difference as both products are for stain removal?” Well, it’s very simple – stain cleaners for clothes are designed to act fast and then be rinsed out. When cleaning a carpet stain, there’s a big chance you’ll leave residue from the product behind. This way, it stays there at least until the next general clean. The strong active ingredients of the stain removal deteriorate the fibres of carpets and upholstery and lead to a shortening of their life.” – the KeenClean team, professional London cleaners

MISTAKE: Neglecting Your Mattress

“Most people limit their weekly routine to cleaning carpets, floors, bathrooms and kitchens. However, mattresses also collect dirt and dust as much as your rugs and mats. Not to mention all those dead skin cells that get left on mattresses every day. This is why you need to clean the mattresses more often, not just leave the task for the spring clean. Once a month, vacuum your mattress thoroughly and deep clean it once every few months. Also, change your sheets every week.” – the KeenClean team 

MISTAKE: Wiping Wooden Furniture With A Dry Cloth

“Many people use a dry cloth when dusting off wooden furnishings because they don’t want to leave residue behind from the cleaning product. However, by doing this, all you do is to push the dust around. Instead, use a dry micro fibre cloth – but only for slightly dusty surfaces. The best way to wipe dust is to use a wood polisher and a slightly damp cloth. These products are designed especially for wood and won’t ruin the surface.” – the KeenClean team 

MISTAKE: Cleaning Mirrors With Newspaper

“When it comes to cleaning with newspaper, the paper isn’t the problem; it’s the ink. Some of the ink is likely to come off once the paper gets wet, and you don’t want that on your windows, mirrors or anything else you’re cleaning. You can use a brown paper bag instead, which has all the lint-free benefits of newspaper, without any of the ink.” – Jill Nystul

MISTAKE: Cleaning Stone Countertops With Vinegar

“Vinegar is acidic, which makes it a great cleaner for many types of surfaces. However, you shouldn’t use it to clean stone countertops, because the acid can actually wear down the protective coating on the stone and leave behind etching, scratches and other noticeable marks. Instead, use a cleaner that’s labelled as safe for stone.” – Jill Nystul

MISTAKE: Cleaning Windows In Circular Motions

“Window cleaning can be tricky – if you don’t do it right, the glass still looks dirty. Moving your hand in circles when washing your windows results in traces and soap residues left on the surface. Instead of wiping in a circular motion, go for straight strokes from the top of the window to the bottom and use a squeegee for a nice finish. Another mistake is doing this chore on a hot, sunny day. The residues from the detergent dry up faster, leading to streaks on the glass.” – the KeenClean team

MISTAKE: Washing Your Best Knives & Non-Stick Pans In The Dishwasher

“You can keep your kitchen knives nice and sharp by hand washing them, rather than putting them through the dishwasher. And avoid using vinegar to clean them, as vinegar can cause etching in the steel. Just use a bit of dish soap and some warm water. You can also extend the lifespan of your non-stick pans by hand washing them, rather than running them through the dishwasher. The hot water that circulates in the dishwasher can actually wear down the non-stick coating over time. A bit of dish soap and warm water is much gentler.” – Jill Nystul

MISTAKE: Not Sticking To A Schedule

“One of the biggest cleaning mistakes many people make is failing to keep a set cleaning schedule. True, this is easier said than done when you’re rushing about trying to get the kids ready for school or wondering if you’ll have time to finish that PowerPoint presentation before your afternoon meeting. Nonetheless, leaving cleaning to the weekend results in all your chores piling up on one another. And when that happens, tidying up can seem overwhelming, meaning you’re more likely to put it off. Ease housekeeping into your daily routine so that you don’t feel like laundry and vacuuming are taking over your life.” – the Merry Maids team


Inspired? Here are the cleaning products we rate…

For more information and cleaning tips visit MerryMaids.com, Keen-Clean.co.uk and OneGoodThingByJillee.com.

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