5 Ways You’re Unknowingly Sabotaging Your Housecleaning Efforts

Realtor.com

They say a clean home is a happy home and we agree. So why is it that maintaining a spotless home is impossible for most of us? It turns out that we could be unknowingly sabotaging the cleanliness of our home. Learn more in this Realtor.com article by Larissa Runkle.


Let’s face it: Housecleaning isn’t how most of us would ideally spend our free time. We put it off and off and off until we can’t ignore the mess any longer. And when we do finally get around to cleaning, we’re quick to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Adult achievement: unlocked!

Sorry, folks, not so fast. Whether you’re scrambling to get the house ready for guests, or just ticking off the boxes on your to-do list—you might be sabotaging your best cleaning efforts without even realizing it.

We sat down with the experts to bring you the five most common (albeit well-intentioned) cleaning mistakes they see people make—and some clear advice on how you can avoid them.

Mistake No. 1: Bad DIY hacks

The last few years have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of people trying to make their own cleaning products. And while we won’t tell you it’s impossible to pull off, we will tell you it’s incredibly easy to mess up.

In the industry, stories abound of people ruining their furniture with harmful chemicals and sometimes even (unknowingly) creating deadly concoctions.

Stephanie Cooper of London-based Top Cleaners explains why: “There’s this trend of doing your own cleaning detergents using common household ingredients,” she says. “This is a great idea in general; however, it may end very badly. For example, vinegar can dissolve the coating of wooden surfaces, and baking soda can scratch and destroy chrome-coated items or marble countertops.”

Brian Sansoni, spokesman of the American Cleaning Institute, also weighs in on the potential hazards of the DIY cleaning-product trend.

“People think they’re saving themselves some time or money by making their own cleaning products, so they read they can mix this and that—but there are a lot of chemicals you should not mix, like bleach and ammonia,” he says. “And you read real-life situations where people are mixing concoctions that should never be mixed in the first place. Safety is a top concern here.”

For those tempted to make their own products anyway, both Sansoni and Cooper strongly advise taking the time to read the label. As Sansoni says, “Think twice before mixing once.”

Mistake No. 2: Using the wrong product for the job

Even if you don’t attempt to mix your own cleaning products, it’s still pretty easy to make a mess or ruin something using the wrong product.

“A lot of problems simply happen by using the wrong product for the surface you want to clean,” Sansoni says.

He particularly cautions against using purported “multipurpose” cleaners on high-end pieces that include wood, marble, or stainless steel.

“Maybe it’s a multi-purpose cleaner and it can do that surface, but there’s a discoloration,” he says. “The same thing goes for wipes—you can use them on a lot of surfaces, but not on everything.”

When in doubt, read the label, which will usually say what the product can and can’t be used to clean.

Mistake No. 3: Trying to cover odors instead of removing them

We’ve all done it: You walk into the living room and it smells like wet dog and old pizza, but instead of cleaning anything, you just spray a deodorizer. While this is a tempting quick fix (and man, if those commercials don’t make us believe it will work), broker Scott Browder of Charlotte, N.C. strongly advises against it.

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