Cleaning the house is one of those necessary evils in life few people relish. The faster you can knock it over, the sooner you can spend time doing the things you love. The key to making your cleaning duties more efficient and effective is to clean smarter. This may sound like a cliche. But did you know some cleaning habits can actually double your time on the job without any benefit whatsoever?
Here are 10 common mistakes when cleaning and what to do instead:
1. Starting with the floors
If you start with the floors and then move on to the dusting and cleaning of benchtops etc. where do you think the dust and dirt will settle? That’s right, on the floor. So always leave the vacuuming and mopping till last if you want a sparkling clean home without doubling your workload.
2. Scrubbing stains out of carpet or rugs
Picture this…you’re enjoying a red wine and next minute your exuberant fur baby leaps onto the lounge and knocks the glass out of your hand, causing your red wine to spill onto your rug or carpet. The natural instinct is to sprint to grab a cloth and some spray and vigorously scrub at the stain like there’s no tomorrow. Only problem is, the scrubbing motion can actually cause the stain to spread or work its way more deeply into the pile. A better way is to gently blot the stain with a cloth instead. Less is more when it comes to any detergent or spray too. The less stain remover on the carpet, the less you have to rinse off (with more blotting) afterwards.
3. Cleaning windows on a sunny day
A sunny day may seem like the perfect time to clean your windows, but the heat from the sun actually leaves your windows streaky when they dry. So, while sunlight might help you see the dirt and grime on your windows, it is actually more effective to save this job for an overcast day for streak-free results.
4. Spraying cleaners directly onto surfaces
Some people assume that the more cleaning product they use, the better the result. But that is actually a fallacy and may double your workload because spraying cleaners straight onto a surface can cause a build-up of the solution that makes them greasy or streaky. Instead, spray any cleaning product directly onto the cleaning cloth first. Not only will you finish the job more quickly and achieve a better result, but you will also save money on cleaning products and prevent inhaling too many chemicals.
5. Wiping in circles
Are you in the habit of cleaning in a circular action? If so, you would likely be left with circular smears on the surfaces that are meant to look nice and shiny, like stainless steel, glass or high gloss cabinetry. The best way to tackle stainless steel, glass or other shiny surfaces is to wipe vertically. For windows, wipe in a horizontal motion first and then clear any excess by wiping in vertical lines.
6. Using vinegar on stone benchtops
While vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning agent and works beautifully on walls, floors and furniture, it is not suitable for stone benchtops because it is acidic and can wear down the protective coating on stone.
7. Using bleach on all tough stains
Bleach is another popular and effective cleaning agent, excellent for removing stains like coffee from a white shirt. However, if you try to use bleach on a rust stain, it will actually make it significantly worse because of its oxidising agent. An effective cleaning agent for a rust stain is actually good old lemon juice and white vinegar.
8. Washing all dishes in the dishwasher
Dishwashers are great timesavers, but they are not kind to all your dishes. If you want your kitchen knives and non-stick pans to last longer, wash them by hand.
9. Only emptying/changing the vacuum cleaner bag/barrel when its full
If you aren’t changing or emptying your vacuum cleaner bag/barrel after each time you vacuum, you will find it takes you longer to vacuum and you won’t achieve a good result because it won’t be able to extract as much dirt and dust from the floor as it should. A full vacuum will actually blow dirt back into the air and carpet via its vent so you may find you have to do the job twice!
10. Washing cutting boards with dish soap
Did you know that hot water and detergent is not the best and safest way to clean a cutting board? Even if you wash your boards with detergent and very hot water and scrub vigorously after cutting raw meat on it, there could still be harmful bacteria lingering on the surface. Simply soak it in a bleach and water solution, rinse with water and let dry.