12 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

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It might be time to rethink your house cleaning strategy. After all, there’s nothing worse than being in the mood to power clean—ready to put those Marie Kondo tips to good use—and realizing you’ve been committing cleaning mistakes that are actually leaving your home dirtier than before. Guilty as charged (we’ve all done it)? Don’t worry, because you’ll also find the best solutions to these cleaning faux pas below!

Cleaning Mistake: Thawing raw chicken in the sink

Solution: Allow chicken to thaw in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking instead. You should never thaw chicken on the counter at room temperature or in the sink as bacteria will begin to grow when the meat reaches 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cleaning Mistake: Reusing your dish towels

Solution: Use a new paper towel each time you clean a surface or your hands. If you’re on a more eco-friendly cleaning spree, consider designating a towel for each task. For instance, a hand-drying towel, a dish-drying towel, a cleaning towel used to wipe down counters.

Cleaning Mistake: Not emptying your vacuum

Solution: When you notice that your vacuum receptacle is full of dust and dirt, empty it! You don’t want to risk the particles blowing back into your home or onto your floors. You’ll also want to remember to change or clean the filter as suggested to ensure your vacuum can still pick up dirt like it should.

Cleaning Mistake: Putting your wet toilet brush back into its holder

Solution: Many of us are guilty of this bathroom cleaning faux pas! You scrub the toilet and then place the brush back into its holder while it’s still wet. Oops! Without letting the brush dry completely before storing it, you allow for germs to stick to the holder and brush where they can then multiply.

Cleaning Mistake: Spraying cleaner directly onto a surface

Solution: Spray onto a cleaning cloth before wiping down surfaces. Not only will your cleaner last longer this way, but you will avoid leaving any residue behind that comes with a build-up of cleaning product.

Cleaning Mistake: Not cleaning the sink

Solution: Think about it—you wash food particles off your dishes in the sink, but not every last bit makes it down the drain. Your sink is a moisture haven where food particles can easily stick, leading to germ and bacteria growth. So don’t call it a day yet, just remember to wipe out the sink after you’re finished!

Cleaning Mistake: Thinking rinsed sponges are clean

Solution: Sponges can hold oodles of germs and bacteria and rinsing them is simply not enough. Even cleaning a dirty sponge can give bacteria a boost, according to a recent study! It is recommended that you use a new sponge every week, but since that isn't always practical, consider running your sponge through the washing machine and then transferring it to another place in the house. Or instead of a using a sponge at all, switch to a dishcloth that can be washed.

Cleaning Mistake: Washing cutting boards with dish soap

Solution: Did you know that the cuts and grooves made in cutting boards can hold food particles? If not cleaned properly, they can become a cozy home for bacteria! Instead of using dish soap, which will only clean superficial residue from the board, soak them in hydrogen peroxide before rinsing and drying.

Cleaning Mistake: Vacuuming pet fur without a wand

Solution: If your vacuum has a pet hair attachment, don’t be afraid to use it! Regular vacuuming will blow as much pet hair as it collects which will only make more work for you. If your vacuum has an attachment, this can be just as efficient to eliminate rogue hair and fur balls.

Cleaning Mistake: Not soaking dishes

Solution: Get yourself into the habit of rinsing food out of pots and pans right after you use them—or at least after you’re finished eating. If you leave them to sit with food inside, it will only make it harder to remove the remnants later. Soak dishes in warm, soapy water for easier dish-doing!

Cleaning Mistake: Putting dryer sheets in your HVAC vent

Solution: It may seem like a fresh scent would happily disperse throughout your house when dryer sheets are in your HVAC vents, but instead of clean aromas, you'll end up spreading chemicals. You're better off lighting your favorite clean-smelling candle or diffusing an essential oil to give your home's scent a refresh.

Cleaning Mistake: Using wood polish on your furniture

Solution: Unless you're cleaning antique furniture without a finish, wood polish could actually make that coffee table more dull in appearance. There are dozens of non-polish formulas you can mix up right in your kitchen—with magic ingredients like vinegar and lemon oil—to clean effectively without ruining the finish. 

—Kaitlyn Kirby




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