Don’t Do That! Cleaning Habits That Can Damage Your Home And Furnishings

If you’re going to take the time and energy to clean, you might as well make sure that you’re doing it right and not making more work for yourself. Unknown to many, there are countless common cleaning practices that can actually cause more harm to good. See what they are and how you can avoid them.

Using Microfiber Single-Use Dusting Cloths

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henn.com/Pinterest
henn.com/Pinterest

While they may seem cheap and convenient (because they are), if you need to dust, it’s in your best interest to steer clear of using microfiber dusting cloths.

This is because these products rely on static to collect dust, but most people don’t know that the static remains on whatever surface you were cleaning, which attracts even more dust than before. So, if you use these and think you just dusted something that’s dirty already, you’re probably right.

Running Your Dishwasher When It Isn’t Full

Picture of a dishwasher
Martin Gerten/picture alliance via Getty Images
Martin Gerten/picture alliance via Getty Images

Basically, if your dishwasher isn’t completely full, there really isn’t any need for you to be running it. Not only does it take as much energy to wash a few dishes as it does a full load, you could also be putting your dishwasher at risk of damage.

According to Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at Pro Housekeepers, washing small loads of dishes can “increase the chances of damaging your dishwasher with higher usage.” Just wait until it’s full!

Using Abrasive Pads On Stainless Steel

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mnn/Pinterest

Some people might spend the extra money on stainless steel because it’s durable and can last longer, it isn’t indestructible. While getting any stuck-on grime or grease off of stainless steel may seem like the job for an abrasive pad, that’s not what you want to do.

Using an abrasive pad can actually leave behind scratches, and those are much harder to get off than any stain. To avoid this, it’s best to clean spills as soon as they happen so they don’t solidify.

Putting Wooden Cutting Boards In The Dishwasher

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Having a dishwasher can be a lifesaver. Not only does it save you time, but you can clean countless dishes in one load and know they will come out clean. However, you don’t want to put everything in the dishwasher, and this includes your wooden cutting boards.

Exposing these to the heat and water in the dishwasher can cause the wood to split and crack. To stay on the safe side, your best bet is to just wash them by hand with soap and water and dry them thoroughly before putting away.

Magic Erasers On Reflective Surfaces

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The Kitchn/Pinterest
The Kitchn/Pinterest

There’s no denying that Magic Erasers work really well. In fact, they work so well that people assume that they do the trick on everything. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you use a Magic Eraser on surfaces such as mirrors, glass, or other shiny/reflective surfaces, they’re going to end up looking cloudy.

Although they may be great for getting marker off your freshly painted walls, stick to Windex for other things that you want to keep shiny and clean.

Using A Spray Mop On Your Floors

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bestkitchenreviews/YouTube
bestkitchenreviews/YouTube

When spray mops first came on the market, it was the best thing since sliced bread for a lot of people. Say goodbye to using a bucket and mop to clean your floors, since this gets it done all at once.

Unfortunately, they may not be as great as people think. Supposedly, spray mops like the Swiffer Wet Jet tend to leave behind a sticky residue on the floor that makes it look shiny and clean, but causes dirt to stick to it.

Leaving Water On Your Hardwood Floors

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Olly Curtis/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Olly Curtis/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images

A mop and a bucket of water may seem like the most obvious and efficient way to clean hardwood floors, but you could be seriously damaging them in the process. Many people use far more water than they need for the job, and too much water on hardwood floors can cause them to become weak and even warp.

To properly mop your hardwood floors, use a damp mop and then quickly go over the surface with a drying cloth so there’s no water left behind.

Cleaning With The Wrong Type Of Sponge

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Marek Studzinski/Unsplash
Marek Studzinski/Unsplash

Some people may assume that when it comes to dishes, one sponge can get the job done for just about everything. However, they would be sadly mistaken. If you’re washing ceramic, nonstick, or metallic pots and pans, a regular yellow sponge will do just fine.

However, if you are cleaning cast iron or stainless steel, you’ll want to use metal or more abrasive sponges. If you end up using these more abrasive sponges on your nonstick, metallics, and ceramic, it will greatly shorten the lifespan of the dish.

Always Washing Your Clothes With Hot Water

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marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While washing items in hot water can help get rid of stains, it isn’t good to do all of the time. Not only does it take up more energy than necessary, costing you money, but it can damage your clothes. Hot water can be detrimental to many fabrics, and repeated hot water washing will lead to fading.

It’s suggested that you wash most of your clothes on the cold setting and save the hot water for your all-white loads.

Cleaning Windows In The Sun

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Yavuz Arslan/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Yavuz Arslan/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Let’s face it, cleaning windows is one of the least fun chores to do around the house. Nevertheless, it needs to be done. So, if you’re going to do it, make it count so you don’t have to go over it a second or even third time!

This means choosing the appropriate time of the day to do so. You don’t want to wash your windows directly in the sun because the heat dries the glass cleaner faster and can leave streaks.

Spraying Air Fresheners After Cleaning The Floors

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Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

After you’ve just finished cleaning your floors, it might seem like a good idea to spray some air freshener as the cherry on top of a job well done. While having a fresh-smelling home may be nice, you’ll want to hold off on the air freshener until your floors have completely finished drying.

If you don’t the floors could end up being sticky and covered in small blotches, and you’ll have to start the process all over again.

Spraying Wood Polish Directly On Surfaces

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bobila/Pinterest
bobila/Pinterest

Every once in a while, some of the wood surfaces in your home need a nice polish to get them shiny and vibrant again. Yet, something you desperately want to avoid is spraying the polish directly onto the surface.

Doing this can lead to one area being completely saturated with polish. This can lead to staining and even ruin your furniture. Instead, spray it first onto the clean cloth that you are using to ensure an even application.

Using Bleach On Rust

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Daniel Fazio/Unsplash
Daniel Fazio/Unsplash

Bleach has countless uses and is cherished by many as one of their favorite cleaning products at home. However, something that it should never be used on is rust. Instead of cleaning off the rust, it actually does the opposite.

This is because bleach works with the help of oxidation, which is what causes rust… therefore making the rust even worse than before. So, if you need to use anything, it’s recommended to use a special rust product such as Bar Keepers Friend.

Using Disinfecting Wipes On Dirty Surfaces

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CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

It’s important to remember that there is a fine line between cleaning and disinfecting. Just because a product says that it kills germs and bacteria doesn’t mean that it’s going to effectively get rid of any dust, dirt, or grime you’re trying to remove from something.

To fully clean a surface, first wipe it down with soap and water using a cloth, dry it with another cloth, and then use a wipe to sanitize and disinfect the area.

Cleaning From The Top

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NPHOTOS/Getty Images
NPHOTOS/Getty Images

Although it may seem obvious, you may be surprised by how many people start cleaning their house by doing the floors. Because it’s one of the most time-consuming chores, people want to get it out of the way when it should really be the last thing you do.

During cleaning, dust, dirt, and other particles are sure to fall onto the floor while cleaning countertops, dusting, or any other number of jobs. If you start from the top and work your way down, you won’t have to worry about this.

Cleaning Pet Stains With Ammonia-Based Products

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Alexander Landon/Unsplash
Alexander Landon/Unsplash

Pet stains not only ruin your carpet but can end up making your whole house smell. If you have this problem and want to get rid of it, it’s crucial that you avoid using ammonia-based cleaners.

According to Matt Clayton, the founder of Pet Hair Control, “Since ammonia is actually one component of cat urine, your feline companion may mistake the cleaning solution for another cat marking its territory and mark the same spot again right after it has been cleaned.”

Not Checking Product Expiration Dates

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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Not very many people check the expiration date of their cleaning products when purchasing them, or for all for that matter. Believe it or not, most cleaning products do have an expiration date, with many detergents and antibacterial ingredients only having a shelf life of typically around one year.

If you’re using old products, you may just be wasting your time. Also, be sure to store them in a cool dark place to make them last as long as possible.

Cleaning Stone Countertops With Vinegar

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Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Because vinegar is so acidic, it makes it a great cleaning product that can handle even some of the messiest jobs. However, it’s best if you didn’t use it on stone, even though it may seem like your stone countertops should be able to handle the acid. They can’t.

The acid can wear down the surface’s protective coating, which makes it vulnerable to scratches, blemishes, and other marks that you will never be able to get off. Stay on the safe side and use a product made for stone.

Washing Your Knives In The Dishwasher

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Schöning/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Schöning/ullstein bild via Getty Images

If you’ve worked in a kitchen, you’ll know that the last thing you ever do with a knife is run it through the dishwasher. Although it may not seem like a big deal, it’s one of the most harmful things you can do to this piece of equipment.

Putting knives through the dishwasher puts them at risk of getting chipped and will make them dull over time. All you need is your two hands, soap, water, and a towel to clean a knife properly.

Using Newspaper To Clean Reflective Surfaces

Picture of newspaper
GrixM/Reddit
GrixM/Reddit

You may have heard that using newspaper on mirrors will help to eliminate streaks, but that’s not necessarily true. Interestingly, it’s not even the paper that causes any problems but the ink.

Once the paper gets wet, the ink is going to bleed and can come off on your mirrors, windows, or anything else that you’re cleaning. If you’re not ready to give up using paper, switch to brown paper bags and you’ll notice the difference.