18 Home Cleaning Routines That Are Doing More Harm Than Good

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For many, cleaning the house is a necessary evil, while others love to tidy, sanitize, and declutter to their heart’s content. No matter where you fall within this very broad scale, it’s essential to approach housecleaning the right way so you don’t get subpar results. It’s not uncommon to develop routines and habits, but some cleaning routines can do more harm than good.

1. Starting At The Bottom

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Don’t start your clean routine by vacuuming, mopping floors, or dusting low furniture. Clean top to bottom so you don’t knock dust and dirt from upper surfaces onto ones you’ve already cleaned. Begin with ceilings, ceiling fans, and light fixtures, and work your way down as you clean and dust, finishing with the floors.

2. Using Too Much Cleaning Product

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You might assume the more product you use, the cleaner something gets, but less is more. Too much product could leave behind residue, damage surfaces, or create a hazardous living environment. Only use what you need, and also limit the number of products you use to keep cleaning from becoming overwhelming.

3. Ignoring Instructions

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Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using cleaning products. Using the wrong amount or using a product that’s not suitable for specific surfaces has unfortunate consequences. Ignoring the label can lead to stains, wasting products, and unpleasant effects on your health and the environment.

4. Forgetting To Refresh Cleaning Tools As You Work

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You won’t get the clean results you want if you continue to wipe down counters with a dirty rag or use a clogged vacuum filter. As you clean, periodically rinse or switch out microfiber or cotton cloths, sponges, and empty vacuum bags and bins. Regularly disinfect and clean filters, reusable sponges, and mop pads.

5. Stacking Paper Clutter For Later

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Creating a designated space for paper clutter makes sense to keep everything in one place. But if you continue to stack everything without any plan for sorting it regularly, you’ll end up with a bigger mess and a beacon for dust and pests. Ditch junk mail as soon as it arrives, go digital whenever possible, and use a container to limit paper clutter. Once the container is full, go through and empty it.

6. Tossing Wet Items In A Pile

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Don’t toss wet towels and other damp items onto the laundry or bathroom floor until you’re ready to put them in the washing machine. When wet items are all bunched up, they become a perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold. If you can’t wash them right away, at least hang them over a shower rod, clothesline, or drying rack so the air can touch the entire surface.

7. Leaving Dirty Dishes In The Sink

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Avoid letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink. The longer they sit, the harder they become to clean because food and grease start to harden and stick to the surfaces. If you can’t wash them or run the dishwasher at that moment, at least wipe off food particles and rinse the dish. This quick step will make cleaning them much easier and keep your sink from becoming a critter magnet.

8. Making Your Cleaning Products Look Pretty

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If you strive for a beautiful home, decanting cleaning products into pretty glass jars might be one of your routines. However, be wary of how you store various products as certain things are hazardous when mixed or stored incorrectly. Also, with some cleaners, if you remove them from their original container, it can shorten their lifespan or compromise their effectiveness.

9. Going Overboard On Bleach

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People associate the smell of bleach with cleanliness, although many find it overpowering. The problem is, that although bleach does do a great job at disinfecting surfaces, it can create toxic fumes if used incorrectly or excessively. Aim for using the gentlest product possible to get the results you want, and save bleach for occasional use.

10. Devoting One Day To Cleaning

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It might make sense to schedule an entire day to clean your house from top to bottom. However, trying to do everything in one day isn’t always practical, unless you live in a tiny home. The odds are good you’ll miss something, burn out, or put off the work because you don’t want to take on such an overwhelming job. Instead, divide tasks over a few days to make things more manageable and achieve a more thorough cleaning overall.

11. Buying Too Many Cleaning Products

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The more the better, right? Marketers do a fantastic job convincing people they need one cleaner for showers, another for countertops, one to clean the toilet, another for floors, and the list goes on and on. However, a quality all-purpose cleaner is a great multi-tasker, or consider using natural cleaners, like lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda to tackle many cleaning jobs.

12. Disinfecting Instead Of Cleaning

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Don’t try to save time by only disinfecting surfaces. Although disinfecting is an essential step, it isn’t the same as cleaning. If you neglect to clean beforehand, the disinfectant can’t work as well since dirt and dust hinder how well it targets germs. On the flip side, don’t simply clean without disinfecting, since cleaning only removes germs but won’t necessarily kill them.

13. Rubbing Out Stains

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Spills are an inevitable part of life, and the best way to clean them is to address them as soon as they occur. However, rubbing at a stain typically makes the problem worse because it pushes the stain further into the surface and can also damage delicate surfaces. Instead, blot out as much of the stain as much as possible with a clean cloth before cleaning with the appropriate remover.

14. Keeping The Windows Closed

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You may think keeping your windows closed all of the time means less dirt and dust in the house. However, it’s actually good practice to open windows daily, even for just five minutes. The air inside is usually more hazardous than the air outside. Therefore, open windows to remove stagnant air, improve airflow, and help reduce germs.

15. Throwing All The Laundry Into One Load

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Resist the urge to cut corners by throwing all of your laundry into the washing machine at once. Mixing various colors and materials practically guarantees something will end up damaged or not cleaned well. Follow the recommended cleaning instructions on clothing, separate lights and darks, and pay attention to the correct water temperature for individual pieces.

16. Choosing Abrasive Tools And Cleaners

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It’s satisfying to use a heavy-duty sponge to scrape away caked-on food, gunk, and other messes. However, be careful when you use abrasive cleaners (both tools and products). Many surfaces can’t handle harsh scrubbers, and using one could damage your pots, pans, countertops, sinks, tubs, floors, etc.

17. Using Too Much Water On Porous Surfaces

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Do you assume the soapier and sudsier you make things the cleaner they will get? This idea might apply to some hard surfaces, but when it comes to porous items, including carpet, upholstery, and wood, don’t go overboard with water. If these items get too wet and don’t have adequate time to dry thoroughly, it can lead to damage, mildew, and mold.

18. Following Cleaning Trends

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Be cautious about following too many TikTok trends when it comes to cleaning your home. It’s always best to dig a little deeper or stick to tried-and-true methods to avoid causing irreversible damage to clothing, furniture, and other surfaces. If a particular trend entices you, do some research or ask friends and family who have tried it before you give it a go.