Like everything in life, cleaning can be improved when you know what mistakes you’re doing. Trial and error are important in our daily routines and of course, that includes knowing what, when, and how to clean.
This is why this week’s article is all about learning -and changing- any cleaning mistakes you make. This will cover everything from using the wrong products to techniques that are not efficient and even planning out your cleaning tasks the wrong way can extend your cleaning process unnecessarily, for hours even.
Over the years, we have seen and heard all types of horror stories about stained floors, ruined laundry, and clogged drains, as well as endless cleaning routines that go for hours and hours. All because of wrong products, techniques, and planning.
Let’s get right into it! Here are 5 common cleaning mistakes and how you can fix them.
Mixing Cleaning Products
First, it is dangerous. Two chemicals that are not meant to be mixed can make a mess in an instant. Anything from excessive foam to releasing toxic fumes.
Second, it is contaminating. Many of these products end up in the ocean causing harm to aquatic life. Everything from an excessive increase of algae (which leaves fish without oxygen) to microplastics and other harmful chemicals that end up in the ocean.
Besides, the plastic packaging will most likely end up in the ocean as well. Commercial cleaning products tend to be one-time plastic packaging, instead of other solutions such as non-plastic packaging or reusable plastic.
If you check our guide for choosing green products, you will know exactly what to avoid before you buy your cleaning products.
Now you even find these “challenges” on social media such as Instagram and TikTok. They show people mixing different cleaning products, especially into the toilet. This, of course, is wrong on so many levels.
Not only it is dangerous and contaminating, but it is also a waste of product. Everyone knows how expensive cleaning products can be, particularly if they are commercial, specialized products.
Cleaning In a Hurry
Acting in a hurry creates the opposite outcome for most cases.
The biggest consequence is that you might plan or even start different cleaning tasks that you won’t have the time to finish, leading you to feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
You will -most likely- clean and scrub your items and surfaces in an unorganized way that will lead you to repeat steps or spend extra energy.
For example, you might make small cleaning mistakes such as sweeping and mopping your floors and then wiping surfaces and shelves above. This will only cause dust and debris to fall on top of your floor and you will have to repeat steps unnecessarily.
One of the most common cleaning mistakes is to apply your cleaning product to surfaces and then start scrubbing or brushing right away. This happens often when you are cleaning surfaces such as countertops, floors, and shower walls.
This will tire you quickly, because of the physical effort of mopping, scrubbing, or vacuuming. But it will also lead to your surfaces or furniture getting scratched or discolored by applying a constant, strong motion to the surface (such as the movement of scrubbing up and down constantly).
Besides setting a proper time window for cleaning, you will need to come up with a structure to optimize your resources, being time the most valuable.
Examples like cleaning surfaces from top to bottom and letting your cleaning products act on the surfaces for 15 – 30 minutes before wiping or scrubbing, will make you spend less time and energy on the same tasks.
Not Planning Your Cleaning
There are many issues in different areas when you don’t create a cleaning plan beforehand.
Even though spontaneous cleaning sprees are better than not cleaning, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the most successful or productive use of your time.
You will end up cleaning too much or too little. This can cause, for example, some surfaces end up getting worn out and “aged” too fast, while other areas are unkempt and dirty.
Additionally, this can cause stress when you don’t plan things out because you get overwhelmed with unrealistic cleaning goals.
Planning your cleaning process will help you keep track of all areas and cleaning tasks, as well as save you time by not needing to think about what you need to clean or what is your next step.
There are many ways you can approach this, and you can combine different strategies. Many people like scheduling their week and sorting different cleaning tasks during the week. Others prefer to clean mostly on the weekends.
You could also assign one day of the month or the last weekend of the month for more occasional cleaning tasks (vacuuming all your furniture, cleaning your roof and/or your deck, decluttering…).
Using the Wrong Products
Even if you are not mixing products, you can still damage your surface and furniture by using the wrong product. Some materials, mostly organic ones, are more sensitive to the environment.
On one hand, this includes temperature and humidity changes. For example, Dallas is known to have over 40% changes in humidity on the same day!
On the other hand, this is related to interaction with other materials and chemicals. This is why you need to be really careful when choosing the products that will act on your surface.
Some chemicals, even water, can cause damage such as stains, discoloration, excessive moisture, and even the material cracking or lifting (especially floors).
The damage will be more noticeable with more abrasive cleaning products. Bleach, for example, can cause heavy staining and color fading. This is particularly common for carpet floors, wooden, and upholstery.
Ammonia is another component that causes staining, again in oak floors and carpet.
Even vinegar and lemon juice, which are mostly natural and harmless cleaning agents, they are not recommended in natural stone surfaces, such as granite and marble. The acid penetrates the protective sealant, causing permanent stains.
You have many choices here. First, you can purchase specialized cleaners for each material you have at home. This is a safe route, but it can become quite pricey, and you will have to keep track of how much you have left of all those products.
Second, you can choose commercial all-purpose cleaners. Check if that product is safe for each one of your surfaces, both on the label and on the internet.
Third, you have many homemade cleaners available, that you can create with inconspicuous cleaning agents such as baking soda and hot water.
No matter your choice, always test your products in hidden areas first.
Doing It All on Your Own
This is somewhat related to the “not planning your cleaning” mistake. Research has shown that, unfortunately, task segregation between genders is still present in households -meaning that women still do mostly “women’s chores” and vice versa-, especially cooking and cleaning.
Other studies show that women around the world perform the majority of domestic chores.
The most positive route is to include all family members in all the different tasks that you need to do to take care of your house. If you have children, you can slowly include them as well with age-appropriate tasks.
Again, science shows that kids with assigned cleaning and home maintenance tasks are more independent and confident. They will also grow with positive standards, feel better about themselves and learn good habits both as individuals and their families in the future.
Of course, assign them tasks as long as their school and leisure time stay a priority.
The secret is to mix and assign different tasks for each one so that no one gets bored, or overwhelmed. For example, you can try a cleaning/home maintenance checklist for one month, and then switch roles. Perhaps, your family prefers switching every month, or maybe you just try different strategies until you find a checklist that works for everyone permanently. You can also hire a cleaning service to help ease the entire routine of your family.
Make sure you take into account everyone’s time availability, even if you are a stay-at-home parent. Research also shows that, to this day, women are still much more likely to take care of household duties than men and, of course, this takes a toll on your individual and marital happiness and well-being.
Everyone needs time to rest and disconnect from cleaning and running a household.
There you have it! Before jumping into your cleaning tasks, make sure you read this article carefully and think about whether you make these cleaning mistakes frequently.
Remember practice makes perfect, and it’s best to think about improving the way you plan and carry out your cleaning tasks to save you so much mental and physical energy, as well as your time.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed with household chores and you want to take things easier, make sure to check our cleaning service in Dallas! We have different services to suit your home’s needs.