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The most common cleaning mistakes

Believe it or not, a lot of the housekeeping tips you hear could be totally bogus. And even though they’re popular, it doesn’t change the fact they’re potentially bad morsels of information, likely to cause more harm than good to your home.

From time to time we all do something that ends up making cleaning harder than it has to be. Common cleaning mistakes are what today’s post is all about. We want to help you identify the pitfalls that are making your life harder and to avoid them.

cleaning mistakes

Polishing silver with toothpaste

Occasionally scrubbing your silverware with toothpaste won’t ruin your silver but it definitely will in the long run. Toothpaste is significantly more abrasive than standard silver polishes, so avoid using it on special pieces and save it for only sporadic cleans.

Vinegar on everything? It’s not set in stone

Vinegar is a miracle cleaning product on lots of home surfaces and appliances but natural stone surfaces (think: tile and marble countertops) aren’t one of them. The acidity in vinegar is likely to cause etch marks and other stubborn stains. Stick to dish soap and warm water instead.

Dusting furniture with a dryer sheet

This one isn’t entirely erroneous because used dryer sheets (ones that have already endured a complete drying cycle) are okay for dusting off wooden furnishings.

However, fresh ones are imbued with greasy softeners and have the potential to stain soft surfaces and upholsteries.

Cleaning windows in circles

For truly clean and streak-free windows, don’t use a circular motion to clean them. Instead, wipe the surface in a horizontal motion first, then wipe it again in a vertical motion!

Using the wrong carpet cleaner

So you’ve spilled a load of red wine over the carpet – there’s a knee-jerk reaction to quickly cover it with cleaner, but doing so will probably cause more damage. Oversaturating the stain won’t just ruin the carpet fibre, it might cause excess moisture to get trapped in the floor pad which can become a breeding ground for mould and foul smells.

Try blotting and then lightly spritzing the stain, and then thoroughly blotting again with a cloth.When it comes to removing carpet stains, it’s important to use the right tools for the job. And that tool ISN’T laundry stain remover! It’s important to use a carpet-specific stain remover, because you’ll get better results and do less damage to your carpeting.

Scrubbing carpet stains

Scrubbing can be useful when it comes to cleaning your dishes, but your carpets need a more gentle hand. Scrubbing can force the stain deeper into the fibers or even damaging the fibers themselves. Blot with a wet towel instead to lift the stain without damage.

Does bleach bust rust?

Bleach is an exceptionally potent cleaner but it makes rust stains worse. The oxidizing agents in bleach accelerate the spread of rust, so you’ll just be creating more work for yourself. Instead try mixing lemon juice with salt to make a paste that will lighten up the stain.

A note on bleach: NEVER mix bleach with ammonia — or ammonia-containing products, like some window cleaners. It’s seriously dangerous, yet a mistake that’s often made. When combined, they produce gas that can constrict breathing or even combust. Bleach should only ever be mixed with water.

Overfilling your hoover canister or bag

If your hoover is constantly packed full of dust and dirt, it’s probably impeding the airflow. Not only will it make the hoover less effective day-to-day, it’ll wear out your vacuum’s motor over time until it loses suction altogether. Empty the canister every time you use your vacuum. Once it’s a habit you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do it!

And the biggest mistake of all… impatience!

A little patience can go a long way! That’s why so many of our cleaning and laundry tips have a wait time. Allowing cleaning products to ‘sit’ gives them time to penetrate more deeply into messes and grime. So the next time you’re tackling a stubborn stain or a caked-on mess, remember that patience is a virtue: once you’ve done your bit, let it sit!

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