Ever tried a new floor cleaner only to find it ruined your hardwood floors? Or those new disinfecting wipes left a weird sheen on your table? Large and small, we all make mistakes when cleaning because we’re in a rush, we run out of something or we just don’t know any better.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can avoid the most common and potentially damaging mistakes with just a little extra thought and effort.

Here are six mistakes you might be making and how to fix them.

1. Not letting cleaning products sit long enough.

We want to clean and get it over with. Whether it’s a full house cleaning or a spot clean on the carpet, cleaning is an interruption to what we really want to do. We can tend to rush. But in our rush we often don’t let the cleaners we’re using do the hard work. Many cleaners, such as carpet cleaners and bathroom cleaners, require at least a few minutes for the chemicals to work on the problem.

Solution: Read the instructions and let the cleaners sit the recommended amount of time. In the end, you’ll do less work and get better results.

2. Using too much water to clean wood floors.

We’re overzealous and want to get those floors clean. We can put too much water on our hardwood floors like we might tile floors. But you may be causing serious problems. If you use too much water when cleaning your wood floors, it could cause damage that’s expensive to repair.

Solution: Use self-wringing mops to avoid using too much water and to avoid putting your hands in the cleaning solution. Make sure your mop is just damp and NOT dripping. Sitting water is a sure sign you’re not wringing your mop enough.

3. Using your bare hands.

You’re a flexible and dynamic cleaner, bouncing from a job which may require gloves to ones that don’t. So you may just avoid gloves altogether. It’s a mistake. Not only are you exposing your hands to harsh and harmful chemicals, your skin can absorb these chemicals and carry it further into your body than just your hands. Plus, your beautiful hands already take a beating with hand washing and cold weather, so keep your skin protected.

Solution: Use those super awesome, brightly colored rubber gloves. They offer the best protection and cover up part of your forearm. You can even find some brands out there with fun patterns.

4. Not cleaning the vacuum.

We vacuum and empty the contents but we rarely clean out the vacuum. Inside every vacuum there’s a filter which is often overlooked. If it’s not cleaned or replaced the vacuum won’t clean as well and more dirt is pushed into the air.  

Solution: Be sure you empty the vacuum after each use (and check it before each use). Wipe down the inside of your vacuum compartment as much as you can. If you have a filter that can be cleaned, wash it in soapy water, rinse thoroughly, let dry. Otherwise, just replace it when it starts looking dirty.

5. Cleaning everything but the kitchen sink.

It feels good to put the final touches on a home cleaning. But did you forget to clean the kitchen sink? Big mistake. Kitchen sinks are moist breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Food particles, constant use and lots of moisture make the kitchen sink a petri dish if not cleaned regularly.

Solution: Every time you wash dishes or wipe down the kitchen counters you should also clean the sink with soap and water. Clean it out with a bleach solution (as little as 2% works) at least once a month to prevent growth and build up of more stubborn germs and bacteria.  

6. Not using neutral cleaners on marble surfaces.

Whether it’s counters or floors, marble can be easily damaged with the wrong cleaners. They can be easy to clean but that doesn’t mean any cleaner will do. Marble is porous and is damaged by acidic, aggressive cleaners.

Solution: Use cleaners with a neutral pH that won’t damage the surface of your marble. There are plenty of brands out there so do a little research and take the time to get a neutral cleaner.

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