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14 Bad Cleaning Habits You Didn’t Even Realize You Had

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When it comes to dealing with household cleaning chores, many of us struggle to find shortcuts or finish the work as fast as possible. Many cleaning jobs are difficult and we would all appreciate it if we could find some easier ways to handle them. The downside of this mentality is that you might inadvertently create some bad habits trying to speed up the cleaning work. You probably don’t even realize it but certain cleaning habits can actually make your life harder.

If you’re determined to optimize your cleaning methods, it’s important to figure out what bad cleaning habits you may have and get rid of them. Instead of working harder, it’s a better idea to work smarter. Let’s see what potentially bad habits hold you back in your cleaning efforts. Learning how to break these habits can be a daunting task in itself, but even if you manage to change just a habit per week, you will be able to enjoy a cleaner home and not waste as much time.

1. Cleaning With Dirty Tools

Dirty Broom

Sometimes you’re in a rush to clean the floor and you might not notice that your mop is dirty. If the washing machine isn’t very clean, your laundry will probably retain an unpleasant smell after washing. These problems and similar issues have one thing in common – they all involve cleaning with dirty tools. You can’t expect good cleaning results if you don’t pay attention to the level of dirtiness of the vacuum, sponge, washing machine, and other cleaning tools around the house.



2. Letting Dirty Dishes Pile Up

Dirty Dishes

This is a bad habit that many people have. It’s never a good idea to leave dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink. It’s not just a matter of attracting insect pests, but you will also make your cleaning job harder. You’ll still have to deal with the dirty dishes eventually and washing them at a later time will often be more difficult. Food residues harden and don’t scrub away as easily.




A good habit is to set aside a few minutes after every meal to wash the dishes. If you have a dishwasher, the work is even easier. Simply remove all the large food bits and put them in the dishwasher. There’s no need to rinse off the dishes. Ideally, the dishwasher should run after dinner when it’s fully loaded with all the dirty dishes of the day. It’s a refreshing feeling to wake up in the morning and unload the clean dishes to start your day.

3. Using Disinfectants Incorrectly

Disinfectant Spray

When you’re using a disinfectant on a surface, it’s important to wait a few minutes for the cleaning solution to do its job properly. Many homeowners are in a rush to deal with their cleaning chores and won’t allow the disinfectant to sit on the surface for the recommended time. This is a bad cleaning habit that you need to eliminate because it will negatively impact your cleaning results.




Surfaces that are about to be disinfected need to be cleaned thoroughly because dirt and debris will affect the disinfectant’s effectiveness. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions because waiting times can vary. Try a potent disinfectant for household surfaces such as the Lysol sanitizing spray from Amazon.

4. Scrubbing Carpet Stains

Scrubbing Carpet Stains

It feels like scrubbing vigorously is the best solution when you have to clean a mess on the carpet but this is not a good idea. You’re more likely to damage the fibers of the carpet and might actually make the stain harder to remove as it penetrates deeper into the carpet. Fresh stains should be gently blotted to absorb as much liquid from the mess. Once the stain has been dried properly, you can apply a stain lifter designed for carpets such as Blue Magic.



5. Not Replacing Filters

AC Filter

Whether we’re talking about the filter from your heating or cooling appliances, it’s extremely important to get into the habit of replacing it regularly. There are differences depending on the type of product that uses a filter. However, filter replacement should always be part of the maintenance process for those respective appliances. If the filter is reusable, you should take great care to clean it as frequently as indicated.



6. Wearing Outdoor Shoes Indoors

Wearing Shoes Indoors

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get your shoes off when stepping inside the home. If you have a habit of not doing this, however, you’ll have to deal with plenty of vacuuming work. That’s because shoes used outdoors can bring a lot of dirt and bacteria inside the house. Your living areas can stay clean more easily if you stop wearing outdoor shoes indoors.




This is a relatively easy habit to break. Consider setting up a dedicated bench or designated area for shoe removal. If you have a mudroom, it could be even easier for everyone in the house to get in the habit of taking off their shoes. Keep all outdoor footwear in a collecting bin that’s easy to access.

7. Omitting to Clean Handles and Knobs

Clean Handles and Knobs

If you plan on cleaning the kitchen as thoroughly as possible, make sure you don’t forget about handles and knobs. It’s easy to get into the habit of omitting them but they gather a lot of grime and grease. Handles and knobs are problem spots that should always be included in your kitchen deep clean plan. Consider using a gentle cleaner or any multi-surface cleaner designed for removing dirt and stains effectively.



8. Improper Loading of the Dishwasher

Improper Dishwasher Load

Using your dishwasher effectively can save you from all the hassle associated with cleaning dirty dishes. While the dishwasher is an incredibly practical appliance, it’s essential to load it correctly if you want the best cleaning results. The main issue is overloading. If you put too many dirty dishes inside the dishwasher, some of the items won’t get cleaned adequately. The sprayer arms may fail to reach them.




Another important aspect of loading is positioning the dishes in the right places. For example, cups should be placed in the top drawer and bigger pots should stay in the bottom drawer. If you mix things up too much or items stick together in cramped positions, it’s safe to say that you won’t be able to take full advantage of the dishwasher’s cleaning capabilities. The way you’re loading the appliance matters a lot.

9. Not Throwing Away Food Leftovers

Leftovers

Do you ever open the fridge and discover leftovers from multiple days ago just sitting there? It’s time to throw them away. Hoarding food leftovers in the refrigerator is never a good idea. Stashing them in the fridge contributes to bacteria and mold growth. It will make cleaning the appliance much more difficult. That’s why you should promptly toss food leftovers if they haven’t been eaten in a timely manner.



10. Using Improper Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning Solution

Some people replace the disinfectant with vinegar to handle certain cleaning chores. Others may use a strong disinfectant such as bleach when a general cleaner is much more suitable. If you’re using improper cleaning solutions around the home, you can end up with a dirtier home and waste more time.




If you’re trying to prevent the spread of certain germs like the flu virus, it’s advised to use a potent disinfectant. Vinegar is a solid cleaner but can’t replace the disinfectant in your home. Overdoing the cleaning job is also possible if you use bleach for the wrong applications. This is a harsh chemical that can damage some surfaces and may fail to clean certain residues that can be effectively removed with a proper cleaning solution.

11. Insufficient Vacuuming

Vacuum Cleaner

There’s a common myth that says you shouldn’t vacuum your carpets and rugs too much because the process is damaging them. This isn’t true and you might actually ruin your carpets more by failing to vacuum enough. All that dirt and debris gathering inside your rugs will slowly penetrate the fibers and wear them down. That’s why it’s essential to have a proper vacuum schedule to ensure that all your carpets and rugs remain in top shape.



12. Not Using the Hot-Water Cycle

Hot Water Cycle

Many people steer clear of the hot-water cycle on the washing machine because high water temperatures can be damaging to some fabrics. While this is true, you shouldn’t avoid using this cycle just because it has a bad reputation. In some cases, it’s preferable to use the hot-water cycle if you want to maximize cleaning performance. Colder water can’t kill bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants from your clothes very effectively. It’s recommended to use higher water temperatures when washing towels and bedsheets.



13. Using Excessive Amounts of a Cleaning Product

Detergent

This is a common mistake that should be avoided. It may seem intuitive that you should simply increase the quantity of the solution to improve cleaning potency, but it doesn’t work that way. For example, if you don’t follow the correct instructions when using laundry detergent and add more, you can end up with unwanted residue on the clothes. That happens when the excess detergent doesn’t get rinsed away properly.




Always use the recommended amounts shown on the cleaner’s package to enjoy the best level of effectiveness. It doesn’t matter what kind of cleaning product you’re using. Any excess can have detrimental effects that can be easily avoided. As a bonus, you’ll also save time and money by not wasting the cleaner solution.

14. Leaving the Bed Unmade

Unmade Bed

While not making the bed is not really a harmful cleaning habit, it can still have a significant effect on the overall cleanliness of the room. Your bedroom will most likely appear messy if the bed is unmade, despite using freshly clean bedding items. Making the bed each morning can quickly stop feeling like a chore once it becomes a habit. You can keep the room’s appearance neat and organized with minimal effort. Consider giving up on having multiple throw pillows to simplify your work when spreading up the bedding.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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